Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dieting with Mooshi

So you want to be like this,

But you are like this,

You make yourself feel a little better by saying, 'I am not fat, I am just healthy' and you thank your stars you don't look like this,

And then you get married. You are still 'looking healthy'. One day you catch a glimpse of your image with your husband in the bathroom mirror.

Argh!!!! You are F-A-T!!

You have 2 options: plump him up or starve yourself (I have tried the 1st option it does not work at all- he never gains weight!). So you go on diets/exercises/stop looking at food blogs/stop watching food network/try to work out calories, carbs, protein, metabolism.....In doing all that, you basically murder your taste buds. You crave for sweet-sugar-salt but the only thing that stares back at you is lettuce-plain and green *puke*

For all those dieting, this recipe is perfect. I have adapted heavily from Nupur (wish she would return soon) and Sia .

I know this is called a Vietnamese summer roll, but I just like the name Mooshi Roll- sounds all Japanese and fancy!

Mooshi Roll:
1. Rice wrappers- available in Whole foods
2. Thinly sliced carrots, cucumbers, lettuce (I do not use any specific quantities, use how much ever you want) 3 Tbsp roasted-peeled ground nuts-coarsely crushed.
3. Marinade- Mix 2 tbsp sugar, 2tbsp soy sauce, 1tsp grated ginger, 1 clove grated garlic, 1tsp chilli sauce, 6 mint leaves finely chopped, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder.
4.Half a pack of extra firm tofu. (Drain the water well- I usually fill a cooker with water, place it on the tofu and leave it overnight).
5. Dipping sauce- 2 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1tsp grated ginger, pinch of salt and sugar, 2tbsp water.

Chop the tofu into 1 inch cubes add the marinade and let it sit for 30mins. Heat a pan and pour the entire content (tofu and marinade) and let it simmer till the mixture become dry.
Like so,
Now mix the tofu with the veges and ground nuts. Soak the rice wrappers in warm water for 1-2 mins. Place it on a clean towel and add 3-4 tbsp of the filling and some of the dipping sauce. Roll the wrapper (Nupur has given lovely step by step instructions).

There... your taste buds are happy and you are feeling good that you ate all those veges, to celebrate go get yourself a scoop of chunky-monkey!!!

Thanks to her for making my rolls look prettier!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Finally "Click"

I am late... as usual. 

My picture: Bread On Board goes to the Click 'wood' event.

Bread On Board

PS- This is not store bought bread, I made it with my own hands *clap*clap*clap* . If I sit typing the recipe now, I will get a big koli muttae (egg) in my test tomorrow. So will post the recipe another day.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I can(not) write!

Inspired by Nandini, I decided to write a story, my own, first time, and much better than hers *hmpf*

Dasappa gazed from his bed to the dining hall, where his family had gathered for dinner. He looked lovingly at his sons Ram and Sham, 'Oh! How they have grown, it feels like yesterday when they were just small kids playing in the mud. Now they are big appisars (officers) in computer firms. Time just flies! And what a fine wife Bipasha is. Even though she is a Bengali, she has adjusted so well with our family. If sham gets someone like her I will close my eyes peacefully. Sigh.'
However, not everyone felt the same, Kalyani hated Bipasha. She felt a south Indian family needed only a south Indian dil, one who could cook bele-saaru (rasam) and palya (poriyal) and help her dry sandiges (papad/vadam).
'Aioo..raama, adige madthini antha hodlu ree, yeno alu dom anthe luchi no puchi no yeno madudhlu. Aah Savitramma-na magalu nanna sose agidre ruchi-ruchi bele saaru, soppu pachadi thinbodithu. Yella nan karma. Aah Rama yen antha evala-na love madudh-no...' She often lamented to her neighbour Mangala. (Oh..raama, she said she would cook and she made some alu dom and luchi or puchi. If that Savitramma's daughter was my dil I could have eaten delicious rasam rice and pachadi. My ill luck. I don't know how Rama fell in love with her.)

Bipasha knew she was not loved by Kalyani. But she did her best to please her athe (mil) and she searched all the food blogs for the perfect bele-saaru recipe. She tried, very hard. And believed her patience would be rewarded one day.

'Eegina kaladha hudugeer-na nambeke aagalla ree.' said Mangala on one of their over-the compound chit-chat sessions, ' ganda-na seere serugu olagade hakondu, mane yella thamdhu antha madkondu , vayasa-dha appa-amma-na old folks home-ge sersthare. A Meenakshi sose hage ree madithu. Papa avaru.' (You cannot trust girls these days. They will turn their husbands against the parents and put his parents in some old folks home. That Meenakshi's dil did the same thing. Poor Meenakshi.)

