Food, Family, and Nostalgia —The Recipe For Prasanna Pandarinathan's Cookbook, Ammi

The author shares her thoughts, and a delicious recipe from the book, with URLife.

By URLife Team
11 Feb 2022

Good food always brings people together. In her new book 'Ammi', model and photographer Prasanna ‘Pressy’ Pandarinathan presents a collection of her mother’s sumptuous recipes, weaved in with nostalgic recollection of family memories. URLife brings a conversation with the author.


Please tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind this book.

I made a promise to my mother that I would compile all her recipes, document, photograph and publish it. That was my driving force. Cooking my mother’s food is comforting, and while doing the book, it was a healing process for me.


The book is a tapestry of beautiful anecdotes and interesting recipes. What was one of your favourite moments in the process of creating this book?

I think every bit of it was special in the making. What was interesting is that this led me to food photography which otherwise I wouldn’t have taken to. I thoroughly enjoy it now.


What are some tips that have been passed down to you that you hold close to your heart?

She used to soak potatoes in water before chopping so that they wouldn’t lose colour and to remove excess starch, and also with onions sometimes to lessen the pungent flavour. She also used to cut and peel garlic in a specific manner—she never taught me, but it’s something I watched all the time. Also the way she held her knife—I still do it even now.


Related Story: Gongura Pachadi


Recipe: Steamed Lentil Balls In Tamarind Gravy

A quintessentially South Indian dish, this delicacy is full of spice and tanginess. Read on to find out how you can make this comforting bowl of goodness.

  • 6
  • 156
    K calories
  • 55
  • 7/10

Easy Steps


Soak Bengal gram in water for 30 minutes. Drain the water and then grind to a paste without adding water.


Add salt and mix well, then roll into small lemon-sized balls and steam them in a steamer (idli steamer will do).


Grind the grated coconut flakes to a smooth paste.


Fry the onions, curry leaves, 4 slit green chillies, 1 finely chopped tomato, cardamoms, cloves, turmeric and coriander powder.

Ingredients List
  • Oil: 2 tsp
  • Bengal Gram: ¼ Kg
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Chilli powder: 1 tsp
  • Water: 2 cups
  • A few cloves and cardamoms
  • Grated coconut: ½ cup
  • Finely chopped onions
  • Green chillies: 4
  • Coriander powder: 1½ tbsp
  • Tomato: 1
  • A few coriander leaves
  • A few curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

Add water and coconut paste; boil for about 10 minutes and then simmer till the gravy is semi-thick.


Add the steamed balls and boil for another 10 minutes.


Garnish with coriander leaves.

Nutritive Value
  • Carbohydrates: 24.5g
  • Protein: 5.5g
  • Fat: 9.8g
  • Fibre: 3g

For more such fascinating recipes, check out Ammi: An Expression Of Love by Prasanna Pandarinathan, Rupa Publications.


Related Story: Gluten-free Lentil Dosa



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