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Aggi’s Kadai

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 🙂 ).

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.. 🙂


Posted by on September 29, 2009 in General, Recipes


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