Aggi’s Kadai

29 Sep

I wake up in the middle of the night to switch on the fan. No wonder she switched it off as soon as I dozed . Fifteen minutes later, she switches it off again. And the cycle goes on till dawn.

That was my grandmother.A very small built, highly resourceful,ingenious,clever,shrewd,lovable,admirable lady, with who I was always at logger heads over the usage of the fan on summer nights. We used to visit my grandparents every summer .Every trip was cherished as it was to a bigger,better city than where I lived. Yes, the Bangalore then was very different than now. Not much pollution. I remember the park , next to Granny’s where we used to play often. The park still exists and I pass that by and Granny’s house during most of my visits back home.

There was a hall and two small bedrooms, where all of us, including cousins visiting from their respective places, used to sleep together. With children running around, Granny used to feel frustrated with her “Madi” avatar. Special mention has to be given to her “Madi”. Very few were allowed in the kitchen to help her out. Even when she ate food,rice was molded as a ball and thrown in to the mouth, with the correct trajectory.Never missed the target.Yes, both my grandfather & grandmother were proficient at that art. Personally hand washed sarees hung out to dry on ropes tied up above, very close to the ceiling using long rods. Wonder where she had the strength to use those rods.

She was always busy in that dark kitchen, looking for something, grinding some powder,cooking for everyone or in the bathroom getting the hot water ready. One had to pour water in to these huge copper vessels called “Handi”, and heat water using charcoal. In Bangalore, hot water was a must and there were not geysers around.

Athithi Devo Bhava! -She followed it to the core and the guests were always treated with food , regardless of the hour. She may not even ask them, but will just enter the kitchen and be back with “Uppittu”( a type of porridge) .”Ondhu Nimsha Iri” ( just a minute) and before you know, you will have hot steaming uppittu in front of you.I would have to accept that I was not too fond of her cooking especially as I was a fussy spoilt brat then, but really admired her spirit and gusto with which she catered to everyone.

She never believed in doctors and rarely went to one. I think her only visit to a hospital was towards the end, around 80, when she was really sick. She even died on a very auspicious day.

When I moved to the US permanently after getting married, my mom gave me her small Iron Kadai for seasoning and frying purposes. Mother was really worried about my cooking skills and hoped this Kadai will help. It was passed on from her mother, my ever ready grandmother. A family heirloom, a keepsake in memory of my grandmother. I am planning to pass it on to my niece once she gets married.I used this kadai and the Chakli press , another heirloom passed on by mom,to make Murukkus last weekend. Reminded of the days when Mom used to prepare lots of fried goodies for her daughters. I am really amazed at the energy that Moms have.


Aggi, wherever you are….this post is dedicated to you.


I want to send this photo for the click Heirloom event at Jugalbandi and I want to send the Murukku for the Indian Cooking Challenge ( September) at Srivalli’s Spicing your life.Here comes the recipe

Ingredients :

Raw Rice /Rice flour- 4 cups
Urad Dal / UD flour- 1 cup
Water – app 1/2 cup or more
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
Asafetida/ Hing – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Butter – 75 gms ( optional….gives soft murukkus that crumble in your mouth, though fatty. Well, the whole thing is deep fried anyway πŸ™‚ ).

1. If using whole rice and urad dal,wash and drain the rice. Shade dry the Rice for 1/2 hr. Dry roast the Urad dal to light brown. Allow it to cool. Make flour out of them.
2. Blend rest of the ingredients , taking care asafoetida is dissolved in water before using.
3. Use a chakli press ,make rounds and deep fry them.

No my chaklis are not perfect rounds… In fact, Suresh did it as I couldn’t even press that thing properly.. πŸ™‚


Posted by on September 29, 2009 in General, Recipes


Tags: , ,

10 responses to “Aggi’s Kadai

  1. Lata Raja

    September 30, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Wow! What an iron kadai.lovely murukkus as well.

  2. Vidhas

    September 30, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Lovley murukkus.

  3. Desi Soccer Mom

    October 1, 2009 at 6:39 am

    Lovely memories of your Aaji. Enjoyed reading the pot. My grandparents too had rods high up on the ceiling of their old house. I was always amazed how they would hang their clothes so high without a crease.
    Nice click of the kadahi. Sorry, no mention of murukku. Never have the patience to make them.
    May I ask, what does Madi avataar mean?

    • shoba

      October 1, 2009 at 10:07 am

      Thanks .. The Murukkus were a first even for me πŸ™‚

      In Brahmin’s house hold,mostly in those days, the elders followed this thing called “Madi”, where after taking bath early in the morning, while they do their pooja and cooking, no one was allowed to touch them. And, the rod being so high for hanging clothes helped them to keep others from touching the clothes even while drying … My grandma was big time into this. Her special madi sarees were seperated from all other clothes while drying too..

  4. Saumya

    October 3, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Reminds me of my paati too. The lady was relentless when it came to te kitchen. OF course, to date, my dad refuses to concede any savory to be as good as Paatis. These people threw themselves whole-heartedly into their family – children, family, food, gods, pujas.

    I admire them to manage through their days of poverty. I am not sure I will have their half their energy at their age. I already feel like an ajji myself πŸ™‚

    • shoba

      October 5, 2009 at 9:23 am

      I know. The way we crib about getting tired of cooking..LOL ..Imagine cooking, cleaning, poojas till you die…Whew!! It makes me tired even to think about it.

  5. Hema

    October 13, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Hi Shoba,

    That was a very interesting read. And great looking’ Chaklis’ too.
    When I read the title. I thought it meant Aggi’s “kadai” – ” Shop”! – That is also very meaningful, you know what I mean..
    True, Aggi was one of those great inspiring ladies of our family. Her energy knew no bounds and she had her own strong idealogies which no one could even attempt to argue about!
    Now, coming back to the ‘kadai’, she had this grocery shop in front of her house. It was owned by my Grandpa in his hay days and later on rented to someone else.
    One of the traditions that Aggi followed was to give ‘beetle leaves and two bananas” to all the female guests and kids.
    She would hurry to this “kadai” everytime a guest was preparing to leave, pick two bananas and come back. I am sure she would have done it atleast a dozen times in a day! Guess what, the beetle leaves would come from her garden ofcourse!
    This “kadai” was very popualr with us children too. We could scuttle there and buy whatever we wanted any time. Aggi would pay for it later..!
    When our Grandpa owned it, this kadai had an entrance from the verandah inside the house also. She would always keep it locked. We would watch and wait for one of those forgetful moments…We would sneak in silently and pick hand fulls of whatever we wanted. Cant forget the cashews and raisins that I would devour ( Maybe it exlains the sweet and slimy blood that I have now!)
    Anyways, the “kadai” has kindled a lot of fond memories..

    Btw, Shoba, I did not know that Amma was handing away some precious family heirloom to the US , right under my nose. Let me catch up with her on that!
    May be I should improve my culinary skills to find something come my way!

    Lemme try with your Chakli recipe first. They look yummy! Leave it to Suresh to comment on the taste and hardness…err…softness! :-))

    Keep at it sister! You are great.


    • shoba

      October 13, 2009 at 9:16 pm

      oh! I totally forgot to mention the various “kadais” that Thatha&Aggi rented. Will definitely blog about it including your comment.

  6. AvartyAredy

    May 3, 2010 at 8:27 am

    If you live in Weston Florida and plan on refinancing an existing mortgage or get a new mortgage beware of scam artist Tulio J. Rodriguez. This so called “Mortgage & Finance Specialist” will tell you just about anything to get your business. His group of scavengers “Real Estate Agents and Mortgage Specialists” lie through their teeth to take your money.


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