'Yene edhu saara?? Uppe illa!' (Is this rasam? It does not have any salt!) screamed Kalyani

'Sorry, athe marthu hoithu, eega uppu hakthini..' (sorry athe, I forgot, I will add the salt now)

'Uppu haka-kke marithara??' (How can someone forget to add salt?)

'Aioo...bidu amma, chikka vishya alwa?' (oh...forget it amma, its a small thing) said Ram

"....ganda-na seere serugu olagade hakondu, mane yella thamdhu antha madkondu...." Kalyani remembered what Mangala had said earlier.

'Yeno? Support jasti aaagtha ede?' (You are supporting her too much)

'Uppu hakki-la antha soft agi helbodhu alwa? Yakke avala mele raegthya?' (You can tell her gently, why do you have to yell at her?)

'.....vayasa-dha appa-amma-na old folks home-ge sersthare.....' Yes, What Mangala said was true, It was happening to her now. Kalyani could not take this any longer.

'Naanna mane alli edhkondu nange roaf a?' (You are living under my roof and you are advising me?')

'Hange illa amma...' (Not like that amma...)

'Neenu yenu heladhu beda naanu yenu keladhu beda. Get lost!!!' ( I don't want to hear anything you say, just get lost)

'Oh! Amma, please...'


'Anna- athige illa-dha mane alli naanu eralla.'(I will not stay in this house without Ram and sil) said Sham.

'Hogappa, thumba santhosha.' (you also please leave) said Kalyani without any remorse.

Dasappa knew something was not right. But what could he do? That wretched stroke had confined him to his bed. He had refused to remarry after his beloved Kausalya passed away. He was determined to bring up his two young sons single handed. 'makalige amma bekku' (the kids need a mother) said his family members and they had forced him to remarry. Damn fools, where were they now? He closed his eyes tight, a lone tear trickled down his cheek.

Ram, Bipasha and Sham settled into their new flat. They missed Kalyani and Dasappa terribly but loved their independence. They could get up as late as they wished, have tea without brushing their teeth, eat breakfast before a bath....no one to question them, no one to chide them.

'I don't have to sit in a corner, like an untouchable, on those days. Thank god!' thought Bipasha.

Life went on smoothly until that fateful day,

'Bipasha yelli edhya? Coffee thegondu baa' (Bipasha where you ? Get some coffee.)

'Anna, athige yellu kanna-tha illa..' (brother, I cannot find sil anywhere)

They searched all over the house and enquired every where. No one knew of her whereabouts. They returned home anxiously, and something caught Sham's eye. It was a small red comb, the kind men keep in their trouser back pocket.

'Edhu pakka-dha mane Bimana-dhu. Avannu modhale athige na one thara nodtha eda. Avanne kidnap madirbekku!' ( this comb belongs to next door Bimana. From the start he seemed to have an eye on her. He must have kidnapped her)

'Sham!!!' yelled Ram, ' nodu Bipasha-na lakme lipstick, Maybelline nail-polish yella nella-dha mele ede, aiooo.. a Bimana-ne yeno madirbekku...' (Sham!! See Bipasha's lakme lipstick and Maybelline nail-polish is on the floor..oh-no that Bimana must have done something to her.)

There was only one person who could help them. It was the famed police official, Commissioner Hanumanthappa.

'Hello Sir, ondu complaint kodbekku...' (hello sir, I have to give a complaint...) Ram said, his voice quivering with the thought of Bipasha alone with Bimana.

Will commissioner-Hanumanthappa help them?
Did Bimana really kidnap Bipasha? Or was it Sham who did it?
Will Kalyani ever repent?
Will Dasappa ever see his family happy again?

To be continued...

Excited and proud, like a 5th standard girl who scored 5/5 on her dictation test, I went and showed my story to J. He read it and said "Oye!! Ramayana kathe na modify madithiya????" (Oye!! You modified Ramayana?)

DAMN. How did he figure that out??!!

So clearly writing is just not my forte and is best left to the experts. Maybe poetry? Hmmm.....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I am strong!

After a week of continuous crying and whining about USA and how I miss India in my posts (leading J to remark, "your blog is becoming cliched, all the posts have- India, wahh wahhh... and I hate USA") I have decided to pick myself up, dust myself off and begin again the work of remaking Masala Vade. For everywhere I look, there are events to participate and food to be prepared and pictures to be taken. I will take part in all (at least some ) of the events, call my two cooking guru's in India (there I go again!) and get authentic South Kanara dishes. And make it, click it and post it. I will keep making fun of Americans because its my birth right! I will provide stories about my childhood, the other half and the things we do.

