The Lost Secret of Grandma’s Sorpotel


The Lost Secret of Grandma’s Sorpotel

Illustration: Shivali Devalkar


auline Philip Pereira died on the April 4, 2009 and with her went her recipe for the perfect pork sorpotel.

We laid her to rest on a hot summer day and went on to celebrate her life through food, music, and copious amounts of alcohol. All of grandma’s favourite foods were dished up – the dal vadas that she loved so much, her favourite bhajiya pav, which she’d painstakingly eat even though she had difficulty chewing after a paralytic stroke ravaged  the right side of her body, her favourite sardine curry, and of course, sorpotel. I gingerly dunked a pillowy sannan (it’s like an idli, but don’t ever call it one) into the ruby red fat-laden liquid and took a bite. I was hoping to be flooded with a bout of nostalgia that would make me tear up for my mai. But I wasn’t. The sorpotel was good, but there was something amiss. I dissected the dish in my head. Sour, hot, sweet, and porky, check; tender meat, check; pieces of tripe and liver, check. But this wasn’t it. A lot of people present concurred with me; this sorpotel was slightly different. It was good, but it wasn’t the original recipe mai was famous for.