Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mushroom rice - Pressure cooked

This is a very easy dish to make.
Mushrooms - about 300 gms (cleaned and cut length-wise)
Onion - 1 (sliced fine)
Tomatoes - 2 medium (sliced fine)
Green chillies - 3 (slit)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Rice - 1 cup (clean and soak for 1/2 hour then drain)
Capsicum - 1 ( cut into small pieces)
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Chicken stock cube/ liquid (optional) - 1 cube or 1/2 cup liquid.

In a pressure cooker add about 1 tbsp oil (can add a bit of ghee and less oil too) saute onions till golden, add the ginger garlic paste, when fried, add the slit green chillies and the turmeric, chilly and coriander powder after mixing into a thick paste with a bit of water. fry well. When the oil comes out, add the tomatoes , wait till the tomatoes soften and then add the mushrooms and capsicum. Coat the masala well, add the garam masala powder and the rice, then add the chicken stock powder.
Finally add 2 cups of water (if adding liquid stock, please adjust accordingly), put the lid on and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
Canned mushrooms will do too, but may not taste as good..

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My baby's first day at Playschool

That day is already here !!! Somehow I thought that I would have a lot of time before I had to let my baby have a life out of my sphere.... But since she was getting bored with just my company, I realised that it was not fair to keep her home simply for my selfish pleasure...

So after a lot of research, visits to schools, a lot of leg-dragging on my part,we decided on a school. And even then, we did delay the process by another 2 months. I was finally given the ultimatum by the teacher to let her start without delay when I went to pay her fees yesterday.

A sleepless night later, we left her at the school door, with two smiling teachers holding her hands (by the way, the school is just 4 floors up from our flat). She looked a bit upset when we were asked to leave... So I just paced the floor,back home, went back before the 1 hour was up before I could collect her and paced some more outside.

I got back a smiling child who was jumping up and down, singing 'Twinkle twinkle little star' in her pigdin english and generally in great spirits. All that changed when we reached our door.... she started yelling and digging her feet in, refusing to enter out home.. I had to carry her in and she kept running to the door to go out..she wanted to go back to school..!

Okay... I know the attraction..lots of friends, singing, dancing... and what's at home????...Boring ole' mom!!!

Hey!!.. she did smother me in kisses after she got up from her mid-day sleep, right after checking if her school bag was still hanging on the wall-peg!!! She does have her priorities right :)..my sweet babe.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Added a new Widget...Followers

I just added a new widget..Followers... have positioned it at the upper right hand corner of the side-bar. Thought I would see if I'd have any followers on my blog . It was very easy to install with the easy directions given on Blogger.

Wish me luck!!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A long-awaited visit - A treat for the senses...

I have always been interested in art, and have tried my hand at various types of paintings and mediums,like charcoal stumping, glass painting, oils, watercolours, Rosemailing and though I thoroughly enjoyed them all, and would still keep doing them all occasionally, I did find a certain limit to the thrill it gave me...

....Until I happened to see the work Sangeeta. I am absolutely greatful to Jigyasa and Pratibha for mentioning her work to me...

She has a beautiful shop called Swakrith and after seeing her blog, my only aim was to meet her and see her work in person...

My plans were almost upset with a bad bout of fever, but I did finally manage to make time and make it to her shop, with the cooperation of my husband and his sister!

Sangeeta was a surprise..for such a talented artist, she is so soft-spoken and unassuming, it is amazing. And I felt that we connected instantly... The delightful moments I spent in her company will always remain with me...

Swakrith was all that I had hoped for, and more... the murals displayed in her blog are just a tip of the Iceberg... and when I asked her why she had not done more to post her work, she told me that too many copies were being made from what she displayed... it's a shame that people who take pains to learn an art would just copy work when they can be inspired from them and create something original...even if it would fall short of an experienced artisit's work, atleast they would have the satisfaction of having created something truly thier own.....

I was actually scared to go round the shop too many times coz I was so impressed with Sangeeta and her work, I could have remained there for hours... So I just brought back a souvenir to keep inspiring me... it was one of the simplest pieces there, but still I loved the colour combinations, the texture ...sigh, everything.

Her work gave me a sense of recognition ... as if I had been waiting to see exactly this type of work to give me that added dimension and pleasure......

My hearfelt thanks to Jigyasa and Pratibha for being instrumental in this...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cheera Thoran - (Red spinach with coconut)

I got my hand on an amazingly fresh bunch of Red Spinach..hadn't seen any like that in a while... Just grabbed them....

