I have always been mesmerized by how 5 senses impact our lives. Taste, being one of the important one possess the miraculous ability to transport us to a memory of the past. It could be taste of pipping hot gujia, a savory bite of maa ke hhath ka khana (food cooked by mother), hot cup of tea in a drizzly evening, or even a hint of minty toothpaste, our mind just cheats us and for few moments, we find ourselves wandering in a forgotten memory lane, trying to soak up that experience once again, until we come back, the next time. What a fantastic way of traveling through the past. I have always been a complete foodie, spending any chance i could get, thinking about food. The taste of veggies cooked in panch-phoron (Bengali 5-spices) & mustard oil reminds me of my childhood. The taste of fresh pedas takes me back to the years spent in Bengal and list just goes on…. I always have my own small cookery show every-time I cook. I can’t help it, the moment i start cooking, i start talking about the recipe……It has always been a subject of mockery whenever our family meets. Still, I refuse to change……………..
I was very excited when we deiced to include cooking projects in our camp. We extensively researched and developed kid-friendly recipes. India being such a diverse nation, is, a gold mine of delicious local delicacies. We wanted recipes which has less ingredients, shorter cooking time and does not require a gas stove or high tech electronic gadgets. Reminds me of an old ‘Maggie’ tagline – “Fast to cook & good to eat”. That’s what we wanted. During our trial periods I thoroughly trying out recipes and tasting them. All our efforts were paid off when we saw the excitement and enthusiasm of kids, during the first cooking project. They wanted more of that experience. Here i can say, from that day onwards whenever they came in the morning, the first question used to be – “What are we cooking today”? Though they were all following steps told by the teacher, but they had created there own little ‘Master Chef’ contest. Trying to be the best, following each step perfectly, trying to set up a beautiful plate. It was hands down one of a kind experience for them.
This project also showed me another side of a little one, Commitment & Responsibility. We had a 5 year old last year, who was allergic to peanuts, any other nuts, milk, soy and eggs. It breaks my heart to see a kid having so many allergic restrictions. In that camp, we chose to cook the recipes that did not include peanuts, any other nuts, milk or soy. He told us that he would make the recipes but will not eat any as his dad had asked him not eat any outside food to due to his allergies. We repeatedly told him that he can eat these recipes, but he did not. He did cook all the recipes enthusiastically with everyone and always took his share for his father……. 5 year old and so responsible….. it’s so impressive. The astonishing part was that on the feedback he wrote that his favorite project was ‘cooking’…
Peda was the opening recipe of our cooking project. There is a small story behind this one too…. As it’s a sweet recipe i was being kept on the last day. I got to know, that, there is a fantastic recipe kept for Monday and I will not be able to eat it as it’s my fast. Being a foodie this was not acceptable to me…..Among our all recipes ‘Peda’ was the only one that I could eat on my fasting day. I requested my director to keep ‘Peda’ for Monday project and remove that recipe for some other day. And Peda-Project became our perfect sweet & rewarding start. As Holi just swung by, I am shairing Peda recipe taught in our camp……….. Join your little ones in the kitchen it’s cooking time…..
1 cup khoya (room temperature)
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
Sliced pistachio for decoration
Food color (optional)
Crush the khoya with your hands so that there are no lumps
Start pressing it with the back of your palms until it turns into a smooth dough
Mix the sugar, food color and cardamom powder into the khoya and knead it for about a minute until everything blends together
Divide the mix into about 10 equal parts and roll them into round balls. Lightly press it down so it looks like small patty.
Decorate them with any nuts of your choice
We have more fabulous recipes to share in our camps this year. Looking forward to having great fun while cooking and tasting these recipes. This year too, taste of few old recipes is going to walk me through the memory lane of last year’s Camp Jano India