All this I can do. All this I will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of my ambitions. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what I have already done - I have turned a blog with just 1 comment to one with a minimum of 5 comments.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless my blog, Masala Vade.
(You can go here for the original speech)

Today's dish goes to Harini for her Recipes for the rest of us-Starters event
Before I give the recipe lets see if I satisfy all her conditions:

1. Please avoid exact measurements. Please use very simple measurements like a handful or a pinch. - I gave very precise measurements. -1
2. Please avoid complicated steps.If the recipe takes over 5 steps to prepare, it would not be suitable for this event. - Less than 5 steps. +1
3. Please avoid recipes demanding a good deal of manual skill. - No complicated steps. Cutting, microwaving and use of a mixer and tawa is required. +1
4. Please avoid recipes demanding fancy kitchen equipment.- tawa and mixi do not fall under fancy kitchen equipments. +1
5. In short, it should be something a ten year old kid should be able to cook up.- If my husband can make this anyone can. +2

My total is, 4/5 -pass!! Here is the recipe.

Vegetable Cutlet: Source Amma

Step 1-
Cook 1/4 c chopped beetroot, 1/4 cup peas, 1/4 c chopped onions, 1/4 c chopped beans, 1/2 c chopped carrots, 1/2 c chopped cabbage (microwave 5 mins). Cook 1 potato till soft.

Step 2-
grind 2 cloves garlic, 3/4 tsp coriander seeds, 3/4 tsp cumin seeds, 3-4 green chillies, 1 inch ginger with 3-4 tbsp water.

Step 3-
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp channa dal, 1tsp urad dal, 1/4 tsp tumeric. Once the dals turn golden add the ground paste and saute till the raw smell disappears. add the boiled vegetables and mix well. Mash the boiled and peeled potato and add to the above mixture. Add salt and mix well. Let it cool. You should be able to make balls out of this mixture. If it breaks and does not hold add another boiled potato.

Step 4-
Make small balls of the vegetable mixture and flatten them (like you do for masala vade) roll them around in bread crumbs. Heat a tawa and place the flattened vegetable mixture on the tawa and add 2 tbsp oil. Let it turn crisp on one side, then turn them over. Add another tbsp oil and remove once the other side is crisp. This is best done on a low flame.

Step 5-
Eat. Now you have two option,

You can eat it like style raja aka my other half i.e., cutlets arranged symmetrically with just a dollop of Heinz tomato ketchup and eat with a fork. Then wipe your mouth ever so gently with the edge of a napkin.


Or put it on a steel plate, with anna-saaru and slurp it with your hands. Burp.


Either ways it tastes good.
Ok ok..I know I cheated a bit- I did bend some rules. Should this go to the event or no? (please say yes- I will give you guys $10)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

B'day blues...

-2 gifts, 2 cards, 2 e-mail wishes, 3 phone calls
-1 e-card from my mom which I never actually received because my mom added an extra dot to my mail id (as usual)
-long distance call from my sis Su, cousin Mako and her mom
-1 sweet husband trying very, very hard to make the day special
- went to bed wishing, wishing my mom lived next door

Same day, two years ago,
-12 am sms "Arre crack happy b'day"
-6 am phone call my cousin Mako "yeh loosu, happy birthday kane"
-8am sms my sis Su "Yeh nut, happy birthday"
-10-12 e-cards
-big bouquet of flower on my desk
-distributing kaju roll to all my colleagues (yea, my work place was slightly crazy!)
-"yeh don't forget 5 pm treat in Kanti sweets!!" Stuffed ourselves with samosa and malai gulla.
-"Arghhhh!! I love the watch!! Thanks M and V"
-canteen aunty "evathu ninna b'day antha gothu ma, adikke sweet madthe"( I know today was your birthday, thats why I made sweet) (She told the same thing everytime someone's birthday coincided with her sweet making day!! But it made me feel good!!) Stuffed myself with canteen aunty's sweet
-carrot halwa and mirchi bajji by Mom, yep loaded myself with this as well.
-Went to bed taking 3 Pudin Hara's and feeling like the happiest girl in the universe, not one bit sad I had turned one year older!

Wahhh wahhhh wahhhh... I want to go back to India. Because the above and below happens only in India.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Athe's chutney pudi

I spent a paltry 25 days in my in-laws place right after my wedding. And most of those days were spent by going out to luncheons hosted by some aunty/cousin/brother's friend or running up and down to the passport office. So, I never really got a chance to know my in-laws. However, past summer they were here for three months and oh my! I can write their biography now!!

My fil has some peculiar principles which he follows very religiously- he will not eat leftovers, he thinks one falls sick eating leftovers (I have no idea who put this into his head, I am pretty healthy!) , according to him a good pulao should have 1/4 kg ghee and 1/4 kg ghee roasted cashews, upma should be eaten with kesari bath... Huh? No.. no...my mil is still with him, she has not divorced him. Why? Because she is a reincarnation of her !! Some differences between me and her,
1.She makes kesari bath everytime she prepares upma
-me ' sugar= kesari bath'

2.sweet pongal is a definite accompaniment for khara pongal
-me 'mango/lime/chilli/mixed vegetable-pickles are at your disposal'

3. she ends up having the left overs sparing my fil!
-me' this is what is there. Eat it or beat it.'

