Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Will I get back those days?

The not-so crowded Chennai
Less traffic and less polluted
The beautiful unpopulated Marina beach
Will I get back those days?

The fresh milk from the milkman every morning at your doorstep
The fresh vegetables each morning by the vendor
The ever-crispy puffed rice and groundnut by the street vendor
Will I get back those days?

Radios and transistors as the only entertainment
Simple cinema halls with reasonable tickets
Lovely Lambrettas and Vespas to ride
Will I get back those days?

Only home made goodies by mother at all times
Fresh fruits untouched by insecticides
Just a Woodlands to dine or sup
Will I get back those days?

Deepavali celebrations simple and nice
Visiting aunts and uncles for blessings
New dresses and sweets, no pomp and no show
Will I get back those days?

Trust for words, truth in speech
Loving hearts and simplicity
Helping neighbours and long lasting relationships
Will I get back those days?

No waiting lists in schools
No interviews for parents
No donations, no down-payments
Will I get back those days?

Only land line phones in the house
No worry of remembering numerous telephone numbers
Unheard of personal computers accompanied by neck and wrist pains
Will I get back those days?

More of buses, less of autos
More of cycles, less of motorbikes
More space in the road for pedestrians to walk
Will I get back those days?

Vegetables, Rs.2/- a Kilo
Rice, Rs.4/- a Kilo
Gold and silver reachable to common man
Will I get back those days?

In 1960, Rs.10/- could buy a whole lot of things
In 1990, Rs.100/- could not buy much
In 2000, Rs.500/- was insufficient for a single visit to the grocer
In 2009 even a 1000 rupee note is less to buy a pizza
Will I get back those days?

Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense, but the past perfect! ~Owens Lee Pomeroy

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Potato Curry- Baby Potatoes

8 baby potatoes (white/ yellow)
Onion 2 (finely chopped)
Tomatoes 2 (medium size)
Curry leaves a sprig
Coriander/ Cilantro 3-4 strands finely chopped
Urad Dal 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Sambar Powder 1tsp (buy MTR madras sambar powder as replacement)
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
Oil 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Boil the baby potatoes, peel and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan, add urad dal,mustard seed and cumin seed and once the mustard seed splutter, add the asafoetida and curry leaves. Add the chopped onion and sauté till light brown, then add the tomatoes and sauté in medium heat.
Add the boiled and peeled potatoes, sambar powder, red chilly powder,turmeric and salt. Cover the pan with a lid for 2 minutes so that the flavor of the masalas seeps into the potato. Open the lid and fry the potato in med-low heat until it is nice and golden.
Garnish the dish with finely chopped coriander before serving.

The failure or incomplete success of a recipe often depends upon some little detail that has been misunderstood or overlooked in the preparation.”A Book for A Cook, The Pillsbury Co. (1905)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lovely time with "Tiny-Tots"

Reposting this again as this was published in 2009 when there were not many blogger friends.

I started my teaching career way back in 1985. I had the zest and love to teach only the tiny tots, upto age 4 (although I have a B.Ed degree) as I feel they are too innocent and it is a pleasure interacting with them. Later, in 1994 when we had to change our country of residence, I opted for an office job for personal reasons and stuck to it till 2004. I became busy with other responsibilities of life and whenever I was free, I had the urge to go back to my roots of teaching tiny tots. One of my good friend who is the head of a local kindergarten school paved the way by asking me to take up temporary proxy jobs for the time being as I was not yet ready to get committed to a full time job.

Here is my first write up with the first class. Just came back home after a lovely time with Sr.KG children. It was a class of 23 children, all in the age group of 4-5years old. Their class teacher was on emergency leave and I was given the task of taking care of this class till she resumed duty.

As soon as I entered the class, the first reaction was confusion and questions in all their faces. Their faces interpreted as if I had come to the wrong room. But slowly, as the day progressed, I won their hearts (Was definitely not an easy task). I had to make them learn and write '21 to 30' in words today and numbers 451 to 500.

The first hitch came when I started using color chalks to write on the board, the colours which were not the same as their teacher uses. Instantly, they objected in chorus. I reasoned out and finally with great reluctance, they agreed. All politicians!!!!!! . Most of them were quite neat and quick in their work. The number work was just five minutes for most of them. I was able to see the ones who finished early helping the others. Later, there was some reading from their English and other text books.

After all the studies for the day was done, there was a request from most of them to do some drawing. I obliged and told that I would personally draw something in their notebooks and they would have to colour it. After elaborate debates and discussions, they settled in for a butterfly.I looked around the classroom for a butterfly picture but found none. So I started my freehand drawing on the blackboard and with some alterations here and there, it sort of resembled a butterfly. But, when I drew the feelers. they termed it as antenna and I could hear a mass giggle about the same. I made them stand in line and bring me their drawing books one by one and begin to draw. By the time, I reached the fifth book, my butterfly was so beautiful and it looked as if it was ready to fly.

