Present – Tamarind rice / Puli sadam / Pulihora

“I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist 
That’s exactly how i see life now. Flooded with all love, attention, care from loved ones. Living to fullest in the present is the most beautiful thing. All I do is reach dear ones, talk endlessly over cup of tea, food and cakes. Past few weeks has been so much full of food, specially when most treasured friends cook everything special, it can’t get any better. One of the best experience from last week was when i went with my God mother to meet her friends (most of them were senior citizens) and did henna tattoo for them all (just for fun) their motherly affection, warm hugs, i came back home teared eye feeling human connection is the best in world.  

My study days used to start with things to do and end with seeing how far i reached. Now i wake up seeing glowing snow, tad bit of sunshine, decent hours of work, loads of giggle and end with yoga lessons. No wish list, no to do list, feed people, spread happiness and be merry. I’m very often asked so whats next? i say “let future be a surprise, i’m enjoying the present”. Though i know, what needs and have to be done for which i’m giving my efforts. I wouldn’t take it seriously but rather leave life to unfold itself. Efforts would never go vain. This attitude brings rays of thoughts then i see myself in the mirror and say not sure what is tomorrow, live now you deserve it! I know this a transition phase, i’m sure there are some challenges and reality check waiting for me, till they arrive i’m brave enough to live the way i want. 

Yet again this post is from winter 2010, mum cooked this rice. It is my most fav since childhood. Sometime i can’t believe how picky eater i have been since kid, this used to be one of those food (among very few) when i ate without any drama. This tamarind mix can be made well in advance and preserved. It stays for few months (say two months). You could also freeze it so it stay even more longer. It used to be one of goodies things that mum packed for me every time i flew from India or when she was here. On a busy/lazy days this mix can be mixed with warm fresh rice. It goes every well with potato chips, papads or scrambled eggs. For those who are wondering what those colored little things are? it is called vathal (Indian rice fryums, experts correct me if i’m wrong, which has to be fried before it is served) i adore them only to eat and not to fry. So people another recipe from mum. Do enjoy and live happily since you deserve the best “ting” :) 

Ingredients 
200 gram Tamarind
1 1/2 glass of water
1 tspn Fenugreek  seeds 
4 tbspn Sesame seeds 
100 ml oil

1/2 tspn Mustered seeds
1/2 tspn Cumin seeds
2 Spring of curry leaves
1 tbspn Split yellow chickpeas 6 tbspn un-roasted ground nut 
6 Green chilies slit
6 Red chilies
1/4 tspn Turmeric powder
Good pinch of Asafoetida powder
salt to taste

Method
Soak tamarind in water for about 20 – 30 minutes. Pulp tamarind to thick juice, if required add more water to extract tamarind juice and set them aside.

Dry roast fenugreek, sesame seeds separately till you get good flavors and grind them together into fine powder then set ground powder aside

In heavy bottom pan, add 100 ml of oil, once oil warms up, tip in mustered seed. Be careful since mustered will start to splutter. Once they stop to splutter add in cumin seeds.

Then add in split chickpeas and un-roasted ground nut. Fry for three minutes till raw flavors vanishes. Next added in curry leaves, green chilies and red chilies ( again green chilies can splutter).

Tip in turmeric powder and pour tamarind pulp. Add salt.
Now let them boil on medium heat till oil comes out, almost to a paste consistency.
Next add ground powder and pinch of asafoetida powder, give it a good mix.

Tamarind mix is now ready.

Slowly add in tamarind mix to warm rice till it reaches desired taste, if required add more salt. After it is mixed let them sit for about three hours for flavors to set in. Goes well with papads or simple potato chips!

Tamil New Year – Puran Poli / Obbattu

Iniya Tamizh Puthaandu Nalvaazhthukkal Happy Tamil New Year. Sorry I have no idea about the significance and rituals, but it is all about new beginning!  Next time I visit India shalll try to dig into in elders brain to get into the roots, as of now all I remember is dad doing long pooja (prayer) and mum cooking all good food! As kids my sis being responsible helped mum in cooking and I was forced to help dad for prayer preparation and dad is a perfectionist, I will be assigned to do all the annoying work (you know 2nd assistant work). While all going on in full swing I usually sneak out to play with doggie, my mum not being happy used to say “stop playing and concentrate on God so that you could study well” Dang! I will be left speechless do the necessary.

Mom ka Khana – Chicken Briyani & chilli Chicken

I know I know my blog baby has been sleeping unattended for a while now, I’m left occupied through out with all good warm food right from kitchen, sometime I enjoy warm puries sitting on the kitchen table, can you believe that? Right now I’m like little over grown hamster 😀 Doesn’t actually matter since I will be deaerated as soon mum goes back to India.We invited Somjai Tero and her mum for Indian lunch, Somjai came with her little princess Aida. Oh my my she is such a darling, very obviously everyone’s attention was only towards her. While we were busy eating, everyone had their turns to play and keep her occupied. Baby darling kept us on toe with smile, cry, potty, snuggle and much more. What can I say? Just for couple of hours the whole house was vibrant.

Mum made our typical Sunday special lunch as we do at home, chicken briyani (with coconut milk), chilly chicken, dum aloo, raita and suji ka halwa. This Briyani is very unconvetional type very simple and easy too cook. The whole lot is mum’s recipe, hope you guys will enjoy as much as we did….Wish you all a happy weekend  :)

February is heart month, so folks eat healthy, exercise some, no to smoking and have a perfect healthy heart!

