Two important people have influenced the way I cook today and they are my mom and my Ajji (grandma- mom’s mom) Both of them have their own style of cooking and mom still asks Ajji how to make this and that, like every daughter would. Me in turn, of course, ask mom, not every now and then but every single time..hehe..she is like my 1-800 number, the perfect go-to person for all my cooking queries no matter what time of day! This entire blog is dedicated to my mom, as she was the inspiration to actually start cooking and then eventually the blog. So I dedicate this post to my adorable Ajji.
My Ajji is all of 65, but still strong in the kitchen. With neatly combed hair and a big red kumkum bindi adorning her forehead she has always brought unique delicious dishes to the table, which sometimes involve vegetables I haven’t even seen or heard of(thanks to my ignorance and fussy nature - back then :D)! Ajji also has this interesting way of making a dish with a “surprise” ingredient and what follows is a guessing game. No prizes for the right guess, but it’s a whole lot of fun and hey, we have a yummy dish to dig into.
When Ajji turned 60, her daughters, i.e. my mom and her sister brought out a small cookbook titled “Ammana Adige” meaning Mom’s cooking with few special recipes, which are ajji’s trademark recipes. These are recipes which all of us enjoy no matter what, and something which only ajji can make, delicious and perfect every single time. This cookbook was printed and circulated among family and friends.
Ajji has been socially active all her life, even now. Inspite of all the activity outside the house, she has always made it a point to put a home cooked meal on the table beating all odds against time.
My adorable Ajji
One recipe from her cookbook for Poppindi or Chutney Pudi is an all time family favourite. Every time we visit
You will need:
1 Cup Hurgadale (Split Dalia)
15-17 Dried Red Chillies
Marble sized Tamarind
½ tsp Jaggery
½ Cup Dried Coconut gratings
3 Cloves of Garlic (6 small ones)
Salt to taste
2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
5-6 Curry leaves
Separately dry roast the red chillies and grated coconut. Grind the hurgadale to a powder, keep aside. Now grind the red chillies, garlic (chopped), jaggery, tamarind, roasted coconut gratings and salt till combined and powdered. Add the ground hurgadale and blend to combine. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard. When it begins to splutter add the curry leaves and the powder. Saute till fragrant. Let cool completely before storing in an air tight container. Poppindi is the perfect accompaniment for Rice, Idlis, Dosas or even slices of bread toasted with ghee.
I have also made the Pineapple Gojju(click for recipe), Menthye Miryal Gojju and Mango Gojju from Ajji’s book. I recently told ajji I have been trying her recipes from the book, she said “Really?? When did you learn to make all these pudis and gojjus? When you were here you hardly came into the kitchen let alone cook anything!” Well, that’s me…a non-cook two years ago and now all into it!
This post is insufficient to write everything about Ajji, but I've tried to incorporate as much as possible. I am sending this over to Jigyasa and Pratibha for the event Jihva For Love.