Friday, February 29, 2008

My first experiment in kitchen

I was around twelve years old , when my Amma was hospitalized for two weeks for an Ayurvedic treatment .
"You are my responsible daughter, ! always help Appa and take care of your younger brother.", Amma spoke these words to me as she waved us goodbye.

I was suddenly feeling grown up , and felt the whole responsibility of the house hold on my shoulders..

I bossed around the house, as if I had a tough time juggling between, school and housekeeping... while it was my father who managed the whole situation.

One day I decided to launch into the kitchen , with a women's magazine "Vanitha" ...This magazine featured many appetizing recipes. I wanted to show Amma how grown up I was , and how I have lived up to her expectations...
I followed the recipe as per instruction...but things were getting harder with time...I was not able to stir the wok with one hand and pour the broken wheat with another...the vegetable broken wheat upma, formed lumps ...shattering my hopes.. I did not loose heart.. I poured in more water ..then more broken wheat.. then more water....the amount was increasing ...I had to stop when the whole wok was to the brim.
In order to cover up my folly , I garnished the contents of the wok with , grated coconut ..

Appa , came into the kitchen and congratulated me on my venture.
I gave him an artificial smile , and warned him not to taste it as it was a gift for Amma.

I packed the contents of the wok in a vessel and took it to the hospital..when I entered her room, there were two more people from the adjacent room chit chatting with her..Appa proudly told Amma , that I had made something special for her.. and I had to give her what I made.. Amma's two friends also wanted to taste it..I knew it would taste horrible ..and felt like hiding under the bed.I held my breath prepared for the worst reaction....
As Amma took her spoonful I waited for her to spit it out.. but to my surprise she ate it.. and tried more...
" I am so happy that you made this for me.. I was getting bored of the hospital food..." Amma said with tears in her eyes..
Then I knew for sure that it was not the upma I made which made her eat more , but her love for me..

Here is a broken wheat upma for you.. but this is not the one I made for my Amma.I have forgotten that recipe:)

Broken wheat Vegatable Upma

what you need:

broken wheat 1 cup
onion 1/2 cup chopped
vegetables of your choice(beans, carrots, green peas , cauliflower) 1/2 cup
mustard seeds 1tsp
cumin 1tsp
urud dal 1tsp
shredded ginger 1tbsp
green chillies 2-3
curry leaves 1 sprig
grated coconut 1/4 cup
coriander leaves for garnish
lemon juice 1 tsp
water 2 cups
oil for seasoning
asafoetida 1tsp
salt to taste


heat oil in a wok , add mustard seeds, cumin , urad dal , curry leaves, ginger and green chillies and asafoetida.Add onion and fry till translucent. Add in the vegetables and stir well. Mix in the broken wheat and stir till it starts browning.. meanwhile boil water in a separate vessel. Add in the boiled water , while stirring the contents of the wok,... Add salt to taste and stir well.. keep closed for a few minutes . garnish with lemon juice, grated coconut and coriander leaves...

Have it as it is hot or with any Daal or sambar !
This goes to WBB Healthy eats hosted by Suganya.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


He is catching up with the news , browsing through the news paper after dinner. Hand involuntarily moving from the bowl full of grapes to mouth.
She sits down with the good housekeeping magazine.

She : So when will you ever learn?

He: what?

She: What is your weight?

He: (pursing his lips) I did not check.

She : So when will you check?

He : don't know

She: Did you exercise today?

He: No

She: yesterday?

He: No

She : what all food did you have today?

He: Whatever you packed for me!( face full of innocence)

She: You sure you did not have any thing else?

He: nothing that I can remember.

She: So when did you have this( she is showing golden wrapper....the ones which comes with chocolates)?

He: what? Oh! that I don't exactly remember!

She: (This act of innocence , is what makes her loose her control) Why don't you keep a food dairy.....if you have a passion to do something you can do it...( her voice slowly breaking)
Do you remember when you started promising me to take care of your health? how much can I do? I am really worried! When will you ever start to take care?

He: ( seeing her eyes filled with tears he slowly grasps the seriousness of the situation. he is soft and mellow) You are there to take care na?

She: (she has decided not to give up)Don't try to play with me?

