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Special plate

We had friends to stay over on Sunday and as it is the new normal, I marinaded chicken, veggies and M grilled them for dinner.

M started grilling and items were disappearing in lightning speed as everyone was hungry and hot fresh grilled food always tastes better. I was busy in the kitchen preparing tomato thokku for the one day trip planned for next day.

Adi observed the whole scene for a while, then came near me and whispered that I should take a break and have some food as I will not get any if I wait till the last. I nodded my head but continued with kitchen work. Few minutes later, she handed over this plate to me and asked to save for myself to eat later.

That divine feeling of someone caring for you and thinking about you took over me instantly and I wanted to just preserve that plate of food for eternity.

I grew an inch taller that day because of abundant happiness. This is my the favorite phrase from a tamil song.

Quarantine time has brought us closer than before and I count my blessings.

Pillayar Chathurthi – 2020

Better late than never. I wanted to capture about pillayar chathurthi in this space for posterity.

This year chathurthi was awesome as

  • I made the world’s most softest kozhukattai and M praised the sesame seeds filling kozhukattai so much that Adi noticed it and said she has never seen him praising my food so much!!
  • I made 3 versions – sweet sesame seeds/jaggery filling, sweet channa dal/jaggery filling and savory version.
  • The best part is I made everything from scratch like soaking rice and grinding it to make outer layer. It just took about 7 hours to wrap it up end to end as I made it with 4 cups of rice. Shared it with neighbors and friend’s family. Totally worth the effort.
  • Visited friend’s home for Ganesh Visarjan. They did it in big scale with their entire dining room decorated. We sang bhajans and had good food.
  • Neighbor kids, Adi and LHB made their own Ganesha’s so I had 4 Ganesha idols decorating my pooja space thiis year.
  • We dissolved our eco Ganesh today (Day 7) in the sink. I don’t know if there is a better way to do it. We usually dissolve it in sink as they are made of salt dough (wheat flour+salt).

Hope all of you are staying safe and good.

Kids making Ganesha
Do you see all 4 Ganesha and my 3 version of Kozhukattai?
Melt in mouth savory Uppu urundai
Bidding adieu to Ganesha until next year

Heaven is

the salad your daughter makes for you when she gets home around 2:30pm and you are starving as you skipped lunch attending back to back calls since morning.

Bonus – she serves it to you 🙂

Now I am craving some masala chai and troubling her to make some but she is not budging!!! It seems her quota of help is done for the day!!!

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Today’s dinner

What happens when you watch too much of Master chef? See below

Adi made this dish for my dinner today and presented it to me as

Enjoy the Cheese ravioli on a bed of sweet kale salad topped with roasted potatoes, dried cranberries and a dash of feta cheese 🙂

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Food connection

Today’s lunch box for kids:

Ladies finger fry rolled in roti and clementines. I am happy to have started packing lunch for LHB too from this school year. This journey started in 2010 when Adi started her kindergarten and continuing for a decade now, it will continue for another decade till LHB graduates school. Nothing can make me more happier than seeing an empty lunch box. It is an everyday discussion during bedtime about the lunch option for next day and I make up my mind about what to cook the next day morning. Somedays, I also do some prep work in the night like cutting veggies or soaking pulses.

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And I suddenly got this urge today to make my all time favorite puli kuzhambu with drumstick, potatoes and mochai (lilva beans). This is one of Adi’s favorite too and somehow it has been ages I made it. So, made it today and Adi was super excited to see the kuzhambu and fryums on the table when she got back from school. She kept repeating “Today is her best day”.

She kept visiting the table all evening to scoop the kuzhambu with fryums and pop it in. We went down my memory lane about how I did the same at my grandma’s home where I spent all my summer. I would make frequent visits to my grandma’s kitchen to steal the potatoes from kuzhambu and come lunch time my cousins would hardly get any potatoes 😀 😀 I can see myself in Adi today with this action.

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Food can make everyone happy and I am so glad to have established this connection with kids.

Just for laugh:
LHB’s tidbit: Akka, stop complaining! You will be done with school in 2 years!!! Do you know how many more years school do I have? We calculated and its 11 more years *Adi and I bursted out laughing* and both of us said in unison that we would give anything to go back to elementary school. Actually, Adi said elementary school and I said any school or even college is fine with me.

Kosambari salad

Sunday is reserved for food post

A easy fix salad filled with protein and nutrients that has become a recent favorite at our household.

I ate it at a friend’s home and instantly liked it.

Ingredients
Moong dal – 1 cup (Soak it for 2 to 3 hours)
Onion – 1
Tomato – 1 (optional)
Cucumbers – 1 big or 4 cute cucumbers
Carrot – 1 (grated)
Lime juice – to taste
Salt – to taste
Pomegranate – 1/2 cup (optional – to garnish)
Coriander leaves – to garnish

Tadka
Mustard
Urad dal
Asafoetida
Curry leaves (Optional)
Jira (Optional)

Mix all of them, do the tadka with items given under Tadka section, add it to the salad and healthy wholesome meal is ready!

I avoid tomatoes and you can go creative with the vegetables to add based on the taste of your family.

