June 4, 2021

Celebrating AAPI Month: Connecting Food and Culture


Malpua - a sweet, comforting pancake, popular in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Made with milk, flour, sugar and indian spices such as cardamom and fennel seeds, it’s the ultimate comforting treat at the beginning of the day or after a salty meal. This pancake symbolizes and evokes so many emotions and memories.

As a Northern Indian child born in and living in America, there was a constant blend of culture that I would juggle and try to maintain. At school I would speak English and my American culture would shine, and even though I was shy to express my South Asian culture at times, I always appreciated my roots. After and before school, my nani would make this pancake for me.

To me, this pancake symbolizes the overwhelming love and care from my nani, and served as a reminder of South Asian culture. It brings back memories of my nani and I playing all day together, and how she’d keep dancing with me to make me smile, no matter how tiring it became. When I wanted something sweet and was hungry, I’d smell the nice blend of sugar and spices coming from these pancakes. Though I was just a small child, the flashes and memories of this delicious dish and my caring, joyful grandmother will always stay with me.

My nani would always make these perfectly round, and each pancake would taste just the same. In many cultures, food symbolizes hospitality, and to me this symbolizes that and even more - culture, skill, memory, and love. I will always remember my nani’s cooking and genuine care for me, and hope to do the same for my grandchildren one day.

Shreya Puri



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