The worst thing about store bought leaves, (as opposed to home-grown, and we have had that in plenty!) is that sometimes no amount of rinsing can get rid of the DDT..when u finish soaking the leaves,pick them leaf by leaf and the slice them finely, and finally cook it and lo and behold, instead of the amazing aroma of cooked spinach, u smell the awful powder used to kill ants !!!

But this time the whole bunch was perfect.........

Clean the spinach as much as possible in lots of water...
Drain well. Towel dry if needed(especially if the leaves are limp.)
Cut very thinly, stalk and leaves.

Grind coarsely
Coconut - 1/4th of one ( scrapped )
Green chillies - 2
Small onions - 3
Jeera/ Cumin - 1/4 tsp

To the cut spinach, add the ground coconut, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder and mix well.

Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves and add the spinach. Keep a lid and steam the spinach for 5 minutes or until they are evenly steamed. Slowly stir to ensure even cooking and turn off the heat.

Great combination with rice, curd, pappad n pickles....And I could just eat it by itself too!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gothambu (cracked wheat) paayasam

Gothambu paayasam has always been a favourite in our family. Infact at my dad's ancestral home whenever anyone had a birthday, this was the paayasam of choice and I am sure no one would have thought to complain even if it were made on a fairly regular basis....

Ohhh...sooo many great memories......

If one manages to procure the cracked wheat without much difficulty, then it is really easy to make. Otherwise, it could become a laborious process.

In the south, we call the gothambu (wheat)as gothambu nurukku ...or broken wheat. In the north (India), it is available as Daliya, and comes already roasted...which is a blessing when u make this with a clinging child who is cranky due to cold!!!

Incidentally, this is the same thing that is known as 'Couscous ' in Moroccan cuisine.

Gothambu nurukku/ Daliya/couscous - 2 cups

If you have not managed to get the pre-roasted Daliya, you have to sort the good grains and then evenly roast the nurukku. One side will turn brown while the other will stay a bit white.

Make sure that you boil the grains in a very spacious vessel. Else they will just stick together when cooked.

Water - 5 cups water.

Boil the cracked wheat and as it comes to a boil, put off the fire and stir well. Now keep a lid on it. At intervals please keep stirring to separate the grains. there shoild not be much water left as the grains absorb water and get cooked.

Jaggery - 1/2 kilo.

In one glass water boil the jaggery to make a pani. then sieve the liquid jaggery to get rid of the impurities. Keep it boiling and add the cooked cracked wheat.

Cardamom - 4 nos (powdered)

Coconut milk - 1 cup 1st extract(very thick ) and 2 cups 2nd extract

Add the powdered cardamom and 2nd extract of coconut milk . Bring to a boil. Now add the 1st extract. Make sure that this time the paayasam does not boil. Switch off the stove.

Ghee - 1 tsp
Cashew nuts

Heat ghee and fry the cashews and raisins and add to the paayasam.

Note: You may fry the cracked wheat in ghee or dry-roast them... the way I described used minimum amount of ghee and is just as tasty.

Monday, September 15, 2008


A small sadya with few items...

Somehow without atleast 4 people to sit down to have it, an Onasadya loses something. however great it tastes. We celebrated yet again this weekend at my cousin's and food tasted infinitely better...

Ofcourse he had also managed to get some banana leaves to serve the feast on..

Friday, September 12, 2008

It is ONAM

A very HAPPY ONAM to all keralites and everyone else who would love to join this special festival...

This is going to be yet another short post since I have an ONASADYA (feast) to prepare...Details later...

Anyway, with my folks still in Kerala, with loads of relatives and having a grand Onam, am feeling a bit homesick and nostalgic about the good old days when each home seemed to be bursting at the seams with people...

The best thing I like about kerala is it's lushness and greenary, though it has reduced considerably in the last decade.. Whenever we were back from a vacation, the first thing to indicate that we were back in Kerala would be the glimpse of coconut palms and green fields, and however sad u felt that vacation was over, that sight would never fail to sooth..

And here is a picture from this trip to illustrate that point...great..isn't it?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Almost back..........

I went with a lot of plans, but as the saying goes about the best laid plans, I was laid low with fever and the worst thing is to be out of home when convalescent. Aleast there would have been no one to see my misery.....

On the other hand, God knew best coz my hubby could not have managed my baby and work together..this way, he had help from my sis-in-law and later, my mom. I was sooo out of it, it was awful...especially when you have a baby depending on you, illness is all the more worse...

It was just a fever, but debilating enough to make one feel awfully mortal...

Despite all this, I have some good news too.....anyone interested, watch this space... Am not ready to share it as yet...!!!!!!!!!!!!!