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Pavakkai kuzhambu

Also called as Bitter gourd curry/kuzhambu

I cook bitter gourd for M but have never tasted it in my whole life. I am very serious about this. I had a big aversion for bitter gourd but this recipe changed it all so much that I licked it from the bowl and couldn’t wait to make it next time. Even kids ate it.

We couldn’t taste the bitterness at all and it was super yummy.

Try this recipe and finger licking is guaranteed.

Ingredients:
Bitter gourd – 3 or 4
Tamarind – lemon size (soak in warm water)
Channa dal – 3/4 cup
Garlic
Onion – 2
Tomato – 2
Chilli powder – 1 spoon
Coriander powder – 1 spoon
Turmeric powder – 1/2 spoon
Salt – to taste
Sugar – 1 or 2 spoon – to taste

To grind:
Toor dal – 2 spoons
Peppercorns – 1/2 spoon
Jeera – 1/2 spoon
Channa dal – 1/2 spoon
Dry red chillies – to taste
Grated coconut – 2 spoons

Tadka: 
Mustard seeds
Split urad dal
Curry leaves
Green chillies

Method:
1. Cut bitter gourd into small pieces, remove seeds and shallow fry in oil till they turn slightly brown and keep aside
2. Pressure cook channa dal and keep aside
3. Dry roast and grind the items given under “To grind” section into a paste and keep aside
4. In a pan, saute items given under “Tadka” section in same order and keep cooking
5. Add garlic, onion, tomato in same order and continue to cook till they are well cooked and blended
6. Add chilli powder, coriander power, turmeric power, salt and cook well until the raw smell of all powders are gone.
7. Add tamarind water and bring it to boil
8. Add shallow fried bitter gourd, ground paste, cooked chana dal and continue to cook till they all blend together.
9. Finally, add some kind of sugar (cane sugar/jaggery/white sugar) and turn off the stove.

Serve it with rice/roti

Audio version that I shared with some of my friends (whatever good we know, we have to share it no?)

I apologize ahead to all non-tamil readers as the audio is in Tamil

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Vegetable soup

This weekend was super packed but very much satisfying as we checked quite a few items from ever growing To do list. I will write about it some other day.

Sunday calls for food post and I will stick on to that.

A dish that I prepared in a jiffy during winter break when Adi was repeatedly saying how nice would it be to have a hot soup to pacify her bothering throat.

Quick look at Internet for recipe ideas was not very promising as there was no celery or vegetable/chicken broth or soup seasoning mix at home. Still went ahead with the making of soup and got double thumbs up from Adi. It was one the rarest evening when she praised the dish I made to no end. She went on and on and on to only make me fly high, higher and highest 🙂

I looked up Internet but made my own version.

Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:
Onion – 1
Tomato (Optional)
Carrots – 2
Butter – 2 tbsp
Flour (all purpose) – 2 tbsp
Italian all in one seasoning
Garlic powder (Optional)
Parsley flakes (Optional)
Macaroni pasta – 1 cup
Black pepper powder – to taste
Ginger – grated (small piece)
Salt – to taste

Method:

    1. Cook pasta in a separate bowl with required amount of water and keep it aside (don’t drain the water)
    2. Heat a pot, add 2tbsp butter
    3. Saute onion, tomato (optional), carrots (add oil or more butter if butter is not enough)
    4. Add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper, salt and cook the veggies well (you can add more veggies of your choice)
    5.  Add cooked pasta along with the water
    6. Make a paste with flour/water and pour it into the cooking pot (this will give thick consistency to the soup)
    7. Allow it to boil till everything blends together and you get soup consistency.
    8. Add crushed parsley flakes, grated ginger and switch off stove in few mins.
    9. Ready to serve

P.S: You can also add cooked kidney beans.

veg soup

Beetroot paratha

Sunday calls for a food post. I have been managing cooking all by myself at the new place as getting a help is both time consuming and a hole in the pocket in current circumstances. In the old neighborhood I used to call an aunty over the weekend to cook few veg curries and use them for the following week lunch box for myself and M.

Now that I have to spend time in kitchen, I decided to try some new ideas. The family seem to like some of it and that is more than enough for me.

Of that, beetroot paratha was accepted as an okay dish by the kids but the challenge is to maintain the same taste. A small change in measurement or miss an ingredient it tastes weird and kids refuse to eat. Its hard to get food appreciation from Adi. Out of almost 20 dishes that I cook she will appreciate 2 dishes and that too depends on the taste. LHB can be fed anything as long as the idiot box is on. Sighh!!!!

I learned this recipe from Hebbar’s kitchen. I tried the same with Spinach and coriander and that came out good too.

Ingredients:
Beetroot – 2 small/1 medium
Ginger – 1 inch
Green chillies – 4 or 5
Garam masala – 1 teaspoon
Salt – to taste
Oil
Ghee

Method:
1. Saute green chillies, grated ginger and grated beetroot in oil.
2. Add little water and salt and cook it for few minutes.
3. Cool down the mixture and make a puree in mixer.
4. Take 2/3 cups of wheat flour, add garam masala, little oil, salt and the puree.
5. Knead the mix into chapathi dough consistency.
6. Roll it into parathas and cook in stove top.
7. Spread a little ghee on both sides to keep them soft.

Note – You can also fold the parathas and roll to make layers.

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