Monday, January 31, 2011

A strong cup of freshly brewed memories please.

Yesterday evening, as I was walking along the corridors of a hypermarket near my house, I came across this coffee filter contraption. This is a steel equipment symbolic of south Indian coffee, but somehow Kerala traditions are not in sync (I wonder why…) with the rest of the south and as such filter coffee is not part of my culture. I was curious about how it works but could not quite figure it out even though I dissembled and assembled the parts several times.
So here I am, doing what I know how to do best – google Madras Filter Kaapi.
This part of the short wiki write up is...
“The resulting brew is very potent, and is traditionally consumed by adding 1–2 tablespoons to a cup of boiling milk with the preferred amount of sugar. The coffee is drunk from the tumbler but is often cooled first with a dabarah - "dabarah" (also pronounced in some regions as 'davarah'): a wide metal saucer with lipped walls.
Coffee is typically served after pouring back and forth between the davarah and the tumbler in huge arc-like motions of the hand.”

... reminiscent of the many tea shops (chaaya kadas) that line the jagged pavements of my childhood memories. The way the hot brew  is poured out by the coffee vending veterans is something that catches any child’s fancy, atleast it did mine, I could go on watching it forever with dreamy eyes. I have gobbled up copious amounts of Parippe vadas (fried lentil snack) and ethakka appam (banana coated with batter), brought home from the local tea shop, for the 4 o’clock tea.

Sometimes I feel life is all about making that connection, filter coffee to the small tea shop, its open glass almirah stacked with oily delights caressed by flies on a typical tropical sweaty afternoon.  

Butter candy anyone?

This is the easiest recipe ever, doesn't take any time. It is however rich in calories - it's ok, once in a while we can succumb to such lovely pleasures.

Having spent the whole of yesterday doing nothing, I felt the sudden urge to make something which catapulted into this crunchy mother of all comfort foods. I got the recipe from Nigella Express, that lady does inspire me to cook. So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Take a heavy bottom deep pan and add about 5 to 6 heapfuls of sugar. Add a small teaspoon of water to it and let the sugar melt on medium flame. When it turns a pale golden colour, add 1 big stick of butter. Once the butter has melted, add a big pinch of bicarb/baking soda. Stir a bit and you will see the whole mixture rising - as in it gets a different kind of consistency and starts coming up in the vessel.

Pour it out on a flat clean surface (steel plate maybe). Leave it to cool. This mass turns really hard. Break it using a hammer or stone - this was fun. Store in air tight box and keep munching while reading a book or watching TV. The feeling is swell.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Who will tell this story?

Apparently me. Who else, in this blog atleast...

Once upon a time there was a very lazy guy on earth. He needed an army of assistants to do everything. He was also very rude. One day all the assistants had enough of him. Why not... he was stingy and didn't pay them much. So they picked him up shook him hard and told him to make a big hole and bury himself inside that.

One of these assistants could not find a second job. He tried several places, there were offers from few arab sheiks and one or two hollywood celebrities. After his first experience, he was not too sure about working with spoiled snobs and so decided to forego his job as an assistant and become an independent yoga artist. He went and bought himself a Bipasha Basu yoga CD and started with self learning.

Armed with this new skill, he aggressively pursued leads in several corporate gyms, 7star hotels and even airports - he thought it would be brilliant to guide people to meditate in transit lounges. Nothing converted into a job. And so he went back to his former employer, who had now become quite cozy in his hole.

Assistant begged the lazy rude guy to take him back and they worked out a working relation.

And this is the kind of nutty story you come up at the fag end of a lousy day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mass blindness

Is Aamir a fine actor? And what is with all the praises showered on Prateik? I haven't seen the movie Dhobi Ghat. I have just read the reviews. All the leading critics seem to be of the opinion that Prateik is a visual treat, another great performance after Jaane Tu?! I bet they were not talking about his acting. He was painful to watch in his debut movie. Am I alone wearing some gadget eye piece that is preventing me from enjoying class acting? Having grown up on a steady diet of good movies and great acting, I simply am stumped and stupefied at this unanimous verdict. I do not have a problem with the guy, he is the son of a legendary actress and with time and more movies he may grow into a decent one himself. But critics - please be kind and stop being so liberal in your praises.

