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Friday, April 10, 2015

Maharastrian Food Festival at House Of Asia

There was a time, when large families would sit on the floor and enjoy the food together. The food was normally a traditional one and cooked with specific spices to give it an authentic taste. Everything has changed now. People opt for global fusion. It is difficult to sit on the floor and large families hardly get together unless there is a family wedding.

However such atmosphere can be created during food festivals, like the one I experienced at ‘Taste Of Asia’ at Mirador Hotel at Chakala (Andheri East) at the newest food festival called Pangat.

The low tables have been set on the floor and there is a colorful rangoli designed around the tables.

I was told that there would be waiters, women dressed in traditional Maharastrian costume of 9 yard saree and a beaded nose ring, men would be dressed in long kurtas and pajamas. They will be personally serving food at the low tables. A corner has been set up for live music of traditional Marathi folk songs.

It seems like a perfect set-up. I would have been happier if I was invited during the festival to mingle in the crowd and experience the event itself, but I was here to sample the food that would be served during the festival.

Here is what food will be served during the festival

Welcome drink:
Kairiche panhe

Tamate cha Saar (tang y tomato soup)
Khekdyche saar (crab soup)

Starters: (veg)
Kothmir chi Vadi (steamed coriander cakes)
Dalimb Batate (tangy potato patty with pomegranate seeds)
Kelfulache Vade (banana flower fritters)
Starters non veg:
Jeerameerichi kombdi (chk wt roast jeera,black pepper)
Makli masala (squids masala)
Tawache Bombil (grilled Bombay duck)

Bharleli Vangi (stuffed brinjal)
Mixed Ussal (mixed lentils prep)
Kairichi kadi (raw mango curry)
Kombdiche sukkhe (dry chk prep)
Pandhra Rassa (kolhapuri mutton prep)
Masala bhaat
Tandul chi bhakri (rice flour bread)

Kaliya til chi chutney (black sesame seeds chutney)
Hirwa mirchi cha theecha
Lal mirchi teecha
Raw mango chutney
Sweet tamarind chutney

Puran poli
Olya naral chi karanji

I would go light on snacks and drinks, because the main food is extremely delicious and is truly authentic.

The Maharastrian food festival will be on from April 10th to 16th April 2015, 7pm onwards.
Venue: House Of Asia at Mirador Hotel, Chakala (Andheri East)

Cost is Rs900 (inclusive of all taxes)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Launch of a Cook Book : Great Grandma’s Kitchen Secrets

When I received an invite to attend a book launch titled ‘Great Grandmas’s Kitchen Secrets’, I was fascinated. It was a double celebration. Sharing the age-old family recipes with the world and celebrating a birthday on an auspicious day of GudiPadva. It was no ordinary birthday. It was a huge celebration of a milestone for the celebrity Susheela Pathak celebrating her 96th birthday on this big day.


This was quite inspiring! I was very touched by the love and the unity of her large family. Imagine living long enough to see three generation. There were grandchildren and even great grand children present for the launch, happy that they would be able to carry on the traditional recipes for many years more. Her family claimed that she is the senior most living author in India and is currently in consideration for Limca book of records.

Many film and theatre personalities were present at the launch, and many stories told. Her friend of 75yrs of friendship had some memorable stories to share.

Her journey with writing books began at age of 90years, when her grandson asked her to pen down fables so that he could share with his children who were in America at that time. Shrimati Susheela Pathak has written two storybooks, one on idiom and this latest book on recipes that has been also translated in English to reach a bigger readership. She plans to write a new book on house-hold remedies too. I begin to realize that one should never stop living; life has great surprises in store for us.

The English edition of ‘Great Grandma’s Kitchen Secrets’ was initially hand-written in Marathi. Besides tradition Maharastrian recipes like Sanja, gud papdi laddos and Mohri ki Mirchi that she had learnt from her mother, there are more than 150 old, new, and modified dishes along with recipes for left over food.

There are some helpful tips too f

“While making baigan barta, before you roast the whole brinjals, apply mustard oil on the skin and insert garlic cloves. It will be well done and also not cause flatulence.”  


“To make fluffy puris, add two spoons soojee to the cup of wheat flour and knead in soda water. Poories will remain fluffed for long time after it is fried.

There was a small demo of mixing of Poha bhel by chief guest Sachin.

We were served the delicious plate of chaklis and poha bhel and some fresh juice.

