Monday, April 27, 2009

Teaching and Thai!

I taught my last class on Friday. No more teaching, preparing for class, correcting their worksheets, giving them quizzes and setting up the lab. Am I sad? Hell, no! I somehow thought American kids are smarter than Indian ones (this comes from looking at some of my classmates who are super intelligent). But these kids proved me wrong. They are dumb as stone- they cannot follow simple instructions, you ask them to type the assignments, they bring a hand written one. You ask them to cite references in a given format, they will do it in their own format (no, creativity is not important in this class!). Plus, last week I had a student who complained that I was too hard and didn't give him a good grade. Yawwwnn! My boy, I was the easiest teaching assistant around, never gave you guys tough quizzes and was so lenient in corrections. Nah, I did not bother arguing with him (I am horribly lazy- even to stand up for myself ;) ) I just asked him to go talk to the prof. in-charge. I knew she would definitely side with me heheehee...

Anyways, the end of something so great should be celebrated no? And I completely agree with A- yes, I do cook for events! I know there is a vegan- Thai (or Thai-vegan, does it matter? :P) event going on (because anywhere I look, pad-thai stares back at me). Now, if I have to try anything new, I usually try a sweet dish because however bad it tastes J will eat it- because of the sugar ;P. When I first landed in this country, J made me taste this awesome Thai sticky rice with mango in a Thai restaurant (where else, so duh!) instantly hooked I say! I looked around and found a few decent recipes. What I am giving here is most definitely NOT authentic, you need to steam cook the rice in a special Thai steamer or bamboo steamer, I ain't got one, will not buy one just for this purpose! The only authentic thing I did was make my own coconut milk- now everyone say, 'good job SJ'. Without further ado, ladies and gentleman (yes, its singular because the only man who reads my blog is J!) I present to you,

sticky rice1

Thai Sticky Rice with Mango:
1 cup sticky rice (this is not Jasmine rice. Sticky rice/glutinous rice is short and white in colour. I bought it at a Korean market)
1.5 cups coconut milk (If you are hardworking like me, make it at home ;P )
1/4 cup sugar (remember J is a sugar addict, you have to adjust it to your level)
1/4 tsp salt
1 sweet mango

1) Soak the rice for 30 mins. Cook the rice with 1.5 cups water till soft
2) Simmer the coconut milk, sugar and salt till the sugar dissolves and it becomes slightly thick (best to do this on low heat and stir occasionaly)
3) Reserve 1/4 cup of the coconut sauce. Once the rice is cooked and while its still hot, add the remaining coconut sauce to the rice, mix using a fork. The rice will absorb all the sauce. Cover and let it sit for 15 mins.
4) To serve just scoop out the rice onto a plate, drizzle some of the coconut sauce and add the mango slices on top of the rice. Tuck in!

Sticky rice 5

This lovely dessert goes to Priya, who is hosting the Vegan-World Thai (finally got it right!), an event started by Vaishali.

Note: This is a very filling dessert, I could manage to eat only 5-6 spoons at a sitting. If you are a small family with not a great inclination towards sweets, I would recommend making this with just 1/2 cup rice.

I also made A&N's lemon rasam. Its a keeper! The photo does not do justice, it was already 2 pm and both of us were starving- so could not bother with background, light etc etc.

Lemon rasam

Thursday, April 23, 2009

GFAOU event

Peas, potatoes, cabbages, arbi, yam, sweet potato, papdi lilva, moong dal, massor dal, toor dal, channa dal and all other pulses are GAS according to my resident food scientist- J. He eats them with great discomfort. The only gas that he is willing to intake is chole. He can eat it week after week and not be bored. I am sick of that yellow chole and want to move on. I did (sort of) from yellow to black.


1/2 cup black channa -soaked overnight and pressure cooked (with salt) till soft
1.5 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 cup coconut
2-3 dried red chillies
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 an onion thinly sliced
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
few curry leaves

Heat 1 tsp oil and saute the garlic till it turns light brown. Add the coriander seeds and dried red chillis saute till it changes colour. Add the coconut and saute for just 2-3mins. Cool and blend this into a fine paste with adequate amount of water.

Add this paste to the cooked channa (don't throw the water in which the channa was cooked. Yes, it does look like muddy-water but it has all the starch which lends thickness to this chole) Simmer for 10 mins. Now prepare the tadka, add 1 tsp oil add the mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and onion. Saute till onions turn soft and translucent. Add this (add additional water if required) and the garam masala to the chole and simmer for just 2-3 mins. Done.