He: I promise you.....I will be more careful more chocolates............I am going to keep a record of what I eat.............happy?

She:I don't believe you....(she off to sleep)

Next day ....He is busy doing exercise when she wakes up.Her heart melts(she still tries to keep a stern countenance).The whole day he is making loud plans to start walking regularly....
In a week he brings home an exercise bike....and is burning calories regularly.

She wants to make up for all that she blurted out that night....she is only happy to have motivated him....

She is reminded of an easy chocolate recipe....
she blends together 1/2 cup Marie biscuit powder,
1/2 cup coconut milk powder
1/2 cup drinking chocolate powder
1/2 cup condensed milk
makes a dough....a mold different shapes with it.....

She : this is for you...

He:(is cautious and watching her reaction) I'll just take one....(while scooping two)

I Submit these temptations to valentine's day theme hosted by pooja.
and to heart for your valentine event.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Legume loveaffair!

Just 10 more days to go.....she thought. Her house was buzzing with activity....uncles aunts , cousins.....zooming in and out of the house...there was laughter , gossip, unending chatter resonating from all corners of the house.It was a celebration!

She too immersed herself in the aura of joy and love that filled her house....The thought of leaving her house in the next 10 days made her throat ache. And she knew everything would be different....a new house , a new family , a new way of life .....and a new friend for life. She was mentally preparing to embrace this newness, still yearning to hold on to each moment.

" The pandit is here! are you ready ? " some one shouted from the veranda.
She went in the pooja room , a place she felt calm and composed . She closed her eyes in front of the lighted lamps, and unable to find words of prayer...she just remained as she was feeling not excessive joy nor sorrow .. but hope and love!

Pandit came into the pooja room and asked her to bring the nava dhanya or nine pulses. He filled the nine small clay pots with soil , watered it and asked her the scatter the pulses in each of the pots.
Then he recited a few Sanskrit slokas .
" panditji, what is the significance of all these rituals? could you please explain to me? " she en quired.

" I am glad that you asked. You will have to take care of these nine pots for the next nine days. water it when needed ...and see it germinate and grow. This same ritual is also performed in the bride groom's house. The healthy growth of these legumes will predict the depth and beauty of your marriage. Do not let it get soggy nor let it wither... its up to you! " Panditji answered with a teasing smile.

And for the next nine days she visited the pooja room every hour monitoring the minute changes....even though it was just a ritual , she believed it had a lot to teach her....the same care , love and hope that let her legumes to germinate would sprout a healthy and beautiful relationship.And each day as she sat looking at those tiny pods spring to life, activating dormant enzymes it was teaching her life lessons. Thus began her legume love love affair!

Whenever I soak green gram over night to make sprouts ... it does take me back to my daily vigil in my pooja room.
Moong sprouts are my favorite , it is a no hassle food.. no cutting , peeling shredding.. just soak it overnight. drain the water and let it sprout!
So here goes my entry for the legume love affair hosted by Susan of the well seasoned cook...

What you need:

1 cup of moong(green gram)
1/4 cup of fenugreek seeds
1/4 cup of grated coconut
1tsp chilli powder
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp musturd seeds
sprigs of curry leaves
2-3 shallots(optional)
1tsp oil
1tsp lemon juice
salt to taste


Wash and soak moong and fenugreek seeds overnight. Let it drain and tie it in a wet muslin cloth or drain it in a colander. If in a colander just sprinkle water once in a while. Let it sprout.
Heat oil in a pan. splutter mustard seeds , add in curry leaves. sprinkle some asafoetida, add in the sprouts. Add some water. only enough to cook the sprouts. meanwhile blend the grated coconut, chilly powder, turmeric powder , some curry leaves,jeera or cumin seeds and chopped shallots.mix well either with hand or coarsely grind it.Once the sprouts are cooked , which would take 5-6 minutes, add in the coconut mix.add salt and mix well. squeeze in the lemon juice just before serving!

This goes well with rice or any bread or even just as a snack!
remember , this is packed with lot of health!To read on the health benefits of sprouts click here.

Thank you Susan for triggering the memories of my legume love affair! I think this post will also be right for the valentine's day theme hosted by Pooja of creative idea... though it is not a pink dish... lets go green !