Saturday, January 17, 2009

A simple dessert with MSCG (Milk, sugar, coconut, ghee) - no, not MSG!

This is probably the first dessert I made on my own as a teenager.

It was easy for me to make because there was no guesswork invloved - the ratio of ingredients is 4:3:2:1. (Needless to say, just make sure all ingrdients are measured using the same measuring cup!)

In other words, these are what you need:

Milk - 4 cups
Sugar - 3 cups
Grated Coconut - 2 cups
Ghee - 1 cup

In my family as I am sure in many other families, I have never seen anyone tasting any dish during the cooking process. My mom, father, (he is an expert cook!) grandmother, aunts, could easily tell there was not enough salt (or sugar, or anything) in a particular dish by just the aroma floating around when it cooks. This was critical in our tradition because pooja & naivedyam(offering to the deity) are so a part of our every day lives.

Eagerly starting to cook as a teenager, I used to have a hard time in the kitchen with my grandmother watching me and gently reminding me, making sure I don't taste anything. So, no wonder in those days my dishes turned out either saltless (or saltful, for that matter) or very bland or realllly spicy. As I recall now, the best part is, she would give me tips to fix my dishes. As most grandmas, she didn't have a recipe book, she just made finger licking food!!

So this recipe was a godsend for an eager and amateur cook like me. This was taught to me by my great aunt who visited us from Delhi.

Measure all ingredients into a thick bottomed pan. Mix well to flatten any lumps.
On the hot stove, keep stirring it so it does not stick to the bottom. When it all comes together and the ghee starts separating, remove from fire.
Sprinkle powdered elaichi (cardamom) if you'd like. I love cardamom!

That's it. You could add fried cashews, fried raisins, unsalted pistachios, etc to make it more festive (and rich!). I like to make the basic recipe every once in a while, because I can really make as little as I want.

Talking about not tasting while cooking, I lost those talents acquired from my moms' kitchen (or the kitchen my mother and grandmother shared) as soon as I arrived in my own kitchen. This I attribute to all the new ingredients I started experimenting with all of a sudden. These days, I'd have a general idea but definitely check for salt/sugar or anything before I serve.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My very first post :)

Cheers to the blogging community, this is Vidya.

An ardent foodie at heart and a passionate cook, I have been following several food blogs for the longest time. The idea of starting my own was often put on the sideburner, thanks to my procrastination. It just dawned on me a few weeks ago that 2009 would be my 10th anniversary of starting cooking fulltime. Now this is one reason to celebrate!

I would occasionally make a dish or two as a teenager or while in college with my mother or grandmother around, giving me instant feedback, but managing a kitchen all on my own was something new for me. I grew up watching them cook and knew all the ingredients that went into each dish, but when I started cooking on my own the dish would often not taste as good as theirs. I have realized over the years that my mom and grandmothers didn't just pass over their recipes whether they were traditional or their own, it was also their individual styles and planning skills that they passed on to me, too.

After marriage, I loved hangingout with my MIL in her kitchen. She is an exceptional cook and a very loving mom. This blog is dedicated to all the mothers in my life. You are my biggest inspiration. Love you!!

Growing up in Kerala, my roots belong to Ramanathapuram, Anikkode & Kalpathi agraharams in Palakkad. My childhood days were spent both at Nilambur in Malappuram district and Tamil speaking Palakkad. However, I am a proud Malayali at heart. Malayalam and Tamil (the Palakkad Iyer version of it) are both my mother tongues.

So here I start my (predominantly kitchen) scratchpad.. Thanks for stopping by!