Then came the colouring part and I asked two of the naughtiest boys to help me in distributing the crayons which is kept in safe custody inside the cupboard. Upon hearing this, there was a sudden rush to my table who wanted to help me out tracing the keys to the cupboard, the location of the crayons etc etc. I could see the leadership quality in each one of them, trying to air their individual views. I was flooded with suggestions. There was total chaos in the class but it settled down in a jiffy as their crayons arrived on their desks. Phew !!!

The whole class would be talking most of the time and would resemeble a market place. They have lots and lots to communicate amongst themselves and sometimes would come to my table too with the conversations. If I had to talk to them, over and above their voices, it was impossible. I would start to speak very softly and within a couple of minutes, there would be absolute silece in the class, eager to listen to what I am saying. My throat became a little rough after nonstop dialogues. When I called the helper to provide me water, one girl came to my table and advised me to have hot water instead. On hearing this, I was dumbstruck. either she is so observant or she might be repeating her mother's words. During the snack break, many came to me offering a taste of their snacks.

This was the last 45 minutes of the day and I had to tell them a story. One wanted Spiderman, the other one wanted Batman and almost all the girls wanted either Barbie or Princess story. My thoughts swung into action and I settled in for Thumbelina. I tried to recall and get the exact sequence of the story. As I was narrating the story, I could see them all drift into Thumbelina's world. It was so divine to watch their expressions. I have to get prepared with another beautiful story for tomorrow. Thinking of taking my daugher's Fairy tales book for extra effect.

It would be unfair if I do not mention about the small instant fights amongst the boys and the petty fights among the girls which would be looked upon to me for a resolve. The bell rang and they were getting ready to leave with a big gleam in their face. Some came to me and wished Goodbye, some gave a friendly smile but there were a few who still did not make friends with me. Hopefully, by the time my last class is done, I will not be surprised if a tear starts peeping out of my eye when I say Goodbye to these wonderful children.

Children will soon forget your presents. They will always remember your presence - Anonymous

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lone Danya (Cilantro)

I am sure you all must be wondering what it is about a Lone Danya :):)(Cilantro)

A few months back, my daughter had told me that she had grown Danya in her backyard and she vouched that it was a low maintenance affair. She sounded very encouraging and truly inspired by her ,an urge cropped up to have my own Danya plants. Imagination ran wild about the potful of the lush-green plant and if I had a bumper crop, what I would be doing with the excess and to whom all I can distribute !!!!

As I do not have a proper garden area, I would have to settle down growing the plant in my so-called balcony. It cannot be termed as a 'balcony' as it is just a small extension of the window sill of which I have access only through the glass window.

I got into action in full swing. My husband owns a big indoor garden and growing 'Danya' was my maiden venture. I was excited about the same. I rushed to our store room to hunt for a nice medium size pot, filled it up with soil which was already mixed with manure. I crushed Dania pods and digged them half way through into the pot and watered liberally. Suddenly, I felt a sense of belongingness and affection towards the pot.

When my husband came home, I proudly told him that I will be growing my own 'Dania' from then on. He smiled and nodded his head and inspected the pot. No comments from him on that day. Next day, as I was watering, my husband told that I should not have poured the water on the soil thus making deep trenches but should have gently sprayed. By the time, he explained this nuance, alas, I had completed my watering project.

By the third day morning, I was sure to see some Dania. But, to my disappointment, the soil was bare and no sign of a sprig. And passed the fourth day and the fifth day morning without any sign of greenery.

My mornings would begin with a curious peek into the pot searching for a small life. Now since the fifth day also had passed without any hope, I thought this would be my first and last gardening project. It would be unfair if I do not mention generous emails from my daughters anxiously enquiring about the fate of my Dania. Sympathetically, they would give me encouragement so as not to lose heart and would assure me that I would get results in a few days, for sure :)

Thinking too much about this project, I forgot about the watering part today. Now, at 3 pm local time, casually when I took a peep and saw a lone Danya giving me hope. My joy knew no bounds. For a moment, believe it or not, I was jumping with joy. Immediately, called my husband and also shot up mails to my daughters on the arrival of my much-awaited 'Dania'. I watered as liberally as I used to but now with much caution as not to disturb the sapling.

Waiting for the rest to grow and guess what, now I have started wondering what to do with so much Dania :):):):) Now I feel I can only enjoy the growth of the Danya plants but not consume it at any cost. I could understand the passion of gardening now.

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible - Anonymous

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nature's gift or curse?

It was the month of October and still no sight of rain in the village. The water in the village well is getting deeper and deeper and even one can hear the pail hitting the bottom rock while delving for water. The color of the water is dark with sediments. Very pitiable sight. This is a true story of a village in India where the water shortage is imminent if the rain fails. Farmers have no work and so are the other people who work in the fields. They would just sit and look up at the sky searching for rain clouds. This is one of such year when the water table has hit a new low.