4. she spends hours in the kitchen making sweets from scratch.
-me 'Hmm.. Haldirams/Swad son papdi? tough decision..'

I can hear some of you saying 'she does all this because she does not goto work, she has all the time in the world to make to all these (I myself have said so umpteen times)' But when I think about it, that does not seem to be the reason. I mean, I was at home (doing nothing) the first 6 months I landed here. I never once made upma and kesari bath on the same day (those days making upma itself was a challenge for me!). Its not just the issue of time, according to me, its a matter of love and patience, which she seems to have in abundance! I just wish I had at least 15% of her patience!!

Having written so much about them it would be unfair not to put up their pictures. Get ready to say awww..... I call this "Love at 60 -in the Grand Canyons"

Them gambling away to glory,


Along with all the sandiges, papad and pickles, she had brought this awesome pudi from India. I have never tasted any pudi as good as this till date. There is just something in it that makes you ditch the chutney and grab the pudi instead. She made it twice when she was here- I never bothered to see how she made it (yea, I am stupid!), just merrily ate it!

Last week I had this maha pudi-craving and wanted to make it. Called her up and asked her the recipe; "Arda hidi kadle papu, kaal chamcha dhaniya..." Oh-oh, she does not use cups and teaspoons (like all experienced cooks) Now how much is half a fist full? Did she mean half a teaspoon or half a table spoon? So after numerous experiments I think I have got it (or at least come very close to it!).

Athe's chutney pudi -
4 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp pepper corns
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 cup dalia
9 dried red chillis
10 curry leaves
5 tbsp dried coconut (or copra)
1 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp salt

Heat 1 tsp oil and fry the garlic cloves till brown, set aside. Roast the coriander seeds, dried chillies, pepper and curry leaves till coriander seeds change colour and dried chillies start to plump. Set aside. Roast the dalia and coconut till light brown. Let cool completely. Add the tamarind paste and salt to the above mixture and powder in a blender. (This is uber spicy, you can reduce the spice level to your liking)

Cooling away...

Chutney Pudi


This is going to her for the Colours of Taste - Powders event.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Almost- authentic Amritsari Choley

Copied straight from her. Its almost-authentic because I did not add the chutney. I did look at the chutney recipe-seemed very tedious! And I was dead beat, so I chuked the chutney. The other half has never been to Amritsar or eaten Amritsari choley, he would never know.

We did not miss the chutney (not that we know how it tastes with the chutney)! The choley was lip-smacking good. It even looked like hers,


We ate this with brown-rice tortilla from TJ- it tastes horrible please don't buy it. It was like eating hide. Should have just had the choley with good ol' thayir-sadam. Americans and their fancy-shmancy dishes! (I cannot stop making fun of them!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

American Eccentricities

Having lived here for 3 years, I still cannot come to terms with some funny/weird things Americans do/say. Here are the top ten American bizzaros,

1. Constant -How are you's
K- Hey how are you?
Me- Good good...
K- Hey how are you?
Me- K, I last saw you 4 hours ago! Nothing drastic could have happened in that time no?!

2. Funny greeting styles
Sp- Yo! Whats up?
Me- Aaa... the sky?!!

3. Animals=Humans
Me- Our weekend sucked! Wish we had company.
Nat- You should so get a dog/cat.
I never knew animals could talk-atleast the ones in India don't.

4. Humans=Animals
My friend B to her 4 yr old son- Good job V, I am so proud of you!
Cesar Millan on his show Dog Whisperer- Good job Izzy.

5. Inanimate objects=Humans
Nat- We have named our white car as Bel and our new Mazda is called Pepper. Whats your car's name?
Me- Aaa...we are calling it 'car' for now.

6. Their hypocritical view on animal welfare
Nat- I cannot understand how one can take part in dog fights its so cruel. Dogs have feelings as well you know. I think those cruel people ought to be shot yada yada yada....
And all this time she is chomping on a plate full of lamb vindaloo. So lambs have no feelings? I don't think the lamb volunteered to be her vindaloo!

7. Over- and unwarranted use of the word 'like'
Me- So what did you guys think about the research article?
Student - I think he tried to like justify his research cos he was like saying that like his new glowing bunny was like an art piece. But I like think that he was not like totally sure of his research like it seemed as if he was trying like hard to impress other scientists.

8. I am normal, they are shocked
Sp- Hey, I made some beer, you want to try it?
Me- No thanks. I don't drink
Sp- What?! Never?
Me- No never.
Sp- Really?