Now let us come to the first question, Anupama Chopra in her review of Dhobi Ghat has written that - Aamir, otherwise a fine actor has not delivered in this movie. I have serious problem here. Aamir is a star and a very intelligent actor. But fine? I don't think so. I have not come across a single inspiring acting moment in any Aamir movie so far. I don't think he is a natural actor. I know a majority of people will not agree with this. However I will give him credit as a very sensitive director - Taare Zameen Par was an excellent movie in its category.

I had to pour this out. What relief.
Having dished out such harsh comments, let me make it clear- on watching the movie, if I feel Prateik has infact matured as an actor and deserves all what is being written and said about him, I will readily eat my words.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let me elucidate.

I have had the greatest roommates all my life. I remember reaching my college hostel with a huge baggage of growing apprehension of days to come. I climbed the 5 steep floors and as I stepped into my room, I almost missed my first ever roommate- Mahitha. She sat there at the end of the bed, so silent (!). I remember it as a dark room with this little girl and many menacing evening shadows of things unfamiliar. We exchanged awkward smiles, which didn't quite reach our eyes. I switched on the light. There, that moment marked the beginning of a friendship that I treasure close to my heart. To date I haven't found one thing to bitch about her ever. Ladies, you understand the gravity of the matter.

Later on when I changed hostel, I shared rooms first with Sethu(lekshmy), who also happened to be a distant relative (speak about the world being small) and a bunch of rats. She is simply a very very nice person and a pretty one too. 

In my final year, I moved in (!) with my best friend - Ambili. We studied in different colleges but had a common hostel. I knew everyone in her college starting from the office boy, lab assistants, teachers, her (college/class) mates to her seniors(one of them went on to become my current roomie - Vyas) . And they all knew me as well.

After completing my studies, I joined my first company at Hyderabad where I met Parna and Paramita. They were many years elder to me. From Calcutta and Assam. Somehow I lost touch with them. Sad. During this time, I was invited to a relative's marriage. As usual I was reluctant to go as I am not much of a social person especially when it comes to family dos. I couldn't make up my mind so I consulted my roomies. Paramita got up and said - just get ready, I'm coming with you. To my dismay, she was the centre of attention at the wedding. The entire clan was in awe to have met someone who looked so sophesticated (read chink). Incidently I also was great friends with the maid at this PG, I can't recollect her name. She went back to her hometown to get married, she was just 16. She spent money and called me from there just to find out how I'm doing, nearly brought tears to  mine cynical eyes.

Despite great roommates, I decided to rent a house as I got tired of the long commute, the Bengali food didn't help either. This turn of event landed me the adorable roommates and recipients of my cooking experiments - Paro, Aiswarya and Divya. I don't think I will do justice to my time there so not elucidating further on this. I would only add that this trio bore (legal) witness to the life altering event - my marriage.

But ofcourse the roommate I must hug to sleep everynight is my little doll - Rui.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mundane life

Drifting away.
Caught in a web
or just floating.

Cluttered table.
Random thoughts.
yet blank - like a black board
written and erased.

Unsettling and fidgety.
Dim light of a zero watt bulb.
School buses and traffic lights.

Have you ever been to a book reading do?

Or whatever it is called. I went for one. Amit Chaudhuri visited our campus last week. I (ignorant as I am) had never heard of him before and went to this event only because Krithika needed company.

As we walked down, Krithika explained that he is a very renowned Bong English writer who lives in England. To my surprise, it was held in a meeting room with a crowd of 50 people at the most. There was some kind of fusion music being played in the background.

People who arrived early got to take home a book. I made a mental note to reach early if I am ever to attend one of these again. As we sat there waiting for Amit (if I may), I could not help notice that most of the attendees were women. And I bet your bottom dollar (one of the phrases he used later on) that 5 out of the 10 women sitting in the front row were Bengalis. They sat there with a silent pride. Some of them looked the literary kind and laughed at some funny literary references made during the book reading which felt more like an interview to me.

So this guy walks in after about 10 minutes, wearing a scholarly jacket and some grey hair. First impression - boring. Then the interviewer who had the general appearance of a TV host started with the introduction and it was quite impressive. Oxford, many awards, rave reviews by famous writers, musician (the fusion song that was played at the beginning was from his album called – This is not Fusion), was in the panel of judges for, hold your breath – Man Booker international prize.

