Showing posts with label Vegetarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegetarian. Show all posts

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to grow perfect green gram/ moong beans sprouts

When I was a kid I was a very willful child. I am still one. But I was a total mess when it was about food. I would refuse to eat a lot of things and take hours to finish the food on my plate. Being the eldest grandchild I was pampered and spoilt. It was usually my maasi's duty to feed me.  It was routine torture for her. I hear tales of my greatness till date in family gatherings. And I shamelessly smile about my silliness. Eating healthy was a far off thing. I would stay miles and miles away from milk, green vegetables etc. Anything which fell in the bracket of "healthy eating" was a big NO. None in the family would have ever imagined that I would write a food blog and blog about eating healthy.

I am a total opposite of what I used to be, even few years ago. My pantry would be stocked with junk food ... chips, chocolates and ice-cream was a staple. Not sure how this transformation happened. But I am glad it did. I guess it was hibernating somewhere in the sub conscious mind. I come from a family where eating healthy is the norm. But we do indulge once in a while.

Last week before going for grocery, I was checking my pantry and making a mental list of things I had to buy. I forget half of the necessary things though. I will talk about that some other day. So there was little green gram sitting quietly. These days dinners are more about salads .... so I thought why not !

Today my post is about how to grow the perfect sprout, the base for a good sprout based salad/ dish.

Health Benefit of Green Gram Sprouts

Mung bean sprouts is very common and one of the easiest to do. It is low in calories, have fiber and B vitamins, and deliver a boost of vitamins C and K. (Source - Google) 

How to grow the perfect Green Gram/ Moong beans sprouts

What you need

Whole Moong Beans (Make sure they are not too old) - 1/2 cup
A close box to make the beans sprout. (I used a wide mouth stainless steel one)C
Clean cotton cloth.


Method of Preparation

Wash the green gram/ moong beans under running water.
Soak overnight in enough water . (Or for 6-8 hours)
Drain the water. Wash one more time under running water.
Take a clean cotton cloth and wet it. Wring to remove excess water
Tie the moong daal in the cloth and keep it covered in a food container / box for a day.
Next day, you can see tiny sprouts.
Again take them out, and wash under water. Drain the water and repeat process till the sprouts grow little longer.

You can store them in air tight container/ zip lock bag for 2-3 days in the fridge. Best consumed fresh.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Methi Daal - Lentil Soup flavored with fenugreek leaves.

Nothing beats a home cooked meal .... but having the same staple food everyday can get a bit boring. And with the temperature soaring high I just wish I had a magic wand. That I could just wish and food would be served. The other option left is eating out or ordering food. That can surely solve the problem to an extent but that ain't  a permanent solution, especially for a person like me who is paranoid of calculating calories and is very picky about what oil the restaurant uses for cooking, blah blah ..... 
So, these days I am trying to tweak n twist some of my everyday recipes to make it little more interesting. And the best part is without much effort.
Lentils are an integral part of Indian cooking. There are a plethora of lentil or daal recipes in Indian cooking. Every Indian home has their own way of cooking it. In my place we normally have toor daal/ pigeon pea as a staple. The daal is pressure cooked adding salt and turmeric powder and in the end seasoned with tadka of spices. 

So today while cooking, I added a twist by adding some dry fenugreek leaves .... It was not much an effort but it took the otherwise everyday boring daal/ lentil soup to another level. 

Food Facts
  • Toor Daal/ Pigeon Peas is a rich source of protein for vegetarians.
  • It also has a good amount of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins.
  • It is high in dietary fibre.
  • Toor dal contains folic acid, an important vitamin for all women especially those planning to become pregnant.
  • Studies have shown that the fibers in fenugreek help prevent certain cancers.
  • Fenugreek contains saponins that help reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol from fatty foods. Some studies also indicate saponins to have a role to play in reducing the body’s production of cholesterol, especially the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

(Makes -3) 

Split Toor/ Tuvar/ Arhar Daal / Pigeon peas - 1/2 cup
Garlic Pods - 4 (large ones)
Dry Red Chilies - 1
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Dry Fenugreek leaves (Kasturi Methi - Available is Indian Grocery stores) - 2 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1.5 cups
Salt to taste

Method of Preparation

Take good quality lentils. This is the first step towards making a great dish. Wash and soak the daal for about 30 minutes. This will save the cooking time. Peel the garlic pods and crush them using a small mortal and pestle. Alternately, you can finely chop it. Using a kitchen scissor, cut the red chili into small pieces removing the seeds.

