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Saturday, August 16, 2014

‘Thadaree’ An Important Festival of Sindhis

Today I miss my Mom a lot. Actually I miss her all the time but on festivals, its the most. Mom used to be super excited during festivals. Right from shopping to cooking to serving, she did it all with a smile. Mom’s trait has been passed on to my sister, who continues and follows the Sindhi culture and tradition that has been going on for eras.

Last evening when I visited my sister, her kitchen was very active. She was preparing food for the next day. It’s the special meal that she prepares on this special day. I visited her again today and her table was full of delicious cold food. Today is the auspicious day, all Sindhis around the world are celebrating a festival called ‘Thadree’ (also known as ‘Vadi Sataiy’)

Thadree comes from the word ‘Thado’, meaning cold, hence today, the Sindhis around the world will eat cold food throughout the day.

Mom used to cook the food for next day on a stove. She would start to cook in the evening after taking her bath. With her head covered and the prayers on her lips, she would cook food for this festival.

Pure Ghee was used for cooking the meals and its fragrance dominated the house for many hours. I would scheme a plan to steal a bite of sweet lolo from the hot plate, but that was not allowed, in fact, I was not encouraged to enter her kitchen while she was cooking, therefore, I only drooled and waited patiently for the next day to arrive. She used to make many things like Mitho lolo (sweet flat bread), Besan jo chillo (spiced flat bread) Dhal ji Mani (Roti stuffed with spiced lentils), Sanna Pakoras (gram flour fritters), mixed vegetables in green masala, stuffed karelas, rice curds, rotis, Papads, etc. 

At the end of her cooking, she would offer prayers over the stove, with rice, vermillion and sprinkle water to put the stove to sleep.

On the ‘Thadree’ day, all my close and extended family would come home for a feast of cold food. Mom, being the eldest in the family, our home was the meeting point for all festivals. Mom enjoyed serving food and inviting people for lunches and dinners and family loved her food. After lunch, the adults would engage in game of cards, while we kids played board games. The elders would give ‘Kharchi’(a gift in cash) to the younger ones and we would be thrilled with the money that we received from uncles, aunts and elder cousins.

This festival is still celebrated in many Sindhi homes, although it is gradually disappearing. The youngsters don’t show any interest in eating cold food nor do they have any inclination to cook an authentic Sindhi cuisine.

Nevertheless, whosoever has tasted this delicious meal enjoys it a lot. It is special because it is made with love, prayers and interest.

The festival is celebrated in the honor of Goddess Shitaladevi, which literally means cool Goddess. Hindus believe that she is the reliever of suffering and pain. During this festival, while offering food to the Goddess ShitalaDevi, women hold the sweet bread over children's eyes, singing “Thaar Mate Thaar, Pahenje bachran khe Thaar” which means 'bless your children with good health'.

This delicious lunch that was cooked in my sister’s home today to celebrate this festival.

Mixed vegetables in Green Masala

Bhajiyas with green chutney

Spiced Besan Roti

Curd Rice in Mustard

Dhal Roti

Mitho Lolo

For recipes on ‘festival food’, do find them in my book #SindhiCuisine available at bookstores and online across India.

Monday, August 4, 2014

On My Last Day in Bangkok, I Made a Trip To a Local Supermarket.

For twenty days at Krabi and Bangkok, all I ate was Thai cuisine, at the malls, on the streets and even in the fancy restaurants. Thai food is amazing and I could not have enough of it. I didn’t touch Indian cuisine at all, not even a small piece of chappati or a spoonful of curry (although I did try Thai roti stuffed with banana and honey, will write about it in another post). 

Even a small coffee shop looked inviting...

So in reality, I should be completely satisfied.

But no, I wanted to get the food memories back home. So I went to a large supermarket.

The drooling display of fruits and vegetables, the large range of sea food on ice-blocks, the great selection of sausages and frozen food, the spices, the sauces, the noodle soup packets, if I didn’t have weight problem during travelling (I was allowed only 25kgs) I would grab them all….

The food stalls were tempting...

Carefully, I started to pick up stuff, anything light and tasty, and something that I cannot find in Indian super stores easily. One by one, the stuff went off the shelf into my shopping cart, few dozens ‘Mama’ soup packets, few bottles of assorted spicy sauces, freshly made chutneys and savories and then I glanced at the mushroom shelf.

A big variety of Mushrooms of different kinds seduced me. I stood staring at Button mushroom, Straw mushrooms, Maitake mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms…all fresh and dewy packed in plastic, ready for cooking. 

I was not sure how long they would last, but I picked them and now they sit frozen in my fridge, ready for use.

Today I opened the packet to find maitake, straw and black fungi mushroom, decided to stir fry.

Chopped spinach and cooked a delicious lunch.

I decided to make Mushrooms and Spinach Stir-fries


1tbsp peanut oil
8-9pods of crushed garlic
2 green chilies
100gms-assorted mushrooms
100gms spinach
1 vegetarian stock cube
1tsp black pepper
1/2tsp soya sauce
1tsp oyster sauce

Every spoonful is divine


Heat oil and add crushed garlic and chopped chilies. Add the assorted mushrooms, and stir-fry.

Add vegetarian stock cube, and black pepper.

Add spinach and stir it well

Add soya sauce and oyster sauce.

Serve with steamed rice, diagonally sliced cucumber and chili in vinegar.

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