Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ammamma's 'peshal' to Ichu

This is my entry to 'Cooking for Kids with Love', an event hosted for the month of February, at

This is a tribute to Ammamma, my mother's mom, who passed away three weeks before my daughter entered this world. It had been her greatest wish to see my child, but that was not to be...
Cooking day to day things weren't her cup of tea..she managed to delegate that task to someone else,more often than not. But she did make a number of dishes that were her specialities..and those were truly memorable. Though she disliked cooking, she never let anyone go away from her home without being plied with enough to eat or drink.. 

Everyday, when we came from school, she would ensure we had something 'peshal' (in her words) to have for tea.. ariyunda, ada,or the not -so special (at that time)dosa, idli etc and most of these items would be made by her.. 

This was a very easy and nutritious 'peshal' .. and my finicky daughter Ichu, who is not impressed by pancakes,likes my surprise...

Atta (wheat flour) - 1/2 cup
Powdered cardamom - 1 pinch
Jaggery - 2 - 3 tsps powdered
Grated coconut - 2 tsp (Ammamma had a generous hand with coconut)

Mix all the ingredients with water to the consistency of dosa batter. On a gridle, ladle tiny dollops and spread a bit. Add bits of butter to crisp the sides a bit and to give that extra flavour. 
Easy to make and great for that 'peshal' four-o'clock eats.

Our Ammamma was called thus by one an all... from all residents in our entire street- young and old, to the milkman, colleagues of my aunt, my uncles... even my teachers..!! There weren't many people who forgot her once they met her. 

She was amazing in the midst of emergencies - a choking child, suspicions of snake bite, fits.. she was there to render first aid and then rush the person to the hospital... She had a spry way of walking, halfway between walk and run.. some of my classmates had nicknamed her 'express' ammamma because of that !!

Quite the lioness when it came to her children or grandchildren, she was never scared to tell people off on their behalf.. once when my brother was quite young, she told off our Art master for scolding him. Years after when I met Sir at a temple, the first person he asked after was Ammamma.. so I told him she was very fine and currently at our place... while I was wondering how he did not know that , he admitted that he had never used the short-cut passing in front of our house since 'THAT DAY'.........!!!  I had never realised that he had avoided that way for more than 10 years !!!!!!

After finishing her last rites, there was a very heavy down-pour just as my uncle stepped inside the house..and my uncle remarked that Ammamma must have been asking Him to hold the rain till her children were all safely in.... and no one in that house, who had known Ammamma well thought that was a bizzare remark !!!

She was not perfect...possessive, protective, striving to keep all her children near, with no respect for any authority, she was amazingly human and very unique.. As 'peshal' as peshal could be...!!

And here is her snap taken by my cousin.


  1. This is such a wonderful story of your Ammamma.... reminded me of my Nanaamma (father's mother) who was very much similar to yours except for cooking.. she loved to cook. it is really nice to read something like this other than scrapping for me. Thanks for making me go back to my childhood days again. Hugs Jaya

  2. YUM!! Sweet dosas look delicious, bet all the kids love it! :)

  3. Really enjoyed reading about your Ammamma, Swapna. What great memories we have of "peshal" people in our lifes, huh? Have a wonderful day:):)

  4. those look lovely. if only i could taste through my screen lol

  5. I have posted the lemonade award that you gave me. Thanks

  6. Oh thank you for sharing this special story.

  7. lovely writeup on dear Ammamma! Thanks for the beautiful and kid friendly contribution.

  8. Hi Swapna -- my nana too had that personality -- fierce and yet lovable :) Thank you for the wonderful story that reminded me again of her :)