Is a meal only about the right mix of ingredients, or is it much, much more?
In Tamil, Ammi is short for Ammi Kallu, a traditional South Indian stone grinder. The word ‘Ammi’ also embodies warmth, affection and unconditional love, expressed in a multitude of ways, most certainly through cooking. This cookbook is about cooking for one’s family and friends as much as it is about eating with them. The 108 recipes curated in this book represent the diversity and depth of South Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines with a good measure of bakes and grills thrown in. As one gets drawn into Prasanna Pandarinathan’s delightful family food stories and the culinary journey of her mother Nirmala, one realizes that the recipes are simple and easy to cook, peppered with a dash of unforgettable memories.
Laughter, togetherness, endless chatter and, above all, love are the secret ingredients of each recipe, put together lovingly and painstakingly by a doting daughter to honour and preserve the amazing legacy of her mother. A granddaughter’s proud proclamation of the ‘world’s best chicken curry’ and a husband proudly distributing his wife’s sweetmeats among his friends are a few awards and recognition conferred upon a few dishes.
Ammi is an anchor for heritage, tradition and nostalgia of love and loss. Through sumptuous photography, long-forgotten stories and anecdotes, this intimate cookbook takes you on a journey, unfolding memories of the vibrant kitchen of Prasanna’s mother.
Try out the recipes and rustle up your own memories!
‘This is an interesting and varied collection of dishes and memories united by the writer's skill in making food come alive. It’s an excellent book.’
—Vir Sanghvi, food critic, journalist, author and TV anchor
‘Pressy Pandarinathan’s Ammi: An Expression of Love captures all that is best about cooking and even goes beyond the selection of delicious recipes (many vegetarian, to my delight!). This book is a moving tribute to Pressy’s mother, Nirmala, capturing the love and richness of a life well-lived through her fabulous culinary creations. A joy for the palate and the heart.’
—Dr Shashi Tharoor, author and Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
‘Prasanna’s book is a treasure trove of secrets from her mother’s kitchen. From Banana Blossom Balls to Tanjore Chicken Pepper Fry to Pepper Masala Mutton Chops, the recipes are well explained and you are tempted to try each one out. If you are passionate about food and cooking, this is the book of the decade.’
—Kapil Chopra, Founder, EazyDiner and The Postcard Hotel
‘This little treasure Ammi by my friend Pressy is not just an ode to her mother, but to all the mothers who nurture our souls with love and delicious food. My family and I have relished these dishes in New York and recently in Mumbai.
The recipes are tempered with precision, mixed with affection and peppered with a dash of smile. Ammi is a warm hug for your soul.’
—Malaika Arora, actor, model and television personality
About the Author
Prasanna (Pressy) Pandarinathan’s journey from being a well-known model to a photographer is the story of someone who has gone from being photographed to looking at life from behind the lens.
Having lived in many countries, her works reflect an amazingly rich cross-cultural influence. Surprisingly, her globe-trotting has actually helped her strongly reconnect with her Indian roots.
The creation of this book also led her to some of the best food photographers in New York and helped her understand and learn the art of food photography.
Pressy, as she is known in the fashion world, has fulfilled a promise she made to herself to keep her mother alive through her recipes.