The initial 30 minutes, Amit stuttered and stammered like an engine coming to life. Nevertheless was a joy to listen to from beginning to end. He read passages from his novels – very poetic. Came across as a humble and genuine person. He has compiled an anthology of modern work of Indian writers – many translated from all the different languages. I need to look that up and check who all are featured in it. He joked that despite immense criticism for not including some of the major writers, he would still not include them. Salute to that, that man knows what he is doing.

Finally, I like to believe I’m not judgmental though I am a critic. But I have this nagging feeling that I approved(!) of him only because I haven’t read any of his books. Anyways I am excited. This is the first time I have seen a real writer.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Curry from across the border

I was not well today . Cold and cough with Rui at home for company. As I was tired, I made one thing she would eat without fuss - chicken. My little true blue mallu.

This recipe reminds me of an old friend, Sadaf. She is from Pakistan and was very mysterious for a school kid but totally good fun. I loved listening to her stories -  often with mouth wide open. She would drop in at my house usually before exams for combined study. Once she smuggled in a bottle of hair colour. The cap was very tight and in the process of opening it, the entire content landed on the ceiling of my bedroom. It was a nightmare cleaning it up.

One day Sadaf invited the gang ( of us 5 girls, feels funny writing this - Rui has started school, I should really grow up) home during summer holidays to help her with 'some' cleaning. In retrospect, I would say that was very sauve, very sly. All of us having never done any kind of menial tasks before went over to her place all excited thinking that it is going to be one big party. Of course that was not the case. We worked our ass off. Never since or before have I done so much work in one day! And as a reward she along with her dad made lunch for us. Rice, chicken curry, cabbage fry and a dry sweet. It was one of the most awesome satisfying lunch I have ever had.

I remember that a lot of whole spices were used. This lent a rich aroma to the food. The curry had a colour and texture that was quite unique. This is how I prepared my version of Pakistani Chicken curry after going through some recipes on the net today. Rui enjoyed it. I hope you do too.

Wash and keep aside 1 kg of chicken - big pieces.
Pour about 2 tablespoon of oil. Add whole spices - some jeera and black pepper corns, 1 cardomom, 2 cloves, 1 small piece of cinnamon and a bay leaf. Add 2 sliced onions to it. Fry till it is golden to dark brown.

Using a spoon, take the onion + spices out leaving the oil behind. Grind this along with 3 tablespoons of yoghurt and 1 sliced tomato till you get a fine paste.

To the remaining oil in the pan, add - 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon of coriander powder, 1 tablespoon of chilli powder, 1/2 tablespoon of garam/mutton masala, 1 cardomom and salt. Give this a stir and add about 2 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste. Stir this for about 10 seconds and add the chicken pieces to this. Stir the chicken in this masala for about 5 minutes - so that it absorbs the spicy sauce. Lower the flame and keep the pan closed for another 5 minutes.

To this add the ground yoghurt mixture. Keep it closed for 10 minutes, then add some water and let it cook at low flame until the chicken is done - about 30 minutes. Don't forget to give it an occasional stir and garnish with chopped coriander leaves before serving up.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wish prawns made me scrawny

But alas they dont. Still I ate half a bowl of prawns biriyani yesterday. And it was gorgeous. Despite the fact that I cooked it myself.

You cannot go wrong with this recipe. For that reason alone I recommend this if you are expecting guests. On that optimistic note, let us get started: 

Take 1/2 kg of cleaned prawns (I bought frozen ). Mix 1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, 1 tablespoon of chilli powder, a quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder and salt together and keep it aside for about 30 minutes.

Take 3 cups of long grained rice (basmati), wash and keep it soaked in water for 30 minutes.

Boil 6 cups of water with whole spices - 2 cardomoms, 2 cloves and 1 piece of cinnamon.

Cut 3 tomatoes and 3 onions into very small thin pieces. Keep 5 green chillies split in the middle handy.

For garnishing, add some ghee and fry one handful each of onions, cashews and raisins one after the other and keep them aside.

To this same pan, add rice after draining out the water (add some more ghee if you like). Fry the rice for about 10 minutes and add the boiled water to it. Add a good amount of salt. Close and keep till the rice is cooked and all the water has dried up.

Add  saffron to hot milk to give some colour to rice. It is optional. I had some at home - something (apart from olive oil, Tang and Nido milk powder) everyone with family in UAE is likely to have at home. And that's your trivia for the day.

