Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 18- The End

I won't be writing anymore. I know I had 12 days more to go, but right now I am not in the right frame of mind. C'ya sometime.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 17

I know I didn't write yesterday. I was supposed to write how fantastic my weekend was with my sister. But some recent developments have left me sad, very very sad. No, I didn't lose anyone or anything dear. For some it might not even be such a big deal. People are trying to cheer me up.
"It's ok ya, maybe it won't be that bad this time" my sister
"Sometimes you have to go through all these. Maybe it won't happen at all" Sara
"hogli bidu. What can you do now? Its all for the good." my mother

Unfortunately all this does not seem to help. It gets worse in the early mornings when the house is so still and my boy's chitter-chatter is missing.

The mind wanders, furiously
My heart flutters rapidly
Be still my heart, be still
It doesn't listen. Tears well up instantly
NO! Quickly now
Its wiped away before it hits the cheeks
One day it is going to flow- and the t-shirt sleeve probably won't suffice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 16: Happy Weekend

My sister is coming from Bangalore this weekend.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 15: Bloody weather

Is there any other season in Chennai other than Summer? Or is it Summer throughout the year? It's 33C but feels like 40C the fan has just been circulating the hot air. ugh. I want to sit in the fridge along with the peas- if only I could fit in it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 14: Freakin' autos

Stupid me never learnt how to drive in the US. I survived because my apartment was at the center of all things bright and beautiful- Whole foods, Trader joes', Barnes and Nobles, Target, $ Store, TJ Maxx, AC Moore, Micheals, Ross were all within walkable distance. Also the husband was a very good chauffeur, I mean very good- like I would have bought wool from AC Moore and halfway on the way home I'd tell him I forgot to buy the needles he would turn around without squeak and drive me to the store- that good :D But still being dependent on someone was annoying at times-when I just had to go the craft store in the winters and J would be at work ugh. So when I came to India I thought Hallelujah! Autorickshaws!! I was SO wrong.

The Chennai situation-
The buggers have a meter in the auto but won't turn it on. It's only for show. To go from your hall to your kitchen they will charge you minimum 50rps. And they won't call you 'amma..amma vanga" if you turn and walk away. I cannot understand why this stupid government can't fix a minimum, even if it is 50rps just fix a damn price and let them follow the rule. And I used to think if the auto has a sticker of a God they won't cheat. Wrong- if it's Jesus or Allah or Shiva all the buggers here cheat you.

The Bangalore situation-
I take autos rarely in B'lore as the bus service is awesome. The Chennai buses look scary, almost like the people sitting on the last row are going to fall out of the bus any minute brr... Ah so, these buggers use the meter, but they have different issues. You have to go where they want to go.
illa (no)
JP nagar
Mantri Mall

'The 50rps extra story:
Thumba traffic -50rps jasti kodi (too much traffic that side, give 50rps extra)
Thumba olagde road alli ede-50rps extra kodi (it's not on the main road, give 50rps extra)
Road sari illa- 50rps extra (the roads are not good give 50rps extra)

The 'onenhalf' story:
You have luggage its "onenhalf madam, luggage ge extra" (one and half madam extra because of the luggage) You moron I have luggage that is why I'm taking an auto else I would have gone by bus.
'onenhalf maa, eydhu gante' (one and a half it's 5am)
'onenhalf kodi male bartha ede' (one and a half because it's raining)

It's high time I started to learn to drive, but the traffic ahh that story is for another day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 13: Watch what you say.

"Don't talk in Kannada there are people who know the language" was something J used to repeat every time we went to any South Indian restaurant in the US. So I used to be act poised (which is pure torture for me) and zip my mouth in the S.Indian eateries. In the North Indian ones however I didn't listen to J because I was so certain nobody would know Kannada, until that day.

{Insert my favorite swirly circle depicting flashback and twiiinee twiinee music}
The place- Akhbar our most favourite North Indian restaurant (and the best according to us) in Maryland.
The setting- we were done with our meal and had asked for boxes to pack up the rest.
J was packing up the naans and some side dish.
me- yakko onions, lemon yella waste madthya ediya? Adhu haaku box alli. (why are wasting the onions and lemon? put that also in the box.) I was referring to the salad they give as a side- yes I am cheap that way :P
J- nijjvaglu?! (really?!)
me- ya. illa andre anyways throw madthare. duddu kotilva adikke, haaku box alli. (ya. otherwise they will just throw it. we have paid for it so put it in the box.)
And J as usual in his 1km/hr speed was sloooowwwwly putting the onions in the box, suddenly the waiter came to the table.
Me- aioo nodtha edane, karma bega hakkakke aaglilva ninge? Eega hakkbeda. (Aioo he's watching, couldn't you fill the box faster? Now just stop.)
Waiter- Haakoli sir parvagilla (you put sir it is ok)

Now you know what I wanted to do next. Yes jump into that vat of paneer butter masala. I was SO embarrassed. Then J of course did ask him where he was from- the guy was from B'lore (aiooo...) and near JP nagar (aioo.. aioo.. aiooooooo... that is where my in-laws live!). That was the last time I ever blabbered in Kannada in any Desi restaurant. I said Desi restaurants, I am so certain people did not understand Kannada in Tara Thai or California Pizza Kitchen :D

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 12: The Potluck

By now most of you must be familiar with my friend Sara the bakerella and all the goodies she sends me. Few people were jealous of that :D and asked for a potluck. It was initially planned for a weekday, which I refused to attend because of baby sitter issues and so the potluck was postponed to a Saturday. This Saturday Sara and I were actually supposed to go to Little Italy for lunch later to a craft expo then she suggested getting the potluck done. So people were invited and food was made.

