Muji Gaad & memories of Mom!

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Love you Ma!

Sunny flowers, lined up bouquets, arrays of Chocolates, claims from businesses that they have the perfect gift for mom. This was the build up to the Mother’s day this year as it is every year. I never paid much attention to it in the past. It was after all just a made up day to Celebrate Moms and I did not need a particular day to do that.

Yes, I would wish my Mom a happy mother’s day and she would reply with a twinkle and jingle in her voice “Thank you !Thank you!Same to you!” Her way of really meaning the Thanks was to say it twice.

This time around it was a constant reminder of my Mom not being there any more. A vacuum, a pause and then a tearing silence. She wouldn’t be at the other end of the phone saying “thank you !thank you! She wouldn’t be there when I call her at midnight to ask for a recipe that she had already explained a 100 times before. She wouldn’t be there when I want to call to share my little triumphs and epic defeats.

Yet I had to be at the other end of another conversation, answer the same question again, be the inspiration and the motivator and be a sounding board to someone who calls me Mom.

It was difficult day to wake up to and yet it had to be lived through. With a deep breath and a silent resolve to not break down, I braced up for what was going to be a physically challenging day in addition to being an emotionally difficult one. My daughter was swimming at a competition and I had a day full of volunteering, cheering, meeting other Moms and a mind in a labyrinth of questions.

How do you celebrate being a Mom when missing your own Mother is tearing you up from within? How do you smile and say “thank you” when someone wishes you a “happy Mother’s day”? How do you reassure your daughter who is counting on your cheering her on when you feel that all cheer from the world has drained out? How do you find strength to take one more breath, one more step; to do one more chore? How do you live in a moment divided between deep sorrow and sharing pure joy?How do you cry inside for your Mom and smile for you child because you are a Mom?

On I went about the day, because there were things to be done. I was simply going through the motions until my daughter came up to me with a handmade card. She had written poems, drawn pictures and she had written this in her note:-


The power in those words is something I can’t explain. It moved me to have so much love from my daughter and made me remember this poem that I had read somewhere

 She is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone

Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back

Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her

Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone

Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind,

be empty and turn your back

Or you can do what she would want:

smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

—-David Harkins


Weeks before my Mom passed on, she agreed to do a complete “saal” course for me to document in my blog. Saal is the Kashmiri Pandit version of the Wazwaan.  She was a fabulous cook and she cooked from her heart. I don’t say she was a great cook because she was my Mom. She just was unparalled in her execution of Kashmiri dishes. A fact accepted by many foodies and seasoned kashmiri wazwaan chefs and the entire Dhar clan of Srinagar, Kashmir.

She never did it for fame or appreiation. She just did it. It was her way of expressing love. And this love was extended to everyone who came over to our house. Cousins, aunts, friends & neighbors dropped in whenever they felt like and she would feel glad that they chose to come visit. Tea and snacks would be served or she would run out to the store to buy juice or soda if that is what they fancied to drink. And she would immediately start prepping for extra lunch or dinner while keeping them entertained. Before you knew it, everyone had gathered to eat amidst a happy clamor.  I don’t know how she did it, and where she got her strength and inspiration from. I only know she worked hard all her life and played harder. She was compassionate, strong, inspiring, courageous and loving.

In the moment I read my daughter’s note I felt grateful – For the love with which my mom guided me, for the love my daughter has for me. It was a moment to honour my Mom’s courage and love, her strength and compassion, her zest for life, compassion for people and love for cooking.

muji gaad1

The recipe of fish with radishes, Muji Gaad, I am sharing today is one my Mom made often for me. She often made food for us that we liked and how we liked it. Not an easy chore with 4 kids. My little brother loved Roti and Rajma and had a preference for certain cuts of meat. One of my sister liked eating paneer without any spices so she would just let her eat a block or two. The other fancied spicy and tangy stuff and buttery goodness.And I usually ate everything and then some more, but fish was my thing.

On my last trip home in June last year, I managed to capture a few pictures of the dishes she cooked which I am sharing below.  I would have clicked more & better pictures but I was thinking of the near future when she was planning to visit me here in the US during fall and work on the entire family recipe series. She went on her final  journey on July 23rd, 2011.



Above – Sotschal – common mallow with eggplant- a Kashmiri favorite and below – Monji Nadur – kohlrabi with lotus roots. If you know Kashmiri food, you can simply tell by the color of  monji – That that is one incredible looking  monji nadur.

Monji Nadur

Monji Nadur


Sharing this trout fish recipe  from my memory of Mom’s recipes is like moving a step close to documenting our family recipes.  This is in your loving memory, Ma!




