When I read Tiffin by Rukmini Srinivas, it took me back to my childhood in the Air Force camp at Lohegaon in Pune, where my friend Silky and I enjoyed soft, spongy idlis with spicy saambar and gun powder chutney, which her mom used to lovingly cook for us. I adore gun powder chutney, and although MTR and some other companies from the South sell it these days, it’s never come close to what aunty made for us. Those were wonderful times, without a care in the world, and Silky and I are still friends, 30 years later.
Coming back to Rukmini Srinivas and her book Tiffin, the book is part memoir, part cookbook. She dedicates the book to her daughters.
A lot of the conversation in the book revolves around food and she writes with amazing grace and aplomb. She, like many others of her generation, tells stories beautifully. She’s met R.K Narayan, knows him, and has written about her friendship with him. In the end, you get the feeling, she’s a lady with a golden heart. It’s a warm, friendly book that I couldn’t put down once I started.
I’m going to post a recipe from her book called Mango Fool. It’s made with the juice and pulp of raw mangoes and tastes sweet and sour. Have it cold out of the refrigerator. I pressure cooked the mangoes to pulp them.
This is the right time to make Mango Fool because soon we won’t have raw mangoes in season any more.
2 medium size sour raw mangoes
1 cup sugar or jaggery or brown sugar; more if you want the drink sweeter
A pinch of salt
1/2 inch piece of raw ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
A few strands of saffron
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
1 Boil 4 cups of water in a deep saucepan. Gently drop in the whole, unpeeled raw mangoes. Boil them till very soft. Leave to cool.
2 With your fingers squeeze out all the juice and pulp, discarding the stone and peel. Begin squeezing with the peel. Strain.
3 Return the juice with the pulp to the saucepan and add 2 cups water, more if you prefer a thinner drink. Add the sugar, salt and ginger and bring to a boil. Turn the stove off. Stir in the cardamom powder and saffron. Cover, cool and refrigerate.