Sara being Sara over-worked her oven :D This was the table that evening:

She had made  corn tarts, chicken teriyaki, cherry tomato-gorgonzola focaccia, orange jelly panna cotta, chocolate mousse gateau, eclairs and white chocolate-butter scotch cookies that she FORGOT to put out!

I made peanut caramel brownie cake (forgot to add 1/4c sugar D'OH!) and pear tart (again I assumed ground almond was almond meal later when I read the blogs I came to know ground almonds was almonds ground in the blender to a paste D'OH! D'OH!) But that tart was amazingly tasty I'm making it again this weekend, you guys must try it once. It's on Dorie Greenspan's site and also on sites that took part in TWD.

Ah then at 5pm walked in our 1st guest Bala who informed us that everyone else dropped out and so he turned to be the only guest that evening. Entertainment was provided by Sara's witty husband. There were many LOL moments and the most funniest one according to me was this;
Now Bala has a 6.5mo girl baby (how so cute is that?) so there was lot of baby talk,

Sara- 6 months is cute but 9months is even better.
Bala- oho
Sara- after 9months they grow teeth and their face cut changes
Bala- and then
Sara's husband- and then they become like this! --pointing to his college going son
Me- LOL!

This was such a fun evening- with all that sugar how can it not be?!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 11: Utterly butterly busy

Ola people! Masala vade is closing shop a little early as I'm slightly busy today-

Details will be up Monday yaay!

After all that talk about idlis yesterday, guess what my son's teacher gives me when I go to pick him up?

"ma'am it's idli, somehow we have to keep them occupied."

I laughed so hard I almost peed.
I said almost!

Have a good weekend people!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 10: Idli

I like idlis however I'm not going to give you any gyaan on idlis because I suck at making idlis, it's always a hit or miss. I can make decent idlis with idli rava but I like the ones the Tamilians make with idly rice. I have tried all varying proportions from 1:1.5 to 1:3 sometimes it works most times it flops. So yesterday I was googling for Kushboo idli and found a recipe I liked (more pics of Kushboo than the idli- go on Google it) This one http://www.priyasfeast.com/2012/07/kushboo-idly.html 
It was already 5pm so I quickly soaked the dal and rice (I used idli rice as raw rice is 40rps/kilo and can't afford to waste it on experimenting idlis :D) and the batter was ready by 8pm.

At 4am I thought "yaay! Kushboo idli day!' Ok I like idlis a lot. So by 7am I oiled the idli pans (with coconut oil, another thing i'm beginning to like...a lot) and filled the batter into the wells.

Loaded it into the steamer and set the timer. Fine! I love them idlis. Now continue to read.

it buzzed, the steamer sighed, I cried "finally kushboo idli' Ok dammit I'm crazy/obsessed about idlis.

I waited for 2mins before removing the lid, freed them from the pan ever so gently


and arranged them prettily in J's lunch box,

I stacked them on his plate. "look my love, kushboo idlis' said I, "huh? She started selling idlis now?' said he, 'grrr...-eat' replied I with a glare.

I made a thick paste of chutney pudi and coconut oil and smeared it onto the idli, took a bite

In idli heaven right now. Don't disturb, come tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 9: Dosa

Dosa/dosai/dose however you want to call these South Indian lentil-rice crepes, Chennai's dosa sucks- big time. They just do not know how to make a dosa. We have tried dosas from Saravana bhavan- fail, Grand sweets- fail, Murugan idli kadai- epic fail, even the ones from Vasco in Hilton Chennai was just meh, the only decent ones we have had so far is from Sangeetha. One of my friend even went on to say "don't call what they make in Chennai dosas cos they are not' :D Bangalore takes the dosa crown. From Adigas in Chandralayout to Dosa camp in Jayanagar to the numerous Darshinis dotting the town I've not come across a bad dosa in Bangalore. The colour is deep red, with just the right amount of crisp and when you eat you can taste the cooked batter. Here after the batter is spread on the pan they keep scraping it with a spatula and drizzle oil like its the last day on the planet- as a result you end up with a thin greasy dosa which is never crisp- crisp is when the dosa stays still like a papad not slightly leaning over! In Chennai the dosa is always leaning over-sort of soggy crisp ugh, basically like eating hot greased butter paper- yum! 

Here is how I make a dosa which IMHO is a trillion times better than what is sold in most of the restaurants here. 
My proportion- 1/2C urad dal: 3 C rice (2C idli/dosa rice and 1C ponni boiled rice)+small fist of thick poha+1tsp methi (yep that much, cos my dal fluffs wonderfully. In the US I was using 1:3 I had to increase after I came here. My Bharathi athe (aunt)*who gets the bestest dosa in town crown from me* uses 1:8 :D) And the dal is NEVER ground along with the rice, the dal and the rice mixture is soaked separately (for 2 max 3 hours) and then ground separately. The dal is ground separately to allow it to sort of reach its maximum fluff potential (it will not fluff up properly if mixed with rice and ground=what the ladies in my family tell me), the rice mixture is not ground fine but slightly coarse. After the dal and rice mixture is ground I then mix both together with salt and let it ferment. Again nothing is worse than eating sour dosas-never over ferment, when I see it slightly risen I transfer it to the refrigerator (with the wonderful tropical climate here I see that it continues to rise in the fridge). 