All of a sudden, one could hear the rumbling in the sky and the village is lit bright with the lightning. The onset of rain in a city would of course be welcomed with open hands but the action sequence would be to run indoors and watch the rain through the closed windows amidst eating hot scintillating snack.

But, here in the village the scene is so different. All the people are out there in the open area as if to welcome the rain with their physical presence. One can hear the cows mooing, chicks running helter skelter and even the birds in unrest.

The village was engulfed with dark clouds and all one could hear was the thunder and occasional lightning. The wait was too long and not a drop of water from the sky. Amongst sighs and heavy breadths, pat came a big drop. Then there was no stopping. Even after an hour, there was no respite from rain. It was becoming stronger as each minute ticked. Now, the mud houses resembled a clay cake of the potter. People begin to huddle in the only bricked structure of the village and waited patiently. The waters have brought out a dip in temperature in an unusually hot and humid place.

It is almost dawn and one could hear the twitter of the birds. Water, water everywhere. The parched lands have consumed enough and had no space to intake. There was knee deep water in and around the village and everyone had to wade across.

I wonder if God was kind enough to bring in rains to the village or would have been better if they were left alone with whatever little they had.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Empty Nest Syndrome

Once you read this title, you would be able to understand the depth of this post. This is the general remorse emotion one feels, when one or all of the family's children leave home either for higher studies or for jobs. This is more felt in the women of the house as she loses the involvement in her child's activities. All of a sudden, you are left with more time at your hand and not knowing what to do. This is more prevalent in Asian families where the children mostly grow up in their homes till they leave the house after their marriage or for further studies. The parent has a hand in all the decisions till the child is at home with them. Once the child moves out, the parents are at a loss due to the insecurity feeling of losing the control over the child.

Easy tips to overcome this syndrome effect:

Firstly, it is better not to involve ourselves too much into the lives of our children. Once they reach adulthood, it is better to let them make most of the decisions but of course having an eye on it, lest they make wrong ones. But, parents should always be available when children needs suggestions and advises. In this way, the child also learns to adapt better when they leave the house and more equipped to live life alone sans parents.

One should realise that there are more important problems in life and this should be only a passing cloud. It is all in the mind and one should be able to counsel oneself, that it is for the good that their child has left them for greener pastures.

Involve oneself into other activities in life for which there was no time till then like joining a health club or actively participating in religious activities etc. This will drive the energy hidden inside oneself and moreover the time is spent wisely than just sitting at home and thinking about the empty nest which would further pull you into depression.

Renew your friendship circle whom you have left years before due to commitments in the family.

Rediscover your inner skills and try a hand in developing them. For dearth of time, you would not have found time to continue your passions and this is the right time for you to give a 'go' and make use of the available time in your hand.

Have regular contacts with your child and enjoy his new life and routine.

Try to participate in activities outside the house, be it volunteering services or a get-together of relatives or friends.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us - Helen Keller

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Diwali

Wish you all a very Happy and Joyous Diwali !!!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Some simple demonstrative kolams-Part 1

These are four simple twisted Kolams. The picture on the top shows the first step of the Kolam and the second picture below shows the completed one.

Medicinal Kitchen Cabinet-Peppercorns

The most important place in a household is the 'Kitchen'. Many may not be aware that a variety of ingredients which have medicinal qualities to heal and to cure health maladies are readily available with us at a stretch of our hand. Let us go through the same with Peppercorns.

The black powdered peppercorns are visible everywhere including food courts. The exploration of the world started with the accumulation of spices, to start with 'peppercorns'. This was considered as belonging only to the rich people and was as valuable as money. It was also legal trading currency during medieval times. India ranks among the top producer of peppercorns in the world. The emergence of pepper started almost 4000 years ago and is widely cultivated in the Malabar coast in India. They are the seed berries of Piper Nigrum (Piper means plant in Latin and Nigrum meaning black).

White and green peppercorns are seeds of the same variety growing in clusters. This vine is usually twined on huge trees and takes a full seven years to go into full production. The clusters are picked and separated and dried to get black peppercorns. To get the white ones, they are usually picked and dried when the berries are about to turn 'red'. They are soaked in water for almost a week when their outer covering becomes soft and easily removed to expose the while corn inside.
The raw green pepper is reaped while it is still tender and great when pickled with brine. It retains the pungence while accommodating the salt. Peppercorns when boiled in water with little jaggery added to reduce the pungent taste will produce a good concoction to be taken for sore throat and cough. The concotion to really get the flavour, should be made to stand and cool for sometime before consumed.

Peppercorns are also digestive stimulants and a good rememdy for digestive problems. Freshly ground black pepper mixed with little water when sprayed on plants relieves the plants of insects which feed upon them. Powdered pepper mixed with salt relieves inflammation of the gums. White pepper when ground and applied to the scalp will give relief to one's dandruff problems, of course there will be a slight burning sensation which will becoming soothing after sometime.

