“In my culture, every Sikh daughter is taught at a very young age the skill of cooking and perfecting the art of a curry in order to bring pride to the family in the eyes of the community. We were truly led to believe that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach!
My eldest sister Bea was the first in my family to be tasked with this generational tradition, as in our culture the marital status of the oldest daughter did much to determine the future relationships of her younger siblings. However, this wasn’t exactly the case in my family as all my older siblings pursued their studies, leaving my mother to bestow upon me all her knowledge regarding family recipes, as well as a lifetime’s worth of do’s and don’ts. To this day, I still call her to ask for traditional recipes as well as remedies to ailments and all forms of inherited wisdom.
While my father would work during the day, my mother world toil seemingly endlessly in the kitchen preparing our meal for later that evening, sometimes receiving a call informing her that he wouldn’t be able to join us after all, leading to her stating confidently that the food she prepared would taste better the next day anyway, and she somehow always managed to be right. We continue this tradition at Nanima where guests are invited to collect any of our freshly-prepared dishes and enjoy these that evening or the next day too…”
Almond & Cardamon Kheer
1/4 cup Basmati rice (washed three times and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes)
4 crushed cardamon pods
1 pint full cream milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Crushed almonds & cashews
1 tsp rose water (optional)
Pour the milk into a pot and bring to a boil
Add the rice and constantly stir on a low heat for 15 minutes
Add the cardamon
Carry on stirring for another 15 minutes until thickened
Test by crushing one grain of rice between your thumb and finger to determine when cooked; it should be soft
Add sugar to taste
Add the crushed mixed nuts and rose water to serve
“We were little children running around our home on the northern edges of Kuala Lumpur because our grandmother, Nanima, had come to stay. On a rainy day, this is one of the treats that she would make. We would all sit together in our living room, talking about our ancestors; their life stories, their daily lifestyles and the food they cooked. Then Nanima would walk in with a huge steaming cauldron of freshly-prepared kheer. We would sit on the floor and wait for our turn to be given a small portion of the delicious nutty dessert. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can still vividly picture the same people, my family, in the room with me on this day, laughing and talking, awaiting a taste of my grandmother’s innovation, homemade, with love.”
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