“Say that you stay a little, don't say bye bye tonight. Say you'll be mine just a little, a bit of love is worth a moment of your time”

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Save room for my love
Save room for a moment to be with me
Save room for my love, save a little
Save a little for me
Won't you save a little?

It’s the end of March already? I am glad that I was able to take the weekend off and do something a bit different then my usual routine. I had a wonderful time in Chicago celebrating Mala Masala’s bachelorette party. The weather was a high of 65-70 degrees! That’s right folks. It was warmer than DC. I spent some quality time with some good friends of mine, Rakesh and Sheetal and they were kind enough to host me at their apt for the weekend. They live downtown Chicago and the view from their window of the lake and downtown was incredible! I will post pics later. Mala wanted a very girly weekend so we (total of 8 of her gfs) got pedicures, went shopping on Michigan Avenue, indulged on wine and Italian meal, followed by dancing the night away! It was soo much fun. On Sunday I spent time with my sister in law and her family. My 2 and ½ year old nephew was my main entertainment. I had delays on Monday morning and getting back to DC on Monday felt like eternity...but the trip was sooo worth it. I can't wait to attend Mala's wedding in May. Congratulations Chica! You too will be an old married lady like myself ;o)
Before my trip I made an authentic Marathi dish for Bhatji called Palak Pathal bhaji. My mother in law shared this recipe because it’s yummy and very very healthy since it’s made with Spinach. Bhatji loves this dish!

Fresh Spinach bunch or one frozen packet
A handful of unsalted peanuts
2 table spoons of besan or wheat flour
2 cups of water
3 table spoons of yogurt
1 Tsp of sugar

Ingredients for tempering (phanna):
2 table spoons of oil
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 tsp of cumin (jeera)
Pinch of hing
½ tsp of haldi
1 tsp of chili powder
3-4 cloves of chopped garlic

To make:
Wash, chop and boil the spinach in a pressure cooker with the 2 cups of water for 2 whistles. You can even boil it in a big pot for 30 mins…but the pressure pan or cooker works faster. After the 2 whistles, take it off heat and let it cool for 10-15 mins before opening it up since the pressure in the cooker can be hazardous. Once it has cooled for the allotted time, open the cooker/pan and drain the water only into a bowl. We will be using this water later, so do not throw. Mash the spinach leaves with your hands to a slight pulp (not too watery). Add the 2 table spoons of bean and mix well with the mashed spinach. Now add the 3 table spoons of yogurt and mix well. Add the water that was set aside back to the spinach mixture in the pressure pan. Bring the pan back to the stove and cook on Med-high heat. Add salt to taste and the tsp of sugar. Keep stirring every few mins to ensure that the bean does not become lumpy. Bring this spinach mixture to a boil and continue to cook for 5 additional mins. Once this mixture starts to boil, start the tempering (phanna) process. Take a really small pan and heat 2 table spoon of oil. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, haldi, hing, chili powder and garlic and cook till it’s fragrant (about 3-5 mins). Take off heat and add to the Spinach mixture. Take the Spinach mixture off the heat and make sure the phanna is mixed well into the spinach and you are done. This goes great with rice! It’s almost like a daal.

The weather is finally warm and I plan on making some easy to carry dishes so Bhatji and I can sit out on our balcony and have dinner one of these days. Stay tuned for the next yummy blog, until then enjoy the warm sun and spring flowers.