9. They are normal, I am shocked
Me- You still here? Not going home for the Christmas break?
Sp- Nah! I am staying here.
Me- Don't you want to be with family?
Sp- I hate my family
Me- Really?

10. Their obsessions,
a. When they mean large, they mean LARGE- Their large popcorn is the size of a small bucket in India
b. Gimme more...SUGAR- A pancake is a pancake only when its bathed in 1 liter of maple syrup.
c. Addiction to butter/cream cheese- Four ladles of cream cheese to make the bagel go down.

With this post I have proved beyond doubt that I am a typical desi- bitchy and dissatisfied with everything/everyone. But hey, whoever said bitching was bad?

Now you know why I blog anonymously!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Found and lost

3 pm AU shuttle bus

S's brain- Oh lord I have to finish that dumb assignment before Friday. Hate that man for asking us to read that big book chapter.

Man on the phone- Hello helu yen aithu? (tell me what happened?)

S's heart- I hear kannada!!
brain- yea, I hear Gujarathi, Marathi, Malyalam...

Man still on the phone- Naanu karkondu barthini avalnna (I will bring her)

heart-this is kannada! Yipeee.. Do I talk to him or not? The ad for friends had responses from people in Atlanta & Singapore, none from MD, it might be better to try my luck with this guy.
brain- Are you crazy? This is some random guy, why do you want to talk to him?
heart- Oh c'mon so what if he is a random guy, he speaks kannada!
brain- What will J think? Going off like that talking to a stranger?
heart- Hey! I am just going to talk to him not have an affair, what if he has a wife and he might know other kannadigas!
brain- What if he is just a bachelor with no friends? He might just land at our house every weekend looking for bisibelebath and maddur vade.
heart- Screw you! I am going to talk to him.

Me- err.. are you a kannadiga?
Man- yes how did you know?
Me- Aaa... I eavesdropped on your phone conversation
brain- You totally blew it! He is not going to be your friend!!
Man- Ohh...Which part of karnataka are you from?
Me- Bangalore. Where do you live here?
Man- Rockville
Me- ARGH!!!!! I live there too.

So we spent the rest of our train journey discussing India, kids, in-laws (brain-basically they exchanged their bio-data). We got off at the same station and he introduced his wife (who was on the same train, different coach) to me. What do you know she was my super- super-super senior in college!!! They dropped me off home and I invited (brain-more like pestered) them upstairs. They did come and we chatted for some more time.

They- Ok we have to leave now, we have a doctor's appointment at 5.
Me- You must come again when J is here. He will be very happy to meet you. Or give me your address we will come to your place (brain- you are pushing it!)
They- Oh actually we are moving bak to India in another 2 months. We will give you our Bangalore address, you must come visit us when you come down.

heart- WHAT?! Wait, you can't go now, we just met! You haven't met J/had dinner in our place! You just can't do this to us now. That is so unfair!!!!
brain- ha ha ha ha ha ha..... I told you, I told you ha ha ha ha ha..
heart- Noooooo....
brain- heart? heart? Ok you have stopped pumping, c'mon now..lub-dub, lub-dub, work with me here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Friends wanted

(This is adapted from Nags blog)

Wanted female/male, kannadigas/tamilians -any Indian to be best pals (even 'just' pals will do) with a lonely Indian couple in Maryland (or even Virginia/DC- we do not mind driving the extra mile to meet you!)
-We don't care if you have kids/single/couples like us/have in-laws/pets with you (see how flexible we are).
-We don't care if you are vegan/non-vegetarian/herbivore like us/don't cook
-We are not bothered if you live in a studio apartment/mansion, drive a corolla/ford/mustang or take the metro.
All we need are some fun loving Indians who we can invite for dinner (and in turn be invited!), watch movies, play Pictionary, be our company on our numerous Shenandoah trips, ramble on about Indian politics/ India-pak relations (J's request), Bollywood movies, desi restaurants that make the best masala-dosai, basically just talk!

Because we are tired of spending weekends by ourselves, screaming ourselves hoarse that Slumdog Millionaire was crap and no one contradicting our views, having to listen to other friends (especially the one in Texas) going on about how they were invited to numerous Diwali parties and we in turn telling them 'oh! how lucky, we were just...by ourselves', telling my prof after every weekend/ break "No! we did not have any guests over!" and because we cannot pluck up courage to go upto a fellow Indian in the desi store and say "Want to be friends?"

We cannot promise to do your laundry, but we can help you in doing your taxes !! (is that enticing or what?)

Someone? Anyone? ........ please?

(We feel like the kids in 'Mary Poppins' who wrote a similar ad for a nanny! - We hope we get a 'Maryamma Popingaru')

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pot what?