Inherited recipe – Okra curry / Okra soup kolambu

I’m sure your new year is bustling like a bee and you are completely into it…Mine started with bit of vacation hangover gradually moved to normal routine – running in and out. Keeping it short since it’s Monday morning and you know how Monday syndromes are! This recipe is from my Ammama (Maternal grandma) I don’t remember she making it but mum makes them so very often. Yet again it’s our favorite, which is quite suitable with rice and papads. For those who are wondering how on earth I’m posting okra recipes during winter, I looted huge amount of okras from oriental shop during early winter and very well stored it my freezer. Now I’m making best use of my all time fav veggie. Have a great productive week ahead.

A Mini Flashback – Garlic Masoor dhal and Okra fry

It’s -17 C today and it’s going reach -23 C tonight. I have no issues with coldness. More or less used to it but one problem is coldness makes me lame and useless in the evenings and during weekends. I simply eat and crawl under my duvet. Sigh! It’s been three weeks already I haven’t made any recipe and did a photoshoot, yes you guessed it right I’m digging my recipe bank! Since I haven’t been doing any justice to my blog thought its Mondays let me be productive! So here is it. I have beautiful memory attached to this recipe.

My mum worked as principal (currently retired) for a private school in my home town (Coimbatore) for 29 yrs. The school was managed by three trustees. One of them was very close to our family, they were old couple from Punjab who were like our God parents. Uncle was a great artist, master in abstract oil paintings and aunty was dutiful house wife and very stylish lady. You know olden days people follow strict rules and they have wonderful principles. He was very health conscious man, who used to go for walking every morning at 6:30 AM for one hour and on his way back he used to stop by our house every day except Sundays to enjoy my mum’s tea (used to be his fav) and discuss politics with dad. As kids we used to dislike uncle coming to house just for one reason, coz our mum used to wake us up early and we have be ready to wish Good morning to uncle. But what we used to enjoy is to have lunch at their house. Mostly it will be potluck, mum cooked for them and aunty cooked for us. She was great cook, this used to be one of our fav food, roti, dhal, onkra sabzi, brinjal sabzi, simple salad and masala dahi. Since aunty and uncle didn’t have their own kids, they treated my parents as theirs, me and my sis were pampered!

During my childhood days, I was interested in wall paintings, still I’m. My parents were generous enough to let me draw on the walls. My dad, smart enough, he painted all the walls in the house with oil paints, so I had many chance to reuse. Main reason was they let me grow with my creativity. Every weekend I used to go to uncle house to get trained with strokes and play with colors, he took me to many painting classes, I did improve after that. These days I paint when I’m extremely stressed out on charts and I concentrate mostly on abstract since they don’t need extreme perfection. I simply love to paint on walls becoz they are like big paper to fill in my thoughts and colors. When my sis was expecting her first baby I decorated room with lots of glass painted (where u paint on the glass, later peal and stick it on the walls) toads, stars, doggies, butterflies and dolls just for my niece to enjoy. As days went by, unfortunately uncle became a victim to intestine cancer and we lost him forever, but the knowledge of art he imbibed in me is something I cherish. Slowly we lost aunty due to age factor…but we are still filled with their fond memories. This is the recipe I dedicate to them with lots of love and just to say we miss you! My mum inherited this recipe from aunty and I inherited from mum.

Ingredients

For Okra Fry ( I made very small portion change accordingly)
Okra 150 grams ( Washed, well towel dried and diced in long pieces )
2 tbspn of Oil
2 Large onions ( Diced in large pieces)
2 Medium size tomato ( finely chopped)
1/2 tspn chilly powder
1 1/2 tspn coriander powder
1/2 tspn cumin  powder
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste

Method
In a pan fry okras with one table spoon of oil, pinch of turmeric and salt, turmeric helps to keep the greenness in okras. After it is cooked leave them aside.
In the same pan add another table spoon of oil, fry onions till they are transparent, add tomatoes cook till oil comes out. Now add cooked okras and fry for 60 seconds. Add chilly, coriander, cumin powder and desired amount of salt and fry for 2 – 4 minutes till masala is well mixed and serve hot.

Masoor dhal 
Dhal 100 grams
1 tbspn of oil
3 pods of garlic ( Finely chopped)
1 Medium size onion (Finely chopped)
1 Medium size tomato (Finely chopped)
1 1/2 – 2 tspn of chilly pwd  (according to ur taste)
1 1/2  tspn of coriander powder
1/2 tspn cumin powder
Salt to taste
1 tbspn of finely chopped coriander

Pressure cook masoor dhal or pot boil them. Until it is cooked well. Don’t over cook them. Masoor dhal are very small and thin version it doesn’t take very long time to cook. Once it is cooked add cold water this prevents from over cooking.

In a pot, add one table spoon of oil, when it is warm add garlic, fry till turns pale brown, add onions fry it soft and tender. Next add tomatoes, fry till is cooked well and oil just starts to come out. Now add cooked dhal, next add chilly powder, coriander, jeera powder and salt to taste. Boil till the required consistency. Dhal should of running consistency.Garnish with chopped coriander, if deired with few fried garlic.

Enjoy both the recipes with warm roties and simple onion tomato salad.

For salad, finely chop the onions and transfer in bowl of water with few drops of lemon juice, this will mellow the raw onion flavour for about 5 mins. Mix with finely chopped de-seed tomatoes salt and pepper.