I use a cast iron pan for all my dosas, I use non-stick for chapathis. If you are wondering about the coconut thing on the red lid -I use it to grease the pan :D Don't waste an onion!

Drop one ladle and round round round ending with a strike in the centre so the batter is not thick in that area. 

Cover (everyone in my family does this step, which I find most other people don't) It helps to cook the dosa faster

remove and drizzle the fat of your choice- ghee in my case (if adding podi/chutney do it now)

and allow it to crisp 

and we never flip the dosa, serves no purpose if you ask me, waste of time really it's already cooked what more are we trying to do by flipping it. 

Done- golden and no leaning tower of dosai. 

*You cannot use this batter to make idlis
* If you can't find idli rice use raw rice (I used to use Sona Masuri in the US and the dosas used to come out well)
* boiled rice gives the dosa colour and makes it crisp, don't use too much of it, you will end up with a very tough dosa- not good.

And that is how a dosa is made in SJ's house :D 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 8: If you were the waiter...

So we were in Sangeetha restaurant last weekend and there was a couple sitting next to us who would glance at my son every now and then. J thinks because the boy was looking cute, I think it was because the boy was stuffing mini idlis into his mouth using a soup spoon. Amusement for them, new toy for the boy, peace and quiet for us, everyone happy. Then a man walked in sporting a pony tail and a blue rubber band holding that thing together *I interrupt this post with a mini rant on men and pony tails: men, don't have sprout a pony tail unless you wear a brassiere. Thats it, now we shall resume* So the man sitting next to us happened to be his friend and the pony tail sat next to us with the couple and he started talking and talking and talking we finished 1 fresh lime soda, 1 podi dosa, my son's remaining mini idlis and chikku milk shake , channa batura and falooda and talking and talking. I thanked God that I was not the woman sitting with the man- I really would have gone off to sleep! I heard him talking about how Hotchips opened 1st then Saravana bhavan, something about his daughter. Then the couple ordered coffee and the pony tail described with hand actions and voice modulation for about 2mins his choice of beverage- it was rasam in a cup *no you cannot slap your forehead* 

Then the man asked for the bill, and as usual like all Indians the pony tail and the man started gentle-pony tailed arguing about who was going to foot the bill. 
"illa sir naan kudukuren"
"no no I will give"
"illa paa nee kudu naanu kudukeren bill"
"venda sir nan pay panre"
I was getting ready to ask the waiter to send my bill also to the next table and get them to pay when the pony tail said, "evaru yaar theriyuma? inda building owner" (do you know who he is? He is this building's owner) to the waiter. 

Now if you were that waiter, what would you say to yourself? 

I would have cursed the hell out of him. I don't get this show off thing, so what if the guy is a building owner'? What has that got to do with footing the bill! So dumb some people are especially the ones with pony tails.

Day 7: Attitude

Few weeks back I was standing at the bill counter in Spencer's grocery store. I was carrying my boy in my left hand, my hand bag dangling from my right shoulder and I was balancing 3 apples in both hands (so talented, I know :D). I was standing behind an elderly man (and I do not stand close to the person in front me, I do not like it. I usually leave about an arm length space between me and the person in front). A college going or recently employed guy looked at me and stood in that space. I thought he was looking at the chocolates or something so for a while I didn't say anything then I noticed he was not browsing at chocolates and seemed like he wanted to bill his purchase.

me- emm... are you line?
he- yeah
me- but I was behind this man
he- so you should stand here why are you standing there? (like as if I was standing inside the freezer along with the paneer packets, loose cases I tell you)
and then he stood behind me and finally went off to another counter.

Shouldn't he have asked me first if I was in the line before he stood there? And even after I told him that I was in line, shouldn't he have apologized, instead of radiating his wisdom? Or is this behavior from scrawny 20yr olds pretending to look much older by sporting 5-6 hair on their chin and calling it a goatee normal?

Sometime I feel like if I had not stayed in the US I would not have made such a big deal of this. There people usually ask if one is in the line and sometimes the person having a baby or 1/2 items is allowed to go in front. Many a times I feel US spoils a person; I expect a thank you, sorry, please, a greeting. Or maybe it is just me who is acting like a stupid ex-NRI. Whatever it is I hope the boy doesn't get into a job where he has to deal with customers- no kiddo that would not be a good match.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 6:Papadum and Appalam

Sara- Your appalam gave it away.
me- huh?
she- ya, we make papadum not appalam
me- all the same no?
she- no papadum will puff up, appalam won't.

****Insert spinning wheels the kind they show in movies to depict flashbacks- I stayed in a small Kerala place called Makut for my field work, and the lady used to serve us dal with these puffed up appalam (I should start calling it papadum from now on). I have searched all over for this type of appalam sorry pappadum and wondered why mine would never puff like that. The lady also used to fry them in coconut oil it was so yum****

she- you get it in 5Star, ask him for kerala pap..

I was so immersed in this scintillating conversation that I had failed to keep an eye on my boy. He had broken her ceramic cup. I wanted to dig a 20 feet hole and bury myself. Then I learnt that the bowl and the pebbles that it contained were something related to Feng Shui, and that finding a blue colour ceramic bowl was very difficult. Now I wanted to dig that 20 feet hole, pour 40lts HCl and jump into my HCl swimming pool. I apologized and hurriedly left her place trying ever so hard to think of a place that sold ceramic pots. I went to Singapore shoppe and saw a poster on the door "Happy Onam. Kerala Papadum available".  The dumb store didn't have any ceramic bowls let alone blue so naturally the next thing I did was what every sane woman would do- bought the Kerala papadum :D

I brought it home, opened it and ooohh how different it was compared to the normal yucky appalams.