Most of the recipes have powdered or whole peppercorns in them. So, now when you think of spicing up your food, instead of the usual red chillies, add pepper.

When you take things for granted, the things you are granted, get taken. (Phil Hennessy)

Monday, October 12, 2009



Ash gourd (Pusinika)
Red pumpkin (Parangikka)
Raw banana
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coconut - 4 tbsp grated
Green chillies
Mustard seeds
Curry leaves

Cut all the vegetables into 1/4 inch long rectangles and boil with salt and turmeric powder. Grind coconut with green chillies and add to the vegetables once it is cooked. Let it boil for few minutes with the coconut mix.

Temper it with mustard seeds and add curry leaves.

Very healthy and goes well with rice and roti. Can add all possible vegetables except Ladies finger.

It's good to have money and all the things that money can buy, but it's good too, to make sure you haven't lost the things that money can't buy. (George Horace Lorimer)

Konda kadalai or White Kabuli chenna sundal


Kabuli chenna - 1 cup
Mustard seeds
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves
Green chillies - 2
Mango or Lemon
Coconut - 1 tsp grated

Soak the chenna overnight for at least 6 to 8 hours. Add salt and pressure cook till soft but not mushy. Drain the water and keep aside.

In a kadai, pour a teaspoon of oil, add mustard seeds and when it splutters, add curry leaves, finely chopped green chillies and put the cooked and drained chenna. Stir well till it becomes dry and void of water. Switch off the flame. Add finely chopped mango pieces or a teaspoon of lime juice (either of the one). Add grated coconut and finely chopped coriander leaves.

Very tangy and a full meal by itself.

It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Medicinal Kitchen Cabinet-Cloves

No doubt, when you hear the word 'cloves', the first thing that comes to the mind is the clove oil when applied to tooth ache giving us immense relief immediately.

The word 'clove' is derived from the Latin word 'clavus' meaning 'nail'. It is native to Molucca islands in Indonesia and is also grown in India, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Brazil. It was widely used during Indian and Chinese civilisations. The tree has a straight trunk growing between 10 to 12 mts.

Clove is an unopened bud of the evergreen clove tree. They are picked by hand when they are pink in colour, and dried till they become brown. A clove averages half inch tall with a small bud on the top. It resembles a nail and hence the name. It has hard exterior but when chewed gives out a very aromatic pungent oil which has many medicinal qualities.

Clove contains the component Eugenol which gives it the anti inflammatory property which makes it an interesting spice to research for more medicinal uses. Pregnant ladies and others who suffer from nausea can keep chewing a couple of clove pods which will instantly relieve them of the discomfort. It is also used widely as a mouth freshner which when chewed emits a strong flavour in the mouth and retains the freshness feeling for a long time.

Muscular cramps are relieved on application of clove oil. When prepared a concoction with other herbs, it serves as a good expectorant. When added to other spices in making masala, enhances the dish with a tongue licking aroma. It is used as a support ingredient when cooking dishes which might produce flatulence. Adding this, will reduce the effect.

We cannot store cloves powder for a long time, lest it loses its flavour. The best way to effectively use clove is by grinding it with the required ingredients for the respective dishes or by just dropping whole cloves in oil just to extract the flavour. Just a few pods bring out great flavour.

Few drops of clove oil mixed with coconut oil when applied on acne scars will fade the scars. A teaspoon of clove powder when mixed with honey and applied to acnes proves a good remedy to cure it.

It takes a day to find a friend, a moment to lose them but a lifetime to forget them.

Medicinal Kitchen Cabinet - Turmeric

This condiment is seen in all the households because of its many attributes. Most of the Indian preparations use turmeric in almost all the dishes for flavour and colour.

Turmeric is a root of the Curcuma Long plant and has a brown skin and orange inside. This plant thrives on tropical areas with hot and moist climate. This has long stem with beautiful long leaves and each plant carries many tubers with turmeric roots. Fresh turmeric is easy to cut through, but when cured and dried up, it becomes very hard like a stick. This is ground to make the fine Turmeric powder. Turmeric is also called 'Poor man's saffron' as it is easily available over the counter and not costly unlike saffron.

Powder turmeric when mixed in hot milk and taken at bedtime will relieve the nagging dry cough. When applied to the skin daily, it brings out the glow and clears the skin of blemishes and pimples. Powder turmeric paste mixed either with water or curds applied to wounds acts as an antiseptic and also cures eczema scars. It is also cited as a remedy for liver disease caused by Jaundice.

Turmeric is used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine to cure inflammation and treat skin disorders. A thick paste when applied to a bleeding wound immediately stops and clots the blood. If applied on the wounds or warts and tied with a bandage heals the wound and removes the warts. It also acts as an effective burn ointment.

