/* */

August 30, 2006

Adiós,Tschüss, Adieu ,Ciao,Tata...

I will be going on a tiny trip to India for three weeks, will be back with stories to tell,pictures to post and my love affair with food, until then...Bye & Take care

About me,me and only me

I am thinking about : What I have to do before I leave on my vacation!
I said : I can do it!
I want to : achieve the things that I have been dreaming of....
I wish : I can resolve all our family problems
I regret : saying things in anger that I dont mean one bit
I hear : the clock ticking
I am : what you see, nothing different
I dance : when I am really in the mood to do so
I sing : very well
I cry : when people accuse me of something I am not
I am not : a person who can say things subtly
I am with my hands: always typing away on my laptop or cooking
I write: my list of things to do (do I complete them, that is a different post all together)
I confuse : hmmm if I say it, I will get in trouble
I need : to get over some of my fears
I tag : Sudha

August 28, 2006

Thank You, Nandri, Gracias!

I have begun to enjoy blogging so much that, I am sure when I go to India I will try to log in as much as possible, I am just hooked on to it now!

Just like visiting friends , I have been hopping to various blogs and become friends with many. I have learnt to cook a whole lot of new recipe and R has been a happy camper enjoying all the food I make or should I say guinea pig...

I am trying to remember all that I made from various blogs. The fun thing I did a couple of weekends ago was to cook our weekend meal only from various blogs. So here goes the menu


Shredded chicken from Inji Pennu
This dish was so simple to make and yet to delectable.

Corn and Bell Pepper soup from Krithika
The soup had the sweetness of the corn and the pepper made it spicy. It is a great accompaniment on a cold winter day!


Ginger Chicken from Karthi Kannan
This was a super hit in our home, R licked the dish clean.

Parupu Payasam from Sudha
It disappeared in a jiffy, no left overs, so you can tell how tasty it was.

On days when I bored of eating my own food (poor R), I browsed through blogs and made a few dishes

I made Nabeela 's Cluster beans , but used regular beans instead, guys this is a must try dish. It was a superb hit!
I also made Krithika's wheat dosa, R mastered the art of making them super crispy in an iron skillet, so I savored every bite with molaga podi.
I know I have made more , but just cant get to recollect.

On another note, I had posted about an orphanage sometime ago, and guess what , I have collected nearly $500! Thanks to all of you who mailed out the checks to me. I will update you with pictures and stories when I am back from India.

August 25, 2006

No fuss, No oil Healthy Snack!

When I am not really in the mood to do anything big, snacks like these come in handy. This is very healthy as it has absolutely no oil. Throw in all the ingredients below for a nice evening snack or any time of the day!

Garbanzo beans - 1 cup (dry)
Red Onion - 1/2 cup diced
Tomatoes - 1 finely chopped
Carrots grated - 1/4 cup
Juice of 1/2 a lime or however sour you like it
Green chilly - 1 chopped
Cilantro for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste

If you have raw mango, chop a few pices and throw that in too. Posted by Picasa

August 22, 2006

South East Asian bone marrow drive

Hello Friends,

I am posting this appeal from my good friend Hiral, for a child who needs a matching bone marrow donor. Please check the bone marrow drives that have been organized in your area.

Perhaps it is you who is destined to save a life. http://www.savenirali.com

This link will help you locate all the drives that are going in the country. http://www.aadp.org

Please pass this to anyone who might help.

Thank You,

Dear Friends,

We request your help.
Nirali Naik of Chicago, IL - a sweet and wonderful 18 month girl - and the daughter of dear friends of ours is suffering from Leukemia. Please see
All of us well wishers of Nirali are trying to find a matching bone marrow donor for her. We are doing this by organizing numerous bone marrow drives around the country. SAMAR (South Asian Marrow Association of Recruiters) is helping us do this.
More info on SAMAR -
We urge you to please come to the drives that are located near you - (they are listed in Nirali's website) and register for bone marrow donation to see if you can save her life. Because Nirali's race is Indian, the likelihood of finding a matching donor is highest among Indians. As you can see from the SAMAR home page, there are many patients of Indian origin who are waiting for a Bone marrow donor - this is a chance for us to potentially help out many others as well.

At a bone marrow drive, potential donors are asked to fill in aform and the test for marrow match is very simple - most likely an oral swab (or a blood sample). It is absolutely FREE for minority races. The samples are then tested for a particular series of Antigens (called Human Leukocyte Antigens) and the information is stored in a national database maintained by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). If the donors are potential matches with patients (including Nirali), the NMDP will contact them directly. Bone marrow donation has no long term side effect at all.

Please forward this email to Individuals/Organisations of Indian race who might be interested in helping.
Feel free to contact us - Hiral & Anurag (hirald@hotmail.com) or SAMAR directly for any questions.

