What is a Thali? It is a variety of dishes including vegetables, curries, daals, salad, sweets and a snack component on a round platter. The idea behind a thali is to serve all the different food senses like sweet, savory, sour, bitter, spicy all on one plate for the ultimate sensory experience! Thalis vary depending from region to region. Although I hail from Bombay, my grandparents hail from the west part of Gujarat and my thali creation comes from this part as well.
This post is not about the thali. This post is about my dear mom – the lady who taught me how to cook, who instilled the love for food from when we were kids, who made the most delicious dishes you could ever have tasted! My mom took great pains to make fresh, good meals for us every single day be it for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. She was always in the kitchen, whipping up meals like no other, starting at 7am in the morning, ending at 8pm in the night! Each meal was prepared with so much love and thought, and you could taste it through her food. We were not allowed to leave the dining table unless and until we ate had an almost empty plate. She made sure that we ate everything that she made, hence I believe my brother and I are not picky eaters at all.
I do not write much about my personal life on the blog. But this post is dedicated to my dear mother, who left us 10 years ago, and whom I have missed terribly over the years. For the first time, in 10 years, I feel ok to share how I feel about her. If I ever write a cookbook, it would be dedicated to her – who has been MY INSPIRATION! She was my best friend. She cared unconditionally like no other. She was the kindest and warmest person I have ever known, and extremely generous as well. She IS my inspiration because of which I am so passionate about cooking and baking. Whenever I make any dish, the first thought that comes to my mind is “She would have loved this!”. She loved cooking and feeding other people. She could whip up a gazillion dishes within no time with her super quick speed in the kitchen!
I loved helping my mother in the kitchen. I started helping her since I was probably 8 or 9 years old which is when I learnt how to make rotis as well. There was one winter vacation, I was 9 years old. I picked up one of her cookbooks, and said that I wanted to make one dish every day for my family for 10 days. She let me venture into her space and make a mess, and cook away. I made mistakes, lots of them. They ate it, and praised it – like the best parents ever ! My brother and I would help her with every gathering she made food for. She had a lot of signature dishes, which were famous!
My mom loved baking. She would bake all our birthday cakes, lots of cookies, souffles, etc. At one point she started selling her cakes and cookies and it was so much fun to package them, make them look pretty and sell it to friends and family. Now you know where my love for baking comes from! 🙂 I know she is proud of me, wherever she is.
With this, I want to dedicate this thali as an offering to her – for always being there for us and being the best mom anyone could ask for. I know she would have loved every bit of this platter with immense joy and love.
Miss you Mom.
Amisha and Varun
Recipe for the Gujarati Kadhi and the Semi Undhiyu is in this Blog Post.
Pictured clockwise from the left are:
- moong daal no shiro (yellow moong daal sweet dish with saffron, cardamom, milk and sugar)
- white rice with cumin
- kala channa (black chickpeas daal)
- gujarati kadhi (spiced yogurt soup)
- handvo (lentil and rice savory cakes – recipe here)
- semi-undhiyu ( winter mix vegetables in a coconut cilantro mixture) I call it semi cause I have not used all the vegetables that go into it.
- methia pickle(mango pickle)
- roti with ghee
- Gujarati Kadhi:
- 2 cups yogurt
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1 green chilli
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 dried red chillies
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- pinch of asafoetida
- 3-4 cloves
- 1 teaspoon tiny pieces of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of methi seeds
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 2-3 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro for garnish
- Recipe for the Gujarati Kadhi:'
- Blend the yogurt, water, chickpea flour, ginger, green chillies, salt in a blender.
- In a small bowl, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves, asafoetida, methi seeds, curry leaves, dried red chillies.
- In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, add the ghee. Let it heat up for 30 seconds. Add in the small bowl contents and let it splatter for a minute.
- Add the yogurt mixture into the pot and keep stirring in the shape of the number 8 continuously for 15 minutes. The mixture will boil. Once it comes down, let it simmer and keep stirring for another 5 minutes and it is done! Garnish with the chopped cilantro.
- Taste it to make sure the salt and sugar tastes ok. The consistency should be not watery but not thick as well. It should be the consistency of more than whole milk but less than heavy cream.
- Your Gujarati Kadhi is ready! Pour it over white rice and it is ready to eat!