'They say our mothers lay the early foundation on which we build our dreams and lives. This holds true for me.'
Kotak Mahindra Bank CEO Uday Kotak tells us about his mom's wonderful cooking.
It's common to read Uday Kotak's views on business and the Indian economy.
There's very little written about his love of food, especially the kind his mother would cook.
Uday grew up in a large joint family of 60 people in Babulnath, south Mumbai, and he was the 'pampered eldest grandchild' on whom everyone would dote.
He relished his mom's puran polis, which he insisted on having daily.
Adad ni dal and meetho bhaat (sweet rice) was his favourite meal combination and he was treated to it once a month, on Saturday.
Till date, his wife Pallavi, who has learnt the recipe from his mom, prepares it for him occasionally.
Ringna na olo, the Gujarati version of baingan bharta, is another favourite, and a good meal for him includes ringna no olo and bajra no rotlo.
"Mummy also regularly made a meal of watana-batata subzi (green peas and potatoes) served with roti, followed by a delicious moong dal khichdi, with fragrant amba mohr rice, and kadhi," he recalls in Sudha Menon's book Recipes For Life.
An excerpt from the book along with Uday's mother's recipe for Adad Ni Dal.
When I look back, there are some food memories that stand out vividly in my mind.
When I would come home from school or from a game of cricket at Oval Maidan, Mummy or Ba would have tall glasses of cold milk with cut fruit ready for me.
I could have any amount of this doodh-fruit because it was delicious and also because, back in those days, I dreamt of becoming a cricketer, and I was told doodh-fruit would build up my stamina.
During mango season, Mummy would cut the sweetest, tastiest Alphonso mangoes into tiny pieces and add them to milk, and I would easily devour a couple of glasses of it.
I continue to have a fondness for doodh-fruit and strawberries with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
Mummy would get strawberries from Mahabaleshwar, wash and chop them up and sprinkle them with powdered sugar.
Come summer and our house would be full of mangoes and aamras was a given at most meals. But I had my own preference for aamras.
I would only eat it if it was made from tangy, sweet paayari mangoes and not the haapus, which I found too sweet.
While most traditional Gujarati homes eat aamras with padvali rotis -- layered rotis -- we would have it with phulkas.
Mummy knew I loved my aamras a bit runny and with nothing added to it, not even sugar.
Festival days, when family and friends visited us, was when home-made shrikhand was served with finely diced fruits that gave a nice crunch to the creamy dessert.
Ba and Mummy would add fruits such as oranges, bananas and pomegranates to the shrikhand, taking the taste to another level altogether.
They say our mothers lay the early foundation on which we build our dreams and lives. This holds true for me.
I have vivid memories of Mummy coming to my school, Hindi Vidya Bhavan, every day, with hot lunch packed in a tiffin box, and she would make sure I ate everything in it.
I think I benefitted not just from the nutritious lunch she carried, but also from all the love and affection she poured into what she prepared for me.
Uday's mother Indira Suresh Kotak's Gujarati-style Adad Ni Dal recipe is extremely simple and requires ingredients that are easily available in any Indian kitchen.
It goes well with meetho bhaat (sweet rice) and is rich in proteins.
Adad Ni Dal
- 1 cup urad dal or husked split black lentils
- ½ cup whisked yoghurt, preferably sour
- 2 tsp oil
- ½ tsp jeera or cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp hing or asafoetida
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- Green chilly paste to taste
- ½ tsp haldi or turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro, to garnish
- Salt to taste
- 1½ cups of water + 1½ cups more of water
- Clean, wash and soak the urad dal in enough water in a bowl for 15 minutes.
- In a pressure cooker, pour 1½ cups of water and add the drained dal.
Cook for 3 whistles with salt.
Allow the cooker to cool before opening the lid.
Add the yoghurt and 1½ cups of water to the cooked dal and mix well.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves.
Saute for a few seconds.
Add the garlic paste, green chilly paste, turmeric powder and the dal-yoghurt mixture.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly to ensure the dal doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
Take off heat, garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve piping hot with meetho bhaat.
Excerpted from Recipes For Life by Sudha Menon with kind permission from the publishers Penguin Random House India.