A fountain of youth – twinkling eyes, glorious hairdo, nimble gait, and all – one would pay a handsome price for Mohana’s anti-ageing secrets, but the generous lady hides none. In fact, her healthy lifestyle is an open book, in the vegetarian cookbooks she’s authored since 2005.
Mohana’s first book, Fruitastic! reflects her obsession with natural food, but it was her second book, Vegemania!, that set her off on a personal writing approach. “My eldest son, a real connoisseur of food, decided to turn vegetarian at the age of 24,” Mohana recounted to us over afternoon tea of watermelon ‘pizza’, berries, and veggies with dips. “He loved his steaks and wines and when he changed his diet overnight, I began to think, ‘what can I feed to my ardent food critic?’”
We had the pleasure of Mohana’s company, savouring each nugget of her philosophies from peaking in her golden years, living joyfully, and eating well, among others.
It's every parent's mission to raise healthy eaters, and it's not easy. How was your own experience as a mother?
I exposed my children from very young to eat normal food. When my husband and I sat down to dinner, my 3 boys would eat a little bit of everything on the table. Eating was part of their lifestyle and we never fussed about them, everybody shared what I cooked. My mother was an excellent cook and I would watch and learn. Now, when my granddaughter Hayley visits, we will make cookies, muffins, popsicles, and have a fun time out of it.
Children learn through touch, smell, sight and taste.
Tell us about the recipes in Vegemania! dedicated to your son?
I converted it all his favourite cuisines into vegetarian versions, for examples, I made his favourite yong tau foo stuffed with potatoes, the Chinese ‘yam basket’ filled with vegetables, for 'wine' I used water apples and coconut palm sugar… it was all about imagination; changing and substituting, cooking it differently to create a new recipe.
What are the bare essentials your cookbook calls for?
Common sense, and as long as you know how to boil a kettle of water, you’ll be alright.
A rice cooker to make rice and quinoa, as well as a chopping board, blender, mixer.