Thursday, May 9, 2013

Simple and Sweet- Cheeni-Ka-Paratha.

The earliest memories I have of my grandma are of feeding my toddler brother a smushed up roti with ghee-boora (powdered sugar with clarified butter).  She, on a low woven seat we called peedha; and he, toddling about around her with a ball in his hand. All through the summer holidays that's what he and I ate. Naani was the best when it came to indulging picky eaters like us. She didn't insist we eat our veggies, was always ready to make a meal especially for us, and if both options failed; handed us a huge bowl of ghee-boora

Back in Delhi, my mom opted for a no-mess route incorporating the boora, ghee and roti together to make us a Cheeni ka Paratha. When we were very little, she'd roll it up, and hand it to us so we could  eat while we played. My dad occasionally threw a fit, threatening us with cavities and toothless grins, but mommy always found a way to ignore his rants.  As I grew older, my ma and I were often at loggerheads. With daddy gone for work or at school most of my growing up years, this Paratha was what resolved most of our (my) skirmishes....

One time I particularly remember...

I asked my mom to make my favorite Rajma chawal for dinner while getting ready for school. She was running around between the kitchen and bathroom, getting the two of us ready. But she said OK...I swear she said OK....The whole day at school I day-dreamed about dinner. I even finished up my lunch that she's packed so she'd be happy.  Dinner couldn't come fast enough. When it did, I was devastated. 
"I forgot to soak the beans", my mom said.

I didn't care. I threw a fit. Refused to eat. My dad, drawn into his "they should learn to respect food" mode, ordered me to bed without dinner.  

I went. In all my pre-adolescent righteousness, I believed I'd been seriously wronged.

But I couldn't sleep. It isn't easy to sleep when you can hear your stomach growling and you're so angry that your heart hurts.

Later, I heard my mom come up to me. She sat down and handed me a plate. No words were said. None were needed. 

I quietly ate my hot-off- the- stove Cheeni ka Paratha, put my arms around her neck and drifted into a child's sleep.  Daddy never got to know. In the morning, I listened to his often-repeated respect for food lecture, gave a conspiratorial grin to my ma, and ran off to school.....

Lest I forget, there is no recipe to Cheeni Ka Paratha....But this is how I make it.

  1. Mix powdered sugar and cardamom powder together in a bowl (I follow the 1Tbsp and 1pinch rule for this mix).  
  2. Roll your roti, slather it generously with ghee.
  3. Put a spoonful of sugar mixture in the center, bring the edges around to make a bundle and seal in the sugar.
  4. Roll the Paratha again, as thin as you can without spilling the sugar.
  5. Cook both sides on a griddle with generous amounts of ghee...

PS: Serve warm, it can get a little hard and chewy as it cools- think of a piece of flour dipped in sugar syrup...And make it as sweet as you like by playing around with the amount of stuffing.

My two cents: She indulged me, he spoiled me; both in their own way. I still turned out OK, maybe.....So when I made this, as expected Anya refused to taste it, baby P devoured it, and I re-lived some memories and made peace with myself. This is how I remember my mother...simple, sweet, no-fuss love....this is how I'd like to remember her, every Mother's Day.

Linked to:
Kids's delight - 5 ingredients or less hosted by Pavani and started by Valli
Cook like mom event at Foodelicious
Celebrate Love for mom @Tangy minds