The ‘Mishrana’ coffee table book is a meeting point of recipes from India and the Japanese art of Ikebana

The coffee table book, ‘Mishrana’, facilitates a meeting point of recipes from India and Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging

The coffee table book, ‘Mishrana’, facilitates a meeting point of recipes from India and Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging

mishrana means mixture and a coffee table book so titled presents a mixture of floral arrangements and recipes from Indian cuisine. Seventy-five Ikebana practitioners, the majority of them from Hyderabad, provided one Ikebana arrangement and corresponding recipe each, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and mark the 70th anniversary of Indo- Japanese. Co-written and co-edited by Rekha Reddy, Indumathy Davloor, Padma Duvvuri and Nirupa Reddy, mishrana celebrates both Indian cuisine and Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.

A Telugu favorite such as the palli karam podi (tasty peanut powder) is complemented by an Ikebana arrangement with bougainvillea flowers, philodendron and peanut shoots turned over to reveal the freshly harvested peanuts, in a vintage brass container on a wooden base. To cite another example, Anjeer basundi (fig delight) is paired with an Ikebana arrangement of a fig tree branch with other flowers, leaves and shoots, placed in ceramic vases.

Mishrana book cover

Mishrana book cover | Photo credit: special arrangement

Rekha Reddy, one of the city’s leading Ohara Ikebana practitioners, says a vetting process ensured that none of the 75 participants repeated an Ikebana recipe or arrangement. Participants gave a choice of three recipes and the co-authors selected one, and the recipes were standardized to serve four.

mishrana had been in the works for over two years, stopping intermittently during the pandemic and attendees waiting for seasonal plants to grow at different times of the year. Rekha explains that it was not as simple as buying fruits, vegetables and flowers at the market or depending on a friend’s garden: “One participant was growing baby potatoes, another was growing peanuts and a another waited impatiently for his mustard plants to flower.

Chef Partha Chakrabarti and Chef Suman of Marigold Hotel, Hyderabad helped coordinate the culinary shoots. City photographer Arvind Chenji filmed the food and Ikebana arrangement.

The idea for this book came from Ikebana practitioners in Hyderabad and later a few others showed interest in being part of it, says Rekha. “We did not actively contact all Indian chapters as this would have become a huge exercise.”

A 'kara adai' recipe and rice plant Ikebana arrangement

A ‘kara adai’ recipe and rice plant Ikebana arrangement | Photo credit: special arrangement

Beginners as well as great masters of Ikebana from different walks of life – housewives, doctors, lawyers and artists – have contributed to the book. mishrana begins with recipes and flower arrangements from Shamala YR Reddy, Shyamala Ganesh, Sita Sastry V and Mythili Ramaswamy, enthusiastic women in the 70s and 80s, and the rest of the book lists Ikebana practitioners in alphabetical order.

The basic material – cast iron pans, wooden logs, paniyaram ceramic pots, plates and vases, and the simple banana leaf, is as varied as the recipes, leaves, flowers, twigs, pods and seeds.

Previously, Rekha and other Ikebana practitioners released a book titled Flowers and loomsestablishing a parallel between floral compositions and textiles.

(Mishrana is priced at ₹1200 and available at The Paper Planes Shop ( For details, email [email protected])

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