The 1st thing one notices is that the kerala papadum is not stiff like the normal ones.

Kerala papadum-

Yucky appalam-

You can actually roll it up whereas the other one...well just broke into 2 pieces (ok not sure how and why I thought I could roll a stiff appalam. Sometimes my brilliance is puzzling).

And when fried in oil it puffed up like so,

Flat boring appalam and puffed up aww..so cute papadum-

I most definitely liked the taste of kerala papadum (must be pretty obvious by now :D)- it's somewhat light and has a different type of crunch when compared to the appalam (again just like podis I have cough cough tested over 5 varieties of appalam- from Bindu to Ambika to Stag everything is just so meh). Henceforth, I would like you all to ditch the appalam and use Kerala papadum for all your daily and special meals. I would also like to blog-lically apologize to Sara on my boy's behalf for breaking her bowl and thank her for introducing me to Kerala Papadum.

PS- this post was most definitely not sponsored by the Kerala tourism board or the Kerala papadum association. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 5: Surprise!!

Everyone who knows me must think I have a million friends because I'm an extrovert/pretty sociable. It is not true. I don't make friends very easily, I allow very few to come close to me, I don't believe in fishing for friends. It has to just click- as with the 5 or 6 I have lol! I have few friends whom I know only through FB- very good friends. This one friend in particular has been commenting on my site every  since I started writing...no make that nonsensing.

                                                            Paal Payasam

She comments on almost all posts of mine- God knows where she finds the time to do it and why she spends that precious 2 mins to read/comment here is still a mystery :D

                                            Vendakka Thayir Pachadi

I have bugged her (and continue to bug) immensely. I also send other people to bug her :D

                                                 Beans Mezhukkupuratti

She is probably the most helpful person I know- with so many things at hand (a job, a husband, a house, a couple of blogs to handle, her travels) she always find time to respond to her emails (at least mine :D) and all kind of doubts people have about a recipe!

                                                              Kerala Olan

We have argued about ice cream splatters (:D), discussed cake books and reviewed Raghavan Iyer!

                                               Kerala Parippu Curry

She is probably the only reason I wanted Jay to find a job in Singapore (ok she and awesome metro that Singapore has are probably the biggest reason... umm..the bird park and the zoo also).


Every year, Onam time I see her posts ---"I wish I was home." " I've never made a sadhya." "These are some Onam dishes you can try for Onam." Well, I decided to do just that. Any food blogger is tickled pink,red, yellow, blue, green when a reader tries out her recipe. Nags I hope you are happy-surprised :D (you better be I went and got coconut oil and banana leaf just for this!) and thanks for being my friend!


OK I know it is not like Onam sadhya but hey at least I didn't find a screw in any of the dishes! I was dying to add some cardamom/saffron/nuts in the payasam but because she has said "keep it simple" I didn't. The payasam, sambhar and the beans were my favourite. And excuse-moi for bad photos, boy most uncooperative!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 4: Happy Onam

Yea I'm writing this post at 5 in the morning cos I want to get this blog post out of the way because I have a very busy day ahead of me. Today I plan to surprise a good friend of mine... don't worry I'm not coming to your house! But it's a different kind of surprise, brilliant if I say so myself (all the ideas I come up with tend to be brilliant :D). Even if it is a hit or flop you will know who I surprised (hopefully the person is surprised) and what my brilliant idea was (it truly is brilliant, trust me) tomorrow.

Happy Onam to my 2 readers bwhahahahahaa....

Day 3: People and the rot they say

My 2yr old recently started play school. He never was good with strangers and as expected has been crying for the past 1 week. Sometimes what upsets me more than his crying is hearing some supremely dumb things some supremely dumb people say.

This was today:
parent- even now you pick him up at 10?
me- ya he still cries, doesn't like being here.
parent- he is always crying no?

"he is ALWAYS crying" I wanted to punch her face but didn't. I was furious that this absolute stranger judged a child whom she knew nothing about. Is that what one tells a mother who waits near the school compound for an hour daily seeing her child cry his lung out, praying that he stop and hoping at least the next day he shouldn't cry. Am pretty sure these people don't eat grass because a cow can empathize much better.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 2: I am a freaky eater

I am obsessed with pudi/podi. I am the only person in my house to buy and finish these spicy podis. Since J won't take any spice, my cooking is bland and I douse my food (from sambhar to palak paneer) in these podis (now you believe me when I say- I'm a freaky eater :D). I've tried quite a few podis, mum's, my aunt's and mil's (my aunt's garlic podi and curry leaf podi ranks supreme, absolutely delish. Mental note- get recipe from her, note 2- why is all this in brackets? whatever). Ah so, in the US I loved MTR the aroma of hing was hmmmm... zzzoooo good. I don't know why the same MTR podi here is so crap. Among the commercial varieties I rank Shakti idly podi as #1, aachi and MTR blegh. I'm yet to try Grand sweets/ Adyar ananda bhavan (if you know any Iyer maamis selling podi do let me know). I also tried some Chettinad podi I picked up form Singapore Shoppe (the store doesn't even have a Merlion statue, God knows why it's called Singapore shoppe) that was spicy and yum. Sri Krishna idly podi is good, their curry leaf podi is bad.