If there is no drive located in your area and you would like to help in arranging one, SAMAR will provide all the resources free of cost and this
would be a huge help.
Thank you very much for your help in our efforts to save Nirali.

Hiral Desai


August 20, 2006

Bugger Off

Huh ... What is going on

In my patio, on my wooden clothes line was this green fella. And I couldn't resist bringing out my camera.

Shankari wanted to take some pictures too , and took the camera, and our green friend decided he would pose for a closer closeup shot, and hopped on! Yes Right On to the camera lens !

So now I hurried to get the Other camera. Shankari was not at all ruffled, and I was quite surprised at how calm she was through out. After he was done inspecting my camera he decided to check Shanakri out !

Possessive as I am, threw the little bugger out.

But I wanted more pics, so I coaxed this guy to climb up on the handle of a broom.

I was able to get a few more good pics. I like this one where he seems to be giving me the LOOK.

And then he decides to investigate me, and jumped right on my face. I decided to call it a day and let the guy go, and did not push this guy any further.

This is a salute to this tiny fearless and inquisitive little bugger.

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood - Marie Curie

August 18, 2006

Hot Hot...ooooo ... Very Hot (Green chilly in Tamarind sauce)

For all you out there who love spicy food, this is the perfect accompaniment to Dosa,Idli and we ofcourse have it with everything, rice, Upma, Chapathi and the likes


Green Chillies (Thai chilly) - 40
Tamarind - Size of a large lemon (soak it in hot water and take the pulp)
Sesame Oil (nalla Yennai)- 1 cup
Jaggery/Brown Sugar - 1 Tbsp
Hing/Asfotedia - A pinch

For the powder

Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Channa Dhal - 1/4 tsp
Dry roast all the 3 and blend it without adding any water to make it a fine powder


  • Wash, remove the stem and dry the chillies thoroughly inorder to avoid them from getting spoilt. Make small slits in about 10 green chillies and leave the rest as whole.
  • In a wide bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the green chillies, please be careful as they splutter.
  • Add the hing and tamarind pulp and salt and let it simmer.
  • Add the ground powder and then the jaggery.
  • Let it cook and wait till the tamarind pulp is almost reduced.
  • Allow it completely cool and then store in a dry glass bottle.
  • In the end, season with mustard seeds.

We add a cup of oil , so that they act as a preservative and will stay from spoiling for more than a month and I keep it in the fridge.

Guys, please remember this is very very hot, so eat with care or face the consequences :)

August 15, 2006

Right is right and left is wrong

Up is light & down is night............

The first thing that I remember after landing in SF on a cold december day was that the van my BIL and sister brought to pick me up was noiseless.

Next thing I can recall from 10 years ago was the concern about messing up my sister's place which was spic & span, and furnished like in the movies (Well thats how it seemed to me)

The funny part started when I was learning to drive, staying on the right side of the road was OK until I made a turn or practiced the three point turn I would end up on the wrong side. Luckily this was a small town and the roads I practiced had no traffic.

Thats all this random musing is about .. riGht is Right and left is wRong. And you have to turn Up the light switch to switch on.


August 14, 2006

Badam Puri at last..

Many of you had asked for the recipe for Badam puri, I atlast got around to making it last weekend and guess what ??? It got over the very next day. This was the 1st time I made them and was worried if it would taste as good as my mom's and I should say it did and was very very pleased with the results.

My mom did not make this when I was kid, I think she learnt this when I was in high school and ever since this sweet replaced all the other sweets as my most favorite. While I was working in Coimbatore, I told my dad that I missed having amma's badam puri and I had them by courier the next day (yeah , yeah I was spoilt rotten) . They even sent them over to the US with a friend of ours. So here goes the recipe, it is a little painstaking but worth every bit or should I say every bite.



All Purpose flour/Maida - 1 cup
Almonds - 10 to 12 (soak and peel the skin off and grind to a very smooth paste)

Oil for deep frying

For Sugar Syrup

Sugar - 1.5 cups
Water - 3/4 cup
Saffron - A couple of strands
Cardamom - 1 powdered

Paste or padhir

Rice flour - 1/4 cup
Ghee- 1/4 cup

  • Mix the flour with the almond paste and knead to the consistency of chapathi dough, add a tsp of ghee to the flour while kneading.
  • Mix the ghee and rice flour till the paste gives a shine.
  • In the meanwhile, make the sugar syrup until it reaches a one string consistency, add the saffrond strands and cardamom powder to the syrup and set it aside.
  • Divide the dough in to medium sized balls ( instead I rolled it into one big chappathi and them cut them with a cookie cutter into smaller ones)
  • Take one of the rolled puri and apply the paste over it and add one more puri and continue this till u make atleast 6-7 layers, the last puri wont have the paste on the top.
  • Roll tightly to form a cylindrical shape and cut them into thin rounds and then roll them out to make a small puri
  • Deep fry the puri in oil and immediately dip it in the sugar syrup and take it out and arrange it in a plate.