Heat some oil in a nonstick pan. When the oil is hot, shallow fry the prawns for about 5 minutes and take it out. To the same oil, add the remaining onions, when the onions turn transparent, add cut tomatoes to it. Add salt, green chillies and 5 cloves of crushed garlic. Add about one tablespoon of chilli powder (more if you like it hot), one tablespoon of garam/mutton masala. Once the tomatoes are done, add a spoon of curd and put in the fried prawns and cook for 10 minutes.

We are done with rice and masala. Now comes the crucial step of layering. I loved doing this, it made me feel like a professional chef.

Take a nonstick vessel and grease it well with ghee, I reused the same vessel I used to cook the rice as it already had some remnants of ghee, healthy cooking you see. First put a layer of prawns masala. Then a layer of rice. Keep layering the same way till rice and masala are over. The final layer should be of rice. Add some corainder leaves between layers. You may also put some ghee for that extra rich taste. At each layer of rice, strain a bit of saffron-milk mixture on top to give it colour. You may also add a dash of lemon juice. Spread a large pinch of garam masala on the top most layer of rice. I added Shakti mutton masala as I prefer that to garam masala.

Now heat a flat pan on the stove. When it is hot lower the flame, keep the rice-masala vessel on top of it.  Ensure that you have covered the vessel with an airtight lid. (Instead you could also microwave for 5 minutes, I haven't tried so cannot guarantee the end result).

Take it out after about 1 hour, garnish with fried onions, cashews, raisins and some corainder leaves. Serve hot.

Time for something sweet, don't you think?

Coming soon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Love is .. Couple - Bus story 2

If you have read bus story 1, you are familiar with my bus journeys.
There is a method to madness. People close to me know that I maintain very erratic timings. I am like the weather forecast - may or may not reach. Despite this I happen to sit in front of a guy and a girl in bus very often.  After I started driving, occasionally when I take the bus, I invariably find them behind me. Amazing.

And why did I single them out for my bus story 2. striking good looks? The truth is that I don't know how they look. I have never turned back to see what they look like. The bus is always very crowded and after a point I liked the idea of not knowing what they look like. So how do I know that they sit behind me? They are loud. And they fight all the time. I distinctly recollect her threatening to slap him once, if he utters one more word.

In the initial stages of my acquaintance with them, I found them annoying which later turned to amusing, then affection. Post bus days, I revisit their memories with a bit of nostalgia.

They both are from Kerala but born and brought up somewhere in North India. They speak in English mixed with Hindi. Work for IGate - 3 to 4 years of experience. He loves watching NDTV and National Geographic or so he claims. She has an opinion about everything under the sun and shoots down anything that he tries to say. He lets her. When she went gaga over Shah Rukh Khan, he looked down upon her with scorn and stated that if there is a man in independent India worthy of admiration it is none other than Shashi Tharoor ( this was of course pre - Shashi Tharoor saga of catastrophes) Once she re-lived scene by scene the movie The Pianist emphatically stating that she doesn’t want to spoil the experience whenever he decides to watch it.

She has been to London, official trip I guess. Departure day, a refugee drove her cab to airport. Then she went on to talk about her conversation with the driver. He talked about his family, shelters, never returning home.

Recently I chanced upon them again in bus. She asked him if some girl who boarded the bus has sexy legs (trust women to put men in a spot).  He played it safe - I don’t know I didn’t notice. To which she retorted - Are you saying this because you are married? And they fell into an argument.

I do hope they are married to each other. They did seem a perfect couple. And if they are not pray they never see this blog.

By the way I always picture them as the Love Is comic strip couple. The two of them, snuggling to each other in a crowded Volvo seat.

Love affair with letters - Bus story 1

I used to take the Volvo (bus) to come to office. I spent most of my early bus days listening to radio until I lost that phone (too) and got a basic model. It did have a radio but gave me a headache due to poor sound quality. I then used to get lost in some insignificant not worthy of any mention anywhere kind of thoughts. UNLESS there is a co-passenger reading something.

My love for letters dates back to god knows when. I remember while at school, I would start reading a novel and would go on reading it oblivious to anything around me. Sometimes late into the night, after couple of warnings my mom would switch off the lights. But that never stopped me. I have finished many a novel under the blanket with the help of a torch. Well, what I am trying to say is that I was an avid reader. However, of late my reading has dribbled down to just the tidbits I steal unawares from the guy next seat.
Besides newspaper, I have read parts of novels. Some of them not to my taste like this lady once was reading a book which is nothing but a compilation of emails... it features the protagonist’s boss and colleagues and several emotional upheavals. Boring.