Without further delay I present to thee... The Podis :D

From L to R: Sri Krishna idly podi-yum, bought MTR hated it so decided to mix Shakti idl podi to salvage it, don't think it worked it still tastes meh, SK curry leave powder-bought it 2 months ago and must have eaten only 2 spoons didn't like, Chettinad idli podi- got it 2 weeks ago almost over yum.

Anyone else freaky podi eater like moi?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 1- The Beginning

Ah so people did write on FB that they missed reading my educative posts. So I have decided to blog daily (except weekends) for a month, so get ready for your daily dose of nonsense till Sept. 26th. The posts will be super educative and informative- NOT it will absolute rubbish :D And I did wonder if I could really post daily but hey I lived without sugar/dairy for a whole month, this is nothing compared to that, nonsense is my middle name :D just will have to find some time to write it here (I will, promise).

So for the 1st post I wanted to do a classy restaurant review about Tuscana , the pizzeria everyone was raving about. We were there today, we sat, ordered food, prayed the boy should behave and let us eat at least half our meal in peace, the food came and I reached inside my bag to get my camera."'ah? where camera?" "aioo its in the car ya" There was no way I was going to walk 20 steps and get the camera just so that I could write a review(like as if I work for The Hindu!). So then the food came, we had ordered onion-garlic focaccia, midi pizza and fusilli with alfredo for my boy. OK everything was just mediocre because we cannot stop our stupid selves from comparing everything to the ones we used to eat in the US. The pizza was much better than Papa jones or pizza hut or the crap called pizza that they served in Adyar ananda bhavan (now don't ask why on earth we ordered pizza in adyar ananada bhavan). But it was not like California pizza kitchen. The pasta was just meh, but I had told them to make it bland for my kiddo so I really shouldn't be commenting on it. Now, focaccia was a different story-we have no eaten it in the US so no chance of us comparing. The focaccia that arrived was a 8' round bread with some sauteed onions/ garlic on top- no aroma of the olive oil at all. I took one bite and thought "rubbish, what I made was so much better", J took a bite and said "what you make is SO much better' (man we compare so much, horrid people we both are!). I immediately sms-d Sara "v having focaccia in tuscana, j said wat i made was much better, thanks 4d recipe' she replied "wow he complimented you, now go write in masala vade'. That is how this post came to be (you really thought I would write a restaurant review without pictures?!).

So now you guys go make this focaccia. Why? 3 reasons:
1) It is a super recipe.
2) To celebrate the revival of masala vade and the induction of nonsense back into your mundane life.
3) The last and most important one-because I said so.

I really should stop here but I might as well give you a review of the desserts we ordered- panna cotta and tiramisu. Panna cotta was good, tiramisu sorry epic fail- our stupid selves again: it was nothing like the tiramisu in Whole Foods (we have eaten a lot of tiramisu but nothing beats the one sold in whole foods, just the right amount of coffee/cocoa and that cheese just delish!). This was just too strong for us, it didn't smell of kahlua  but some other liquor and the mascarpone tasted so un-mascarpone ugh.

And yo Sara, thanks for being my friend babes- now if you can give me the recipe for tiramisu and panna cotta Jay and I can save 1400Rps (ya thats how much we spent in Tuscana).

Thank You for reading and please visit again...tomorrow :D

Monday, June 25, 2012

Phenyle Scare

It was 6:20am and I had just finished sweeping the floor, wad filling the bucket with water to start moping. I decided to use the new phenyle (what? you don't like shopping for phenyle?!) I'd bought yesterday. When I opened the cap I found it had those pesky inner transparent cap that you need to pull (with God knows what), I placed the bottle on the counter, took out my knife and in Ninja style cut open that cap. Except a true Ninja would have kept the bottle away from his face, unlike me who had the cap aimed right towards my face. The next thing I knew along with the cap flew 2 tablespoon (see the amount of cooking I do ladies, I can even measure flying liquids) of phenyle  into my left eye. I washed the eye with water and I was 99% sure I would go blind. I didn't wake up the husband cos really, what can the man do except pour more water into my eye. I washed some more and prayed -
a) pls pls pls pls God let me not go blind, I've to be there for my boy
b) let the boy not wake up-definitely not a good time
c) let there be water in the tank

I sat with a bag of frozen peas on my eyes (still praying), Jay walked in handed me some ice in a hanky. Then asked if I could see ok (now you know why I didn't bother waking him up), I would have answered his intelligent question, if only I could open my bloody eye! Finally after 3 hours the pain and itching subsided and I could see, Hallelujah! I've cut myself a million times, burnt my fingers (on the stove and oven) 33 times, thought I was pipetting water and instead pipetted NaOH into my mouth in 12th std., could not find the rubber bulb so decided to use my mouth to pipette ~hold your breath~ phenol (if you are a science student, yeah I know you want to choke me) spilt it on my hand and table, having done all those this was probably the worst scare ever.

Moral of the story,
1) You are not a Ninja.
2) Use common sense, if you have very little of that (nope, not me) borrow someone else's.
3) If you are a jabber mouth like me, don't talk while opening the bottle Ninja style (or should I say un-Ninja style?!)
Last but not least (even though I hate hate being serious, I will quickly say it and end this post), live is precious..... ............get a maid :D

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ridge Gourd Dosa/ Heerekai Chatti

This dosa is common in South Canara homes and is usually made as a side dish for rice-rasam, but I make only the dosas as we find the rice-rasam-dosa combination too heavy. The batter needs no fermenting yaay! and you need no grinder yaay yaay!! and you can make it with ridge gourd or plantain or cabbage or any type of greens yaay yaay yaay!!!

