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
1tsp Fenugreek seeds
1tsp turmeric powder
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.