Remembering my granny and Channa Dal Stuffed Karelas
I have said it over here many times before, food is 50% nostalgia and everything else comes in the rest of the 50% and a huge part of that nostalgia comes from one's childhood. A lot of foods we crave, we like are the foods we have grown up eating. The foods we have made happy memories from in our formative years. For me personally a lot of food nostalgia comes from the memories of my granny (mom's mum), badi mummy as we used to call her. While growing up, badi mummy was just a hop skip and jump away and most days I would be found in her house rather than our own. Getting spoilt rotten among, aunts uncles and grandparents. It only helped that I was the first grandchild of the family, I was really really close to badi mummy and if I have to believe my jealous cousins, she also loved me the most. Its been a little over 11 yrs we lost her one tragic evening but her memories in my mind are fresh, the conversations I used to have with her. The hugs, the way she used to talk using abuses liberally and ofcourse the food she used to cook. The aloo parathans thin but full with stuffing. I don't think I have eaten better aloo paranthas.Mum makes it well, my mami makes it well even I make it well but nothing comes close to hers.
Another fond food memory I have associated with badi mummy is of of samosas and jalebis bought from the nearby shop. When I was very small we used to live very close to our nani’s house and I virtually used to live there like I just said, including us sisters and my uncle’s children we were about 5 kids and during summer vacations that numbers used to increase a lot with other cousins visiting and every evening badi mummy used to give us rs 2 to eat something and that used to be bliss. In summers they were often spent eating the thappa walla kulfi do u guys remember it and how crazy we used to be on how many kulfis we get, no matter that if the number increases the size of the kulfi gotta decrease but that time it was the number that mattered and in the other times it always used to be samosas and jalebis. Gosh I am addicted to those still, if I see a samosa my mind starts plotting how to get a jalebi and never ever can I eat those two without thinking of badi mummy and missing her a teeny bit.
Another very strong food memory I have with her is of the keralas yumm, stuffed keralas. I have never eaten karelas the way she used to cook them, she used to stuff them with channa dal and spices and inspite of having that slight bitterness we would go on eating them, even in childhood and what pained me was that dish kind of died in our family along with her. No one learnt how to make them from her, not even my mom who is a brilliant cook and loves cooking. So sometime ago when I was craving for them badly and missing badi mummy to an extent of not being able to focus on any work, I tried to recreate the magic in my kitchen. From the vivid memories of the karelas that I last ate may be 12 yrs ago, I tried to recreate them. Though I won't say what I made was exactly what she used to but it gave me this warm and fuzzy feeling as if she is sitting right next to me, passing me one of her cozy hugs after which all used to be better in this world.
Badi mummy I still miss you, always will.
Recipe - Channa Dal and Raw Mango Stuffed Karelas.
Source - Memories of my granny.
- Wash and peel the karelas, make a middle slit and deseed the karela. Repeat for all, sprinkle some salt on them and keep aside for sometime.
- In the meanwhile prepare the filling. In a pan heat oil, add jeera seeds and after they brown add all dry spices and roast for a minute or two.
- Add onion and fry till soft.
- Add the grated raw mango and boiled channa dal.
- Cook for about 5 minutes till all the stuffing is a little roasted and well mixed.
- Let it cool a bit, till u can handle it for filling.
- Now take a deseed karela and add about 1 to 3 tsp of filling depending on the size of your karela (the smaller the karela the better it works). It needs to be stuffed well, now take a thread and wrap it around the karela as shown in the above picture.
- Repeat the same for all karelas.
- Heat the 2 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the karelas till they are nice and brown and fully done.
- Serve with hot roti and dal, the punjabi dhabha walli dal works very very well with karelas.