Muji Gaad - Fish with Radish

Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Serves: 6 -8

Serving Size: One piece of fish with a few pieces of radish

Muji Gaad - Fish with Radish


  • 2 pounds trout - cut with skin on
  • 1 pound daikon radish cut into pieces
  • 1/2 C Mustard oil
  • 2 Tbs Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 -5 tsp fennel powder
  • 1/2 tsp shahi zeera (black cumin)
  • salt to taste
  • fish Masala:
  • Grind the follow into a fine powder and pass through a sieve.
  • 1/4 tsp bishop's weed
  • 2 in cinnamon stick
  • 4 brown cardamoms
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 7-8 cloves
  • 1tsp cumin


  1. Heat up the mustard oil and deep fry the fish a couple of pieces at a time. You may also pan fry them for a low fat version.
  2. Once all the fish is fried, fry up the daikon radish pieces until light golden in color
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat up 2 -3 Tbs of oil ( there would be leftover oil from frying, use that)
  4. In a bowl take 1/4 C of water and add in the Kashmiri chilli to it, stir and add this to the hot oil. Cook until the oil floats on top, stirring often.
  5. Add rest of the spices, except the fish masala.
  6. Stir and let it cook until aromatic. Add 3 cups of water and salt and let it come to a rolling boil.
  7. Add the radish and cover and cook this mixture for about 10 minutes on a medium heat.
  8. Now add the fish and the fish Masala and cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until oil surfaces on top- on medium heat.
  9. Do not stir at this point or the fish will break.
  10. Let the dish rest for an hour at least before serving with rice, Haakh and lot of love

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Comments 16

  1. Very nice post. I came to your post searching for Muji Gaad Recipe. I wanted to check if this is the authentic recipe as made in Kashmiri Pandit house or you have done modifications ? The reason i am asking is that there is no use of Kashmiri Veri Masala and also there is no use of souring agent like curd or tamarind paste, where as souring agent was common in Kashmiri hindu kitchens and it is there in some other recipes i have seen.

  2. Such a touching post, reading this post i can relate you fully, i lost my mom last year suddenly , sometimes i think it is the smallest things which miss her so much or make you want to cry, there are times I am like you don’t talk about her to anyone because you don’t them to think is she still not over the mourning period etc…and now even when we sisters talk about mom still it is like maybe one should not do it because it still hurts and you don’t want to make them also upset.
    Hugs to you.

  3. Ansh, this is just a beautiful and heartfelt post. Having lost my mom suddenly when I was 18 I have come to believe that her spirit has lived on my heart and my mind. I wish I could tell you that time heals all wounds, but the truth, at least for me, has been that I feel the emptiness created by the loss of her physical presence at those times when you want your mom the most. It is funny though how comforting it can be making and eating the foods she made for me before she left. How wonderful for you to have those photos and I thank you for sharing that beautiful poem. xxx000xxx

  4. Your loss sounds familiar to me. I lost my mother on mother’s day 8 years ago and we were also celebrating my daughter’s birthday that day. It was very hard in the beginning. Even my daughter did not celebrate her birthday for two years but then I realized I was being selfish and my daughter was sacrificing her happiness for me, I slowly came over my grief.
    Now, I think about good memories with my mother and make up some more with my daughter.

    Its good that you shared one of your mother’s recipe. Here’s a nice ((HUG)) from one daughter to another.

  5. Losing a parent is never easy whatever age you are. The post was a sincere post from a daughter to her mother and a mother to her daughter. You are one superfine Mom and daughter. An don’t worry, Your mom is not gone anywhere, she lives in you, as long her memory is in your heart, she has not gone anywhere. No mom can go anywhere, as she parts with her heart when she becomes a Mom. Tight hugs and wishes your way.
    Love Ash.

  6. This is so touching….makes me want to forget all the little regrets I have for my mom and just love her unconditionally. Love to you Ansh for being such a great daughter and mother and hugs to Shloka for that lovely note she gave you on Mother’s Day! This is written with so much love that I am sure you mom is smiling up there reading this saying ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ 🙂

  7. hey ansh…. i don’t know what to say…. but i do understand what you are going through…. your mom must be full of light & love on the other side and is happy when she sees you blossoming and blooming into a beautiful person and the most beautiful mother.

  8. Hugs n lot more Hugs …………She is so pretty and always with you.We r lucky to meet her no matter its little late but never too late ….keep smiling thats all mother’s favourite ..

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  9. It is never easy to sum up our love for our mothers – harder so when they are gone. I lost my dad when I was 17 but time has healed the pain to an extent. I can only imagine what you must be going through as it is not easy to lose a mother. Love you Anshie for the beautiful person that you are – a daughter and mother rolled into one. This post was such a painful yet beautiful ode to your dear Mother. Wherever she is, i am sure she is happy to see that her baby has blossomed into such a fine woman. Tight hugs!!

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      Shireen, I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for you at that tender age. Your Dad would have been so proud of you today and I am sure he is smiling and watching you with all the love. Big Hugs!

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  10. I agree with Donna here…one just cannot think of this dreadful truth. I am in tears…choked, dont know what to say…


  11. Anshie this was not easy to read! A heart wrenching story! We can never in our wildest dreams that our parents would leave us one day! No one can take the place of a “MA”! Hugs and Hugs and more hugs!!!

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