I would like to submit this recipe for http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/2006/08/01/food-parade-on-independence-day/. This recipe is painstaking to make , representing the struggle for independence and the results sooo sweet. I do not know the orgin of this sweet, hope you try this sweet and enjoy it as much as my family does!

August 13, 2006


6 hours intransit in the wee hours of the morning at Changi ....EnSoy

August 11, 2006

A thing of beauty is a joy forever!

One of pictures I took when we went to Sonoma, CA Posted by Picasa

August 07, 2006


Update: If you are interested in helping , you can make a check payable to ," Nesackkarangal"

Address:Dr K.N.Rao BuildingPlot No: 1 &2,

K.P Nagar Judge Road,

Ayyanthirumaligai Salem - 636008


IndiaPh: 91 427 2403101

I will be going to India pretty soon and would be more then happy to take your checks. If interested email me and I will send you the address you should mail it to.

Thanks in Advance

August 04, 2006

Pitlai - My all time favorite!

Pitlai is kind of similar to sambhar, here we dont add sambhar powder, but fry fresh ingredients and add them. The difference is very evident when you have the first morsel of rice and Pitali, the flavour of fresh ingredients bursts in your mouth.I like to make this dish when we have guest's home as it not the same old sambhar and yet an easy and tasty treat for our guests.


Ground Mixture:

Uradh Dhal - 1 tbsp
Bengal Gram Dhal - 1/2 tsp
Pepper - 6 to 7
Red Chilly - 4
Grated Coconut - A handful

Other ingredients:

Tamarind - it should be the size of a marble ( sorry guys , this is exactly how my mom has given me the recipe).
Thuar Dhal - I cup boiled

In a little bit of oil fry all the above until it turns red.
Fry the coconut seperately and the grind all the ingredients of the ground mixture.
Take tamarind extract and boil the vegetables in tamarind water ( pearl onions, potato, bitter gourd, drum sticks, String beans).
After the vegetables have cooked, add the boiled thuar dhal and some water if necessary
Add salt and turmeric powder.
Now add the ground mixture and cook till raw smell goes.
Temper with mustard, uradh dhal and curry leaves.

When my mom made this at home, she usally served us hot rice, ghee and pitlai with papad. She did not cook a vegetable as a whole bunch of vegetables are already in the pitlai. And feel free to add any vegetables of your choice.

August 01, 2006

Charity begins at home.....

"A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog."- Jack London

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and when I read hastobeme.blogspot.com/, I wanted to finish this article that I have had in my mind for ages.

I am blessed that my parents taught me the importance of" giving" & "sharing"at a very young age. My mom used to say that even if we have one small fruit, it has to be divided equally among all members in the house (maids included). I used to be mad at her especially when the sweet or fruit was my favorite. As we grew up, they always said " you should now how to live like a queen , and live like a beggar too" and that all that goes up has to come down some day..hmm how thought provoking!

When we invited friends and family home for birthday parties we made it a point to say not to bring gifts, but some think that it is rude to come empty handed and I used to get a lot of money. On the night of the party my parents put all of it together in an envelope and had me take it to school and donate it. (the convent also had an orphanage attached).

Every year for Diwali, my parents sent a check to an orphanage in Chennai. Now, if they had just sent a check it is easy enough..But NO NO, every year my parents had one of us sacrifice getting new clothes for the year, it was not because we could not afford getting new clothes but to just learn to give and sacrifice. But I remember as child I told my mom that it was no big deal and I can wear ironed clothes that made it look good as new! And today I am soooo glad my parents did that to us.

Now some of us in our family do what we can in our own little way, we are not philanthropist and have not dedicated our lives to the society, but they were all good lessons learnt .

R & I have now associated ourselves to a very small orphanage in Salem started by three men from a middle class working family. They do not have funding and publicity like other orphanges, but the changes they have bought in the lives ofthe children is phenomenal. If any of you are interested, do let me know and I will email you the details.

Thanks amma & appa for this wonderful life lesson.!
Update: If you are interested in helping , you can make a check payable to ,
" Nesackkarangal"
Address:Dr K.N.Rao Building
Plot No: 1 &2, K.P Nagar
Judge Road,
Salem - 636008
Tamilnadu , India
Ph: 91 427 2403101
I will be going to India pretty soon and would be more then happy to take your checks. If interested email me and I will send you the address you should mail it to. Thanks in Advance