One interesting fact I gathered is that a lot of people read self help books - how to lose weight, how to gain confidence, 10 things to get anywhere you want. ‘Number 1: Always get to the meeting before everybody else '. Sometimes the bus feels like a powerhouse of motivational thoughts.

A guy once was trying to memorize lines of a play, probably under production for some coorporate event. It's a series of dialogs between a man and his wife who have gone for a trip to a hill station. And they converse about environment, world peace. Someone obviously not married wrote that work of fiction.

I have also read tech interview questions and answers, the last minute preparation on the way to interview. Medical students mock exam samples. This one time it was something like this. A child is brought in with vomiting, severe stomach ache and high fever. What is your diagnosis? Several months later, this information came handy when couple of us were discussing something related. When I went on to explain (excitedly) on how I gleaned this info, everyone looked terribly bored and I gave up on it. I am not good with (spoken) words. Should try and find a seat next to the guy reading Effective Communication.

Once a pretty old in his sixties uncle was intently reading a book, covered in brown paper. "She was overwhelmed. As he moved closer, she let out a sigh..." Ouch.

It is pathetic but I have read few SMS exchanges as well. (Blush). The most ordinary looking people pack so much of attitude in their SMS. It's unbelievable.

Anyways I have now graduated to driving down to office. May those souls in bus read in peace.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Philosophical vein is twitching

Run for your life.

If you reached this line, God save you.

Ok I need not post something every single day. Somebody (my manager) once (today) told me that sometimes silence is pure gold (his reaction to my haircut). So I will give my thoughts some rest. But not before I write the following.

Few things are very important in life. Then again, nothing is. Let me put it this way, a few can-be important things are:


Being honest to yourself. Who are you kidding? You know what you are.

Making peace. You need not say any prayer. You can simply confront accept and move on. Anything and everything in life.

Happiness. It doesn't take much. There is no bigger meaning to universe and beyond. Stop looking for things that do not exit.

Doing things for the right reasons. If you didn't, go back to point 2. Make peace. Move on.

It wasn't that bad. Was it?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tress tresspassed.

Warning: Not for the weak hearted. If you are, request you to kindly skip this post.

Ok, let's get started. I got my hair cut yesterday. By me.

I was at home, was bored to death. So I decided to go ahead and cut my mane. For the record, I have the worst hair on earth - damaged, maimed (for life), (physically) abused. In fact I might even be doing my hair a favour. Keeping this in mind - the chances of my self cotouring leading to a disaster is predictably zilch. So it was. It turned out good enough. If I may say so myself, I think it has accentuated the elements within me, kind of like compliments my personality (persona?) - In short it takes away the attention from all other faults. Don’t believe me? I met my husband's friend at work today. I must have talked to him a maximum of 3 times before in my life. And he said - hey what’s with your hair, looks like a dog has bitten off parts of it.

Over the years I have coloured my hair, straightened it. Few times, while in college, have even ironed it out using normal iron box. Yesterday was just another day in paradise, so as to say.

So here are some tips if you are inspired:

-          Always go to the balcony if you live in an apartment like I do - it gets really messy.

-          First cut some hair in the front. Obvious reason - you have better view of what you are doing.

-          Carry a mirror with you if you are not as lazy and clumsy as me.

-          Just choose some strands of your liking, say a small prayer eg. forgive me thou art in heaven cos one doesn’t know what one is doing. Once you have made your peace, simply chop them curls off. I used a pair of kitchen scissors for lack of finding anything better in my house. I recommend a smaller one.

-          Try to enjoy yourself and don’t be too bothered about the nitty-gritties - it’s just hair after all, it will grow back.

Go cut some hair! ( It's a new phrase - can be used in place of 'break a leg')

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lost in cinema

On principle I do not watch 2 types of movies 1. Horror  2. SciFi

1. Movies based on war 2. Senseless action flicks are something I watch only if I have no other option.
3. Animated movies - I have a mental block for them.