Now take the daal/ lentil in a pressure cooker. Add water to it. Add salt and turmeric powder to it and cook for about 2 whistles on medium flame. You can also cook it in any other vessel with a lid till its soft and cooked. 

After the lentils are cooked. Take oil (You can also use Ghee) in a small wok/ tadka pan and bring it to a smoking point. Add cumin seeds and let it crackle. Then add garlic, red chilies and asafoetida. In the end add the dry fenugreek leaves (Adding it in the beginning can burn it and it will loose it's delicate flavor) . Remove from heat and add the mixture to the daal. Stir and close the lid of the cooker.  

Serve warm with rice or roti.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ghee/ Clarified Butter ....... Home made from scratch

Certain things clearly intimidate me ..... one such thing was making ghee/ clarified butter from scratch. But finally I overcame my fear by facing it.I grew up in a kitchen where everything was made from scratch. I fondly remember my grandmother making ghee in an era when there was no hand blender or mixer-grinder. Those days she used a wooden hand blender called "Gholona" in odiya. Making ghee from milk cream was more of a ritual those days. There was a special vessel which was strictly used to making ghee, an old discolored aluminum pan. The aroma of freshly made ghee would fill the entire house and sometimes the neighbor's too. I remember scrapping the light brownish color milk solids from the bottom of the pan. Aai (Grandma) and myself loved this residue called "korua". We would take a generous helping of the korua and mix it with a bowl of puffed rice with some sugar. It tasted delicious to say the least. I have not had this for a very long time. 
Ghee is widely used in Indian cooking.The use of ghee in Indian cooking has been well documented in Ayurveda. 

Food Facts

Ayurveda recommends one teaspoon or less ghee per meal.Ghee can actually help to increase HDL, the good cholesterol.  Some additional reasons to use ghee when preparing your food are:
• Digestion (helps absorb and assimilate nutrients)
• Improves memory
• Helps increase flexibility by lubricating the connective tissues
• Carries the medicinal properties of herbs into tissues (yogavāhi)
• Stimulates the liver to produce fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K

Milk cream - 2 cups
Curd - 7-8 tsp
Making Ghee from Scratch
Making ghee from scratch, begins with the collection of milk cream. When milk is boiled and cooled down, a layer of milk solid called cream/ malai is formed. You need to collect this for about a month and keep it refrigerated till you collect a decent amount (about 2 cups).
Day -1
When cream is collected, remove the cream from the refridgerator a night before and keep it in room temperature. Mix about 7-8 teaspoons of curd to the cream and blend well till curd and cream is incorporated evenly. Let it sit in room temperature for a day. The curd will help ferment the milk solids. 
Day -2
Now take about 2 cups of water (not very cold but room temperature) in a tall mixie jar. Add about 4-5 teaspoons of the cream n curd mixture and pulse it for few seconds. You will notice the butter floating on the water. Extract this butter and keep in a heavy bottom Kadhai/Wok. Repeat process till you extract all the butter. 
Now switch on the flame and keep the wok on medium flame. The butter will start melting and forming a foam. After about 20- 25 minutes you will see golden color ghee separated from the solids. Switch off flame and let it cool down completely. 
Strain the ghee to separate the milk solids. Store in a clean n dry bottle/ can at room temperature.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Curried Chickpeas aka Chole/ Choley

Yah I am back blogging after an era literally. Hopefully this time for good ..... If you have been a regular on my blog you should be familiar with my style. There is a little story/ narration and a recipe. Since I am back after a very long time, I decided to twist my style and make it more versatile depending on the mood.
Because it is summer time and we all are in the mood to flaunt our beach bodies ...... or you might be in the other category as me, struggling to loose some weight, particularly those love handles:)

While I can vouch that there is no magic that helps shed those extra kilos, healthy eating habits and a little bit of working out won't hurt. Intact if one is consistent, you can see the results in a few months. Yah you heard it right, "months". The goals need to be realistic.
So this series is all about healthy eating ...... You don't have to starve to loose those extra kilos.

Choley or curried chickpeas is a very versatile dish and can be done in several ways. The style of preparation also varies from region to region.
This recipe is a milimalistic one with very little oil and spices and can be prepared under 30 minutes.

