Inside paati’s kitchen

A flavoursome aroma would always waft across the hallway from paati’s (grandma’s) kitchen, drawing me like a magnet to see what’s cooking. I would peer through the sheer curtains and look with curious eyes. She’d turn around with her radiant smile knowing I was up for some tasting. She’d let me scrape off milk toffee from the spoon as she spread it on butter paper to cool. The cooled toffees would be filled in a jar that I could take from anytime I wanted. The magic that made these simple toffees of just condensed milk and sugar taste melt-in-the-mouth delicious was in the stirring. Only she knew how. I also loved the process of making sweet shells or gavvalu because I would help in shaping the dough into little shells and lading them with sugar syrup once they were fried. She made me feel that the shaping was the most important part of the recipe just to make me feel special.

In paati’s kitchen there was an old National mixer grinder. It was yellowing and with the sticker faded, anyone would have assumed it to be not functioning. But on the contrary, it ground her masalas, made restaurant style milkshakes, creamy batter for dosas and vadas. Living with her meant that each day of the week would have some treat- mostly innovations or recipes thought of by her. She never read a recipe book. I always wondered what was hidden in paati’s kitchen- some secret spice, something she brought from a faraway country or maybe tons of ingredients from Aryaas super market. I always wondered what made her drumstick leaf sabji have just the right amount of bitterness or how her rasam had all flavours blended yet very discernable. I wondered how her payasam looked like something I read about in books, and how the only time I ate carrots and beets was when she made them into sabjis that looked and tasted nothing less than exotic.

She’d tie her hair in a tight bun, put on an apron and march to the kitchen like a chef queen every morning. Bunches of coriander and pudina (mint) would be blooming in a jar of water giving out a refreshing fragrance. The morning sun would filter through the window, glowing on her bright face. She’d look around like an inspired artist about to create a master piece.

Before paati left us she wrote in shaky hands some of her recipes that she knew I loved. I was grown up by then. I read them expecting to see some ingredients that I may not be able to find but all I saw were simple steps and basic ingredients found in any and every kitchen.

Yet, I had found the secret ingredient inside paati’s kitchen- it was the heart and soul she put into her food and what wouldn’t I give to have her read this today and know that she’s one of the greatest artists I have ever known.

This post is part of Blogchatter Half Marathon

30 Comments Add yours

  1. Mayuri6 says:

    What a beautiful homage to your Paati and her magic fingers. She was the secret ingredient.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thank you Mayuri. Indeed she was!

      Like

  2. Suchita says:

    Oh you reminded me of my nana and his cheese toasts. The last line was so beautiful ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Oh so sweet, thanks Suchita.

      Like

  3. Varsh says:

    Its never the ingredients that make a dish taste good, its the love behind the hands that make it. Paati was special indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Yes, so special, thanks Varsha

      Like

  4. Aesha Shah says:

    I miss my grandma’s pickles, one particularly favourite of mine called the ‘Katki’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Ooh thanks for sharing that:)

      Like

  5. The magic of home-cooked meal!! Nice post Leha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thank you Sandhya!

      Like

  6. Ravish Mani says:

    I’m glad you found your Paati’s secret ingredients. It’d have been missed by many. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Yes, for sure. Thank you 🙂

      Like

  7. This is really beautiful. Made me miss my nani
    Deepika Sharma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Aw, thank you Deepika

      Like

  8. soniadogra says:

    What a lovely tribute Leha. Somehow all we remember of our grandmothers is the lovely food they prepared.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      So true Sonia. Beautiful stories are woven around them. Thank you!

      Like

  9. PRB says:

    What a delicious memoir, Leha! Did you try any of her recipes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thank you:) Tried the rasam. Different from hers though!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This was a heartfelt tribute to your Paati!. She and her love was all the magic that was required to create masterpieces.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks a lot 🙂

      Like

  11. I am sorry that she is no longer with you. That was a lovely tribute. Love can make all the difference when it comes to recipes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thank you so much:)

      Like

      1. You’re welcome 😁

        Like

  12. Paati’s have always had that special ingredient for happiness, be it in the kitchen or with the grandkids. Made me nostalgic 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      So true! Thanks Srishti.

      Like

  13. Tarang says:

    What a lovely post, so beautifully written! 💛 That secret ingredient makes a difference. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  14. Satabdi says:

    Such a heartfelt post. Made me misty-eyed.

    Like

  15. prasannaraghck says:

    Read it with a heavy heart; how my mother’s hands made everything cooking a magical moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Indeed, there’s magic in their ways!

      Like

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