An exception to this would be the World War II movie - Black book. It's a Dutch movie. I happened to see it on TV the other day and had to completely rely on the subtitles. I would say it was worth the effort... The movie has its share of twists and turns but does not go overboard with them. Unlike most movies of this genre, it’s not (totally) tragic. It had a Tarantino kind of craziness about it at places. Also I must add not knowing anything about the director or any of the actors lent to the suspense.

Cinema I crave for?
Lost in translation defines a perfect movie for me. I am glad I got to see it. It felt equivalent to listening to a beautiful melody.

Friday, January 7, 2011

And the Oscar goes to...

Let's say I just won this year's Oscar for best blog. I'm standing on that stage holding the statue and am done with thanking almighty, kin, kith and his second cousin. Here is what I would say next (with a hint of a tear in my eye?). Thank you.. Thank you my audience, without you I'm nothing. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who visited, left a comment and clicked on an ad. Thanks Nair, assuming you did hit the button as many times as you told me about it. By the way I got second hand info today from a mature blogger - he told Vatsa and Vatsa told me - that you dont get to make any money unless people go crazy clicking.

Thank you colleagues - Sapna, Kavitha, Preeti, Sarbjit and Rohan for the comments. No thank you Harsha. Kiran, my most enthu reader. He actually reads the blog without me reminding him.
Thank you family - Achan, Amma - I eat more than the buns and bananas - you know me but I am confident I will reduce, Vyas, Rui - for the most wonderful comments. Aswathy Chechi - Thanks! You rock too.
My friends Paro and Divya - Thank you for the nice words and Divya Chechi for becoming a follower. I know I did ask you to become one. Nevetheless.
And Bjoern - for adding this link to your favorite list. I was touched.

Talking about awards, I am confident of winning one soon. Not just this year. Year after year.. The Lousiest Neighbour award.

Right after christmas, my next door neighbour, whose daughter and Rui are best friends, came over to present us with a cake. I just stood at the door as if the pizza guy is delivering pizza. Thankfully it ocurred to me to invite them in. As they stepped in Simi told me that this is the first time she has ever come into our house. And we have been neighbours for the past two and half years, neighbours like - if they sneeze in their house we say bless you in ours.
Last October, on the day of Diwali, another of our neighbours gave us some lovely sweets on a small plate. To this day I haven't returned it. I have been meaning to make something special and send it across as I just can't think of giving an empty plate in return. So today I am going to make prawns biriyani. Wish me all the best. I will let you know shortly if we are still on talking terms after they taste it. That would definitely ensure me the lifetime achievement award. I hope they are not allergic to seafood. Nah they are not vegetarians... Are they?!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


If not now tomorrow day after
A million memories rife
Some happy some bitter
I live for them, the cheap thrills of life.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oh Fish!

That's what a vegetarian would say to this post.

I couldn’t define it but ‘a’ something has been bothering me for the past few days. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, I got it. I did not begin at the beginning. I should start where it all started. I went down a few memory highways and here is paying homage to one hot afternoon of an otherwise wasted day.

Sorry, the above build up is only for a fish curry - my all time favorite food. I like it as a combo pack of rice, fish curry, cabbage thoran (cabbage cooked with grated coconut and few other things) and yoghurt, if only we had fast food joint for this – KFC – Kerala Fish Curry.

This is the first dish I ever learned to make; my grand aunt taught me how to cook this during my seventh grade summer holidays. Somehow the recipe just stayed with me. I guess this is what Paulo Coelho meant when he wrote "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your blog sees the light of the day". I see this major event of my life like a movie running in my head right this minute.

Reel 1:

She first washed the fish, about 5 medium pieces and then…

1.      Sliced 5 small onions
2.      Went on to do the same to a small piece of ginger and 3 garlic pods.
3.      Washed and kept aside some curry leaves
4.      Took out some tamarind, added about 1 glass of water and mixed well with her fingers, the tamarind’s sourness oozed out.
5.      Took the spice boxes out and kept them handy – turmeric, coriander and chilly powder.
6.      Split open a coconut, grated one half, which she then proceeded to make a pulp of to strain out the coconut milk. Of course now we get ready made coconut milk making life so easy. Nevertheless this is an optional step. Can be added if you don’t like haute curry.

