A friend recently recommended this book titled Mother Pious Lady by Santosh Desai. I liked the sound of it and ordered it immediately on Flipkart. The book arrived in two days time. Desai captures the memories we took for granted beautifully. He reminds us of Chitrahaar, stainless steel, summer vacations with cousins and grandparents (I’ve only started reading the book and hence references are limited to these) and contrasts it with what we have today. Wednesday evening Chitrahaar creeps into my conversations with Mahesh every once in a while. In fact, for the longest time Wednesday used to be my favourite day in the week. To catch a glimpse of Madhuri Dixit and Aamir Khan lip syncing to Mujhe Neend Na Aaye, oh what joy! They never used to play the whole song though. Then came Jhalak on Zee TV which used to show movie trailers and songs. Soon we were spoilt for choice and Chitrahaar was forgotten.
As children we derived pleasure from age-old games such as pittu/seven stones, chor police, hide and seek, help sister, etc and also invented some along the way. Recently I saw children in the complex that I live in playing pittu and broke into a wide smile. Despite the Playstations, here were young boys and girls running around and playing in the sun. I wish I could join them! I find friends around me taking up sewing classes, origami classes, baking buns, and making rainbow cakes. Somewhere, all of us feel the need to make things instead of taking the easy route of picking it off shelves. The interesting thing is while it is more of a hobby or interest for us, it was a matter of necessity for our mothers. Snacks and sweets were made at home because we simply could not afford buying them. I wonder how many people make khandvi at home any more. It is easily available in sweet shops and for the price we pay, the effort may not be worth it. Anyway, here’s the recipe for this famous Gujarati snack:
1 cup besan
1 cup curd (I used Nestle)
2 cups water
1 tbsp ginger-green chilly paste
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 grated carrot
3-4 tbsps grated coconut
1 tbsp oil
1. Before you start, you could grease the surface of stainless steel plates as you will have little time afterwards to do this. Mind you, make sure you have enough besan though. I happily greased the plates and then realise that I had very little besan.
2. Add the curd and two cups water to 1 cup besan and whisk well to ensure that there are no lumps.
3. Add salt, turmeric, and ginger-chilli paste to the batter.
4. Turn the gas on and let the mixture come to a boil. As soon as it does, turn the gas on sim and stir it continously. This is a good exercise! It can took over 5-10 minutes. You have to stir till the batter thicken and leaves the sides. Be careful, it should not be too thick as you will not be able to spread it well. You could test by spreading a spoon of the batter on the back of a katori. If you can roll it once its cool, the batter is ready.
6. Take two ladles of the batter and slap it on the back of the greased thali. Immediately spread it with a flat ladle. The thinner the better. You could add grated carrot and coconut as a filling after it cools.
7. Let this sit for at least 15 minutes. After it cools, make vertical incisions and then roll each line into a khandvi. You could make one horizontal incision to make smaller rolls.
8. Temper with some mustard seeds, hing, and added grated coconut and carrot as a garnish. You could also add some finely chopped coriander. I’d run out of it!