“Sometimes it's soft as a misty rain that gently touches my soul. It cools the fire that burns in me and I simply lose control”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

So just
Rain down on me
Let your love just fall like rain
Just rain on me

It was raining so heavily this past Friday that through my wet and cold walk home from work, I grew nostalgic of my younger days in Mysore and started craving onion pakoras and chai. MMMM I grew up in the gorgeous city of Mysore in Karnataka (India). Our monsoon season was long and warm, it was the verge of winter and power would constantly go out (this isn’t unusual in most Indian cities) We would light candles and spend out evening outside on the verandah (front yard) playing with neighbors kids and quality time with the family playing cards or just talking until it was dark. My mom would make hot pakoras or Bhajiyas and chai or my dad and bapama and I would sneak some tea into my system and chow down on the pakoras. At that blissful moment I wouldn’t be bothered by the mosquitoes, the power being out, the heat or even the fact that my mom was cautioning me from the dangers of being addicted to tea or coffee (which clearly fell on deaf ears considering I am very much a coffeholic and enjoy my hot tea every so often)
I managed to get home before Bhatji and decided to take on making some onion pakoras and tea. Bhatji does not drink tea but sometimes I can coax him into a small cup (I know I’m awful to tempt him but I love company when I am treating myself to tea) The pakoras came out excellent, if I do say so myself. And Bhatji was surprised to come home to the hot treat. Let’s just say that we filled ourselves with so much that we couldn’t fathom the thought of dinner till late. So here I would love to share the recipe for the onion pakoras/bhajiya as per my mom:

1 large onion
3/4 cup besan (chick pea flour)
3 tbsp sooji flour (optional but this makes it extra crispy)
4 green chilies
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
½ -1 cup of water
Oil for deep-frying

To make:
Cut the onion into long thin slices. Mix salt into the onions while you make the paste. Make a paste of the green chilies. Mix the besan, sooji, green chili paste, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin seeds, chili powder with some water, making sure the consistency a thick enough batter and not too watery. You may add more or less water Add the onions to this batter and mix well, making sure all the onion slices are slathered with the batter. Heat the oil and scoop the onion batter with your hand or a table spoon and deep fry in the oil. Fry until the batter is browned and the pakoras are crispy. Lay the parkoras on a plate with a paper towel so it can absorb any additional oil. Serve with ketchup or sweet and spicy chilly sauce along with the hot chai and you will be transferred back to the mother land.

Until the next hot recipe, anticipate and celebrate the upcoming spring!

“When I get you all alone, I'm gonna move in nice and close. Ain't nobody gonna interrupt my game”

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

'Cause I like the way you're making your move
I like the way you're making me wait
At the end of the night, when I make you feel mine
You'll be coming on home with me, yeah, yeah, yeah

So many changes coming my way! I’ll go more in detail in another blog entry but for now I will recap the wonderful weekend of food and fun. To celebrate all the new changes Bhatji and I had dinner at Sequoia in Georgetown this past Saturday night. The ambience was breath taking and food was exquisite! To top it all off we had complimentary wine. Following dinner we celebrated with some wine tasting at Sonoma and spent 3 hours talking. It’s the best feeling when you have non stop conversation with your best friends but it feel even better when you have similar rousing conversations with your better half over glasses of delicious wines. On Sunday, for additional celebrations, we met up with my parents at Café Deluxe in Bethesda for a long brunch, followed by catching of the sold out movie "The Namesake”. We had wonderful seat (lady luck was smiling down on us) and the movie itself was pure inspiration! The beginning dragged just a little but once it picked up it sped through the brilliant story line provided by Jhumpa Lahiri and noteworthy acting by all the actors. To me, Mira Nair is a good director but definitely not the best; I loved the movie “Monsoon wedding” but did not enjoy the slow and borderline irritating “Kamasutra”. She has validated her role as a great director through “The Namesake”. I encourage everyone from my generation and younger to go with your parents to see this movie. It gives a very honest view on how Indian American kids deal with the duality of our cultures and how it affects our parents.
Well now for the yummy part of this blog. Last Thursday I made another Indo Chinese dish: Veggie Hakka Noodles. It was a combination of my mom and my grandmothers recipe.

Half a packet of wheat Spaghetti Broken in half, boiled as per the directions on the packet
2 tbsp light cooking oil
1 large onion, sliced thin and long (use a mandolin if you have one)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
½ cup broccoli (I used frozen)
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
3 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp of garam masala
1 tsp pepper
Salt, to taste

To Make:
Heat the 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add onions, ginger and garlic paste until the onions brown a bit. Add broccoli and the bell pepper and cook for 2 mins. When the broccoli starts to cook (softens up) add in the noodles and mix well with the veggies. Finally add the Soya sauce, pepper, garam masala, chili powder and mix thoroughly.