This would have been my reaction if you had asked me about pot-stickers 1 year ago. I first tasted them when J took me to this restaurant that specializes in mock-meat entrees. I hated the place! Being a hard-core vegetarian all my life, I could not swallow the kung pau chicken/hunan beef even though I knew it was vegan!!! And, I was certain their vegetable soup contained some animal blood!! Add to my misery the next table had ordered - Duck roast! Oh lord, that was enough to make me nauseous! I wanted to run but did not want to spoil it for J- the guy was all into the beef thingy!! Strangely though we left soon after-even before the lady in the next table had finished half her duck. J later told me that I looked as if I would puke any minute and he did not want a scene!! If this makes you think that it was our last visit to that place - you are wrong! We were there the following weekend, ordered the same thing but 1 small change- I licked my plate clean!! Yep, I was hooked (thats in bold, underlined and in capitals!!). I'd discovered my inner carnivore- roar?!

I don't think I can recreate their chicken/beef/duck entrees, but I searched around and experimented and finally we have what we think is a tasty pot-sticker recipe. And here it is just for you, step-by-step.

Wonton wrappers (available at your local grocery store)
3.5-4 cups chopped spinach ( I have seen recipes with mushrooms/cabbage, you can use those instead of spinach)
1/4 cup Nutrela soy granules (to resemble pork chops-rrroarr! I bought this in the Indian store)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Tbsp soy sauce
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp oil

Cook the soy granules according to the instruction on the packet and set aside. Heat oil in a pan add the garlic and let it turn light brown. Add the spinach and saute till its kinda dry and cooked. Now add the soy granules, soy sauce and salt mix well. It should be completely dry. Something like this,


Now comes the part I am not fond of- filling the wontons. Well, thats what husbands are for- don't you agree? Now take a wonton wrapper and put 1 spoon of the filling. Brush the sides of the wrapper with little water and fold it in half, sealing the edges.
Heat a non-stick pan and just lightly grease it. Place the filled wontons in the pan and allow it to brown on one side.


Don't flip, just add 1/2 cup water and cover the pan. This will allow the wontons to steam.


After 5-7 mins, take a peek to see if the water has evaporated (you want all the water to be gone). Remove the lid and cook till the wontons re-crisp. Set aside.

It should look something like this,

If your wontons don't look shrink-wrapped and look puffy instead, it really does not matter- its the taste that counts!

We are now ready to serve,


The dipping sauce is simple to make, just mix 1 tsp peanut butter, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp water, 1/2 tsp grated ginger, 1 finely chopped dry red chilli, 1 tsp chopped cilantro. Mix well and set it aside in the refrigerator for an hour-this allows the flavours to mingle!

How to eat it? Well, take a pot-sticker, dip it in the sauce and say Ahhhhh...... You must taste the soft yet chewy wrapper, savoury filling and bit of the crunchy bottom! This was our dinner last night, light yet tasty. We ate it watching "As time goes by" on Netflix...I love Saturdays!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ice Ice Baby...

Ooo.. that cold sweet cream going down your parched throat cooling your body, soul and mind! Ahhh...now thats what I call bliss. I am fond of only 1 flavour-rocky road and it has to be on a waffle-cone otherwise its not fit to be held in my hand or licked! 

However, this time she tempted me...and I succumbed. Result? Ooo..so good
See for yourself,

I am not going to bother providing the recipe here, because she has done such a good job of giving step-by-step instructions. Plus I type with two fingers, it will take me an entire day to type the recipe. I used strawberries instead of mulberries (I could not find mulberries, have not eaten them in India also-shame shame!!) I followed the rest of it diligently.


I learnt some valuable lessons during the making of this,
1. 1 litre milk does not reduce to 500 ml in 15 mins.
2. never dump 3 tbsp corn-flour into hot milk, hoping it will magically dissolve.
3. never dip your finger into the syrup...while its simmering.
4. never open the freezer 1000 times to see if it has set.
5. nothing can beat home-made ice-cream!

Harini has posted a soy version as well. And she has tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to tempt us with the healthier version, saying its a cool-blue (it looks more like black&white photo to me!!) Look at her photos and tell me which makes you drool more?!

Can you bear to not lay your hands on this? 


Now, I have to find those darn waffle-cones.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hudugi Nodakke Bartha Edare Ree...

"Hudugi nodakke bartha edhare ree.." which loosely translates to "they are coming to see the girl".
Who said this- my mom
To whom- to all
Who are 'they'- boy's family
Who is the girl- me
When was this said- when I attained marriageable age (*puke!!*)
How many times was this said- very often!

