This Saturday from 5pm onwards at Kasa, we’ll be offering a real Punjabi treat for the first time: Aloo (potato), Keema (minced lamb) and Gobi (cauliflower) Parathas. I’m dedicating this special to my grandma (Bari Ma), who is unfortunately suffering from the after-effects of a severe stroke. This is the frailest I have ever seen her.
She spoiled me rotten, particularly by stuffing me with food. She always thought I was too thin and needed to eat more. I miss those days. 🙁
My absolute favourite dish she made for me from childhood through to adulthood was Aloo Paratha with a side of butter, achaar (Indian pickles) and yogurt. On Sunday mornings when she made this at my cousin’s house, she would phone me up and tell me to hurry up and come over to eat. I would be there in a flash, hoping to eat the first paratha off the tava, literally with a huge side of butter. It was so damn good, I can still recall that feeling now.
Another vivid memory is going out clubbing one night and sneaking in at 4am. Bari Ma was waiting up for me and I got caught and yelled at pretty badly, something about ruining my reputation, nobody wanting to marry a girl going out late and the psychos waiting to jump in my car and kill me. Once she calmed down, I told her about the fun I’d had that night and that I was really hungry from all the dancing. She had some boiled potatoes in the fridge and she made me a fresh paratha with melted butter. I have NEVER felt more loved in my entire life than that night.
I claim that my grandma makes THE BEST parathas. I’ve heard others make this claim but do not believe it. The closest anyone ever came to my grandma’s was my great grandma in India. The only reason she came close was because she made this homemade white butter that was truly fantastic.
So…this Saturday we’ll try to do justice to their parathas. They’ll be served, of course, with a dollop of butter, achaar and yogurt. If I can perfect the white butter between now and then, we will have white butter. If anyone has tips on this, please let me know!
Being an only child raised a lot of the time by my Grandma, I have been heavily influenced by her. Her quotes that she loved to use to get her point across to me will always be with me and help me remember her at her finest: strong, cynical, practical, yet extremely loving to those she chose to love.
Bari Ma’s favourite quotes:
On sex before marriage: ‘Who needs the cow when they can have the milk for free?’
On friendship: ‘Familiarity breeds contempt.’
On clinching a marriage deal: ‘Many a slip between the cup and the lip.’
On being too fussy for marriage: ‘When she’s 20, she says Who is He? When she’s 30, she says What is He? When she’s 40, she says WHERE is he?’
On love: ‘Where did all the love go when there is no money to pay the rent?’