- Do I want to be part of the wave of uniformity that is sweeping the earth or do I want to have diversity. My environmental background reminds me that diverse environs are signs of long term survival where as homogeneity leads the path to perish.
- Do I want to be a part of the only English speaking, dressed in jeans, burger chomping crowd or do I want to follow a heritage that is rich, diverse and spiritual. It is complex, confusing for a young mind but one has to go beyond the crossroads as the unlimited exciting future beckons. One should never feel ashamed to ask for guidance.
- Do I want to be a money churning machine or do I want to enjoy every bit of what I do in life. Yet never be satisfied with what you do. Keep pushing yourself to do better.
- I myself have made non standard decisions, with non standard outcomes but they were mine and I have no regrets about it. I feel if I can say this much it is significant to me spiritually.
- Let the motto of life be, I lived my life on my terms and only I am fully responsible for it.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup black currants
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups water
2 teaspoons ghee
1/2 cup extra flour for kneading
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
In this world of buy 1+get 1 free, I walked out of the nearby D-Mart with a load of stuff that I need and that I did not need. So what do you do with 2 packets of Pav Bhaaji Masala? You make Biryani :).
It was a nice cool afternoon in Mumbai when my cuz and me were so caught up in discussion that we were hardly interested in cooking and eating. This was our special sister to sister bonding time that we had got together after long. While Charu bathed Pranav, my nephew, I went to make a quick biryani that I served with plain curd and papad.
At the table, Pranav quite surprised me when he squealed, "There is Pav Bhaaji in my Biryani~~~~" Even Charu was stunned that her child of 9 yrs could spot that right where as she just mentioned that it tasted good customarily.
Here is the single pot recipe.
1 head of cauliflower
2 tomatoes chopped
2 big onions chopped
1 cup raw rice
2 tablespoon Everest Pav Bhaaji Masala
2 green chilies chopped
1 handful chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon red chili powder
2 cups water
2 tablespoon oil
First clean the cauliflower and split the florets. Immerse them in salt and turmeric water for 20 mins. This will disinfect it.
In a pressure cooker add the oil and heat on medium flame. Fry the onions it golden brown then add the cauliflower. Now add the salt and allow the florets to soften a bit. Later add tomatoes and all the spice powders and green chilies. Fry till oil separates. At this point add the cleaned and washed rice. Mix well to coat it with oil. Add water to cover rice. Close the lid and allow 2 whistles. It should be cooked right, not too soft. I used Ambe Mohor rice which is fragrant and short grained but Basmati would we good too.
Monday, December 24, 2007
4 tomatoes chopped
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon Badshah Biryani Masala
1 green chili
2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 + 1 teaspoon oil
To begin heat a handi or shallow vessel on medium heat. Fry in very little oil the onions to pink then add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are soft. Remove to cool and then grind to a smooth paste. So that the kids don't complain about tomato skin in their mouth. Mix the heavy cream in the paste and keep aside.
Now heat the other teaspoon of oil. Add the green slit chili and half of the cilantro and save the other half for garnishing. Add the cooked rice and then pour the tomato onion paste and cream mix over it. Mix in the Badshah Biryani Masala. Remove from heat. Put a tava on medium heat and then put the vessel on the tava. Let the rice cook on the indirect heat for 10 mins. Cover with a lid and keep something heavy on it, like a mortar, to hold the heat inside. Remove the lid and garnish with the saved cilantro.
Kids who like spicy stuff will enjoy it. This rice is moist and creamy.
And here are some of the Rangolis made by Vaishali during Diwali.
Friday, December 21, 2007
It is about 5 hrs drive from Mumbai. We stopped at Wadkhal for a bite and took the Roha -Mangaon road. It was a pleasant drive as the early Dec breeze cooled our skin. We had decided to stay at Shrivardhan that night and then go to Hari Hareshwar the next morning not knowing that Hari Hareshwar has some good home stays. The MTDC resort was full so we couldn't get our bookings done there and they are best you get in this area.
