Ode To Abu

Friday, 1 February 2013

Baker Brigade - Gazeenasulu Kunhamed

Gazeenasulu or Sulu (as she's better known) had never seen the back of a kitchen until after she got married. Raised in a household with domestic help at her beck and call, and in boarding school since age 3, there was never a need to deal with pots and pans earlier. As luck would have it, she got married (while still in final year of college) to a foodie who loves to entertain and have people over every weekend. Post graduation, Sulu joined her husband overseas and spent the next decade polishing & mastering her cookery & hostess skills. A book on Moplah & Malabari cuisine by expert chef and author Ummi Abdullah was Sulu's best friend in the kitchen. 

Sulu regaled me with many a funny tale on her early days of cooking disasters. One was on how despite repeated tries, she could never get the hang of steamed rice - it would almost always turn out like kanji! She resorted to calling her aunt over the phone and learnt some basic side dishes, especially Kerala's staple 'meen curry'. These would go easily with bread or rotis that her husband would buy before returning home from work. Another hilarious anecdote was Sulu's 'puttu' experiment. Twice over the result was 'epic fail' to put it mildly. There she was in a tiny kitchen and caught in a rainfall of rice flour and coconut. In sheer desperation she called her mom who said "Any fool can make puttu" and suggested she turn off the gas at an appropriate moment. Determined not to accept defeat, she tried again. Sulu earned a hat-trick - this time the puttu stuck to the pan and she was covered in white flour from top to toe! Her husband walked in to catch his wife crying and mumbling "Puttu is hitting the roof and so am I!!" Dinner was bread that night :-)

This gorgeous baker has come a long way since then. By the time she delivered her 2nd child, she was making biryani for a 100 people in under 20 minutes! Frequent get-togethers with the women in the neighbourhood and competing on whose dish was better, sealed her fate as a fine masterchef! Her stint abroad taught her wonderful life skills, gave her a solid grounding on domestic matters, and honed her into a confident cook. She learnt time management and efficiency that helped her grow as an individual. It was like an unofficial Home Makers Guild ;-)

Last month, Sulu went on a much-awaited and well-deserved '1st honeymoon' after nearly 20 years of marriage! It is another matter that she spent much of her time in Paris visiting pattiseries and boulangeries! A self-taught baker, she now churns out cheesecakes, eclairs, tiramisu, pannacottas and so on, and even supplies biryani at times. 

Fun Facts

Easiest dessert to make - Brownies

Family's favourite dessert made by her - Caramelized Bread Fruit Pudding

Dream kitchen gadget - The Kenwood version of Kitchen Aid

Dream - To start her own dessert place

Fave ingredient - Hintz cocoa powder

Fitness mantra - Running behind her 4 sons who run in four different directions!

Fellow Showcase participant's goodies she would most like to try - Nanditha Sashidharan's Cheesecakes, Meghana Karthik's Theobroma, and anything from Ayeesha Riaz...she couldn't pick one 'cos all her pics look amazing.

Showcase Specials

  • Cheesecakes in Strawberry, Blueberry, Lemon and Red Velvet flavours
  • Eclairs & Tarts
  • Spinach & Mushroom Crepe Rolls baked in white sauce
  • Exclusive Cinnabon Cupcakes 
  • Burger-shaped Cupcakes
  • Roasted & Baked Chicken Pathiri (a wholesome combo meal)
  • Adhishaya Pathiri - a layered meat-filled pancake
  • Chakki Pathiri - a sweet version
  • Meen Pathiri - steamed prawns with coconut and onions

This will be Sulu's 2nd participation in the Baker Showcase. Her 1st time in October was filled with lots of learning. Witty, chatty, warm and beautiful, Sulu or Gazeena as I prefer (such a lovely name), is sure to rock the Baker Showcase tomorrow with her exclusive and traditional home-style delicacies! 

Sweet Life from Sulu's Kitchen FB Page

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