Food Fact 

Chickpeas are high in fibre and protein, and they have a low glycemic index. This powerful combination can help control your weight and lower the bad cholesterol levels. They are also rich in protein and packed with vitamins that are easily absorbed by our body

Chickpeas/ Kabuli chana/ Choley - 1.5 cups 

Boiled Potato - 1 small

Garlic pods - 12 (medium size ones)
Onion - 1 medium
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Tomato - 1
Green chili  - 1 (You can use more if you like spicy)
Choley Masala - 2 tsp (You can use any store bought one but I used MDH as I like it better)
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking - 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp

Method of Preparation
1. You can soak the chickpeas for 8-9 hours (overnight). Then pressure cook it adding salt, 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and the garlic pods. The chickpeas should be soft when cooked. You can add a small potato to the chickpeas and boil if along with it to save time.
2. Finely chop onion, garlic, tomatoes and green chili and keep aside. Mash the boiled potato. 
3. Now put a kadhai/ wok on the stove and switch on the flame. Add 2 tsp of vegetable/ olive oil. When the oil is hot, add green chilies and ginger first. Sauté for a minute and then add the finely chopped onions to it. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Add tomatoes and cook till the masala has no raw smell and starts leaving oil from the sides. 
4. Now add 2 tsp of MDH Chola Masala (or any other masala brand you like) and immediately add the boiled chickpeas/ choley to it. Add mashed potatoes and stir the mixture lightly to blend in. Simmer on low flame for 10 - 15 minutes. You can taste the salt and add more  to the gravy if needed.(Mashed potato helps make the gravy thicker)
5. Switch of the flame and add chopped fresh coriander leaves to it.

Serving Suggestion

Goes well with any flat bread (poori, paratha, phulka / roti etc)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The guy next door and Baby Potatoes Masala

The first time we met was in the elevator of our apartment. I smiled at him and he too did shyly as our eyes met. And even before we could steal glances the elevator stopped and we departed. And I secretly wished to meet this guy again. We had shifted to our new home ..... a newly built apartment overlooking the swanky IT hub of ITPL. And I got on with my work, running around the interior guys, fixing things and settling down that I almost forgot about this guy. 
It was a lazy sunday morning and I was sipping my morning tea when I heard some voices in the corridor. Eager as I was to make new friends and socialize I rushed to open the door. It was the same guy ..... Good Lord we are neighbors, I said to myself. As I picked up the newspaper and the milk packets from the front door I greeted him with a "Hi" and so did he with some reservations. 
It's been over a month now .... and we meet often. He is no longer shy but demanding ....... We have opened up. And we love to spend time together especially in the evenings. And on days when we don't we both get anxious. 
And yes ....... I do share my special meals with him as good neighbors should. So last time I made potato finger chips, I sent a plateful of it. It was late eve and J was back from work and I was in the kitchen prepping for dinner. The door bell rang. My husband answered it .... and there he was standing at the door. He conveniently ignored J and peeped inside to see if he could find me around. I knew it was him. I wiped my wet hands and rushed to the door. I kneeled down so that I could see his face clearly in the dim ambience lights. He kissed me lightly on my cheeks and said "Thank you Aunty, the finger chips were yummy and then paused to say "just like you" ! Meet him he is lil D ( a six year old) my next door neighbor and my secret admirer. 

So here I am back after almost a year of blog break. And nothing fancy but a comfort meal as one can never get wrong with potatoes. 

Preparation Time - 30 minutes
Serves - 2 
Baby Potatoes - 250 gms
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 small
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 4-5 pods
Cinnamon - 1 inch 
Cardamom - 2 
Bayleaf - 1
Cumin Powder - 1 pinch
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1 small pinch
Cayenne Pepper/ Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt -  to taste 
Oil for cooking 

Method of Preparation

1.  Prik the potatoes with a fork and boil them in a pressure cooker adding some salt to it. When done      peel and keep aside. 
2.  Make a paste of Onion, ginger and garlic. Puree the tomato separately.
3. In a wok add about 2 tsp of oil and a pinch of turmeric to it. When the oil gets smoking add the potatoes and toss it for few minutes till lightly browned. Remove and keep aside.
4. Take another 2 tbsp of oil in a wok. When warm add cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf. Now add the onion ginger garlic paste to it. Stir and fry the masala till the masala is cooked and there is no raw smell. Add tomato puree, turmeric, cumin powder,chili powder and salt. Cook for few more minutes till the masala starts leaving oil at the sides. Finally add a pinch of garam masala to it.
5. Add the potatoes to the masala and mix well so that the potatoes get coated with the masala.
6. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves. (Optional).

