The little things in life

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In Surat, almost every snack stall, general store and even some of the chemists, sell packets of Thepla. When hunger strikes, Thepla is the ultimate go-to food item for us, especially when one is at office or is travelling. Packed with a small pouch of pickle, a Thepla pack makes for a complete meal. When I was studying in Bengaluru, I totally missed the snack items that are sold in every nook of Surat. That’s when I decided to learn Gujarati snack items including Theplas, as craving for them sucked.

So, there I was, attending one of Niru’s Cooking Classes. I was serious like hell. I had to learn Gujarati farsan items. If you’re living in Surat, you might not take the load of learning these snacks; but my experience changed that completely. The thought of making my own farsan excited me. From now on, I would be able to make them in my own kitchen, wherever I go, I thought. And, truly, it helps me even today. I live in Gurugram and no place sells Theplas. Mumbai still had it. Also, in North India, greens are available mostly in winters only. So, these days, I try to make the most of fenugreek leaves; given its good nutrient factor.

I remember my neighbour aunty’s daughter used to live in France once upon a time. She used to knead the dough with a lot of curd, and it lasted her for days together; her daughter could enjoy these even in France!

Initially, it took me a hell lot of time in preparing the dough. The ingredient list didn’t seem to end. With practice, however, I now know it by heart, and it takes me only a few minutes to add all of them at one go!


Garlic is the hero when it comes to Theplas. One of my brothers always wants the garlic flakes to be seen on his Theplas. You can, however, skip it if you’re a Jain. If you like crispy Theplas, have it fresh, right after you’ve cooked it. And, if you like your Theplas to be soft, make a pile of them, keep them in the Roti dabba (box) for half an hour or more, and they will turn soft. Also, you need to roll a Thepla into a very thin round sheet. That’s one of the secrets of making it well. You can’t be making it thick like a Paratha. Unless you don’t care of its resemblance to the original Thepla.

Today, my husband said he will have a long day at work. So I packed about six to eight Theplas extra for the evening.

If you are planning to hit the road, don’t forget this snack goodie. It’s not only delicious to eat, but is healthy as well. Also, if you have lots of guests staying over, and the breakfast menu is freaking you out, just prepare this dough and serve them hot and crispy Theplas. Make sure you have some mango pickle or curd to go with it, and you’re set.

Recipe: Thepla (the original fenugreek version)

According to Niranjana (my cooking teacher back in Surat), it’s best to knead the dough and make the Theplas right away. Don’t keep the dough aside; prepare it right when you will use it. No point in keeping the dough for long, as you might as well keep the Theplas on your kitchen counter for later.

Also, a lot of people in Gujarat and Maharashtra prefer sesame seeds to be added in their Theplas. I don’t see it in Niranjana’s recipe, and I would like to stick with it.

There are two secret ingredients that can be used to make your Theplas soft like clay dough that are mentioned here.

Lastly, if you like this recipe, secretly thank Niranjana Joshi for it, as the recipe is inspired by what she taught us. She’s my star! I still save the recipe booklet she gave me from the world, wrapped in a printed cotton bag somewhere in one of my bookracks. Holy stuff, this.


Wheat flour (around 4 to 5 cups)
fenugreek leaves (washed, dried and chopped)
salt to taste
sugar – 2 tbsp
chilli powder – at least 1 tsp
turmeric powder – ½ tsp
fresh curd – 2 to 4 tbsp (I use what I have in hand)
oil – 2 to 3 tbsp
a pinch of asafoetida
coriander leaves – chopped (optional)
rice and bajra flour – 2 tbsp each (I always forget to add these)
ginger garlic paste – at least 2 tsp 
green chilli paste – ½ tsp (optional)
oil to roast the Theplas on the griddle


1. Tawa griddle (I use a round cast iron one)
2. Wooden Roti press to press the Theplas while roasting (if you can manage without it, no need to buy it)
3. Rolling pin


1. Mix all the ingredients. If you’re planning to go on a long trip, add more curd. This will act as a preservative and will keep your Theplas fresh for long.
2. Roll out a thin Thepla, and roast it like a Roti with a little oil.
3. Serve with a cup of fresh curd or pickle.