My mom makes this with pooris and I did the same. It had been a loooooong time since we ate pooris and so this was definitely a treat.

This chole goes to the GFAOU event -- Gas For All Of Us :P Have you sent yours?

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Three Musketeers

I worked in a Biotech company for about a year. So far, it has been the best time in my life. The company had just taken in 10 new MSc graduates- all fresh, young and fun. Two of them became my best mates - M and V. Apart from the 10 of us, the rest were married and had kids. All they could talk about was,
"My mil is so strict ree, no garlic no onion abhaa.."
"My kid was so cute that day. She had a fancy dress competition and we dressed her up as a cell-phone"
"My servant did not turn up today, I had to do everything, so missed the 7.30 bus and took an auto today."
"I made peas biriyani yesterday, my daughter just ate those peas and left the rice. I don't know how to make her eat *sigh*"
Their conversation revolved around in-laws, husband, kids and their eating habits, servants and cooking.

All we ( M, V and me) could talk about was,
"OMG!!! You saw Gladrags male model hunt yesterday? That tall Gujju guy was looking so cute ya!"
"Arghhh.. where did you get those adorable sandals?"
"yeh next week that new Hritik Roshan movie is releasing want to go?"
We could think and talk only about - bags, sandals, movie, guys,chats,SHOPPING, bags, sandals- oh! Did i mention that already?!

So clearly the two groups could not mingle. We felt they were "too aunty types" and they thought we were very irresponsible girls (not true) with nothing but bags and sandals in our mind(so true). If there are two different groups there definitely will be gossip. Now, there was no way to talk about them in the company without their knowledge, unless...they had nicknames. And thats exactly what we did. We gave each one of those "aunties" a name,

Mrs J was called pati (grandmother)
She and her husband started the company. So every one would go to her if they had any problems. She was around 60 I think and very very sweet! Her hubby was, what else, thatha (grandfather).

Mrs D was amma
She was in charge of my department QC. Aioo she was a real pain- she needed to know everything- how many products we had finished testing, what we did on the weekend, when we would get married abhaa...

Mrs B was gum
This lady was my super-super senior in college. She was extremely meticulous and kept everything sickeningly neat and tidy. She expected the same from us :( She was addicted to 'Big Bubble' and would chew one every day.

Mrs R was OG or Our Gundu
This lady was married off when she was very young (we think) she always tried to imitate our dressing style and enquired where we bought our bags and salwar material. She was always on a diet (thats what she claimed) because she was plump.

Mrs Sheraz was Bipasha
She was nasty! She always always used to blame QC for anything and everything. The whole company was terrified of her. Why Bipasha? See her name it has "raaz" and Bipasha starred in that movie no?

Mr S was John
Mr S was the head of production and Bipasha ruled over him. He would always listen to her and pander her. Obviously we named him John after John Abraham.

Mrs V was Kollapi
This lady was taller than Amitabh Bachchan and complained she could not wear heels (loose contact I tell you!) "Kollapi is ladder/pole in Malayalam" said V my mallu friend, and we named her so .

Mr P was placentus
The majority of people in our company were woman (I am talking 10:1 women to men ratio). This guy we think has some serious identity crisis (or was influenced by women in our company). He would participate in all things ladies -curtains to kitchen utensils to bath essentials to candles to table cover to embroidery!!! He was working on extracting RNA from placenta so we named him placentus- very clever no?

There were more, but I don't seem to remember their original names!! We would sit commenting about them right under their noses, they wouldn't even know!!!
So our typical conversation would sound like this, "Hey I saw that amma and Bipasha talking ya. They must be saying something about us, they will now go to John for sure. Gum was telling me the other day that amma takes our side and not to worry about Bipasha..." or "Placentus was asking OG for kheer recipe ya, pakka chakka only!"
I have carried this namakarna (name keeping ceremony) tradition here also, named my prof - The Master. Simply because, there isn't anything on evolution or PCR or genes or proteins that he doesn't know! But still its not the same as doing with M and V. I miss those two immensely. V got married recently in Kerala. Missed her wedding, missed wearing a new saree, new sandal and new bag.
The joys of living abroad *sigh*.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I've got mail

After a horrible teaching class with my dumb kids I came home dead beat. I had made cabbage palya in the morning, but suddenly did not feel like having rice and palya. I had just chatted with N and she had mentioned Olive garden - 'Mmmm... Olive garden, pizza and pasta yumm.."
Yes, it had to be Olive garden today - that palya could rot in the fridge till tomorrow. I called J and told him the Olive garden plan. Everything was set, J would come home and we could enjoy a lovely Italian meal. I reached home at 6.30 pm opened the mail box- a very strong aroma hit my nose. I had a special package from N!!!!!


