Personals, Recipes

Culinary Lessons with the Greatest Chef

My 81 year old Grandmother is amazing and not only do I think that but so does everyone in my big fat Indian family. Gran is the oldest member of our family, who loves to travel , cook and eat good food. Ever since I can recall I always have remember my Gran in the kitchen cooking. It was her labour of love to the family.
Of recently Gran has been rather ill and rarely is found in the kitchen cooking up her storm. My love of good food and my Domestic Goddess ways were cultivated by Gran from a very young age. In an Indian home a kitchen is a very important place in a home and more than often it is where everyone gathers. It would make sense as it is kind of hard to stay away from the gorgeous aromas that waft out of the kitchen. In her younger days Gran was the offical family cook and no wedding or prayer would be complete without her cooking outside on the open fires for up 500 people at a function. As I am the only Granddaughter I grew up loving the kitchen,learning about spices and the art of cooking. Our family is very spoilt as we have several amazing cooks so you know the food is always going to be delicious in every home.
Last week as we were coming to the last weekend of our Purtassi fast, Gran insisted on preparing a sweet dish as an offering for the prayer. Instantly I grabbed a notebook and pen and my phone to document this recipe.
The dish Gran prepared is a typically South Indian sweet dish. This dish is made as an offering during celebrations and rituals. In different parts of Indian slight variations on this dish can be found.
Ingredients :
125g vermicelli (very fine strands that look like pasta)
1 litre of milk
125g butter
4 pods of Elachi
125g white sugar( using brown sugar changes the flavour and colour)
200g Sago ( soaked in a cup of cold water)
100g slivered Almonds
Method :

  1. Soak the Sago.
  2. In a deep large pot melt the butter and add the Elachi and Vermecelli till golden brown keep mixing so it does not burn. Do this on a low heat.
  3. Once it has changed colour remove and keep aside in a bowl.
  4. Into the same pot add the milk ,sugar and Sago (drain the water first before adding) and bring to a boil for 8minutes.
  5. Then add the fried Vermecelli mix well and allow to cook for roughly 25 minutes or until the Sago becomes glossy and shiny. The Vermecelli thickens the mixture.

6. Decorate with Almonds.
Cooking with Gran

  1. Sultanas can be added.
  2. Almonds can be coloured with food colouring for decorating.

Fresh cream and condensed milk can be added for a richer dish.If adding condense milk leave out the sugar and add it that stage.
Grandmothers are special humans. They love us,spoil us and cook us our favourite meals. To celebrate this amazing human in my life I intend on documenting her culinary creations so I never forget how to make these dishes. Food has that magic that takes us back in time to happy moments and places. Food joins people to their culture and religion.
Have you learnt to cook any traditional dishes from your Grandmother ? What did you learn to cook?
Be Inspired!
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17 thoughts on “Culinary Lessons with the Greatest Chef

  1. This is one of my favs! Haven’t had it in a while, I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time now maybe will try it out this week I’m feeling very industrious. It’s great that you shared it so many people miss out on this dish 😀

  2. Vereushka, as soon as i saw your subject I had to read this article! My granny taught me to cook and like yours cooked up a storm for thousands in her lifetime. I grew up in Australia so she taught me all the basics of good home cooking. My favourite dish she always made for me was bread and butter pudding. Thank you for bringing back the sweet memories I have of her. Suzanne

  3. That sounds exquisite! Sadly I can’t have sugar otherwise I would love to make this. Maybe I will make it for the next family get together. I know what you mean about aromas – I once bought a house from an Indian family and it had the most wonderful aromatic atmosphere of spices and incense. I was sad when it eventually left. I obviously wasn’t bringing the right things into the house! Another lovely post that leaves the reader feeling warmth from your family story.

  4. This dish is really similar to what we call Boeber?
    I also relate to your discription of your gran. I had the same in my gran and mom. My mother inlaw as well. I find that even if I follow their recipes to a tee it still does not taste the same. I even asked my mother inlaw to mix my spices on more than one occassion for Breyani and Curry and still no luck. I think its just all the love in those hands and hearts that makes the difference?!

  5. What a lovely post. I think a kitchen is the heart of a family home. How special your relationship with your grandmother, I have to say whilst I have very fond memories of my Gran, she was not remembered for her cooking. My son and nieces though will certainly have fond memories of their Granny’s cooking. x

  6. I love family and all they can teach us. I think as Americans we fall short of passing family traditions, recipes, etc down from generation to generation. This story touched my heart and made me determined to share things with my kids so they won’t forget! Thank you!

  7. Hi, Looked at your Gran so many time, reminding me of my mum who passed away last year @ 75, and mil @ 80 in 2007. All super chefs, cooking with fondest love for all. Thank you. ys

  8. Yes our Spice Goddess please send me any of grandma’s recipe.Always enjoyed her baking and tantalising dishes.Yes she as worked so much in her journey thru life.Nevertheless so happy for you all to still have her at your side yourll are truly blessed.Let those recipes roll Veruskka will keep all for keeps so we can also try.Thank yu so much to care so much about us all to try Ma recipes.Next is those mouth watering pickles.

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