Vidya Balan recalls her favourite dish made by her mother

Vidya Balan recalls her favourite dish made by her mother
Vidya Balan and her mother (L). Photo: Special Arrangement

Everyone loves their mother’s food the best, even if they have tried all the dishes and flavours in the world. They measure the ingredients in their hearts with a pinch of salt or a palm full of this or that. They hardly follow the teaspoon or tablespoon measures of a culinary professional. Despite this, the mother’s dish wins our hearts and our pallets with its incredible taste and warmth.

Writer Sudha Menon has tried to recapture the unique essence of these flavours in her latest book ‘Recipes for Life’. From actors Vidya Balan and Aamir Khan to cricketers Irfan Pathan and Mithali Raj, these celebrities have shared the special recipes of their mothers in this book. Besides, they share interesting memories and snippets from their mother’s kitchen too.

Actor Vidya Balan and her sister Priya grew up eating the authentic South Indian food that her mother cooked. “Every Sunday, my mother used to cook a special dessert using cowpeas and jaggery. We would then polish it off quickly,” Vidya is thrilled as she recalls her mother’s super dessert.

“We soaked molakapodi (chutney powder-) in fresh ghee and enjoyed it with hot dosa. Ghee tastes amazing when mixed with hot rice too. Tamarind and jaggery are common ingredients in the traditional Palakkadan Iyer cuisine. My mouth fills with water when I think about the avial and the moru koottan (spiced buttermilk) cooked by my mother,” says Vidya.
“I liked to eat a lot as a kid. I really enjoyed the curries that she cooked for lunch. My poor mother would cook curries for lunch and dinner. However, after returning from school, I would finish it in one go, even without sharing them with my sister. The baji that my mother cooks for paav baji was my favourite dish. I also enjoyed the ada or the patties made using dried chillies, curry leaves and mung beans. These dishes were not just tasty but nutritious too,” recalls Vidya.
Vidya confesses that her favorite place is still her mother’s kitchen.

In ‘Recipes for Life’ Sudha shares a few recipes of Vidya Balan’s mother.
1 tsp coconut oil
1 glass urad dal
¼ glass split chick peas
20 dried chillies
¾ tsp asafoetida
Salt as required

Roast the urad dal and split chick peas in coconut oil
Scoop them out when they turn red in colour
Fry the dried chillies in the same oil
Mix all the roasted ingredients and asafoetida and salt
After it cools down, grind it into fine powder
Molagapodi is ready
Mix the molagapodi in coconut oil or homemade ghee to prepare the chutney
Enjoy this dosa or idli.

Pumpkin pachadi
350 gms pumpkin (cut into pieces)
Lemon sized ball of tamarind
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp jaggery
½ coconut (grated)
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 green chillies
2 dried chillies
Water as required
1 tsp coconut oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 whole dried chilli

Cook the pumpkin with tamarind, turmeric powder and jaggery
Grind the grated coconut with mustard seeds, green chillies and dried chillies into smooth paste
Cook the pumpkin and the coconut paste together
Add water too
When these are cooked well, take it off the flame
Heat coconut oil
Splutter mustard seeds
Roast dried chilies and curry leaves
Add this tempering into the pumpkin pachadi
Mix well.

(Photo: Sarun Mathew
The chef who cooked the dishes for the pictures: Shanavas, Executive Chef, Mansoon Empress, Palarivattam, Kochi)

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