The favorite dish of Aaji (as she is lovingly called) was a take-away of 2 Pooran Poli, Amti Masala and chili pickle for every guest. I enjoyed the pooranpoli with chili pickle. The masala I plan to use when I cook dhal the next time.

Sharing a leaflet (page65) from her book of the ‘Mustard Chili’ that I enjoyed during snack time


1/4kg Green long stemmed chilies
1/4kg Mustard
1/4kg salt
1tsp Fenugreek seeds
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp asafetida
2tsp oil
Lemon juice from 12-15lemons


Wash the chilies and cut into small pieces. It will get deseeded automatically. Separate the seeds and keep the pieces aside.

Clean mustard seeds. Grind them fine in a mixer. Add salt and cup of water. Grind them well together

Add turmeric and asafetida

Shallow fry fenugreek seeds till they become brown. Grind the fenugreek seeds separately.

Add lemon juice extracted from 12-15 lemons

Add chili pieces and mix well.

Close the lid tightly, seal it with cloth.

Keep stirring ever1 or 2 days. This chili mustard has a shelf life of many years.

Whenever you wish to consume it, remove small portion and temper with oil seasoning.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cheti Chand- A Sindhi New Year

A lot has changed over the years. 

Morning I called upon my neighbor to wish her ‘a Happy New Year’..Well! There was not much sign of the celebrations of Cheti Chand in a Sindhi house. Celebrating Sindhi festivals have narrowed down to attending a Sindhi Mela, (community festival) in the evening, where there are cultural shows and traditional food on sale, but other than that there is no sign of celebration in any homes.

Cheti Chand is the important festival in Sindhi home (or rather it used to be during my growing up days)

I used to wake up to the traditional hymn devoted to Lord JhuleLal during early hours. There used to be fragrance of sweetened rice and cooked Chana in the kitchen. Early morning Mom used to make preparation to go to temple and offer her prayers by making bharano Chej.

At the temple, she and other women would make molds from flour dough shaping one mold in round shaped base for large crystalized sugar, decorated with silver edible foil and dry fruits while another dough molded into a shape of lamp with the stuffing of cloves and cardamom on its side and pure ghee with a wick for used for lighting the lamp. These molds along with sweetened rice, cooked Chana, fruits, biscuits, flowers, vermillion and few coins were placed in a big tray. She would place the tray on her head and turn 360 degrees, offering her prayers to Jhulelal. Later she and other ladies would go to the seashore to feed the fishes. They would sing Lal Sain’s Panjaras and Palav to seek His grace

Not many youngsters do observe this ritual any more. Like Sindhi language, Sindhi traditions are gradually fading too. Not many are aware of the story behind it.

Cheti Chand is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra month known as Chet in Sindhi. It is celebrated in the honor of the birth of Ishtadeva Uderolal, popularly known as Jhulelal, the patron saint of Sindhis. On this day, people worship water- the elixir of life. Followers of Jhulelal observed Chaliho Sahab that meant that for forty long days and nights, they underwent rituals and vigil on the bank of Sindhu. Fasting meant, no new clothes, no shoes, no shaving, no use of soap. The clothes were just rinsed and worn. Days were spent offering prayers to God Varun seeking solace and salvation. After 40 days of Chaaliho, the followers of Jhulelal celebrated the occasion with festivity as ‘Thanks Giving Day’ During the festival there used to be long procession and Sindhi folk dance called ‘Chej’ was performed during the procession.

However, thanks to Sindhi community who do try their best to keep their culture and tradition alive. After 65 years of migrations, with Sindhis scattered all over the world, many communities around the world do make an effort to keep the tradition going. New ventures are started, children are encouraged to participate in the cultural shows and a special delicious traditional Sindhi Cuisine is cooked in some houses even till this day.

Wishing all my visitors a ‘Happy New Year’

Happy to share the recipe of ‘Sweetened Rice’ called ‘Tehri’ from page no 123 in my book on #SindhiCuisine


2 cups rice
1cup sugar
2tbsp Ghee
A pinch of saffron thread
2green Cardamom
4-5 raisins
2tbsp fresh coconut, cut into strips
Salt to taste


1.   Cook rice in one cup of water and very little salt, cardamom and saffron. 
2.   When rice is half cooked, add sugar and ghee and cook till tender.
3.   Garnish with almonds, raisins and coconut strips.
4.   Serve hot with papad and yogurt.

5.   Alternatively you could also serve with spicy cooked Kara Chana.
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