Heerekai Chatti:
- Soak 1C raw rice, 2Tbsp channa dal and 10-15 dry red chillies for 2-3 hours.
- Drain the rice, dal and dry red chillies and grind to a paste along with 1Tbsp coriander seeds, 1tsp cumin seeds, 1/4C grated coconut, salt, 2-3Tbsp tamarind paste and 1Tbsp jaggery.Taste the batter, the spice, tang and sweet all should be on the higher side otherwise the dosa will taste bland. The consistency should be that of thick buttermilk, like so-


- Peel (save the peels for make chutney) and thinly slice 1 ridge gourd (get tender ones, the gigantic ones taste awful and sometimes bitter).


- Heat pan with little oil. Put a handful of the cut gourd into the batter, dip the slices in the batter and place them on the hot pan. Continue to do so until you cover the entire surface of the pan. You need to do this quickly otherwise the ridge gourd at the centre will get burnt while the ones on the outside will be still be raw. Also, since the batter is a thin consistency keep it near the pan that way you just dip and drop the gourd slices on the pan. If you keep the batter a mile away from the pan, the batter would have dripped away from the gourd by the time it hits the pan.

PicMonkey Collage

- Drizzle little oil and cover. Flip the dosa drizzle little oil and let it cook.
- Remove and serve.


It needs no podi, chutney or sambhar tastes fantastic on its own (make sure the batter is sweet-sour-spicy) but even better with butter. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The sms convo post - the one that could potentially jeopardize my industrious blogging career

me- off2 d beach v go, u guys cuming?
my sis- want to but i hav my blud cancer...cnt cum :(
me- ohh my condolences.
she-oh i know. Thank u
me- actually i wanted 2 write pls convey my condolence to ur uterus :D
she- podi luse. My uterus is cryin blud tears..
me- aioo papa rakta kaneeru? Actually tell P my condolences dis time also he cudnt get u preggers hahahahhahahahaha :D
she- aioo i dnt want also di. Thank u
me-Then remove that uterus and throw it in the bin di, chumma waste of space n money buyn pads. U fill dat empty space with anothr lung or kidney.
she- actually ur rite. its a waste of space n money...U want ah di xtra uterus?
me- no space sorry.
me- I think i mite put our convo on d blog watduthink?
she- I'l kill u di i swear. I'l cme n drown u in d beach..
me- Y di? Its funny no? Nobody knws u anyway so y r u worid?
she-R u kiddin me?
me- hey i need anthr post man n dis is a gud story, pls di.
she- Nooo...

*as you can see my sis and I are missing few vital screws.
*people with siblings, is this normal?
*she doesn't even live in Chennai, so she couldn't have come to the beach if she wanted.
* this might be the end of Masala Vade, goodbye my dear readers.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why my kiddo will not get LKG admission.

Me- I was looking at that school your friend recommended, they have an entrance exam for std.1 to 12th admission!!! And for LKG/UKG admission the kid has to answer their questions and identify colours or something.
Jay- That is so retarded!
Me- yaa I know. Anyway, I taught the boy something new today morning. Wait I'll show.
Me- Chinnu, toilet paper yakke use madthare? (what do we use toilet paper for?)

*He probably won't get an admit even in the govt. schools!
*If you are wondering why I taught him about toilet paper, well, we spend half our day in the loo so its natural that we end up talking about tap, water, potty, flush, toilet paper sigh.
*and no I don't use toilet paper in my sambhar.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Murugan Idli Kadai - why the hype?

I first heard about this kadai (if you like my husband who can't speak Tamil kadai is not kadai paneer wala kadai, it means shop in Tamil) from Nags who got the idli recipe from the chef and posted it on her blog. Then a friend of mine had come home with her mom and said, "we never make idli at home whenever we feel like eating idlis we just hop over to murugan idli kadai". "Whats so special about that idli ?' I asked, "sponge madri erukum. sooo soft" she said (I could see she was already dreaming about Murugan and his idli.

So off we went to sample this sponge of an idli and see just how soft it is. I have to admit Jay was very reluctant to come. "Idli?! We have to go out to eat idli? You make no at home. You get only idli there? Are you sure?" said he, "yes, we have to eat idli. My idlis are not sponge so I have to see what this sponge idli is like. No you get masala dosa also. yes dead sure." I replied.  We reached the place and found it to be jam packed. "See I told you it was good its full! holy crap we have to wait to get seated! then it has to be good." I told Jay who was still not impressed. We had to wait 10mins to be seated.

Inside they lay a banana leaf and 4 kinds of chutney and 1 sambar. "yenna ve..? (what do you want?" asked the waiter, I didn't even let him finish his sentence, "rendu idli and kuzhipaniyaram" (2 idlis and kuzhipaniyaram- Google it) Jay ordered masala dosa. sponge, sponge, sponge, sponge idli like sponge was all I could think about. And it came and I ate and Jay looked, I nodded, not the up and down nod, it was left to right slow nod, "I need to ask that girl which type of sponge she meant. The dishwashing type sponge or the animal sponge. This idli is like crap. Hows you dosa?" "bah! same crap, dosas here is never like the dosas in Bangalore." Which is actually kinda true, B'lore dosas are smaller, crisper and have that awesome red chutney. We then ordered a onion uttapam, which was also just so-so. The vada had no salt and the sambar was bland. The shocker- oil and podi was 9rps! :O I have eaten idlis in Saravana Bhavan (we order idlis for my boy) it comes with 2 types of chutney, sambar, a kurma and podi/oil, it is much tastier than this Murugan idli. Our bill for 2 idlis, 4 kuzhipaniyaram, 1 masala dosa and 2 onion uttapams was 250rps. Definitely not worth it!