Serve warm with your choice of roti/ paratha/ naan. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cheena Tarkari aka Cottage cheese dumpling curry .....

I WAS a fussy eater ...... well not any more. The list of things that would not make it to the plate far more out numbered the ones that did. Milk and it's bi-products were a BIG NO for me. The milk had to be religiously strained before adding a liberal amount of Bourvita to it. There should be NO malai in the milk and it should taste anything but not milky. Paneer was also in the DISLIKE list. I had my own criteria ...... Paneer (Cheena) as rasogolla was fine, even Cheena Poda (another traditional sweet from Odisha) was fine but not Cheena Payesh or even for that matter steamed paneer cake. Forget about Paneer Curry and all that ...... 
And I am sure you would not want to go through the long list of vegetables ..... Except for Potatoes, Cauliflower, Peas, and a select few everything else !
Not just that I would sit with food on my plate for hours. My tantrums were unlimited.

Either my parents had given up on me as a hopeless case or had loads of patience. I have to go with the later ..... not because I am biased but because it was their patience and perseverance of not giving up on me that I am a foodie now !! Yeah Rome was not built in a year. 
My parents would constantly worry about my eating habits especially when I would have to leave their nest and go out to make a life of my own. No matter how stern mom looked she wept like a baby when she left me at my hostel. And the real world beckoned upon me ...... Bitter gourd curry was served for dinner the first night at my hostel along with some other greens, curd, rice, sambar and chappati. Tears welled up and was chocked. Either I had to eat or starve. I served a small spoon of rice and sambar and tried to swallow it. And I have to say that my stay in the hostel taught me many lessons of life .... including food !! And I changed my habits for the better. 

The next time I visited home after my first semester break ..... my family was quite surprised to meet the no more fussy eater. I ate all and with delight. And today my list of food that I don't eat has shrunk and if ever I am made to do a thank you speech on who changed my food habits, it has to be the horrible cook of my hostel ...... lol

About the recipe ........

Cottage cheese is called Cheena in the eastern part of India. This curry is very typical to Odisha/ West Bengal. Goes well with Indian Flat Bread ( Roti/ Phulka/ Chappati/ Poori/ Paratha etc ). Best when consumed fresh.
Preparation Time - 30 minutes

Serves - 2 
Cottage Cheese - 250 gms
Baking Soda -  1 pinch
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 small
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 4-5 pods
Cinnamon - 1 inch 
Cardamom - 2 
Fennel - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - 1 pinch
Cashew nuts - A handful
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1 small pinch
Cayenne Pepper/ Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt -  to taste 
Oil for cooking 
Method of Preparation
1. Knead the Cheena/ cottage cheese after adding baking soda to it to make a soft pliable dough. Pinch out small balls of the cottage cheese and roll between your palms to make smooth balls.  Heat oil in a kadhai/ wok to medium heat and fry them till they are golden brown. Remove and drain on a kitchen paper towel to remove excess oil. Keep aside.
2. Make a paste of Onion, ginger and garlic and cumin seeds . Puree the tomato separately. Make a paste of cashew nuts. Keep aside
3. Take 2 tbsp of oil in a wok. When warm add cinnamon, cardamom and fennel seeds. Now add the onion ginger garlic cumin paste to it. Stir and fry the masala till the masala is cooked and there is no raw smell. Add tomato puree, turmeric, chili powder and salt. Cook for few more minutes till the masala starts leaving oil at the sides. 
4. Add the cashew nut paste to it and simmer. Add garam masala. If needed add water to adjust the consistency.
5. If you are making this dish in advance, heat the gravy and add the Cheena balls to it just before serving. Else they tend to soak the gravy and make it dry.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Palak Paneer Laasuni ....... memories of Diwali

That morning was unusually calm. The marigolds that decked the front door had wilted away. I could still sniff the gun powder in the early morning breeze. The oil from the diyas had left a mark on my expensive floor tiles. The color of the rangoli had bled into each other. The municipality workers were back on the streets sweeping tattered papers and remnants of the crackers. Moti the neighborhood street dog was so much at peace with himself after yesterdays bombastic night. The garlands of electric lights on the opposite balcony swayed gently in the morning breeze.

