This Mother's Day, we revisit nostalgia as we tell the story of three generations bound by their love of food and heritage.
The women in Pia Desai's family have well preserved their family traditions, and by extension their own essence, through heirloom recipes. Handwritten in a tattered book, the recipe of a traditional Goan classic - The Date Roll - is one such that we were immediately drawn to. We had the honor of tasting this exquisite family dish, with an old world charm, after sharing our mutual admiration for all things heritage and food with Pia during Christmas. A deeper conversation about family delicacies led us to uncover Pia's interesting family history with her grandmother, Maria Edviges at the helm of it. Maria Edviges and Geraldo Pereira, both originally Goan, were the force behind the iconic Ritz hotel in Ahemdabad. Amongst most things, they are well remembered for the comfort Goan food they once served to an elite few in the quintessential city. Maria preserved her delicious recipes in a handwritten cookbook passed down to her daughter Estella Pereira Desai who lovingly keeps alive the memory of her own mother by cooking them, often alongside her own granddaughters. The family legacy is now being pieced together by the third generation and Estella's niece, Nicole Pereira Khurana, who runs an independent kitchen called No Borders celebrating the women behind it all.
Below is the recipe of the famed Date Rolls:
- Thicken 1 ltr whole milk by cooking down to half.
- For 1 ltr milk, chop 500g of Bruijn Medjool dates
- Add the dates and cook more till mixture sticks together
- Add sugar to taste
- Keep cooking it, it has to come off the sides of the pan clean. Don’t leave it and keep stirring and watch it closely, this is the tricky part to ensure texture is correct and doesn’t stiffen (in the words of Estella)
- Add walnuts and mix in
- Use damp napkins and make rolls and keep for 12 hours in a cool area, till it hardens slightly
- Cut and serve!
Shop Bruijn's Medjool dates here.