Next morning we drove from Shrivardhan to Hari Hareshwar about 18 kms. The elders wanted to have Darshan of Hari Hareshwar first so that's just what we did. It was 111th year of celebrating the Mahakal utsav. Mahakal temple is adjacent to the Hari Hareshwar temple in the same complex. The temples are built in the Peshwa style and we saw some beautiful wooden pillars here. It is very difficult to date this temple. History mentions that Ramabai, Senior Madhavrao Peshwe's queen visited here to worship Hari Hareshwar to ask the Lord for good health for her ailing husband. Legend goes that Pandava's performed their parent's Pindadan, the ceremonial freeing of the spirit here at the seashore the spot is know as Pandav thirtha.
I was flooded with memories of stories told by our staff who came from nearby villages of Paja, Diva, Bharatkhol etc. They always described the ferocious sea in this region and how it had caused the immigration of the villagers of Paja to move to Jivna where the sea is less ferocious. Stories of lost lives of adventurers trying to explore the steep Rockies. To me it was images of the sea lashing out at the low level mountains. The sea deep at the shore and lots of turtles. The sinister stories of turtle egg eaters moving around in the dark moonlit night with a torch in hand. My elder aunt visited there to ask for good health in the tradition of Ramabai in her younger days. She also went there to bring back staff who had gone on a holiday and never seemed to return, she was a successful Nakhwin ( Lady Head of fishing business) in those day. It was these stories that had put Hari Hareshwar on my list of places to visit.
After the darshan we took directions from my aunt and started climbing the mountain using the stairway. My elder Uncle R and Aunt P are not able to climb stairways due to age so they decide to sit near the temple. As we reached the peak we were pleasantly surprised to see a valley like descending path and the Arabian sea till the end of the horizon. It was an absolute Aha! moment. On this descend is a little lover's seat that gives an illusion of suspension in pictures taken there. This path is also considered holy circumvention or pradakshina and if done thrice legend says we earn blessing equivalent to a visit to Kashi. Not for nothing Hari Hareshwar is called Dakshin Kashi. Yet I came here for a different reason for the mystery and intrigue it held.
Wave platforms are dangerous sites if you explore on your own. It is a must to take a person from the village along with you. We are Koli and our elders know the behaviour of the sea plus my elder Uncle is ex-Navy so he knows every detail of the Arabian sea. He was with us so we were safe. What makes the wave platforms dangerous is that the sea is very deep near it and if it is time for high tide the water rises suddenly leaving no way for escape or retreat. Also the sea slices the mountain from underneath so there are area that crumble slowly when dry but may crash out during high tide. My Aunt tells us she has seen the platform widen over the last 50 years.
There is a crevice in the mountain called Gayatri thirtha that has a tiny spring of fresh mineral water. It is natures ways of surprising us with fresh water juxtaposed next to the sea. As we walked along we were surprised to see Uncle R and Aunt P on the other side of the platform. They could not resist the temptation of showing us all the things that they knew about the place so they took the opposite side of the circumvention which is flat and came there. Uncle R beckoned us, see Aunt P wants to show you something he mocked. She pointed to a white line running along the platform and ending in the sea, telling us that it was a trickle of milk that came from Kashi. A closer look told us it was a thin layer of marble seen sandwiched in the all latrine mountain.
Suddenly we heard someone gasp, Turtle! Turtle!! It had just hopped out on to the natural moss laden ramp but the yelp scared it away. We stood there patiently but none showed up though we could see a lot of them popping their heads and shells in the water. They were quite huge and in large numbers. They are now protected and that definite made us happy.
In this visit it was low tide period so I missed seeing the ferocious avatar of the sea. I loved the beach too but the wave cut platform completely captured my being. Next time I go there I want to sit in an armchair in the moonlit night and watch the sea and witness its fury that results in places that are so romantic.
Hari Hareshwar is a wonderful place to visit over the weekend if you are in Mumbai. On the way back we also visited the Dive Agar Ganapati temple that is home to the Gold Ganapati Mask found in 1997. Janjira fort is about 40 kms from here. May be a Murud-Janjira-Hari Hareshwar over a week would be great. May be a voyage on the sea.....I dream on....