Although I am not a very traditional person I still love to light up diyas instead of those electric light garlands. Yes I like those earthy rustic ones. Each Diwali when I light those oil lamps, there is a storm of emotions that stir up within me. 

Some how Diwali is not quite the same ...... things have changed for the better or for the worse. I just buy enough diyas to deck up the tiny winy balconies of my apartment in this distant city that I call home...... not like hundreds of them that my grandma used to buy every Diwali to light up our ancestral home. I miss washing those diyas in buckets of water and that earthy smell. 

The giggles of cousins in the courtyard has faded away with passing years. So have the clanking of the cauldrons that were usually taken out during festive season from the attic for making huge batches of 'boondi ladoos' and namkeens. Now there is no hurry to pack and distribute these goodies to the neighbors.

I simply make a trip to the neighborhood shop to pick up some dry fruit packets. Things are much more convenient than they used to be ...... but still I am not enjoying this easy life. I am missing those cumbersome afternoons when the women of the house would make batches of boondi soaked in sugar syrup and we little girls trying to shape the warm boondies into ladoos with our tiny hands. 

I miss making those trips to the neighborhood darzi for getting that simple dress stitched ........ I feel I  had rejoiced wearing that simple dress more than the designer ones I own today. 

Somehow I felt more of a spectator than a participant in the festival this year.
Yes I did wear festive clothes and I was happy to meet with people but somewhere inside I don't quite get it. May be I am just a little weird !!

Preparation Time - 30 Minutes
Serves - 4

Paneer/ Cottage Cheese cubed - 2 cups
Spinach Leaves shredded - 3 cups
Garlic Minced -  4 tsp
Finely chopped onion - 1/2 cup
Finely Chopped Green Chillies - 2
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric -  1 big pinch
Clarified butter - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste 
Method of Preparation 
1. Heat about 1tbsp of clarified butter/ ghee in a kadhai. When the oil gets warm add minced garlic to it. Reduce the flame   and stir constantly to make sure that the garlic doesn't get burnt. 
2. Now add the chopped onions and green chillies. Add salt and turmeric. Cook till the onions get mushy and have no raw smell. 
3. Add in the shredded spinach leaves and mix well. Now add the cubed paneer cubes. Sir intermittently for about 5 minutes.
4. Lastly add garam masala.

Serving Tips

Serve with any bread/ flat indian bread. You could also make a sandwich with this filling. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mushroom Curry Puffs & The Devil didn't wear Prada

Errr ............ and you thought that the Devil wears Prada ........ well yes she does in the movie, otherwise who knows !! 
I folded my jeans quickly and hurriedly closed the car door and ran towards the steps of this store. It was raining cats and dog that Sunday evening. I had waited the entire day for the rains to stop ....... but no ! And it was the final day of sale at one of  the clothing outlets. Not sure if a sale means anything to you but for me it does ........ a lot !!. Especially if it is clothes n shoes. Yah I am like every other girl next door who has never enough clothes or shoes.
This one I met was nothing close to Meryl Streep, not even her age. May be in her early thirties. Jeans and a short kurta, kohl laden eyes, bold shade of lip color and silver toe rings is what I could capture in a glance. We women have to agree that we are equally good at scanning the same sex if not better. And I am no exception. She pushed me aside and barged into one of the rooms caring little of the ones waiting outside for their turn, including me. I wished to give her a piece of my mind but sometimes it's better to let go.
So here I was waiting with a pile of clothes at the trial room along with few others. The wait seems exceptionally long when you are on the other side of the trail room.

I was getting impatient with an equally impatient husband. And there were many more tortured faces (read husbands'/ boyfriends') a little far from the women's trial room. It seemed the perfect occasion for the ladies to take revenge. A tired looking sales girl with a fake smile stood outside counting and folding garments. My eyes were glued on the doors of these rooms ........ the bolts would turn from "Occupied" to "Vacant". And at the door would be an anxious lady waiting for a positive remark. Every remark appeared the same irrespective of the person ......... an affirmation. There were only  few brave men who would still had the guts to go back n scan women clothing's and again get into the loop of an indefinite wait outside the trail room.

