Monday, 30th October 2017

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Memories with mom

Retrace a few mother-child moments with bites and sips she introduced you to

By Vikas Kumar
  • Published 9.05.20, 6:46 PM
  • Updated 9.05.20, 6:46 PM
  • 5 mins read
  •  
Maggi chop suey Sourced by the Telegraph

These unprecedented times have had all of us venture into activities and thoughts we normally wouldn’t. Top-of-the-ladder CEOs are gushing silly, showcasing their dishwashing skills and, as I said in my last column, hyperactive millennial kids who boasted of not knowing how to boil water are cooking right honourable qormas and posting it online. Some, of course, are choosing to hide the long FaceTime chats with their mothers handholding them on the recipes while some are quite forthcoming.

Also, just like that, nobody asks any more as to what women do the whole day at home. Most of us are non compos mentis figuring out how these women squeezed in five days worth of work in a day, every day, what with all the cleaning and cooking, taking care of kids and their studies, at times parents, and less frequently their own selves and still be hale and hearty and keep going!

I won’t be wrong to admit that the times have taught us, in no uncertain terms, about the great multitasking skills of our womenfolk, and any male with a fortnight worth of the dreaded “dishwashing duty” at home during lockdown would earnestly vouch for the same.

Among the various “duties” women are performing with grit every single day, the one that flummoxed me most was that of being the mother. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that how mothers can be so patient and judgment free and, at the same time, be so caring and intuitive, besides being this 24-hour superwoman, doing 10 things simultaneously.

Today is Mother’s Day and in normal times, this period would be one of great joy and reminiscence where children plan for thoughtful gifts and day out for their mothers, to show gratitude, love and affection. This year is obviously different. Most years I come with a nice set of recipes that you could treat your mother to, but this year, in the spirit of things being different and also most of us who are not lucky enough to be living with our mothers missing their moms more than usual, what with all the extra time at hand, almost daily chats with parents and sharing of experiences and stories, I wanted to share my take on some recipes that many, if not most, grew up with.

People of my generation grew up in a country which was changing fast and was kind of in the initial stages of embracing Western concepts of fast food and packaged products and mothers were struggling to meet children’s demand of incorporating these excessively advertised foods and drinks in their menus while still fundamentally disagreeing with the not-so-great nutritive values and often the relatively high price points of these new but aspirational products that were sweeping the hearts and minds of young children and, by implication, of their mothers.

So here are some recipes that I have chosen to remind us of the times these unique but now iconic foods were tasted by our moms and us at the same time, perhaps together. Do try these at home and if you’re lucky enough to be with your mum, do share stories of when you had this food for the first time with her and how you’ve read the recipes of an overzealous chef somewhere and tried to “modernise” them. Basically, your take on the nostalgia and the lingering taste of these foods. With the current situation in mind, I have tried and used easily available products.

Maggi

I remember the first time I heard of Maggi. I was in Class I and the product’s adverts had started to appear on TV, tantalising young kids to coax mom into understanding our fascination with this new seviyaan-like thing that came with its own tastemaker! Here we will use these noodles as base for making a quick but satisfying main course — Chop Suey.

Chop Suey

Ingredients

  • 2 packets Maggi noodles
  • 50g cornflour
  • 50g each of carrots, cabbage, beans, mushrooms, capsicum, onions
  • 2 slices canned pineapple
  • 10g garlic
  • 10g ginger
  • 50g spring onion
  • 200g tomatoes
  • 10ml soya sauce
  • 10ml vinegar
  • 500ml refined oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt, sugar, pepper (powder) to taste

Method

Boil Maggi Noodles for two minutes. Immediately wash in cold water and spread on a plate and cool completely. The noodles should be 80 per cent cooked. Once cold and dry, dust the noodles lightly with a bit of cornstarch and deep fry in hot oil until golden. Reserve till use.

For the sauce

  1. Blanch tomatoes in boiling hot water, plunge in ice water. Take the skin off and puree in a food processor until smooth. Many recipes (trying for a shortcut) ask for tomato ketchup but where’s the fun in that? Julienne the vegetables (cut into thin strips).
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant. Add all the vegetables and stir-fry on high heat. Add pureed tomato, salt, sugar (the sauce is a little sweet), soya sauce, vinegar and some water. Bring to a boil. Now take the cornstarch, add a splash of water, stir and put it in the boiling sauce until the sauce is thick. Adjust seasoning. Cut pineapple slices into small cubes and add.
  3. To serve, place fried noodles on a plate, pour the hot sauce over the noodles. Place a single side fried egg on top and serve immediately.

Rasna

Sometime in the early ’80s when Doordarshan used to be the only television channel and most advertising was not focussed on kids, along came a brand that — with the iconic tagline of ‘I love you Rasna’ and the promise of making 32 glasses from a single pack — changed the way moms and children looked at soft drinks forever. My recipe is a spin on Rasna remembrances.

Rasna Pina Colada

Ingredients

  • 100ml Rasna pineapple concentrate
  • 60ml white rum
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 100g fresh pineapple
  • 10ml lime juice

Method

Cut pineapple into cubes and freeze it. Blitz all the ingredients together. The cocktail should be smooth, creamy and a bit sweet. Serve with a slice of fresh pineapple and cherry.

Horlicks

Children of my generation remember being chased by harried mothers with a glass of milk containing Horlicks for “extra nutrition”, especially before exams. Here I present a recipe of a cheesecake that I like to do once in a while. You don’t need expensive cream cheese and the addition of condensed milk and glucose biscuits brings back memories of some more childhood favourites.

Horlicks Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 litre fresh full cream milk
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • 200ml fresh cream
  • 100ml condensed milk
  • 100g Horlicks
  • 2 eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100g glucose biscuits
  • 50g melted butter

Method

  1. First, let’s make the cream cheese. Boil milk and add lemon juice, stir on low heat until the milk is completely curdled. Strain through cheesecloth set on top of a strainer. Once the cheese is completely strained but still slightly warm, put the cheese in a food processor and process until smooth. Add fresh cream and process further until well mixed. Place cream cheese in a bowl.
  2. Grind the biscuits, add melted butter and line the bottom of a ring mould to make the cheesecake. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degree Celsius until golden.
  3. Add condensed milk, Horlicks, eggs and a pinch of salt to the cream cheese and blend well. No extra sugar is required. Pour the cheesecake mix on the prepared crust and bake in a medium-hot oven (150-160 degree Celsius) for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned on top but still slightly wobbly in the centre. Cool completely, refrigerate for at least two hours before slicing. Enjoy a taste of childhood.

Vikas Kumar is the executive chef of Flurys. You can reach him at vkumar@flurys.com