Delicious Desi Recipes to Learn from your Mother

You may be their biggest fan but everyone is a big fan of the magic in a desi mother’s kitchen! From maa ki daal to mutton biryani, these timeless recipes were passed down to us by our lovely mothers.

Desi Recipes fi

Waking up to the smell of toasting paranthas in copious amounts of ghee can't be explained in words.

Stern and loving, mothers are truly living divinities. A perfect signifier of their other-worldliness is the heavenly food they conjure up in the kitchen.

Across the length and breadth of South Asia, one thing will be unanimously agreed upon: nothing tastes better than the food cooked by your mother. Maa ki hatho ka pyaar… you see.

Most of us cooked our first dish with our mums. We still call them to check if only a pinch of the new spice she sent you is enough for that curry!

When we asked you which dish most reminds you of your mother, you told us it is the first dish she taught you!

With that in mind, DESIblitz presents some truly tantalising dishes that you should certainly learn from your mother.

Some simple and some extremely complicated, these recipes by desi mothers are absolutely drool worthy.


Desi Recipes Paranthas

Waking up after a week of school to the smell of paranthas being toasted in generous amounts of ghee cannot be explained in words.

Quintessential North Indian breakfast bread, Parantha is probably the reason why breakfast exists!

If you don’t know what a parantha is, you better put, Eat paranthas in Punjab or Chandni Chowk, Delhi, in your bucket list.

Anyway, parantha is a stuffed Indian bread. The dough is made of wheat flour, gram flour and/or common flour. They can be stuffed with any filling.

The most common stuffing is mashed potatoes. Aloo paranthas will give you a gastronomic high and simultaneously remind you of your mum. Check out the recipe here.

Rajma Chawal

Desi Recipes Rajma Chawal

Another household favourite is the Rajma Chawal. It is a curry made of red kidney beans cooked in a buttery tomato-garlic sauce with a generous sprinkling of dry spices.

Although a Punjabi dish, it has been readily imbibed to many different parts of the subcontinent and indeed, become a dish of the world.

A comfort food, Rajma or red kidney beans cooked in fresh tomato-ginger-garlic sauce fried in ghee, has no other competitor other than the famous maa-ki-daal.

This curry works very well with freshly steamed basmati rice and a side of raita or pickle. Check out the recipe here.


Desi Recipes daal

Simple and light, daal is best spiced with wisdom and love. Mothers and grandmothers have the best versions in the family.

When you’re sick or feeling low, a warm bowl of souped daal is the desi answer to chicken soup!

It is no wonder that this dish has evolved and developed differently in various parts of South Asia.

The north may have Daal Makhani but the south has Sambhar. The west may have Gujarati Daal but the east has Macher Matha diye Daal and the northeast has Ooti.

In fact, there are even non-vegetarian varieties like Haleem and Dal Gosht.

Despite the variety there is one version everyone loves, the plain and simple yellow daal. Check out the recipe here.


Desi Recipes idli

A South Indian essential, Idli is a steamed cake made of fermented rice and lentil batter. They can also be made with rava or cream of rice.

Light and soft, idlis can be eaten at any time of the day though idlis for breakfast is something altogether special.

Common in South India and Sri Lanka and a breakfast favourite across the subcontinent, idli is good food for infants and the aged alike.

Its spongy texture perfectly absorbs the beautifully flavoured Sambhar and also goes well with coconut or peanut chutneys.

When any South Indian says they miss home, know that they simply need a good helping of idlis. Check out the recipe here.


Desi Recipes Chagempomba

Although few desi cookbooks feature Northeast Indian cuisine, no Manipuri will deny how much this dish reminds them of their mother.

Made with freshly chopped mustard leaves, fermented soybeans, sticky rice and a lot of fresh herbs – Chagempomba is a deeply emotional Manipuri dish.

It is usually vegetarian but may be cooked with dried fish or pork occasionally.

One to call home for the recipe, Chagempomba is a traditional dish wherein Indian food meets Asian fares.

Check out the recipe here.

Mutton Biryani

Desi Recipes Mutton Biryani

After having learned your first few dishes from your mum, what catches us most off guard is Biryani – the ultimate dish that terrifies us to recreate.

Although it takes very long to make, cooking a great biryani can be truly rewarding. However, it is not an easy dish.

If a long list of spices required to make Biryani doesn’t daunt you, the series of steps involved surely will. But who better than a desi mother to help us through it!

The proteins in the biryani can be changed to your liking but be careful as different meats have slightly different techniques involved.

In any case, as a show of respect to this great dish and the many desi mothers who taught it, here is the recipe of a good Mutton Biryani.

These are some of our favourite desi recipes to learn from our mother! But that’s not all! We also have some very interesting mum recipes, named by you – our readers! Check out the gallery below.

Simon is a Communication, English and Psychology graduate, currently a Masters student at BCU. He is a left-brain person and enjoys anything artsy. At his best when asked to do something new, you’ll find him dwell on “Doing is living!”

Images courtesy of Wikihow, Chatore Diaries, S Nameirakpam and Asiya Baig.