A Special Treat Waiting for You!
By: Sunil Kalra
Festive Season Greetings to all! (Don't miss the special treat below.)
To tell you a story with a moral attached (actually make that many morals) let me take you back to a couple of months ago when on a particular day, I woke up one year older! I don’t want to be specific and bore you with details on the exact date of my birthday. Let’s just say it came and went like many others and hopefully, with the healthy organic life that we live, several more.
Every year, on my birthday, I spent some quality time with my wife’s family. As some of you know, my wife is the ‘boss’ in the family and also a co-founder and fellow believer in my mission with bloomorganicbazaar.com. And we all get along famously, my in-laws are family to me. In years past, my mother-in-law, Kiran Monga, always cooked up a special dish on my birthdays.
Last year, it was okra stuffed with peanuts. Yum. I just love the way she makes it, an art she has selflessly passed down to her daughter. Peanut Stuffed Okra fingers are a part of the traditional cooking in several parts of North and Western India. There are many way to make it. The Internet, as always, gives a confusing range of options. Some with onions, garlic, tomato, some without. Some versions are served spicy with chili. I cannot claim to know the intricacies. Neither do I know my MIL’s secret recipe. But let me be frank, it is one of the best finger foods I have tasted and goes well with white wine! I would just request you to make sure the ingredients that you choose are organic in nature and taste the difference.
This year too, I was hoping that one of those traditional dishes would be on my birthday plate. True there was the usual suspects that a strictly vegetarian kitchen (which is what my MIL runs) can turn out. I had to wait to find out till the end to discover what my birthday present was. At last, it came – Indian mithai (sweets). I can’t say I was excited. I am not a great fan of buying sweets from the store as I know what they are loaded with. It’s not that I avoid them totally which is not an option when you live under the South Asian culinary umbrella. But this is my birthday and I expected, as it was each year, to be served something special. Have I said or done something that has changed my status as one of her ‘favourite’? Has she unfriended me without me or my wife not being given advance notice?
Taste it at least, I heard a voice from deep within me. Because, not doing so would be an unforgivable break with protocol. And I did. Was I surprised! There was heaven in my first bite though I knew by then I was looking at an ordinary family of nankhatais. Nankhatais, for the uninitiated, are “short bread biscuits originating from the Indian subcontinent.” Maybe not quite the apt definition, but we will take what Wikipedia says it is.
What else does Wikipedia say about the nankhatais. “Nankhatai is believed to have originated in Surat, Gujarat, in the 16th century, when Dutch and Indians were the important spice traders. A Dutch couple set up a bakery in Surat to meet the needs of local Dutch residents. When the Dutch left India, they handed over the bakery to an Iranian.” The rest as they say is history.
I am not sure my MIL knows about its origins, but she knew how to give it a 21st century twist. Nankhatais are made from wheat flour. She made it from a combo of 80% besan (gram flour) and 20% Maida (fine wheat flour). Added to it were sugar and ghee (a type of clarified butter) in proportions that only she knows. I was pleased to know was that each ingredient was pure organic. Was that the secret to this heavenly taste?
One of these days I hope to get the recipe from her and share it with you. Because, this version, ladies and gentlemen, will make you forget your diabetes. In the meanwhile, please be responsible when enjoying such treats. It is great, but not so great and in some cases harmful when indulged in excess. My MIL knows that she cares for me as she would do it rarely, like on my birthdays! She knows what is good for me and what is not. And I am grateful for that.
I guess with these nice words I have earned special privileges. I have pretty much made sure that she is going to keep the tradition (of me being fed a treat), at least twice in a year, if not more often (moral of the story: be nice).
Now, my question to you! Do you have a Dish story?
If so, this festive season, I encourage all of you to do the same.
Tell us a favourite dish that a loved one in your life makes for you on your special days. Throw in the recipe too if you know them.
SWEET & SPECIAL OFFER
Send us your dish story. Two selected Dish Stories will get a $75 Gift Card Plus Free Shipping to spend on bloomorganicbazaar.com. Email us at email@example.com.
Sunil Kalra is the CEO of Bloomorganicbazaar.com
Jaggery tea or Gur ki Chai is a traditional Indian tea made with jaggery and spices. Gur ki chai recipe is a popular tea variety made during winter. This tea has a deep earthy flavour from jaggery and tastes delicious. Let's learn how to make Gur Ki Chai or Jaggery Tea.