Yea, I was 'interviewed' by 3 blokes and 1 MOB (mom-of-bloke) before I found the right one. In India, girl-seeing (this is literal translation of hudugi nodathu/ponnu pakarthu) is considered a serious task- 3 people should not go to see the girl (it should be some even number), one cannot just walk into the girl's house-there is an auspicious time set out for that! The girl's side, on their part has to prepare some thindi/tiffin (to trick the boy into believing that the girl is Tarla Dalal's guru!), and there are some crazy MOB's that ask the girl to sing and dance (to ensure her vocal cords/limbs are in perfect working condition). This last sentence is not a joke- my granny made my mom parade up and down the hall! Well, she did strut the runway. And because she possessed hind-limbs that moved without any creaks and fore-limbs that swayed in rhythm (wow! bonus feature!), she won the jackpot- my Dad!!! Fortunately for me I did not have to do the last one -I would not have done it even if the boy was Abhishek Bachchan!!

Anyways, my interviews were something like this,

Interview # 1
Mom all excited, Su took the day off from work to witness this (she thought it was a once-in-lifetime event like an eclipse or something, little did she know that it would be more like sunshine- you see it everyday!!!)
Tiffin- Rave idly, Kai chutney, bisi-bisi filter kaapi.

MOB- So...you are a Biotech grad? Where are you working?
Me- I am still searching for a job.
MOB- Oh! My son is in Arkansas, doing his MD.
Me- *tell me something new lady. I already checked out his profile on shaadi dot com* Oh Thats nice.

20 long minutes of such crap talk they finally left. Her parting words?

MOB- Rave idly thumba channagithu (tasty). Good luck with your job-hunt.

Interview # 2
Mom all excited. Su did not take the day off from work (clever girl).
Tiffin- Ras malai, bisi- bisi badami hallu (hot badam milk), uppitu (upma).

Bloke- What do you want to do in future?
Me- I am trying for my PhD abroad. I just gave my GRE.
Bloke- Hmm... I will be leaving to the US shortly... I have seen Japan, China, Taiwan etc. This time around I want to visit all of Europe and US.
Me- *So why are you here instead of a travel agency?!* Hmm...

10 minutes of small talk before they said 'tata-byebye'. Now this bloke was hooked up by some broker aunty. I am so glad she was not my mom. Why?

broker aunty- The boy has said yes. What is your daughter's opinion?
mom- She did not like him. Seems he did not say anything positive about her higher studies.
broker aunty- Aiyiooo...rammaa! Huduganna hatra Ford car ede ree... Nimma magalige oppikollake heli.
(Oh God! the boy owns a Ford car, tell your daughter to say yes)

Interview # 3
Mom still excited (though its considerably decreased) Su at home (because its a Sunday!!)
Tiffin- Filter kaapi, A1 Hot Chips.
Me- I do not want to see this guy. He is 8 years elder to me. How can you bear to get me married to an uncleji?
Mom- You have not even seen him, how can you say he is uncle ji?
Su- Dear Sis, do you not know that saying?
Me- What saying?
Su- Old is Gold. LOL.

Him- I am a pediatrician, but I prefer to call myself a child-specialist. I have finished my MD in Mumbai, FRCS in London at present I am practicing in the US. My hobbies include reading 20 journal articles a day, going through the Economic times, listening to Carnatic and Hindustani music. My favorites are Pandit Jasrag and Gangubai Hanagal. I prefer a girl who is willing to live with my parents and brother's family. My brother is a famous dentist in KR puram. His wife is a doctor. I am moving back to India in another year. So you know it will be one big happy family. What do you think?
Me- I think I hear my phone ring. Excuse me.
-Never went near him again-

Mom trying real hard to be excited. Su (over the phone) 'tell me when its all over, I will come home then.'
Tiffin- Half a glass hot milk.

Me- My name is S. Whats yours?
Him- J.
Me- What do you do in the US?
Him- Manager.
Me-Where McDonalds a?
Him- No, Verizon.
Me- What is that?
Him- Phone company.
Me- Wonderful! I cannot adjust the volume on my cell-phone. Can you fix it?
Him- no...no...not that kind. I'm in IT.
Me- Oh, I'm in BT!! LOL!! Get it? IT..BT! You don't? Hmmm...

I spent a good 30 minutes interrogating him (and telling him terrible PJs). And I married Bloke #4. Are you thinking this is why? (see video below)

No! Mujhe pyaar naahin hua, nahin huaaa....alla hua miyaaaaaaaaaan...

The man got me a big box of Ferrero-Rocher chocolates on our 2nd meeting! Thats why!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dinner in Picture

Our Humble Dinner:



Saturday, March 7, 2009


Me- Hey, I am going to take part in a FIC event conducted by her and her the theme is pink/rose. Give me some ideas on what pink/rose dish to cook.
Him- Ooo.. make one that ya..
Me-Which one ya?
Him- Malai kofta.
Me- Malai kofta? Pink colour? In which part of the world were you served pink colour malai kofta? Malai koftas are brown ok not pink. I was thinking something beetroot-ish.
Him-Beetroot ah? Woman! That is red colour.
Me- Man! That is dark pink. You are severely colour-impaired!