Stupid me came home and Googled for Murugan idli kadai reviews, why o why did not read this -http://karthikeyanblogs.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/whats-there-in-murugan-idli-kadai/ earlier?!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Choyya Batha

If you are thinking this is a post on Chole Bhature, you are wrong. This is not even a food related post. Choyya = pee, batha/barathe= coming. This choyya batha is the latest mantra in my house. This is how it came into being,

So we moved back to India for good (another post) and I've decided that the boy needs to be put in play school the day after he turns 2, which is in July (another post, I WILL write this one) and my mom decided that I should start potty-training the boy, "now that you are in India you can mop the floor if he pees. Stop putting that pad (thats diaper in her language. She is vehemently opposed to diapers, I don't know why, its just like sanitary napkins but for babies no?). "But amma, that brand new potty will be coming from the US by this month end, we can start after..." "potty-a gutty-a (don't ask, I don't know what a gutty is)you and your sister were toilet trained by 18months (sometimes she says things about us that makes me wonder how we both didn't end up in NASA designing a shuttle to Pluto. "you girls never made any noise, so silent you both were. You both never played with pee or poop. You girls were never mischievous. You girls never played with the idli cooker or stove or water. I don't know if this was about us being good girls or her being a super-awesome parent lol). But she did have a point, the weather here is really not conducive to diaper wearing 24/7 so 1st step was to go to Pondy Bazaar (I live in Chennai now so if anybody wants to chat come by), "amma! Pondy bazaar? It is so far away." "but its very cheap." she replied. The word 'cheap' does play a magic mental trick on most of us, no? We bought around 20 chaddis and then I realized that Pondy Bazaar was not cheap actually, "amma, the taxi fare itself was 400rps, for that amount we could have bought those chaddis here only." "I told you we'll go by share auto, you didn't listen." Sigh I stopped arguing, really share auto (its a auto-bus type situation, many people get in and the auto stops at specific points) with a hyperactive 22 month old, sure why not!!

The next morning the kid was bathed, powdered and un-diapered but pondy bazaar-chaddied. "eega choy bandre, 'choy barathe' helbekku aitha?" (now if you want to pee, you have to tell me 'pee is coming' ok?) said my mom and my son looked at her like he understood everything. 20minutes later we heard a chap-chap sound, he had peed and was splashing it all over by clapping it with his hands, saying 'chooyyy chooyy..' (pee peee...). My mom," chinnu! naanu yen helde? choy bandre helbekku. No choy in chaddi ok?' (Chinnu! What did I tell you. If you have to pee you have to tell me. No peeing in your chaddi ok?" The pee was mopped, his chaddi was washed and I took him to the loo every hour sitting beside him saying 'choy maadu, shhhh..' (apparently shhhh..brings out the pee) The kid repeated after me "shhhhh.." and looked down no pee. 'Please baa choy' I plead, 'baa choy' he repeated. (5 years ago I would have never thought that I would be looking at a 2yr old's genitalia and literally begging for pee, sigh such is life!). Then finally he peed said "bye-bye choy". Now if you are thinking he got the whole peeing in the bathroom idea and its all smooth sailing from now, you probably do not have kids. Here is how my not yet 2 yrs-2.5 feet-10 teeth-cannot speak full sentences little bugger has been manipulating the choya batha situation:

1) If I'm busy in the kitchen and not paying him any attention he yells, 'chooyyaaa bathaa'. The stove is switched off, pots and pans dropped right there and he is rushed to the loo. Not a drop of pee even after 5 mins of shhhhh-ing. 'barallaa' (its not coming) he says with a sly smile. Argh!
2)The boy is a fussy eater and will try all tricks to get away from food, his latest is screaming, 'choyaa batha' 10minutes into his meal. He is rushed from the high chair to the loo. Again he starts playing with water and 'baralaaa'. Argh! Argh!
3) I just need 10mins to myself, 10mins to just relax, not talk like bhalu the bear or say the beach is closed right now (I live 5mins from the beach and the kid wants to go to the beach every 5mins) I am with the newspaper and he comes with his teddy, 'chumma chumma (my name is Suma, TMI in this post no?!") teddy kissy" 'Hmm..kiss kiss' not even looking at that thing. He then brings out the idli cooker and starts banging the idli plates yelling 'eeegggiii' (idli). I don't flinch. "CHOYAAA BATHAA" we are in the loo the next second. 5mins later, 'barallaaa' ARGHHHHHHHHH!!

If you are wondering about the poop situation, don't worry I won't be writing about it. If you have kids how did you manage to potty train them? Any tips and tricks? If you don't have kids, and don't want one- lucky you, but if you want one-mental ah?! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reveal Day!