Thursday, December 20, 2007
In life we meet some people to whom we are not related by blood but they are much more than that. We are family friends, this couple did not have children of their own and neither did they tolerate children messing around when visiting them. I think I have a way with elders. They always get attached to me in a certain way. Especially this couple. During my graduation year she ordered me that I should go to their home to study. I did. Tai pampered me a lot, so much so she became extremely involved in my life. She would be happy when I was happy and weep for me when something went wrong. I was never able to reciprocate her involvement in me. In fact till this day I don't understand it. Though I did try my best to make her happy it was not equal I know that. Life is full of inequalities. The people we love don't care about us and we rarely reciprocate equally the love we recieve from other people.
Tai was from the Malvan region where the dialect is Malvani. Malvan has a rustic flavor in its earth that seeps into their food and language. Today I am sharing here a recipe of Kale Vatane that I have seen Tai make many times. Tai was almost 70 years and ground masala on the pata (flat grinding stone) even though she owned a mixie, every single day till she fell ill for just a few days before she passed away last year in Dec. This Kaalya Vatanyachi Amti is best enjoyed with hot rice or Vada. This recipe is in her memory.
Tai if you are looking at me from up there I want to tell you I miss you. I will try my best to achieve whatever you dreamt for me.
1/2 cup Kale Vatane soaked overnight
a few curry leaves
1 tablespoon of oil
2 onions chopped thin
3-4 table spoons grated coconut
2 green chilies
1 handful cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2-3 Kokum/ Amsul
For Koli Style
Add 1/2 teaspoon of Koli Masala
To begin first pressure cook Kale Vatane with 1.5 cup of water until soft or 4-5 whistles. Leave the potato whole along with the Kale Vatane to boil. After cooling the cooker. Open the lid and save 2 tablespoons of boiled Kale Vatane for grinding.
In a non stick pan dry roast Onion, grated coconut, till is smells nutty. Cool and then add the green chilies, cilantro, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin, Kokum and grind to a coarse paste along with the saved 2 tablespoons of boiled Kale vatane. Here the Kokum and the boiled Vatane make the difference in the Kale Vatane curry.
Next heat a tapela/ pot on medium heat and add oil. As it reaches smoking point add the curry leaves and cover. After the crackle subsides a bit and before the curry leaves burn add the masala and fry for 2-3 mins. Now add the boiled Kale Vatane and cube the potato before adding it to the curry. Boil on high for 5 mins. Stir intermittently as the masala tends to settle at the bottom. Last add the Garam masala and allow to simmer for 5 mins.
In the Konkan Kale Vatane stands up to a chicken curry and might beat it too at times so say the Vegetarians.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Another reason for making the marbles is for smarter consumption of sweet. They can be shaped into big ladu for kids but for me marbles are perfect. I get to have the sweet and eat it too. Dad can have a handful as he is sincere with his workout.
About 2 tablespoon each of Pistachio, Cashew, Almonds and Walnuts.
Grind together the nuts and sugar to a fine powder. Heat the ghee in a pot. Add the ground nuts and sugar powder and mix well on sim till the sugar melts. Cool a bit till you can handle it and shape into marbles. This proportion gave about 12 marbles. Incase you want to make ladus for the kids you can take equal amounts of nuts. Add sugar as per taste and ghee just enough to moisten the powder so that it lends well for shaping.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
1 bunch Cilantro cleaned, washed and chopped
Without adding water mix the dough and shape into 4X2 inch rolls. Like we did for the Nachani Kobi Palak Kabab . Steam in a greased tray for 30 mins or until you see a glaze. Cool completely and then slice into thin roundels. Be careful while slicing as cilantro stems make it slightly tricky. Shallow fry in a non stick pan until golden and crisp. Serve with chutney or ketchup.
My favorite Kothimbir Vadi however is the other type I posted earlier. While the rest of my family and friends are loyal to this one.
Find Kothimbir Vadi Type I here
Monday, December 17, 2007
We found some fresh ChavaLi beans in the pod. The long pods looked great with the beans plump and tight. The colors of the pod a purple green and the beans a range of mature pale beige to the baby greens. These beans must have been a delicacy some centuries ago for an inspired a poet calls a young curvaceous girl, ChavaLichi Sheng!