Lovely cookies and amazing rasam powder (Karnataka style she said). Now, how can one not use this fragrant rasam powder? Move over Olive garden.


Tomato saaru:
1/2 cup toor dal
1 tomato finely chopped
1 tsp jaggery
pinch of hing
1-2 tsp tamarind paste
1.5- 2 tsp Rasam powder (Oh you don't have A&N brand rasam powder? Too bad, tsk..tsk..tsk..!)

Pressure cook the dal. Add the chopped tomatoes, hing, jaggery, tamarind paste and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook till tomatoes turn mushy. Add the dal, salt and rasam powder. Add water as needed and simmer for 15-20mins.
Garnish with corriander leaves. This saaru however was too good and hell it needed a tadka (curry leaves, dried red chilli and mustard seeds) in ghee!


It was better than my Mom's saaru (sorry kane Amma!) Thank you so much N!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fart Bomb!!!

My wedding is an arranged one, we met twice and decided we could get married and remain under the same roof without killing each other (do not ask me how we came to that conclusion so quickly). He then returned to the states and used to call me everyday (aww…so romantic) at bloody 4am and chat for an hour or so. The chats were longer over the weekend err…like 4am to 12 noon! I cannot remember the exact conversations but our topics ranged from Munna Bhai MMBS to why Karnataka should share Kaveri river to child marriages to Nokia cell phones to polka dot chaddi’s! One week before the wedding I broached the food topic,

Me- I love balekai.

Him- Aioo …gas

Me- Ladies finger?

Him- Chee snail trail

Me- peas?

Him- gas pods

Me- beetroot?

Him- blood yuck!

Me- Cabbage?

Him- Bad smell

Me- Raddish?

Him- I like that vegetable, but after eating that my body reeks of radish.

Me- *yeah right* Ok what about potatoes

Him- aiooo… fart bomb! I keep away from it!!

Me- WHAT??? You don’t like potatoes how can anyone not like potatoes? You are the only one in this world….

This man, whom I was going to marry did not like 99.9% of the vegetables and he absolutely hated potatoes. I on the other hand LOVED them: sautéed, grilled, mashed, in sambhars/palya/gojju/sasve I could eat potatoes through out the week and not be bored. Initially I tried being the good wife and made only what he liked after a month I threw the “good wife” tag in the thrash bin. And made everything he disliked – he had no choice but to eat it (it was this or Quiznos!).

He is not that fussy these days and to honour his patience and non-fussy attitude, I cooked his 'favourite' “fart bomb” ;)


Goanese Potato Curry- Tarla Dalal's Curries & Kadhis

2 cups big chunks of peeled potatoes

1 large tomato (pureed)

2 tbsp oil


For the paste-

1 onion

1 tsp khus-khus

1 stick cinnamon

2 cloves

2 peppercorns

1 tsp dhania seeds

1-2 whole dried red chillies

2 cloves garlic

3 tbsp coconut

For the paste:

Rub the onion with oil and broil till the outer skin becomes black. Peel and discard the blackened layer and slice the onions and set aside. Heat 1 tsp oil and fry the khus-khus, daniya, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn, red chillies and garlic till fragrant and brown. Set aside. Roast the coconut till brown and blend all these to a smooth paste with little water.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan, add the potatoes, salt and 1/2 cup water and cover, cook till done. Add the paste, tomato puree and bring to a boil. If it turns out too spicy add some milk.


Honestly, how can one NOT like potatoes???!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Ugadi!

Me- Tomorrow is Ugadi kano, what sweet shall I make?
Him- Whatever.
Me- Tell no...
Him- Kai holige (poli)
Me- Hmm... I have school tomorrow, it should be something very simple and easy.
Him- Badusha?
Me- Here google the meaning of easy-see what it says? Something a 4 year old can do.
Him- mmm... blueberry muffin?
Me- Arghhhhh....
Him- What? You said easy, muffin is easy no? Just mix and bake.
Me- dhudh dhudh dhudh *banging my head on the wall*

I made the simplest sweet ever, something my mom makes very often- Avalakki payasa.


