Saturday, August 29, 2009


When you think of food and South India , I am sure you cannot escape thinking of the soft , fluffly , white melt in the mouth idlies....Even though it is the crispy dosas which are more in demand in my house , my vote would always go to the steaming hot idlis...I have always wondered who would have discovered the equations behind these wonderful dishes... They seem to be with us ,, passed on from generation to generation from our mothers and grand mothers ....and have today become the part of tradition.

I read an article that caught my attention a few weeks back that spoke about the history of Idli.I was amused and amazed.. According to reasearcher and scholar, historian K.T. Achaya Idli has its origin in Indonesia ...We never used to make this fermented batter earlier before , it was introduced from our neighbouring cuisine.. Indonesia ...Thus food like all art links us to our own roots ...when India and Indonesia was not divided as two separate land masses and when the whole of Eurasia was addressed as Jambudveepa our cultures, food habits,art and architecture have co existed and survived and also influenced our traditions. To read more on K.T. Achaya and his research click here.

Idli has always been a comfort food for me . It is the easiest to pack and carry with us during train journeys .. filling and healthy for both kids and adults and once you have the batter ready in the fridge hot steaming idlis are ready in no time ...

Depending on the availabiliy of the wet grinder or ordinary blender/ mixer the ratio of the rice and urad dal varies . As I do not have a wet grider the ratio I use is 3:1 One Urad dal for every three cups of rice. I also add 2 tbsps of fenugreek seeds for an added smell. Soak this mixture for 4-6 hours and grind to a smooth smooth paste. If you grind the urad dal and rice separately you will get better fluffiness for the idlis . Keep for fermenting overnight. Add salt to taste . steam idlis by pouring the batter into idli moulds . Steam for 10 minutes and your idlis are ready to eat. I make healthy variations by garnishing the batter with grated vegetables before steaming .

I submit these indo- indonesian beauties to the legume love affair hosted by The well seasoned cook.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Inspiration !

What are the basic necessities for us to live? “food , clothing and shelter.”(I remember writing this down during a school homework.) But if you ask me today I would surely add one more … and that is “inspiration”.We need to live an inspired life. We only need to keep an open ear and clear sight to be inspired….it could be a beautiful flower , a clear sky , an insightful book , your best friend , a parent or sibling or even a flashing thought…just stay tuned and you are inspired ….and you can for sure see your life taking a beautiful turn.

The other day I was honored with an “inspiration award “ and was asked to note down the few things that inspire me. I started jotting down my inspirations in my head and found it hard to stop. But to mention a few…

I am first inspired by my parents. I am forever protected by their love and the feel of it does inspire me to be their daughter.

I am inspired by my teachers….the teachers who taught me various subjects and instilled good values, the teachers who turned out to be wonderful friends, the teachers who are legendary figures and have inspired me by their life long passion. They inspire always to remain a student.

I am inspired by my friends and my family. They inspire me to be happy and in love.

The innocence in my toddler and the confidence in my kindergartner give new meaning to my life and inspire me to live each moment.

I am inspired by books….books that speaks my thoughts, books that take me tours without moving an inch.They inspire me to explore.

I am inspired by spiritual talks, retreats and exercises that help me introspect. I am inspired by nature ….They inspire me to be enlightened.

I am inspired by dance and music ….I am inspired to lead a passionate life.

.the list is long ……and I am grateful for this inspired life….

Let me pass this Inspiration award from my sister Suma to a few bloggers who have

inspired me… I would love to know about their inspiration.

From Suma to Cynthia of Tastes like home, Susan of The well seasoned cook, Shn of Mishmash and my brother Naveen of Life is beautiful.

I am also grateful for a few more awards that have been showered on me recently. My sincere thanks to all my blogger friends who considered me for the awards....

let me pass on theses badges to deserving bloggers..

Good chat blog award From Ranji to Purnima

I love you this much award From Susan to Susan and Bharathy

Rocking girl award From Purnima to Asha

This award I received from Suma goes to each and every one of you who stop by and read my posts and let me tell each one of you ." you make my day!"

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Prayer !

A Prayer to heal a fellow blogger....who till yesterday was not known to me.. !!!A sincere and whole hearted prayer for healing this unknown friend .....

This is an appeal on behalf of a group of food bloggers who are friends of Briana Brownlow @ Figs With Bri.

Bri was diagnosed with breast cancer two and half years ago. A mastectomy, chemotherapy and two years of relatively good health later, the cancer is back. It has metastasized to other parts of her body. At the age of 15, Bri lost her 41-year old mother to the disease. Now, she’s waging her own war against breast cancer. More about it here.

