The Secrets of Cooking Traditional Andhra food – Indian Express

by Pritya Books on April 21, 2007

Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain’s documentation of age-old recipes won the “Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the World” title at the Gourmand Awards 2006. The Indian Express highlights this in their column in City Express – “Pages on Pedatha” by Sujata Chakrabarti.

Vegetarian recipes win Gourmand Awards for Best Vegetarian Cookbook


Pouring though the hard-bound book in mottled green reminded me of my parents’ wedding album. The cover turns a different shade of green each time it catches a glint of the sunshine, glossy sheaves of paper inside holding precious treasures to its chest. Cooking at Home with Pedatha happens to be a cookbook. Only each treasured family photograph is replaced with photographs of traditional Andhra cuisine in myriad colours, each accompanied by corresponding recipes.

I tip-toed onto a gastronomic sojourn as I took my seat to watch Jigyasa Giri, noted Kathak dancer from the city, and doctor Pratibha Jain, co-authors of the award-winning cookbook, settle with ease behind the makeshift kitchen table at The Park, on a crisp afternoon on Thursday, demonstrating to the gathered audience the secrets of cooking traditional Andhra food.

Subhadra Krishna rau Parigi, fondly addressed as Pedatha, the oldest child of former president of India, Dr. V.V.Giri, happens to be related to Jigyasa and is the inspiration behind the book. Talking about her, the duo reveal that the real test of any cuisine lies in all the love that goes into the cooking. The two, who admit to being great friends in life, recall their frequent trips to Bangalore, where Pedatha resides, and the eventual documenting of the recipes that find place in every traditional Andhra kitchen. Agreeing that any traditional meal would require hours of preparation, Giri points out that the preparation time would be proportionate to the amount of satisfaction derived from it. And refuting the extreme obsession of the fitness freaks to go slow on the calories, she conveys what the 86 year old, yet flexible, Pedatha has to say, “There is a right way to eat everything.”

Jigyasa and Pratibha both point out that it was the local flavour of the traditional recipes that won them the coveted title of “Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the world” at the Gourmand awards 2006 held in Beijing. They assert, “This book is dedicated to all the grandmas in the country and their secret recipes.”

And as I continued to absorb the aroma of the popping mustard seeds, the frying carrots turned the colour of golden sun, tempting the taste buds to immerse themselves into this gastronomic affair.

(As featured in City Express, April 21, 2007)

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