Turmeric is used in Indian weddings as customary. Traditional paste of turmeric is applied to the hands and feet of the bride and the groom ahead of the wedding.

Fools learn from experience. Wise men learn from the experience of others (Otto von Bismark)

Chowri or small black eyed bean


Chowri or small black eyed bean - 1 cup
Onions - 2
Tomatoes - 2
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves

Soak chowri for two hours and pressure cook it with salt till very soft. Keep it aside. In a pan, add two tablespoon oil, add mustard seeds and when it splutters, add curry leaves, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and finely sliced onions. When the onions are cooked and changes to pink colour, add the finely sliced tomatoes and let it also cook well. Once the tomatoes are done, add the cooked chowri and pour half a glass of water. Water can be added depending on the consistency we need. Check for salt. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.

Goes very well as a side dish with Phulkas and also with steamy hot rice.

A beautiful relationship does not depend upon how good we understand someone but on how well we avoid misunderstandings.

Kozhakattai or Indian dumpling

Raw rice - 1 cup
Tuvar dal - 1/4 cup
Red chillies - 3
Curry leaves
Urad dal - 1/4 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Coconut - 1/4 cup shredded
Oil - 2 teaspoon

Dry grind rice and tuvar dal in a mixer. Keep oil in pan, add urad dal, curry leaves, red chillies and mustard seeds. When the mustard splutters, pour water in the ratio of 1 rice : 2 water. Add salt in the water and let it come to a boil. Once it boils, add the dry mixture and the shredded coconut and keep stirring continuously so as to not form lumps. Cover with lid and cook in very low flame. When it is cooked, take it out and make small dumplings or kozhakkattai and keep in idli cooker for 5 minutes.

This is a healthy diet and goes well with coconut chutney combination.

Surely it's no coincidence that the word "listen" is an anagram of the word "silent".

Olan-Palakkad cuisine

Sliced ash gourd or white pumpkin : 2 cups
Black eyed beans : 1/4 cup
Coconut oil
Curry leaves
Green chillies - 2 nos

Slice the pumpkin into rectangles of 1/2 cm thickness and cook with salt and two green chillies slit. Keep aside. Boil the black eyed beans separately with little salt. Once it is cooked, mix it with the pumpkin mixture. When this boiled and mixed, switch off the flame.

Add curry leaves and pour a teaspoon of edible coconut oil.

A simple dish but very healthy and tasty and can be had at any time of the day.

A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lemon sevai

Sevai - 2 cups
Lemon - 1
Asoefoetida/Hing/Perungayam - a pinch
Red chillies - 1
Green chillies - 2
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/4 tsp
Chenna dal - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp

Soak the readymade sevai in boiling water. Once it is cooked, put salt and cover it with a lid for about 5 minutes. Later, strain it in a colander and keep aside. Pour oil in a kadai, add urad dal, channa dal, mustard seeds, chopped green chillies, red chillies, curry leaves, turmeric powder and when the mustard seeds splutter, put the asoefoetida and switch off the gas and then add the lime juice and stir it. Now, put the prepared sevai and add salt and stir well.

Yummy lemon sevai is ready to eat !!! This dish can be further enhanced by adding finely shredded carrots and tossing it in the oil along with the other ingredients. Since carrots are finely chopped, it gets cooked very easily. Adding carrots will bring a beautiful colour combination which is very inviting :)

Coconut rice


Cooked rice - 2 cups
Coconut shredded - 3/4 cup
Red chillies -3
Green chillies - 2
Chana Dal - 1/4 tsp
Urad Dal - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp

In a kadai, add two tablespoons of oil and put channa dal, urad dal and mustard seeds in this order. Once the dal is light red and mustard seeds have spluttered, put in the curry leaves and put the shredded coconut and keep stirring in low fire. The stirring should be continuous, else the coconut gets stuck to the bottom of the pan. Once the coconut mix turns pinkish in colour, add the cooked rice (allow the cooked rice to cool well before you toss it in the kadai) loosening the rice as you put in the kadai. sprinkle salt and mix well in up and down movement. Switch off the flame and toss the rice slowly.

Can be enjoyed with chips, pappad, pickles or with coconut chutney.

Tangy Lemon rice


Cooked rice -2 cups
Lemon - 1
Carrots - 1/4 cup finely grated
Green peas (fresh or frozen)-1/4 cup
Chenna dal-1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a sprig
Green chillies-4
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asoefoetida or Hing-1/4 tsp
Finely grated carrot-1/4 cup
Oil for seasoning

Take a kadai and put two tablespoon oil and add channa dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, chopped green chillies and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds splutter, put in the turmeric powder, asoefoetida, green peas and the grated carrots and keep tossing the mix till the carrots and peas are cooked. This will take 3-4 minutes. Once this is done, put the cooked and cooled rice and add salt and toss it slowly so that rice does not become sticky.

The color combination is too good and very inviting. This is a simple dish and can be prepared within minutes. Can be served with coconut chutney and chips.