1/2 cup thick poha
1 can evaporated milk (I decided to make it rich- after all its not everyday I make payasa! My mom uses milk)
5-6 tsp sugar (J is a sugar addict, you will have to adjust the sweetness depending on your sugar addiction)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
few strands of saffron dissolved in hot milk

Rinse the poha in water 2 or 3 times, drain and set aside. Heat the evaporated milk and add the poha. Simmer gently, stirring occasionaly until poha is soft and cooked add the sugar and simmer till sugar dissolves(If you like a thin-watery payasa, now is the time to remove it from heat). I like thick- custard-y payasa so I let it simmer for a good 20 mins. Remove from heat and add the cardamom powder and saffron. Add ghee roasted cashews/pista/raisin any of that jazz. Serve.


Happy Ugadi!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pappu pass ho gaya!!!

1.5 years of lab work

4 months of writing

1 week of fighting with power point

35 slides

Non-stop repetition of 'opsin', 'Gammarus', 'evolution' till J's ear drums were affected

10 white faces looking at me

1 small brown face looking back at them

summarising my entire work in 30 mins

30 mins of grilling until I burnt

Finally I cleared my proposal defense*phew* One down one more to go!
Kuch meeta ho jaye?

Tofu Cheesecake: Tweaked from here

1 pound silken tofu
2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp butter
1.5 C strawberry juice (blend the fruits and strain)
3 tbsp honey
4 tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 tsp vanilla essence (I do not like the raw smell of soft tofu hence the essence, you can skip it)
1.5 tbsp gelatin (I know this is collagen from animals, I could not find agar/pectin. Just don't tell my mom)

Heat oven to 350F. Blend the graham crumbs with butter till somewhat sticky. Press this mixture onto a well-greased 9 inch springform pan. Bake for 10 mins. Cool.

Bring the strawberry juice to near boil and add the gelatin/agar/pectin. Mix well, simmer for 5 mins. Cool and strain to remove any stray gelatin pieces.

Combine all other ingredients in a mixer and blend for a min or 2. Add the juice and blend till homogeneous. Pour this into the baked crust. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.


I just went one step further and poured some jello on top and let it set. This is a very forgiving recipe add anything and it will set (because of the gelatin) and you can flavour it in anyway just by changing the fruit juice. Make it tart or sweet or bitter (pavakkai cheesecake-PJ I know).


There was no smell of the tofu, but slightly over-sweet, next time will use less maple syrup. Good taste with no guilt. Except for that collagen...Shush!
Note to her, her and them: You tempt me no more!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I will not whine

Have you seen this?

I am very angry.
Angry that in this 20th century, such barbaric acts still occur.
Annoyed that with all the Womens liberation and shit, women are still treated as inferior.
Sad that nobody came forward to help the poor girl.
Enraged because the man who she was with, was not punished.

I feel so deeply for her because, I can do what I want to do, wear (or not) what I want, go to parties/dinner with anyone I want, without the worry of being flogged.
I am ashamed of myself - inspite of having everything, I still crib and whine incessantly.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

AB zindabad!!!

You eat in a particular restaurant. You love the place and decide to show your loyalty by visiting the place every week. Eventually, the people who work there show their love by remembering your name. They even know what you are going to get- before you can even look at the menu they ask you, "XYZ again?". You grin sheepishly and say yes. And when you get up to leave they tell you, "see you next week!".

I don't know about you, but I've experienced this many times. Blame it on J. He loves this place. We have to be there every Saturday at 9 am sharp. And he has to get the same thing- Swedish Pancake, every time. The manager knows his name, all the waitresses know us and they fuss over him unnecessarily. Yes, I do not like it! They probably think I am one lazy wife who never steps into the kitchen on Saturdays, thus forcing the poor man to eat out. I knew this would not end (because J would go crazy without his Swedish Pancake) but I was determined to miss going to that place at least this Saturday. If that was to happen I had to recreate that 'pancake magic' at home. And I turned to AB- Alton Brown for help. I love his shows and used to watch them without fail. Of late however, school work has kept me away from them, I do hope to catch up with the shows soon.

Anyways I made this,

Buttermilk Pancake

Ingredients- (From his book- I'm just here for more food)
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar ( I reduced it to 2)
2 large eggs
2 c buttermilk
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled (I used only 2 tbsp)
Add the first 5 ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk the last 3 ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix till the batter comes together. Take care not to overmix. Let the batter rest for 5 mins (the batter will be very thick- thats how it should be, so don't worry).

Heat a non-stick pan and add butter to just lightly coat it. Ladle the batter on the pan and cook till bubbles form and the bottom turns golden. Flip and cook till that side is golden.
I served them with this syrup (except I used strawberries).

Buttermilk pancake2

These pancakes taste real good- not too sweet, very fluffy. Just the way we like it.

I am a good wife, no?

PS- How many of you thought this post was on Abhishek Bachchan?