I went out, got those beets, cut them up and BAM,


OMG!! The man was right! They are bloody red. Damn! Clearly, even I suffer from colour-impairment. Ok... don't panic, don't panic. How does one turn this into pink? AMMA!!!

Me- Hey amma, I want to turn beetroot to some pink/rose colour, how to?
Amma- Just mix it with something white.
Me- Sugar/salt/milk/curds/white onions/A4 paper/my sofa cover/shower curtain are all white. Which one to use? Be specific for Gods' sake amma!
Amma- *And she is doing her Masters? LOL* Make beetroot pachadi...this is how,

Beetroot Pachadi:

1 cup grated beetroot
2-3 green chillies
1/3 cup coconut
1.5 tsp mustard seeds
1-1.5 cup curds
salt to taste

Cook the grated beetroot with some water till soft (I zapped it in the microwave for 5mins). Grind the coconut, green chillies and mustard seeds into a smooth paste using 1/4 cup curds. Add this paste to the cooked and cooled beetroots. Add the curds and salt. Mix well. You can do a tadka for this if you wish.

So now I ended up with this,


Him- I still think this is red. Don't be upset if this gets rejected.
Me- This is pink..just little dark...
Him and Me- Hmmm...

Since we both carry a mutation that has affected our colour perception, I am just going to send them my entry and let them decide if its pink or not.


If they do consider this pink I will be happy. If they don't..I shudder to think about my kids colour perception skills!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I just don't get it: Take Home Exams

What a horrible week! I am so glad the weekend is here. I was working on a take home exam most of this week. I have never really appreciated the concept of these take home/ open book exams. Most of my classmates are "Yaaayyyy!! Take home exam! Thank God!" . I on the other hand detest take home exams (or any exams for that matter!). I prefer in class ones where you just endure the pain for 2 hours and forget about it until grade-time.

I just don't understand the joy that people experience when they hear "take home exams".
1. Is the professor going to give you questions straight from the book? NO!
2. Are the answers/questions going to be straight forward? NO!
3. Will there be multiple choice questions? NO!
4. Will it be just 3 questions? NO!
5. Will be pain last for just 2 hours? NO!!

So, why/how the heck are take-homes 'Yaaayyyy!!' ? I mean its not even "Yaaaayyyy!!" for the professor, he now has to sit and waste his time going through all those lengthy essays and trying to figure out if anyone has plagiarized from some website. Plus, can you imagine all that electricity wastage because 20 odd students had to use the internet to glean information in order to answer those super-crazy-tricky questions and finally type them out. I mean is this all really necessary? Seriously, I just don't get it! Anyways, after 2 whole days of searching and typing the answers, I was finally done (can you imagine 48 hours to write an exam). Now, I just hope all that effort and time gets rewarded handsomely!

On a completely different note, I so want to watch 'Delhi 6'. Why? To improve my Hindi/ to be a true bharatiya naari and encourage Hindi movies/ to see if Sonam Kapoor has put on some weight/to know the latest fad in Bollywood/to....Ok, ok I am crazy about Abhishek Bachchan. There I said it, now I have the liberty to... *drool...drool...drool...drool*

I have been humming this (see video below) all week long and looks like will continue to do so for sometime!
I wish I were that 'Masakali' on Abhishek's hand...*drool...drool..and more drool..*

I just have one very important question though, its been on my mind ever since I first watched this video. Did the pigeon not shit/pee on Sonam's head? Anyone has answers to that?

Monday, March 2, 2009





Sunday, March 1, 2009


I was at the Indian Embassy the other day, to get my passport renewed. Even though my appointment was at 10.45am I reached the place at 9am. Why? Because I wanted to be the first in line ( I know these guys don't work by appointment time!). They had a small TV and Aaj Tak was running continuously. I was glued to it ( we don't have dish network so no access to Indian channels) and did not want my name to be called! There was a very funny ad featuring Amul Thermals. I remember Amul sold only butter/milk products and was surprised that they had branched to clothing as well!

Then nostalgia took over me; when we were kids there was just 1 channel- DD1. We used to look forward to Sundays when we could watch He-man ( that cartoon was just terrible, but hey it meant that we could be in front of the TV and not with those dreadful textbooks!). My mom, aunts and other neighbour aunties were crazy about Ramayana (yawwwn!) and the whole family gathered around to watch Oliyum-Oliyum (it was a tamil version of Rangoli). Ah.. those days...sniff..sniff...

I cannot post any of the above mentioned items, but I found all these, which are equally close to heart,

Having spent more than 10 years in Chennai, it would be unfair if I did not post these,

I could find only these two :(
Finally this,

Have to get back to real world now **Sigh**. Have a good week everyone.