After the initial resistance to inter state marriage we now gel together like ice in water. Yes, she is my mother-in-law, who patiently taught me the Tam Brahm ways of living, traditions, rituas and cooking over time and gently took me under her wings.
I feel a sense of pride in writing it openly that we have been together for the last 17 years and there has been not a single moment of misunderstanding or unwanted arguments between both of us. Sounds unreal even to my ears
If she gives me space to do things I love, I give her the liberty & right to question me at any time.
Here is one of the recipes she taught me when I first visited my MIL – Peppercorn-cumin Soup or Milagu-Jeragam Rasam as called in Tamil.
Peppercorn-cumin Soup Aka Milagu-Jeragam Rasam
Method; Wash and finely chop tomato. Dry roast cumin seeds (jeera), black peppercorns (kali mirch) and coriander for 5-6 minutes on medium heat. Make sure that the seeds do not get over roasted. You can make a large batch of the same powder and store in an airtight container for future use.
Wash and cook pigeon peas with turmeric in a pressure cooker till done. Cool the cooker and mash the lentil with a ladle.
Soak tamarind in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes and extract juice. Discard the pulp and add 3 more cups pf plain water in it.
Add chopped tomatoes and asafoetida powder (hing) in the tamarind extract and bring it to boil and let it cook for 15 minutes.
Pour boiled and mashed lentil mixture in it and add salt, cumin-black peppercorn-coriander powder and let it simmer for just about 2-3 minutes.
Heat oil in a small wok and crackle mustard seeds for tempering.
Take off the lentil soup or Rasam from the flame and add the tempering, 1 tsp. lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves or curry leaves.
Serve the Rasam or warm peppercorn lentil soup with plain rice or as an appetizer.
Though a little late but am glad that I came out of the veil of a daughter, a wife and a mother to appreciate in broader perspective, the most precious gift of God – womanhood!