Friday, 11 May 2012

Mangoes, mom and memories

Panna (also known as panha or panhe) is a drink popular among Indian decent families in Pakistan. With the cooing of koels and the fruiting of raw mangoes (kairy) on trees in summers, this drink becomes a regular features in homes specially to combat the heat. Mango is a bounty of nature and Pakistan is blessed with yearly crop of mangoes that are both prime and in abundance. Being extremely versatile and rich in Vitamin ‘C’ this fruit is used in a range of curries, salads, punches, deserts and in pickles. 

Raw mangoes and summers  for me have unique significance because of many dishes and food that my mother would create during the summers. As a kid way back in 80s, I remember my mom (appa) making a tumbler of  ‘Panna’ every afternoon when we return back from schools, all red face and sweaty in summers. Being given a glass of beautifully presented “Panna’ at CafĂ© Blue Ginger , and the mothers day around the corner, made me awefully nostalgic and have send me down memory lane to all those hot summer afternoons cooling with a refreshing glass of ‘Panna’, made by my very loving, ‘apa’ (my mom) and falling to afternoon naps on swings reading  ‘Mills and Boon’ or  “Famous Five”.  

"Mango Murrabba" (preserve) is another gorgeous treat from my mother. These mint green crystal like sweet and sour stewed chunks of raw or semi ripe mangoes are truly breath taking and tantalize the tastebuds to heights. During the summers when we used to nap under the fans or doing our homeworks, she would spend entire afternoon in kitchen pealing, chopping and then stirring huge pans cooking these ‘murabbas’. Keeping the family tradition alive or maybe because not many eateries do ‘murabbas’ or that I am at office instead of home in the afternoons, I at least cook and fill big jars of these beautiful preserves for my daughter every summer.

My mother who we fondly call ‘apa’ have been a great cook, and has inspired and taught me the appreciation of good food, the art of cooking and importance of hospitality to cook for friends and family. Yes, she is a great host and I grew up seeing guests and huge lunches and dinners at home continuously. She lives in another country now ,but every summer and the mango trees reminds me of her and instilling in me the passion for culinary arts and being a great host. 

Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there!!!

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