It finally here, I am done with my 4 weeks of dairy, sugar and oil free life and I am sure you don't want to read my nonsense so there,











Weight 123lbs now 120lbs
Waist 35' now 33'
Right thigh 22' now 20'
Left thigh  21.5' now 20'
Arms  10.5' now 10'

As you can tell I am thrilled! The last pic says it all, the tummy looks more toned. I have to tell you this is with an hour to hour and a half of exercise 6 days a week (even on those ahem special days).   I did cheat last week and ate a handful of caramel popcorn, just a handful. Today I went out and ate cherry crepes cos I was dreaming about them for a whole week.  I never missed the dairy (went to California Pizza Kitchen-that is like the only place I have pizza, ordered a thin crust pizza with no cheese. It tasted like chapathi with some sauce and veggies. I did not miss the cheese at all). I didn't miss the deep fried goodies no masala peanuts or mixture but I craved for sugar -the cherry crepe especially all last week. This seems hard but I am happy with what I see so I am doing it again for another month yaay! I want to get rid of the muffin top and get a flat tummy.

I heard all sort of things from family and friends. Most common was you look ok why are you doing this? Really people? From which angle do I look ok? My tummy is hanging like bougainvillea! Bottom line- if you like what you see in the mirror good for you, I hate what I see so thats why the exercise and diet. 

I know exercise is a pain for most of us. There are days I want to skip it, then I read something on Chalene Johnson's FB page- If you don't feel like working out, just wear your workout clothes and proceed to doing it and after 10mins if you are still not feeling it, reschedule it. Most of the time 10mins into the workout I do not feel like stopping, I rather get it over with.

If this does not work my brain has learnt to trick my body to do the workouts, basically it makes my body feel very very guilty. How? by repeating this Jillian Michaels mantra ad nauseam, "If you have time for Facebook, you have time for exercise."  

-Post was written on Sunday took this much time to hit publish. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

What have I done?

My toddler is officially in love with another woman, and I am responsible for it. I have been singing 'itsy bitsy spider' to him ever since he was 8 months old. Few weeks ago I decided that it would be a good idea to see if there were videos of that rhyme on you tube, I got her,


Initially it was very cute to see him just stare at her, then he started following her actions. Now its gone really mental, the minute I open the laptop he comes running from where ever he is and starts chanting, "itchi bitchi haalu" "itchi bitchi haalu" Yeah like you even I have no idea what that haalu means! So I indulge him and play the video he is not content watching her do it twice or 4 times he wants it like on a loop! Yesterday he listened to it for 10 times at least which means he heard the song 20 times :O I seem to be going mental now after hearing that rhyme repeatedly so I made him listen to other rhymes. Nope didn't work "belaaa, belaaa.. itchi bitsi haalu" (beda/ no). (What really amazes me is that they seem to develop preferences so early on).

So there, the 'itchi bitchi haalu' lady is his lady love as of now. It could be Nicki Minaj or Adele next month cos he will sit as if in a trace when Minaj's Super Bass and Adele's Rolling in the Deep is on!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Avocado and Basil Mayo

This is hands down the best mayo I've ever tasted. I've used it on burgers, wraps and as a dip it tastes fantastic and is heart healthy too. If you can get your hands on basil and avocado do try this out.

Avocado and Basil Mayo: http://www.drbenkim.com/avocado-basil-mayo-recipe.html

2 ripe avocados, pitted, scooped and cut into cubes
handful of basil leaves
2Tb olive oil (I omitted this)
2Tb lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

1) Combine the basil, garlic and salt and blend to a paste.
2) Add the avocado and blend till smooth.
3) Mix in the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.


If you are thinking, "why has she put the dressing on a soup spoon"
short answer- I have a 17 mo.
long answer- If this was in a bowl he would have managed to put his entire face in the bowl. He didn't even leave the spoon alone, he kept chanting "icheem-u, icheem-u" (ice cream). Out of the 10 photo I managed to click with great difficulty, 8 were out of focus as I was fending him off with 1 hand and clicking with the other- not easy.

Hows the WFPD going?

I am on week 2 no sugar, no APF, no fried food I thought I would die not so. But guess what my un-co-operative, un-considerate and sugar crazy husband did last weekend. He bought a salted caramel sundae from Haagen-Dazs at the mall and the woman asked, "and you? You don't want anything?" (we are regulars (can one even say this about an ice cream store?!) so she knows us pretty well) I said, "no I will share his" and he said, "she is on a diet". I wanted to decorate his head with that sundae but I just composed myself and smiled a 10 volt smile and bolted from there. He did something even more wicked- he stored half a cup of that sundae in the freezer. I had to fight the temptation to taste it (just salivated whenever I opened the freezer).

I don't know how many inches I have lost as my boy has misplaced the measuring tape. But one can check for weight loss without a tape. How? Just stand in front of the mirror and shake, if things jiggle you haven't lost anything. In my case still some amount of jiggling. And all this exercise and dieting just got me thinking it is SO hard to get a six pack or lose them evil fat parcels called muffin top (which looks cut on a muffin definitely not on the hips).

Another thing - I used to have terrible headaches every time I watched too much TV, too much internet (too much =40mins) or even cutting onions. I had to take pills else my day would be ruined. Its been 2 weeks no headache nothing *fingers crossed* is it because of the diet? And as you know I am not a doctor/nurse/nutritionist, this is just my observation.

Another thing (I am still not done yet) do you like adai? I L.O.V.E adai and yes you guessed it right J doesn't. But I am not concerned about him too much cos except for sugar he doesn't like anything much. I found 2 amazing adai recipes that you must try, listen J ate 5 of them in 1 sitting so thats saying something-
1) http://www.sharmispassions.com/2012/01/oats-adai-recipe-oats-breakfast-recipes.html
2) http://www.egglesscooking.com/2009/02/18/cracked-wheat-moong-dal-crepes/ (I substituted cracked wheat instead of the oats and followed the recipe of the oats adai)

Now I think I am done, have an awesome day y'all!