The color combination is too good and very inviting. Can be served
with coconut chutney or chips

Hot milagu rasam- Pepper rasam


Tamarind - size of small indian lime soaked in water
Tuvar dal - 1 cup cooked dal
Tomato - 1 big
Peppercorns crushed coarsely - 1 tsp
Jeera (dry fried and coarsely ground) - 1 tsp
Rasam powder or Sambar powder - 3/4 tsp
Hing or Perungayam
Mustard seeds
Coriander and curry leaves

Soak the tamarind in water and squeeze out the pulp and keep it aside. In the tamarind water, put chopped tomatoes, salt, a pinch of hing, 1/2 tsp of coarsely crushed pepper, 1/2 tsp of ground jeera, 3/4th tsp of rasam or sambar powder and allow it to boil for at least 7 to 8 minutes till the raw smell of tamarind disappears.

Take 3 tablespoons of the cooked Tuvar dal and mash it well while adding 2 cups of water. Once the rasam mix is done, keep in low flame and add the dal slowly. Once the exact consistency of rasam is acquired, leave the mix to come to a boil in low flame. When the froth is seen on the top layer, switch off the flame. Take a small pan, pour oil or ghee and add mustard seeds and the remaining pepper and jeera powder. when the mustard seeds splutter, pour it over the rasam. Add finely chopped coriander leaves and a sprig of curry leaf.

Rasam is ready to be had with either hot rice or even be consumed as an appetizer. This milagu rasam does wonders for sore throat and flu symptoms. As soon as you have this rasam, one can see the flu and associated symptoms disappear.

Happy eating !!!!!!!!!!!

Coconut Thogaiyal

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves : 4


Coconut : 2 cups shredded
Urad dal : 1/2 cup
Red chillies (whole): 4-5 (depending on your taste)
Tamarind - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

Roast the urad dal and red chillies in a teaspoon of oil till the dal turns light red. Grind the coconut, dal, red chillies, tamarind and salt toether using very less water. Consistency should be thick enough so as to not fall from the spoon if taken. Once finely ground, check for salt.

To be mixed with steamy hot rice and ghee accompanied by Pappad or chips.

Vendakkai/Maththan (Pumpkin) pachadi

Vendakkai/Maththan (Bindi/Yellow Pumpkin) pachadi

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Vendakkai (Bindi) or Maththan (Yellow pumpkin)
Tamarind pulp - 3/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp

For grinding:
Coconut - 1/2 cup shredded
Green chillies - 3
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp

For tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few

Cut the vegetable into half inch thin pieces and boil in tamarind pulp mixed with water. Add salt and turmeric powder to it. Once it is cooked, keep it aside. Grind the coconut, chillies and mustard seeds to a fine paste and mix it with the cooked vegetable. Stir well and check the consistency. Let it boil. Add the jaggery and stir. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

This pachadi is a side dish and can be enjoyed along with all types of molagootal.

Keerai Molagootal / Spinach Molagootal

Keerai/Spinach - 1 bunch
Tuvar dal/Yellow lentil (boiled) -2 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

For tempering (tadka)
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp

For grinding:
Coconut - 1 cup shredded
Jeera/Fenugreek - 1 tsp
Red chillies (whole) - 4 nos.
Urad dal - 1/4 tsp

Wash spinach well in running water. Boil in water with salt and turmeric powder. Once it is cooked, keep aside and let it cool. The ingredients mentioned in the 'Grinding section' is to be roasted in little oil till the urad dal turns red. Then grind it and in the final churn of the mixer, put the spinach and do a very light churn. The spinach should not grind fine, but coarse. Mix the spinach coconut mixture with the cooked Dal. Check for consistency. Pour water accordingly. Check for salt. Once the mixture comes to a boil, pour oil in a kadai and once it is heated, put mustard seeds and pour it on the cooked spinach mix when it splutters.

Here is the 'yummy' Keerai Molagootal recipe ready to serve with hot rice and ghee.

Mysore Pak


Besan (Gram flour) : 1 cup
Sugar : 2 cups
Ghee : 3 cups

Melt the ghee and add enough to the Besan to make a flowy paste. Keep stirring till the flour has no lumps. Keep it aside.

Put the sugar in a thick bottom pan and pour 1/4th cup water and keep stirring till the sugar dissolves in the water. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, pour the besan mixture and keep stirring. After approximately 10 minutes, we can see that the mixture starts leaving the pan. Slowly add the ghee to the mixture while still stirring. As you keep adding ghee in small quantity, at one point one can see that the mix starts bubbling and looking very light when stirred. The Mysore pak is all set to be put in a greased tray when there are tiny bubbles on the top of the mixture and when it turns very light and porous.

Once it is cooled, it is ready to be cut with a greased knife into Once it is cooled it is ready to be cut with a greased knife into diamonds and it is an unique taste to devour when piping hot.