This amti goes well with chapati, jowar/ bajari/ ragi roti as well a rice. Yesterday we had the yard long beans stir fried with just chilies they were so young and aromatic that we enjoyed every morsel of our dinner. Yard long beans too are ChavaLi Sheng but they yield the red beans that are small, the size of green lentils. Today the beans I used are the ones that yield the black eyed peas that are beige in color also known by the same name. Keeping the spicing light I made this curry that was completely different even though their names are the same.
1 cup mature ChavaLi removed fresh from the pods
1 potato quartered
2 tomatoes quartered
a small piece jaggery (optional)
2 cups water
salt to taste
For masala :
1 big onion
1/8 piece of a coconut or 2-3 tablespoon of grated coconut
1 green chili
2 teaspoon MTR sambhar masala
1 handful cilantro
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Friday, December 14, 2007
1 kg Fenugreek seeds/ methi
¼ kg Gardencress pepperweed / Halim (Marathi)
¼ kg edible gum / Dinka
1 ¼ kg jaggery
4 nos coconuts
½ kg ghee
Methi to be dry roasted to dark brown color. Grind methi, halim and dinka in mixie. Melt ghee add jaggery, shredded coconut. Keep stirring till you get a sticky consistency. Add the ground powder. Mix well. Cool till you can handle the heat of the mix. Shape the ladu. This makes about 80 ladus. It has a shelf life of one month in the winter months.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
At the eatery a display of typical Mangalore fare of buns, usli, uttapam, Kerala paratha, pole, pohe etc. I was feeling shy to go close for a picture so took one from my table.
and a Temple Tour @ Rs. 1.36/ km
Just before Diwali at work they declared a compensatory holiday for the entire organization. I had already planned my other vacation with family and friends and here I was with 4 holidays at hand. I decide to go on a short tour, my criteria, it had to be cheap and only for 4-5 day . I checked with KSTDC and decided to take their South Canara Temple Tour.
Well once I had done a 5 day tour of north Karnataka with them about 2 years ago. The places covered were amazing but the stay at Bijapur had left a bad impression. So this time I just prepared myself for bad hotels and a smelly coach and made the reservations saying to myself this is an unplanned tour so I need not expect much.
The tour manager told us that we were going to cover 1400 kms to and fro. Man ! It meant a tour at Rs. 1.36/ km. That is absolutely a steal deal. Yet I kept reminding myself that I should not crib about the hotels they provide. He aslo announced that if all agreed he could show us a few more temples in addition to the itenery if we paid Rs. 50 more. It was obvious that it went into the private kitty. After munching on chutney sandwiches that we were carrying with us we went off to sleep that night. The bus passed through dense forrests, plantations and ghats.
Shanakaracharya was taken aback by this scene of a serpent the natural enemy of a frog actually protecting it and immediately identified this place as a special one. People now feed the fish here on the ghats of the Tunga.
We started our return journey to Blr. On the way we were to go to Dharmasthal and Kuke Subramania. I had heard so much about the rush and my brother's warning echoed in my ears "It is the Pandharpur of the south". Yes it is in terms of the rush yet clean, non-corrupt and organized. Our last stop was at Kuke Subramania where one can perform rituals like sarpadosh etc.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We would sing as kids but that time Chole bhature was our favorite now it is Chole Naan. I am yet to find a self respecting Indian who does not like Chole.
Many claim the Chole they make is the best. Just try my version of fingerlicking Chole and let me know.
I invite anyone and every one with their chole with anything viz, pulao, roti, puri, Bhakri etc to link up here. I read Anita was served idli with chole.
Come one come all, Punjabi, Marathi, Madrasi, Bongali~~ Anne Gujjuben tame kyan che~~~ welcome to the Chole Mela !!
Leave a link in the comments till 9th Dec 07. Later I'll compile the list and update the post.
- Asha travels 16yrs back in time and chole make her home sick.
- Arundhati shares the secret of a deep brown chole.
- Easycrafts makes a saatvic chole that look nice and creamy and the secret in chickpea flour.
- Aparna's chole with cabbage reminds me of cabbage stir fry with chana dal that is loved in most Koli homes.
- K's Chole for a pressure cooked no masala frying business cooked for 35 mins yet leaving you free no sweat type recipe.
- Punjabi Chhole! by Anita and some therapeutic masala frying.
- Read about Meera's experiments with chole and the American Desi accompaniments will make you smile.
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