My first (and only) meeting with Tarla Dalal was in 1988 and I was just fourteen years old.
The editor of Savvy magazine (at that time), Ingrid Albuquerque, had invited my mother (Anita Rodricks) and my mother’s friend (Erica Martin), to experience a vegetarian Christmas spread, created by Tarla Dalal.
Being Catholics, our Christmas spread is a smorgasbord of non vegetarian delights like roast turkey, pork vindaloo, pork soropotel, duck moile and other exotic dishes that is cooked up just once a year.
Hence, Ingrid Albuquerque thought it would be apt for Tarla Dalal – the queen of vegetarian cooking – to try to convince the hard-core meat-eaters to go vegetarian for Christmas.
A shoot was organised at Dalal’s residence and my mother took me and my sister along to enjoy the vegetarian feast.
Within no time, amid all the chatter and exchanging of recipes, the genial lady had whipped up a wide spread of vegetarian delicacies – a golden soup broth, a vegetable biryani, baked pancakes in paprika sauce, a saffron surprise dessert and an eggless chocolate velvet cake.
After the shoot, we dove in to the buffet which Tarla Dalal had created and though it was too long ago for me to remember if I liked it (as compared to our regular Christmas fare), it was definitely an interesting concept.
Today, as we get the news that Tarla Dalal passed away at the age of seventy-seven from a heart-attack, we tip our hats in respect to the gigantic talent she was.
And we’re pretty sure Tarla Dalal will whip up a vegetarian feast for Christ and all the saints and angels in heaven, at Christmas this year.
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