She is going through intensive chemo and other treatments and needs to focus single-mindedly on healing and finding what treatment works best for her. Her health insurance, unfortunately, does not cover holistic alternatives which she would like to try. Bri and her husband Marc have enough on their plates right now in addition to worrying about her medical bills.

The team organising the JUNE edition of CLICK at Jugalbandi has organised a fundraiser to help Bri and her family meet her out-of-pocket medical costs for ONE YEAR.

CLICK is a monthly theme-based photography contest hosted by Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is: YELLOW for Bri

Yellow is the colour of hope. Through the work of the LiveStrong Foundation, it has also come to signify the fight against cancer.

The entries can be viewed HERE. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2008. The fundraiser will extend until July 15, 2008.

The target amount is 12,000 U.S. dollars. We appeal to our fellow bloggers and readers to help us achieve this. Bri deserves a chance to explore all options, even if her insurance company thinks otherwise.

There’s a raffle with exciting prizes on offer. After viewing the list, you may make your donation HERE or at the Chip-In button on any participating site.

Your donation can be made securely through credit card or Pay Pal and goes directly to Bri’s account.

This month’s photo contest also has some prizes. Details HERE.

You can support this campaign by donating to the fundraiser, by participating in CLICK: the photo event, and by publicising this campaign.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A train journey and Methi rotis!

Just the thought of the rhythmic movement of the train journey brings back nostalgic memories of childhood. The fight with my brother for the window seat and the upper most berth , the unending munching of snacks as soon as the journey began, running from compartment to compartment making friends , just staring out of the window and wondering how the trees and houses outside move…….the list goes on and on……

But I especially want to share with you an experience I had seven years ago during a 2 day train journey from Delhi to Chennai. I had an interview in Delhi and was returning to Chennai with my Husband. We shared our compartment with an old couple who were on a pilgrimage to the different temples in South India. I was having a slight temperature and was feeling very weak and dizzy.

The old couple started to unpack the delicacies, and shared their food with all the fellow passengers. Their food looked inviting; due to my weakness I did not want to eat anything. They realized my dilemma, and took out a pouch from their bag in which they had home remedies for any illness on their journey. They gave me a spice mix which they assured would help in any stomach upsets and weakness. Their love and sincerity was enough for me to accept this medicine and in an hour or so I felt better. They then unpacked their bag in which they stored their food items again and extracted wonderful smelling methi parathas….(fenugreek flat breads or rotis). I don’t remember eating methi parathas which were so tasty.I wished I could repay them their love and affection.

And I was glad I could be of some help when we landed in Chennai railway station. They were expecting to be received by a friend who did not turn up. We helped them to a telephone booth where they tried calling their friend, but they were disappointed to find no one answered on the other end. They felt completely lost in an entirely new place. I invited them home and they reluctantly agreed. They had no where to go. At home we tried to make them feel comfortable and we all had hot tea. Eventually their friend who had misunderstood their train number came home to pick them up after a few phone calls. They left home blessing us and leaving us with a joy I find hard to put to words.

So here’s a recipe of methi rotis I made , which I dedicate to that old couple !
Blend in 1cup wheat flour, 2 tbsp gram flour, 2 tbsp soya flour,a bunch of cleaned fenugreek leaves, 1tsp ginger garlic paste, pinch of turmeric , green chillies (paste) ½ tsp, salt to taste, 1tsp oil, 2tbsp curd. Blend to make dough using enough water.Keep aside for 15 minutes. Make small balls and flatten into circles with a rolling pin.

Fry on hot pan smearing some butter , till both sides turn golden brown. Have hot with pickles or curd or just straight from the pan.
I submit this to roti mela hosted by srivalli.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

capsicum and rice!

Each time I visit the Indian store for a sack of rice, I take a deep breath and pause before lifting the heavy bag into he cart. The prices have shot up so much that each grain in the sack seems like a precious gem. And I am reminded of the story my grandma used to tell us when we were little.” The story of three grains of rice”.
I remember snuggling close to her at night, head on her arm and hand smoothing her soft belly while she transported us into an imaginary world of words ……..
“once upon a time there was a very poor girl who had hardly anything to eat. Once her dad found three grains of rice and send her to the near by pond to wash those three grains so that they could cook and eat them….While washing those grains one slips off her hands and she goes in search of the rice and explores a magical palace under water…”.thus goes the story……”\
I still remember her stories as if I have heard them yesterday….each story filled with life adventure and moral values…
I am not going into the detailed version of the story ammumma narrated … it just conveyed that, even in dire circumstances, we should hear our voice within….and should not succumb to greed.

