We aim to preserve the memories of how food was cooked in the past in India, by which we mean at least 40 years ago, though the recipes may still be in use. The recipes are family specialties or favourites
. We know that most Indians cooked by approximate measurements, and not by precise recipes. So, some of the recipes here may not be easily reproducible.
Before the recipe, we have a short description about the cook plus comments identifying the dish with a particular region, community, special role it had in the family, or any other comments/description that has a special meaning.
Rekha has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and works for the Bank of India. She loves reading and travelling. At present she is studying Vedanta. She lives with her husband in Mumbai.
When I got married in 1974 I hardly knew how to cook. I am basically a vegetarian, while Prakash, my husband, loves non-vegetarian food. Unlike many other young couples of those days, we moved into our own house immediately after our wedding. So I had to feed my foodie husband by myself, but I knew I couldn't do it. Initially, we ate with my in-laws, but how long could this go on ? So, I decided to cook. I remember the first meal I cooked. It was a simple potato bhaji, and yet it was a total disaster. We dunked it in the garbage and went out for dinner ! How long could this go on ?
I asked my mother-in-law, Dr. Shakuntala Rege, to teach me how to cook. Besides being a doctor, she was an excellent cook ! I do not know how she found the time, but she wrote down her favourite - or rather my husband's favourite - recipes. All I had to do was follow them exactly, and they would turn out fine. And, yes, they did - just YUMMY.
Here is our family's all time favourite recipe.
Serves 4-6 people
Mutton - 1 kg (2.2 lbs).
For the marinade
Onions - 3 (small)
Garlic pods - 12 (small) 200 grams (6.5 ounces)
Ginger - 1 inch or 1.5 tsp ginger garlic paste
Coriander seeds whole - 1.5 tsp
Peppercorns - 12
Turmeric (haldi) - 1 tsp
Cardamom - 10
Cinnamon - 1.5 inch
Curd (yogurt) - 1 cup
Chilli powder - to taste.
Salt - to taste
Lemon juice - 2 tsp
Vegetable oil - 4 tbsp
Saffron - 4-5 strands
Make a paste of yogurt, onions cut fine, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, chilli powder, and salt.
Marinate the mutton in this paste and keep it aside for 1 - 2 hrs.
Heat oil, add 10 garlic cloves and 2 finely cut onions and fry them to a golden brown. Add the marinated mutton and fry again for 10-15 minutes. Add water 1 cup to the required consistency and cook till done.
In a pressure cook it takes about 3 whistles on high flame, and then 10 minutes on low flame.
Mix saffron in lemon juice.
Just before serving, add saffron-lemon juice mixture.