Suddenly the clothes picked by the women next to me started  looking prettier than mine ....... happens with me many times. And I would start cursing myself for not having picked that. But would not go pick that even if it is hanging in the hanger next to me. That's called typical "women syndrome". 

"Thud" ........ opened one of the doors after a long wait. The sales girl outside counted the garments and handed  those over to me. I took my own sweet time checking myself out in every angle possible in all the mirrors  ......... I  was in no hurry. I was finally inside the trial room !

Preparation Time - 45 mnts


Frozen puff pastry, thawed - 2 sheets
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tsp milk for egg wash

Mushroom - 1/2 Pound
Onions - 1 (Medium Size)
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp
Soy Sauce - 1 tsp
Chilli Sauce - 1/2 tsp
Vinegar- 1/2 tsp
Tomato Sauce - 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 pinch
Salt per taste
Oil for cooking

Method of Preparation

1.  Clean mushrooms and pat dry. Chop finely. Finely chop onions.
2.  Cut pastry sheets into desired shapes after thawing.
3. In a wok add some oil. When hot add finely chopped onions and saute till they get caramalized. Now add the ginger garlic paste till there is now raw smell.
4. Add mushrooms and  saute till all the moisture evaporates and mushrooms get cooked.
5. Add salt and garam masala.
6. Add all the sauces and vinegar one by one starting with soy sauce. Stir in. Remove from flame and let it cool.
7.Roll out the pastry to one inch wider on each side. Cut 3 inch circles of the puff pastry. Place a bit of filling in the center. Brush the edges with egg wash and cover with another circle of pastry. Crimp the edges with a fork.

Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Cool for a few minutes but serve warm. Store in an airtight container. They are yummy cold too :D

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nothing political about this Vegetable Cutlet

I am not a person who is interested in politics ........ Long time ago I did learn about the political system of the country in my Civics lessons . I was left with no choice but to mug it up for the heck of passing my exams. I am aware that people who make it to the parliament and like wise are called "politicians". And in the recent times the common man who elects and empowers such people is called a civilian.
Every alternate day there are scandals, corruption is rampant and then of-course inflation.There are a lot of things to complain about.
And then there are forums and discussions about various issues across TV Channels where people scream their lungs out to make a point. But I have never been able to pull these kinda discussions together. But the man in the house is quite my opposite, he gets it all ....... not something unusual huh !!
These days our self proclaimed mullahs and messiahs (politicians) are debating on a bill about women's rights on the husbands property after separation. Quite a fancy topic to grab any persons attention ....... I believe the men would be equally interested as much as the women about the outcome of this proposal !!

In a country where it's still unsafe for a woman to walk on the streets after dusk, where women have nowhere to urinate when they are in a public place .Women are supposed to exercise yogic control over their bursting bladders, especially when they travel.Can we please first talk about our "basic" rights !!
Subhadra who has studied only till the fifth standard and can hardly write her name is in the same boat as me. She has much to bother about and is least interested to know what these Neta's across political parties got to say about the women empowerment bill and women property rights after divorce from her husband. But she knows her mathematics well .......... Give her a hundred rupees note and she will hand you the exact change without faltering.
Widowed at a very young age she was left alone to fight with her destiny with two more hungry mouths. Her days were long and nights dark ........ no political system in the country could get food to her plate. She ran errands for the affluent class in her village and worked on their farms. With the mere savings that she had, she gathered enough courage to leave the village and head towards the city. She is a fruit vendor in the city market for many years now. She looks happy and content with life.
There are many more Subhadra's in every nook and corner of the country. And let me tell you, they are not left to the mercy of the lawmakers who are fighting over it on the name of vote bank politics.
I know I am a bit too late to mention about "Women's Day" The world celebrated it with much glee ........ March 8th to be precise !! And with women holding the highest office in this country ....... My demand is for "Basic Rights" !! Are the women in power listening ??

This is a vegetable cutlet that you can eat guilt free .......