Now from the story of three grains of rice, let me pass on to the story of the many grains of cooked rice, left over in my fridge … which given a make over …found solace our tummies.

As I was glancing through one of the magazines I loved the picture of a capsicum (bell pepper) bowl stuffed with stuff I do not eat. So I thought, why not use the same capsicum cup and fill it up with stuff I love to eat!

Thus the left over rice after a touch up entered cooked capsicim cups!
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Season with mustard seeds , cumin , urad dal , red chilli and curry leaves. Add chopped onion (1 cup) and diced almonds (1/2 cup). Fry till translucent, add 1tsp turmeric powder and enough salt and stir in 2 cups cooked rice. Squeeze juice from half a lemon and garnish with coriander leaves.
Now for the capsicum cups…. Take a capsicum, slice off the stalk and remove the seeds. Wash well and let it stand. (If it topples, level the corners of the closed side to balance while standing) Keep the capsicum in microwave and cook for 1 minute on high. Fill this cup with the seasoned rice and enjoy! (You can creative your own filling according to your choice) ...
this goes to pooja of creative ideas , who is hosting VOW Bell peppers and JFI.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sooyi Bhajjilli Ghashi

This is a traditional Konkani recipe which stimulates all your senses…..Soyi means grated coconut . Bhajjille means fried. So Soyi bhajjilli ghassi is a gravy dish rich with the flavour of fried and ground coconut. The thought of this recipe not only evokes my taste buds , it evokes my olfactory senses …..The smell of fried coconut with coriander seeds and curry leaves is something you should never miss in your life time.

Last week I prepared Chonnyachi Ghassi.
Chonno is a black chick pea , widely used in Kerala. And ghassi is a dish served during all Konkani festivals , weddings and ceremonies.The ones we eat at the temple Utsavs is the best. This is how I prepared it at home..
Soak one cup of black chana overnight and pressure cook it with enough salt and a piece of kokum and keep aside.
Heat pan and add One tsp urud dal and 1tsp fenugreek seeds. Fry and keep aside. Now fry 1 cup coriander seeds and 1 1/2 cup coconut grated. Add 7-8 red chillies (according to taste), add a bunch of curry leaves. Keep stirring till the coconut turns dark brown. Then let it cool . Mix in the fried urud dal and fenugreek seeds and powder . You can store this masala for future use. Mix this ground masala into the cooked channa and boil it. You can replace channa wth other ingredients or combinations like Dal and a vegetable , or channa and another vegetable or green peas .., according to your taste and use the same masala…
We call this masala, Massolu.
Try it out and charge your self
I also submit this to Click event at Jugalbandhi.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Ammumma and Abu and their family tree....

The tiny hands which should have played with toys and fumbled with pens and books had to deal with the heavy kitchen utensils. The tiny face which should have glowed playing in the sun had to face the smoke and soot from the kitchen.

Till yesterday she was happy with her books and school and in one day fate took a different turn. Her mother was ill and she had to take the responsibility of her younger siblings and house.

She was none other than my grandmother….the most intelligent person I have encountered. She embraced life as it was, and even in the direst circumstances kept her faith alive.

I remember her taking one handful of Dal from the amount she had taken for cooking and putting it in a separate jar. I saw her repeating this with what ever ingredient she used in kitchen. When enquired why? , she told that there was a time in her life when food was scarce and it was difficult to make ends meet. She used to store just a handful of all ingredients and store it separately without anyone’s knowledge. When it was the month end and it was time to go grocery shopping, she still had enough stuff which would keep them going for few more weeks.

She is one of the most creative person I have seen. Creativity according to her does not need any pre requisites. It blooms with an open eye and clear thought and minimum materials.

I have tried to follow this always…in kitchen , in the house or in dance….
Here is one bread bowl (born from the sheer motivation from my kids who look for variety)

Cut the ends of the bread slices.Roll the bread slices with a rolling pin. Grease the muffin pan with butter and keep the bread slices fitting the muffin pan in the shape of a bowl.Bake it for 10 minutes on 350 degrees F or till the sides start to brown. Once done fill these bread bowls with grated carrot and dress with Italian ranch dressing and serve it hot.

Submitting this to Jihva for love , Though the recipe listed is not Ammamma's recipe , it does have the ingredient love and quick flashes of creativity which I have inherited from her.