Yummy Rasagollas

Milk:4 cups
Lemon Juice: 2 Tbsp
Water: 4 cups
Sugar: 1 1/2 cup
Rose Water:: 1/2 tsp

This recipe of rasgulla is the easiest I have ever done and the preparation time is about 20 min. Bring the milk to a complete boil. Add 2 tbsp of Lemon juice and switch off the stove. The milk will curdel on its own. Leave this mixture for about 10 minues. Take a thin muslin cloth and use this cloth to drain the water from the cheese. Wash the cheese in cold water to remove any traces of lemon from it. Squeeze the water from the cheese using the cloth and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Boil 4 cups of water using a pressure cooker with 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a pan and let it simmer for about 5 min. Divide the cheese into 12 pieces and roll it into nice round balls. Add the pieces into the boiling water and pressure cook for about 10 minutes in medium heat without the whistle. Add 1/2 tsp of rose water and let the rasgollas cool down before serving. Bon Appetit!!!!!!

My flight experience to the USA

Although this is not my maiden visit to the United States, still the slight hesitation and doubt lingers. But, given the confidence by my husband, I thought the lone travel with connections should be a child's play.

It was a short one month vacation to Chicago. I got the first butterly in my stomach when I heard from my travel agent that there are no direct flights to Chicago, this means I have to change flights in between. But again, me knowing English and has travelled numerous times to other parts of the world alone, I felt this should not be a problem at all.

The D-day arrived and got dropped at the local airport by my husband. Although it was sad to leave him alone for a month, the thought of going to be with my children and grand daughter overcame the feelings. The first problem is the flight food. Me, being a strict vegetarian (not even liking to eat Pizza :), it is a tough task to find my kind of food outside my home in another country. The flight to Chicago via Atlanta was on time and I boarded looking for my seat. Warned by my husband to choose the aisle seat , I still went ahead with the window seat as I thought it would be cosy and not to miss the take off and landing sights thro' the window. But when I saw two men taking their seats beside me and sleeping throughout the flight till Atlanta, I repented having taken the window seat. It was a Herculean task for me to go out for my seat and politely requesting them to give way every time. Oh !!! The hostess came specially to me looking for someone who had booked Asian vegetarian diet. I was too pleased that they had not missed it. But when the food came, much to my disappointment, it was just cooked vegetables, all pale in color. The bread was too cold and would not rip out. Only the fruits were a solace to me. I started filling my stomach with juice and juice and juice.

The flight reached Atlanta. As previously mentioned, this is not my maiden visit to the US. So, I presumed there should not be any problem in Atlanta. But I had to offload my baggage and check it again as here was my immigration check. There was good two and half hours for me to do this. All is cool when thought of. But when it comes to reality, there arises the difficulties. When I came out of the airport, I awed in disbelief. Here is an airport which is almost four to five times huge than Heathrow ( I had earlier connections in Heathrow where I had to change flights while connections.) Gathering courage, I posed the query to the Help Desk who very politely told me to go to the respective Baggage claim and collect mine and recheck again. I am in a particular gate and the baggage claim section was closeby. I was too happy thinking all is well. Baggage checked in to Chicago and it was an almost 45 minutes job to claim and recheck. Left with just under two hours, slight tension started gripping in. The gate I was in is B3. My boarding gate was E14. I started walking briskly passed on all 'B's. Just then I realised there are too many gates in B. It was B 46 and still continuing as far as I could see. Again rescue to Help Desk who very politely told me that there is a shuttle which takes people to their respective gates. To reach to the shuttle, again a couple of escalators and some walking too. It was just over an hour for me to board by the time i waited for the shuttle. When I reached the 'E' gate, I figured out that I have to physically walk to E14. It was not only me who was running, I could see quite a few people who were up to it. Finally, boarded and reached Chicago. The only solace in Atlanta is we do not have pay for the trolley which is usually 3$ :):)

Having stayed in Chicago with a short visit to New Jersey to be with my elder daughter and grand daughter it was my time to depart to my home country. I was dutifully dropped at the airport by my daughter. The boarding time was 3.40 pm. At about 1 pm, there was a sudden change in the board of the gate that the particular flight will leave at 5 pm. My connecting flight at Atlanta again was at 9 pm. The reason for the delay is the sudden severe storm in Atlanta. I was told that my flight to my home country would not leave at 9 as all the flights are delayed. Some solace!!!! My flight finally took off only at 6.40 pm.

Here I am looking forward for another trip to US of A having the confidence and the experience of stop overs and last minute boardings.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything that comes along their way !!!!

My childhood days

I was born into a family of hard working middle class brahmins who also owned agricultural lands. As far as I could remember, our lives used to circle around tilling, sowing and harvesting. I have never witnessed any of my family members scrutinising newspapers or registering with Employment Exchanges for jobs. It is, by way of life, understood that in spite of the different level of education one is able to achieve, he has to finally end up looking after the land and help the family business continue. The third generation started to venture outside the town and here I sit during this long weekend, penning my thoughts about my childhood to give solace to the stressed mind.