Having set all this aside, which by the way hardly took her anytime, she put the pan on stove and poured a bit of oil, about 1 tablespoon. To this she put some mustard seeds, waited for it to splutter and then added the cut onions, ginger and garlic along with the curry leaves. She then measured out a quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon of coriander powder, 2 and a half tablespoons of chilly powder, stirring all the while. She added the final (secret?) ingredient - a pinch of fenugreek powder. This supposedly makes the gravy thick. You should stir it enough to take out the raw taste but be careful not to burn the spices. She poured the tamarind juice (juice?!) into this, added about 1 teaspoon of salt and brought it to boil; put the fish pieces, added more water so that the pieces are immersed in the gravy.

She kept it closed at medium flame for about 15 minutes. Here is the tip for the day. Fish is cooked when the oil separates - which means you will start seeing films of oil on top. At this point, she added the coconut milk and kept it at low flame for another 15 minutes.

If you like this to taste like an authentic KFC, add one teaspoon coconut oil on top and sprinkle liberal amount of curry leaves.

This by the way is the fast food version of fish curry. The real one will follow soon. Already tired?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rui Rui Rui

That's my daughter's name thrice. I love her to bits. She is fun(ny). Sometimes when I call home from work, I get lucky. Rui attends the call. Like today...

Me: Hello

Rui: Hello.. Aara? (who is it?) Is it Achamma(grandma)?

Me: No

Rui: Oh Jaanuaa? (Is it Janu?)

Me: Yeah... hi Rui!!

Rui: Ok bye see you.

And she hangs up.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm going bananas and buns

It's the new year here. Time for some solid introspection. When I look back, I see that I have achieved a lot in terms of body weight. Here are some not so vital stats:

Gained 15 kg in 2 years and more importantly maintained the same for 2 years.

To my credit, I did try losing some quite a few times
1. Joined Gym at work with Kavitha - went for exactly one day (no kidding!)
2. 6 months later when Gym membership expired, joined for aerobics at work again with kavitha.      Attended exactly 2 days.
3. Walked twice around my office with Kavitha for 5 days(?!)
4. Walked 10 times around my apartment - 7 to 8 days
5. Did a crash diet 2 years back and actually lost 5 kg (thanks to my father in law who gave me company as encouragement and followed it to a t - he is 60 plus). But then I gained it and more back soon enough.
6. Joined swimming class and attended - 5 days

This year I intend to carry on with my legacy. Starting from today this is the plan:

                             1.  3 bananas and 3 buns  - 1 each 3 times
                                  Fruits and fruit juice at all other times when hungry

                             2. Weight check and some form of exercise for 30 minutes.

                             3. And ofcourse, I would be attending dance class this year.

I hope and pray that I do it and not end up with doing only weight watch everyday. Looking forward to a new me soon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The most handsome dude ever

I really enjoyed the movie The Dark Knight. The immediate lingering thought right after watching the movie as I walked out of the theater was - What a morbid villain - The Joker, how does the actor's wife live with him? I was convinced that in real life too he was a psycho to have done the role so
convincingly. And then a few months later I read about his death.. I was right... something spooky about that guy.

Or so I thought until last week, when browsing through IMDB ( btw I share most of my browsing time between google news and IMDB), I happened across the biography of  Heath Ledger. Joker finally had a real face. I was shocked. I adored him in Casanova and 10 Things I Hate About You.  He was tall (6'1"), young (just 29 when he played joker), terribly good looking and dead. I just can't get over it. He was the real deal. Sad.

Just love it when the hero sings for his girl in a movie?

Pomegranate Raita

This is a recipe I picked up from my mom in law who is an excellent cook. All you need to make this is:
1.  A cup of pomegranate seeds - the red juicy ones
     2 cups of thick curd - yoghurt
     Salt to taste
2.  Mustard seeds -1/4 tsp
     Green chillies, split into two - 2 (More if you like it hot)
     Curry Leaves - 5 to 6 leaves
     Oil - 1 tbsp

Mix no. 1 ingredients together and move it to a serving bowl. Heat oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, once they splutter add green chillies and curry leaves. Fry for a minute and let it cool. Pour this on top of the pomegranate-yogurt mixture. Voila, your dish is ready. It tastes yum with Ghee rice and Chicken curry.

Couch Potato Cooks up a Conspiracy - Sort of

I am like the laziest person on earth. But recently I found out that besides being a lousy movie/book critic, I am good at something else - I (can) cook. I love reading up recipes. I watch all cookery shows on TV. I sure like to know when Nigella eats bites feasts.

So I thought I'll start a recipe blog. I hope you like it.