Preparation Time - 1 hour
Serves - 4
Boiled and mashed potato - 2 cups
Carrot - 1/2 cup
Beetroot - 1/2 cup
Green chilies - 1 tsp finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Semolina - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish

Method of Preparation

1. Boil all the vegetables (carrot/ beetroot) till they are soft.
2 Cool and mash them. Add to the mashed potatoes and mix well.
3 In a pan, add some oil. When warm add chopped green chilies and ginger garlic paste. Saute for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly on medium flame.
4 Add the above mixture and mix well. Add salt and garam masala as well. Stir for 4- 5 minutes and remove from flame. Let the mixture cool.
5. Pinch out small amount of the mixture and give desired shape. Roll on the semolina
6 Take little oil in a shallow pan. When hot, shallow fry. Make sure the oil is hot enough else the cutlet will break.
7. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bruschetta & Some after thoughts

I prefer the road side Chaiwala to CCD or Starbucks any day. First because the Chai tastes much better here …… plus it is hassle free. There is no need to add milk and sugar and stir it. Convenient enough for me. Tea to me has to be Chai, Masala Chai or Adrak wali Chai. I still don’t understand the lingo of Green Tea, Decaf Tea and all that. As soon as Chotu handed me my masala chai I dunked a biscuit into it and slurped it noisily without the fear of being judged. Irrespective of the city or the tea stall, there is always a lanky looking Chotu in every stall. Much said about Chai and Chotu ……. I was there at one of the oldest Chai stalls waiting to catch up with a friend of mine…. It was the same small noisy place where the common man pays five rupees for a chai …….. a place where you can shout out to Chotu for another cup or for fetching u a packet of biscuit ……… nothing fancy !

This used to be my favorite hangout spot during college days. A place to unwind and talk about the day and muse about useless things. Now there is a mall across the street. The place looks busier than before. I leaned against my scooter sipping chai while I waited for a friend of mine. I was distracted by an old woman and a kid at the other side of the road. They were like two playful kittens playing with a bundle of clothes, totally ignorant of the crowd around them.

But then this black Audi that vroomed in was good enough to distract me from the playful duo. I checked out the car. Driving an Audi in this part of the country is a big deal I tell ya. Also you dare ignore the lady who stepped out from it ……… she was flawless. Designer Clothes, handbag and six inches stilettos! I smelled Dolce n Gabana too. I believe the other girl who stepped out with her was her domestic help, Maya.

Memshaab would have uttered her name a thousand times in the last five minutes. Maya this …… Maya that , without giving that poor girl a chance to breathe. Certainly she is the most indispensable part of her life ……. which is pretty much understandable. Memsaab will not be able to bear the loads of her shopping and walk in the six inches had Maya not been there. All hells would break loose without her. Not to forget the cranky toddler in the stroller she had brought along who was constantly licking a piece of chocolate and poor Maya wiping his face every time with a fresh piece of paper towel. Well this fiasco went on for a while till Memsaab handed a thousand rupees note to Maya signaling her to take the kid to the play area.

My attention shifted back to the playful duo on the footpath. They were bubbly and playful. My phone beeped. This friend of mine had to drop out in the last moment for some urgent work. I saw the kid running after a Gubbarewala wanting for a balloon …….. like every other kid she longed for one. The Gubbarewala shooed the little girl away. She was scared and disappointed …… tears rolled down her cheeks. I saw her hide behind one of the parked cars staring at the balloons from a distance. I handed the Gubbarewala a five rupee note and asked him to handover a balloon to the kid as I watched from a distance. The duo again burst out into laughter as the balloon fluttered and danced in the air.

I started my scooter, heading homewards and with a lurking thought ……… Can happiness be bought ??

It's Spring time and with Summer just round the corner, this is a perfect recipe that can be done in a jiffy. Great for those fun filled family picnics or even as a camp food. You can also eat it if you have those hunger pangs and when you are so not in the mood of cooking.

Preparation Time - 15 minutes

Brushetta (can be replaced with any other bread) - Cut into 8 medium slices
Ripe Avocado - 1
Cucumber Sliced - 1 Cup
Red Onions Sliced - 1/2 Cup
Red Cherry Tomatoes cut into halves - A handful
Cilantro - for garnishing
Red Pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp
Olive Oil - 2 tsp
Lime Juice - 1 tsp
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Salt per taste

Method of Preparation

1. Drizzle a generous amount of Olive oil on the sliced bruschetta and sprinkle some pepper on it. Put it inside the over at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
2. In the mean time drizzle 1 tsp of oil on a pan and pan roast the cherry tomatoes till they turn soft and mushy.
3. Scoop out the flesh of Avocado. Give it a rough mash. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes and lime juice and mix well.
4. Once the bruschetta is out of the oven, top it with mashed avocado, slices of cucumber, onion and tomatoes.