Heena Patel

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Joined La Cocina: May 2013

Written by Geetika Agrawal, La Cocina staff since 2013

On visits to my parents, I look forward to Sunday morn ings. I lie awake, listening to the sounds of home. I hear my mom singing along to Bollywood film songs on Bolly 92.3, the thump of her old metal masala dabba on the counter, the clang of a steel karahi on the stove. It’s not a quiet affair. Once the smell of frying cumin travels up the stairs, it’s time to get out of bed. It’s aloo puri time.

Heena Patel’s first aloo puri memory is from when she was six. Her London-based aunt arrived by boat to their Mumbai family home, unexpected, at 2 a.m. Heena’s mother, after a quick, teary embrace, headed straight into the kitchen. Heena remembers rolling one hundred small balls of whole-wheat, turmeric-spiced puri dough. By the time the puris were crisp and the aroma of frying cumin for batata nu shaak filled the air, everyone—from children to grandparents—was up celebrating the arrival of family from afar.

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