Penning a new recipe

Penning a new recipe

Different Flavour

Penning a new recipe

And a meeting with Hajra Mohammed, who at 85 years has the same childlike fascination for food that she had 60 years back, is a living proof of that. While her first book, Hajra’s Recipes of life, for life was launched this week, Hajra talked about food, her children and life.

Considering the fact that food remains a passion, Hajra surprisingly lived the first 22 years of life without entering the kitchen. “I was more into reading books and music and didn’t cook till six months before my marriage,” she says. “Once I started, I liked being appreciated and so started taking it more seriously. Funnily, boiled rice was the only thing that I couldn’t cook properly,” she says.

About Cutchi Memon Muslim cooking, she informs that unlike Northern food, this food is not heavy. “We don’t use cream, cashew nuts and much of oil. Most of the flavour comes from fried onion, ginger-garlic paste and other spices,” she says. And a little more questioning reveals her particularity about the spices. “I make my own spices. I buy chilli, turmeric, dry them and grind them,” she says.

Hajra, has been living a complete life even at an age when people stop wanting more from it. “I did a lot of courses including baking, jams and jelly making about 20 years ago. And I keep learning other cuisines too,” she says. “I have been learning and teaching cooking all my life,” she says.

So what does she like to eat herself? “I like ‘Dal-khatti’, Dum ki Biryani and Shaami Kebab. And I love desserts,” she says. “Unfortunately, I don’t make many desserts now because everyone in the family is health-conscious and if I cook, I eat all of it,” she says.

“It had been my dream to bring out a recipe book and now it has been possible because of my grand-daughter,” she says emotionally. So does she still cook? “Not after I fell sick last year but the first chance I get, I will whip up something in the kitchen,” she says.