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October 27, 2006

Rendang Chicken!

I just love most foods that originates from Malaysia, Thailand and the likes. My neighbor "K" is a malaysian and our conversations have been aroundfood since Diwali (with me it is all the time). She had mentioned that it is their family tradition to make rendang chicken for Diwali and I could not taste as hers as I was not in town that day :(
I asked K and our friend Sarah from Immigrant in Canada. They both readily gave me the recipe and it was a super hit with R. The flavors of lemon grass, galangal and fresh turmeric just bursts in your mouth. Try this recipe and you would say the same things. Thanks a ton to you Sarah and K.


Chicken (boneless) - 1.5lbs
Coconut milk - 1 can
Star Anise - 1
Cinnamon - small stick
Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
Kaffir lime leaves - A couple ( I did not have any and so used 2 regular lime leaves and a teaspoon of lime zest)

To make into a paste
Red Chillies - 10 to 12
Galangal - 1 inch piece thinly sliced
Fresh turmeric - 1 inch piece thinly sliced
Shallots - 4 to 5 chopped
Garlic - 2 pods
Lemon grass - 2 pieces
  • In a thick bottomed vessel with oil, add the star anise and cinnamon.
  • Add the ground paste ( the paste should be ground with little water as possible)
  • Saute this for about 5 to 7 minutes until the raw smell goes away (now you kitchen will smell fragrant with the lemon grass)
  • In the meanwhile have the chicken diced into cubes.
  • Add the chicken and saute until it looks a little cooked.
  • Top the chicken with coriander powder and the tamarind paste ( I dilued the tamarind paste in a little water.
  • Add the coconut milk ( I reserved about 1/3 of a cup)

Let this simmer on medium low. K told me let it cook on medium low for an hour atleast until the coconut milk reduces and you get a thick gravy. When she called me while I was cooking, she asked me to add a handful of ground peanuts for the texture and was kind of enough to drop some off to me as I did not have any. So I pounded a fistful and added it to the curry.

I kept stirring the curry as I browsed through blogs. Since I had some more groundnuts left I sauted them with salt and chilli powder and a little bit of oil.

I cooked the rice along with the some coconut milk, a small piece of lemon grass. The smell of rice was fragrant.

October 19, 2006

Happy Diwali!

From Center - Coconut Burfi, Chakli, Thick Sev (omapodi),Ribbon Bakoda, Kaju Kathli, Badam Halwa rolled into bite Size pieces

Diwali always brings nostalgic memories of childhood, as a child I always wanted to know how much fireworks I could buy, if I can burst some as my older sisters always got a better share of them, I really did not care much for new clothes, but more concerned about what sweets and savories were made at home.

On D-day, We used to wake as early as possible and my mom would have woken up before us to arrange everything in the pooja room, the clothes,sweets and the fireworks , my mom will keep a little kumkum on the new clothes and we would return to the pooja room after a hot bath with oil and shikakai and then the fun began. We would run outside to compete with the neighbors on who would burst the most fireworks.

I miss that here but ah well, one cant have everything in life. This Diwali, I decided to make 6 snacks to denote the 6 years of our married life , so three sweets and three savories.

Sweets - Badam Halwa, Kaju Kathli and Coconut Burfi.
(I rolled the badam Halwa into bite size pieces , thanks Saffron for the neat idea)
Savories - Butter Murukku (Chakli), Ribbon Bakoda, Kara Chev

I decided to submit Ribbon Bakoda for the JFI. This is a recipe that I got from my mom as soon as I got married and it has been R's favorite ever since. Don't omit the garlic in this recipe, it makes it aromatic and tastes great! http://keeptrying.wordpress.com/2006/10/01/special-edition-jihva/
Here goes the recipe...


Rice Flour - 2 Cups
Channa Dhal flour - 1.5 cups
Dalia(pottu Kadalai) powdered - 1/2 cup
Garlic pods - 4
Whole red chillies - 6 to 7
Hing - A pinch
Salt - to taste
Butter - 1 Tbsp
Oil for deep frying

  • Mix all the flours together with salt and hing
  • Add the butter
  • Grind the garlic and red chilly finely with water to make a paste (strain it , so that you don't have the seeds in the way)
  • Add the strained water to the flour and bring them altogether as much as water is needed to make a dough (same consistency as chapathi dough)
  • Now using the tubular press, you can start frying them in hot oil.
  • Once they are fried, let the bakodas rest on a paper towel and then store in air tight container.
Happy Diwali to all of you and may this year bring all of us peace and all that we pray for.

