A few of my culinary night mares :


  1. The biryani recipe vanishes from the world. All we are left with is a memory of it with no way to recreate it ever again.
  2. Spices disappear and we are left with bland food that taste like starch.
  3. Me not being able to afford white tea. Not having access to lemons.
  4. Not having my mother on the end of the telephone to catch me when I fall. She is my Dr.Kitchen. She knows why recipes fail and when I get the techniques wrong.
  5. Not having Harsha around to cook with. No more being a team. No more eating suppers together.
  6. Me becoming allergic to rice. Everyone around me chowing down on it while I watch but can’t eat.
  7. No more home made ghee. My family has been making it at home for centuries.










Can memory be an ingredient ?

Ghee is often seen as an ingredient that serves its purpose by making everything else it touches delicious. Like wine, the ones who have been making it over a lifetime know the secrets. It has a flavor profile based on the bovine breed and its lifestyle.  I come from a lineage of farmers who toil the soil and own cattle. We make our own. The legend has it that my great-grand-father, an Ayurvedic practitioner, would pour half a tea cup of it, into each of his meals. My great-grand-ma would frown upon the grandkids who would treat the tea spoon of ghee per meal as a guilty pleasure. Then came us, the great-grand-kid generation, who were practically fat phobic. The eldest of us lot, is on a perennial diet and likely to punch you in the face if you don’t served her fat-free sugar-free gluten-free dairy-free food. The youngest spews out “you old people know nothing of science” before she explains her latest internet search. My great-grand-ma would counter argue :  “One has to eat belly full and do a good day’s work, everyday. That is good life”. She employed guerrilla techniques and intimidation to pour ghee on to our plates. She is a fighter, that woman ! She lived till 101 and was fiercely loved. While I live in a different time and lead a very different lifestyle, ghee will continue to be at the heart of my plate. It symbolizes pleasure and an innocent happiness. I shall have that tea spoon full and enjoy it without any strings attached. Great-grand-ma not only taught us how to cook … she had to teach us the art of savoring the meal.







( Some photos from my mother’s upcoming cookbook. ) 

Recommended reading : The Untold Story of Indian Ghee