Three Easy Delicious Indian Recipes from my Novel Before We Visit the Goddess

Here are three easy and delicious Indian recipes from my novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, where 3 generations of mothers and daughters in an immigrant family pass on--and transform--family recipes to suit their lifestyles. 

Food is important in all families, probably, but particularly crucial in immigrant families. We often pass on traditions along with recipes. My mother did that, and I think I do it, too, with my sons.

These three recipes are ones that I've tried and enjoyed many times. An appetizer (pakora) and two desserts. I hope you like them, too. Let me know what you think. 

Pakoras

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lentil flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • ¼ tsp each: red chili, coriander, and cumin powder
  • 1 cup chopped spinach leaves (salt to taste)

Directions

  • Mix the lentil flour and water to make a thick paste (similar to pancake batter).
  • Add in all other ingredients.
  • Mix well.
  • In a pan, heat the canola oil.
  • Drop the mix by spoonfuls into the hot oil.
  • Turn over when one side is done.
  • Remove when golden brown on both sides.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Easy Mango Ice Cream

 

Ingredients

  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream (thawed until soft)
  • 4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 8 oz canned mango pulp
  • 1 fresh mango (chopped small)

Directions

  • Mix the ice cream, cardamom powder, and mango pulp in a bowl.
  • Cover and freeze for an hour.
  • Scoop into individual dessert bowls and top with chopped mangos.

Chocolate Sandesh

 

Ingredients

  • ½ lb paneer (indian cottage cheese—can be bought in an indian grocery store)
  • ½ cup sugar (you can add slightly more if you have a sweet tooth)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder (the kind you use for hot cocoa mix)

Directions

Allow the paneer to come to room temperature. Mash it until smooth. In a nonstick pan, warm the paneer over low heat. When soft, add sugar and cocoa powder. Mix well until sugar has melted into the paneer (about five minutes). Take it off the stove. Cool the mix for 10 to 15 minutes. Make bit-sized balls with the mix. Refrigerate in a covered container and serve once it’s chilled. Sandesh can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

 

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My Other Mother

I wrote about my mother and how she influenced my writing in my previous post.

I'd like to dedicate this post to my mother-in-law, Sita Shastri Divakaruni, who also passed away a few years ago. Below is a photo of her at prayer, which is how I remember her most clearly. I don't recollect her ever missing a day of puja. 

 MY MOTHER IN LAW AT A PRAYER CEREMONY

MY MOTHER IN LAW AT A PRAYER CEREMONY

 

My mother-in-law was an amazing woman, an unsung heroine. She lost her husband when her youngest child was four years old. Although she only had a school-level education, she managed to inspire her family of eleven children and hold the family together through love and prayer. Her encouragement inspired all the children to excel and prosper. 

 A FAMILY PHOTO ONE YEAR BEFORE MY FATHER-IN-LAW PASSED AWAY

A FAMILY PHOTO ONE YEAR BEFORE MY FATHER-IN-LAW PASSED AWAY

Unlike the stereotypical mother-in-law of movies and T.V. serials, she was always very affectionate to me and encouraged me to write. In all the books I wrote while she was alive, I jointly thank her and my mother for their support. If my husband and I ever quarreled, my mother-in-law always took my side. How can you not love a woman like that!

 MY MOTHER-IN-LAW WITH MY SON ANAND AND ME

MY MOTHER-IN-LAW WITH MY SON ANAND AND ME

My mother-in-law was very good-natured. As a result, her children and grandchildren often joked with her or teased her. She never lost her patience even at their silliest jokes!  I think my husband Murthy gets his good temper from her. 

 MY HUSBAND MURTHY WITH HIS MOM

MY HUSBAND MURTHY WITH HIS MOM

 

I remember my mother-in-law every day when I sit for my own prayers. I know her blessings are with us always.