October 18, 2006

Spot me if you can

On our last trip to India when Shankari was in Salem, while I was in Chennai with Mom & Dad and I had gotten into this habit of eating fresh neem leaves. I almost jumped when this leaf started moving. I went down to the house and came back with my camera praying this magnificient specimen would still be there, and most importantly that I would be able to spot it.

Some one told me eating neem leaves would clean and clear my system T so, I religiously consumed about 10 leaves every morning for about 4 or 5 days....Glad this grasshopper did not end up like a "Fear Factor meal"

October 13, 2006

A Medley of thoughts..

I warn you folks just as the title suggests this is a "gumbo" of all my thoughts and is as my blog goes a stream of consciousness.

Our recent trip to India was an enjoyable one, but it also got me confused as to where my loyalties were. I call US home while in India and when having conversations with friends and colleague's the US call India my home

I don't know if many of you feel the way I do, when we come here to the US the thoughts,incidents that are imprinted in our minds is that of what happened years ago. Like for instance my nostalgic memory of waking up was to the sizzling noise of boiling water that my mom would pour into the coffee filter and today she uses a electric one..

I expect my parents to be as energetic as they were when I left them and shocked to see them old and silver hair sticking out reminding me hey they are growing old too.
My sisters son who loved to have his face in every picture is all grown up now...Our tenants have changed, the neighbours have moved and little kids are now in college.

It is wonderful to see a lot of change, and while talking I hear stories about this aunt and another uncle and so on and wonder why they did not tell me all this when I call them, I always ask them what else is going on? But to think of it they would think that is rather not very important to discuss on an international phone call. But I still feel like I miss everything going in my parents day to day lives. And then a small flicker of thought, should I go back to India?

I look at how we celebrate Diwali here with as much enthusiasm we can muster, try to go to the temple,attend parties,make sweets from scratch and I see parents explaining to children what Diwali as relive what we all have celebrated as kids, but in India I see many people going to Grand Snack(sweet shop in Chennai) and the likes to buy the sweets and they don't have the time to make the sweet and one glance at the teenagers around you and you can tell that they are westernised and I think to myself it is all the same ...

Do you guys feel that way or I am just weird????

October 09, 2006

Why are you staring ?

October 05, 2006

Egg A Meal!

Today was one of those days when I was craving for something spicy ( I can hear R say," what today, you crave for something everyday") Aw well, so be it.
I started browsing on the web and happened to find this website of pakistani dishes and decided to give this recipe a try

I followed the recipe to the T, except for the Kopra as I did not have some, but it did not feel like I missed anything. R loved this biryani, it was hot and tasted great.

I served it along with Raitha and fried eggs. I added grated carrots, chopped onions, salt, pepper,cilantro and yogurt for the raitha.

I had two left over boiled eggs and so sliced them and in a hot pan with two teaspoons of oil, added some mustard seeds,uradh dhal, salt, pepper,chilli powder and turmeric powder, after a few seconds add the sliced eggs and let it brown on both sides. It turns out crisp on the outside and soft in the inside ( I removed the yellow of the egg for health reasons). All in all a hearty meal and I should now work out..bye folks!

October 03, 2006

Wave riding Dog on Kattu-maram (tied wood) and the crabbers

Still jet lagged. S is more or less back to a regular routine.
My dad's house is very close to the beach. I was there at the beach a lot in the early hours, trying to catch the rising sun, when I saw the kattu-maram (the word catamaran originates from the kattumaram or tied wood) coming into the shore, I didnt give it much thought. Just another fisherman I thought...

Check out the cool dawg......
as the kattumaram rides the swells to come ashore

Was I glad my camera was switched on, as within seconds the action was all over.

The only modernization to the ancient craft was a diesel outboard motor !

Meet the crabbers !

This guy was incredible nimble, the time between selecting a crab hole and digging in to grab his was within 10's of seconds.