Collecting hope

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I never got to spend time with my in-laws in my six years of marriage, as I’m getting to do so these days. My mother-in-law is suffering from brain aneurysm, and she had to admitted again in the ICU for a couple of days, as her present medicine is really strong. As I write this, I’m thinking to make her some masala tea, that she’s craving inside the ICU. The hospital is a strict one, so I will hide the tea flask in my purse and hand it over to the nurse. Hopefully, she will allow my MIL to have it.

So, I’m cooking a lot for my father-in-law (my MIL can only eat the food served at the hospital) these days, though I have to make sure that the food simple, whatsoever. I really don’t want to goof up with the dishes I serve to him. You see, my quest for cooking good food will never end. As I’m growing older (turning 30 this month), my likings are changing too. And rarely do I crave for a royal spread as it is. And, hey! It’s not a beautiful thali that we have at home on daily basis. Just the basic items. A green chutney, raita (yogurt) and a salad (for lunches) are enough. And may be a sweet dish, every once in a while (for dinners). You will never three curries/sabzis in my thali or 10 bowls of goodies on the platter at one go (hate Instagram for that, as the food pictures make me question the simple food I have at home). Just saying.

Mostly, a dish made at home turns out to be a winner when its ingredient list is small and its flavour intact. My in-laws, especially, are into simple food, and this is the one rule they go by. When I try to act like a wannabe chef and serve dishes that are complicated, it doesn’t go well at the dining table. For them, it has to be a no-nonsense vegetarian fare. I have seen cases of constipation and gas taking place after such foolish attempts, when I try to fool around in the kitchen. Actually, I’m still trying to learn which foods trigger such issues for them. And, with time, I’m learning to go with whatever that can be cooked simply, without any overload of the so-called fancy ingredients and dishes.

It was only two days back, when my mother-in-law came home after spending couple of days at the hospital. She slept really well that night, and loved being at home. It was Dussehra morning, when I asked her about the special dish to be made. She said Kheer. However, around 9AM in the morning, we noticed that she was looking lost for a few minutes, and we rushed to the hospital, fearing a clot in her brain. And the angiography report showed just that. After about a couple of hours in the hospital, she was transferred into the ICU. We three (my father-in-law, my husband and I) had spent 12 hours strolling around the hospital, and at 11PM, we came back home. She said she missed the watching the Dussehra festivities. And, there was no Kheer in the kitchen.

Recipe: Kheer

My father in law cooks occasionally, but whenever he does, it’s always a precise procedure. His Kheer (rice and milk pudding) is liked by us all, and we always try to copy what he does. From the measurement to the stirring, everything matters when it comes to preparing Kheer. During winters, he always asks us to prepare this Kheer often at home, over phone calls. Here’s his recipe.


2 litre milk
2 fist rice
150 to 200 gm sugar
saffron threads, cardamoms and its powder, raisins, coarsely crushed nuts (all optional)


1. You need to wash the rice properly, and soak it for at least 15 minutes.
2. In a deep vessel, add the milk, and once it boils, add in the soaked rice (remove its water).
3. Once you add the rice, make sure the flame is in its lowest speed. And you should be able to see little bubbles in the sides, which means that the Kheer is getting cooked.
4. You need to stir the milk and rice mixture, every couple of minutes. Make sure the vessel’s bottom is clean; if you don’t stir from time to time, the Kheer will stick on the bottom.
5. After 20 minutes, check if the rice has been cooked. Also, now, you will see that the milk has turned a little yellow in colour. We don’t want a runny, water-like consistency. The milk should get a bit thick and creamy.
6. Add in the sugar, as the final step. After about five minutes, shut the flame. Add the seasonings, according to your choice. My father-in-law likes to keep it simple.

Now, as I write this, I’m waiting for my mother-in-law to return home soon, with good health. I keep thinking of all the simple dishes that she cooked for us, these days in the kitchen. In my next few posts, I will be uploading a few of the things that she made in the kitchen. And, I hope, this Diwali would be a really special one, with her at our side. A smile on her face, and her heart content as it always is.

What’s your special wish for this Diwali?