This big mansion belonged to my grand father situated in a small town near Trichy in Tamil Nadu, India. The house has a long patio followed by a open ceiling quadrangle. On all the sides of the quadrangle, there are big rooms with broad windows. The narrow path from the quadrangle leads to a big kitchen and a couple of huge store rooms. Then there is the backyard where the livestock are housed. The tour will be incomplete if i do not mention about the bigTulasi plant, lush green which used to be a lovely sight in the backyard. Grandma worships Tulasi day in and day out. She believes that Tulasi brings happiness and prosperity to the family alongwith long life to Grandpa.

At no time, there were dearth of food or other food products in the house. There were no waiting in the queues for ration or waking up to the sound of milk distributing person's clattering at our gates. We always had about four to five cows and a couple of buffaloes at our backyard. There was regular supply of milk and milk products at home. The excess was either distributed or sold off for a meagre amount. Never our meals were completed without the traditional 'thirattipal' (thickened milk sweet). I can only recall those taste as it is now impossible to retrieve those, with the current available marketed milk from shops.

During summer, our house was flooded with cousins coming from various parts of the country, each one bringing delicacies from their place. The day starts with all of us queued up early in the morning with our mouth wide open to receive a tablespoonful of sesame oil for oil pulling. Not exactly understanding the benefits, we used to be more interested as to who would bring out whiter liquids after the splish splash!!!! This will be followed with a hot glass of milk followed by hot steamy idlis with chutney. There were no options. Lunch would mainly comprise of rice,lentil and vegetables (picked from our backyard).

After lunch, our favourite resting spot used to be a big banyan tree where sun will shy to enter in. My grandpa converted one of the strong branch into a swing, plainly made of thick ropes and a wooden plank as seat. This seat used to be very long and could accommodate at least four of us at a time. The lush green grass and the distant mountain view used to be treat for eyes. Illness among children were unheard of. No special diets, no health drinks but all of us used to be very healthy. There was a big swing about 6' by 3' in the open hall. The seat of the swing is of teak wood and the connecting chains had beautiful designs. This is one place where all of us can play at the same time. No time limits when we were in the swing.

Mostly in the evenings, there would be a scheduled visit to the local temple. There were numerous deities and it was a pleasure praying at length to each one of them. The prasad mostly sundal (cooked spicy lentil) from the temple used to be our evening snack.

Girls used to have a lovely time plucking the jasmine buds in our backyard which was dutifully braided by our old maid servant which would adorn their well oiled and plaited hair. There were no room fresheners. The jasmine would spread its smell throughout and the air would be filled with fresh bloom.

Particular mention to be made about our bathing rituals. At the backyard, in the midst of the fields, there is a big tank (almost like a mini swimming pool) which gets filled with water through a pump which draws water from the ground. This water is channelled to the paddy fields. This tank used to be our favourite place. The cool fresh water bath under the sun is never missed and forgotten. Twice a week all of us gets an sesame seed oil massage followed by thorough wash with lentil powder (also prepared at home). Dandruffs and other hair related problems were unheard of.

There were paddy fields as far as one could see. There were quite a number of labourers working in the fields and would bring the refined produce back home to be stored for future use. Excess of anything is always sold in the open market. In certain parts of the land are grown seasonal crops. Not to mention the variety of fruits like Guava,Mangoes, Seethaphal and the Sapotta. The best trips were made to the Oil chakki in bullock cart where we used to carry home grown groundnuts and sesame seeds to be crushed and oil removed. This oil is used at home and the waste termed 'Punnakku' is used as feed for the cows. The freshly ground hot 'Punnakku' is a delicacy even for us. Except clothes, I have never witnessed any other purchases at home. We would climb up the Amla tree to devour the best and big amlas. Dancing peacocks visiting our backyard were a sight to see. We also had occasional visitors of bear and cheetah from the nearby 'Kolli hills' retreating on their own after a tour of the area.

As twilight sets in, grandma used to light the sacred lamp and all of us would line up for reciting 'slokas' dedicatedly following grandpa. No televisions or computer games for us. After dinner, all of us would gather in the front patio where the older generations ends up with local talks whereas we end up playing games with a pile of tamarind seeds (puliyangottai).
Unheard of the word 'bore, boredom'. Each day is being looked forward to live at the fullest!!

My eyes glisten as I recall those good old days which disappeared very slowly on the death of grandparents and the rest settling with their sons and daughters mostly abroad. The house was rented out to a school. On my recent visit to India and of course to my home town, I saw the house still in tact but devoid of buzzing of the happy souls!!!!

Hi friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A warm welcome to all the visitors to this blogging site. Here is a meeting place which eventually would be a part of your daily life.

Thanks for visiting and enjoy
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