I have a few more recipes to share...so I will be writing soon; until then be eat happy, eat healthy.

Go Bhatji, it’s your Birthday! We gonna party like it’s your birthday!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Mr. Bhatji!

“If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.”

- Anne Bradstreet

And Happy Ugadi to all my fellow Southies.

Fictional excerpt

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Me, myself and I:

I hate the word “my”…especially when he is referring to something that is ours. The house, families, friends, interests…all this is ours. Its our home, our kids, our friends, our family..or so I thought when we decided to exchange vows and pledge eternal love. Still this is what I hear from him for the last 5 or so years. Its almost like he has pissed around “his” belongings/people to claim territory. Conversations of “my” are beginning to drain me. “why are you calling my friends to ask that question? Do you see me calling yours to talk to them?” “My mom says she is sending something for my son’s birthday” “I paid my bills last night including the rent”. I have repeatedly told him that it bothers me when he refers to our things, friends and family as his. I have even asked him what in our life together is “mine”. He said that I take it too personally…and he doesn’t really mean any harm by it and its just a habit. So I say it makes me uncomfortable..this habit of his…and 5 years has gone by in this argument.
So today I packed my bags today and told him that I am taking a trip with my girlfriends for the weekend. I gave him a list of things that need to be done around his house and what his kids need while I was gone...maybe this whole “my” thing isn’t so bad after all!

I work all night I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay, ain't it sad. Still there never seems to be a single penny left for me that's too bad

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It's a rich man's world

The weather is gorgeous and all I want to do is sit outside and enjoy the breeze. This weekend was soooo much fun. Bhatji and I spent Saturday evening with one of my dearest friend and his fiancé. We had dinner at Mai Thai and came home to finish the night of with lots of laughter, stories over a cup of tea. On Sunday we had a small konk gathering for brunch which was fun as well. After so much fun Bhatji and I had to get down to some serious planning…vacation planning that is. In the next few months we have plans to travel quite a bit but it looks like we will have to pick and choose since there is no way we can afford taking lots of trips. When we first got married, one of the wisest advices we attained was to travel as much as we could, because once we decide on having family…it would be hard to plan out vacations. Well Bhatji and I are still finding it hard to take vacations as often as we would like. School schedule, work schedule, health and financial contingency such as accidents, car insurance, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries etc. are big factors before we can plan any vacation…even a short weekend trip. Also another issue is when we do get the chance to travel, should we visit people in the places we have been before or should we focus on seeing new places. I am girl who likes to balance so for me the best situation would be visiting a new place with old friends. I also know that this doesn’t necessarily work out all the time. Sigh…I can only hope that our travel stars align and soon!

“Ma chambre a la forme d'une cage, le soleil passe son bras par la fenêtre. Les chasseurs à ma porte, comme les p'tits soldats qui veulent me prendre”

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement l'oublier
Et puis je fume

I saw this interesting foodie blog about 5 Dishes to eat again before I die. It made me think back to all the yummy dishes I have enjoyed and would love to all over again. I will quote Arches here “Making sure my love affair with food will continue”…So here goes:

1) Frankie or Kati roll in the little Mumbai stall:
I lived in India till I was about 15 years old but was only able to enjoy my mom’s version of Frankie (which I LOVE) but it wasn’t necessarily authentic since its not really a south Indians dish. Oddly enough I had my first true Bengali style Frankie at Kati roll company in NYC. It was sooo good that I had pegged it as the most authentic Frankie I would ever consume. Fast forward 2 years and I had the opportunity to visit and stay in Mumbai (my first time actually in Mumbai) with my mother in law. On one of our various shopping trips she wanted to take me to this Frankie stall near the mall (the name is escaping me right now) I ordered a chicken tikka Frankie roll (extra spicy) and my mother in law ordered the potato and channa roll since she is vegetarian. It was the best thing I had ever tasted! The chicken was marinated perfectly and the roti was thick, buttery and packed with lots of flavor! I enjoyed it so much the rest of my trip in Mumbai, I kept harassing my MIL to take me back as many times as possible. I also realized that Frankie is almost a staple in Mumbai since you can take out and eat on the go (Mumbai lifestyle is very similar to NYC) I believe that this was the most authentic Frankie I had ever tasted and I will love to be corrected…since that’ll mean I’ll have to keep trying new Frankie places :o)

2) The “Shorisha Hilsa” authentic Bengali fish dish in mustard sauce at the “Oh Calcutta!” restaurant in Kolkata
I have heard that most Bengali fish dishes are absolutely heavenly! Luckily this past year Hubby and I were able to make a trip to Kolkata because my in laws were based there for about a year. When we got there my father in law has asked me if there was anything specific I wanted to eat while was there and I told him that when I was little I heard that “Hilsa” this Bengali fish was yummy and so I wanted to try a Hilsa preparation. He asked around for a good seafood restaurant and his secretary made reservations at “Oh Calcutta”. When we got there for dinner, since none of us were Bengali we asked our waiter to help us pick the best Hilsa dish for us. He suggested the “Shorisha Hilsa” a mustard based fish curry. True to what I had heard..it was heavenly! Being a Konkani girl who grew up on good seafood (Mangloreans and Goans are known for excellent sea food since they are sea port cities) I have very high expectations of seafood dishes and I think that Bengali seafood is definitely high on my list now.

3) Any authentic Andhra food. I haven’t actually ever been to Andhra Pradhesh even though I was born there. But the Andhra food at the restaurant “Bheema’s” in Bangalore was excellent and I would definitely like to go back there again.

4) Any good Sizzler place in India, especially restaurant “Samrat” in Mysore

5) Sushi at restaurant “Dragon Fly” in Washington dc

6) My moms masala dosa! And I am going to cheat here because this is number 6 and I can get this meal whenever I want right now but I can’t imagine going too long without these. MMM.

I am going to tag people to see different responses that way I know where to eat the next time I visit different places or try new recipes at home.

1) Arches
2) Swati
3) Malavika
4) Maya
5) Chai
6) Megs

PS (I love this old time classic sounding Pink Martini song!)


Sunday, March 4, 2007

I miss my friends today. My sister, my girls and definately my college buddies. I got my hands on some throwback pics yesterday and it left me feeling very nostalgic. Sigh...I miss it all :o(

“I've been down and I'm wondering why these little black clouds keep walking around with me, with me”

Thursday, March 1, 2007

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

It has been an absolutely crazy week! My work life has taken over my personal life, in that I am constantly stressed about the goings on at work. To get right to the point I have picked up a new project because my old project had been stationary for a while. This past weekend hubby and I got into a small accident because of the snow. No one was hurt and the other party involved in the accident didn’t even stop. The damage to the car wasn’t too bad but just going through insurance and dealing with the various people to get the car fixed is very annoying. The purse stealing incident, the accident and the busy work life has left me worn out! Sigh. End of whining!
Last Friday I made one of Bhatji's fav dishes. Gobi Manchurian (Cauliflower Manchurian). If you ever lived in Indian or visited and tried this Indochinese dish…I am sure you will list it as one of favs too :o) the best thing is that this is a very simple recipe to follow.

Half of a cauliflower cut into small florets
3/4 cup flour (any flour will do; I used wheat flour because its healthier)
1 tbsp corn flour
Salt to taste
2 tbsp garlic, ginger and green chilli paste
1 cup chopped onion
1/4th tsp Sriracha or any Chinese hot sauce
3 tbsp soya Sauce
3 tbsp Ketchup
2 tbsp Oil
Water as needed

To Make:
Make a paste of the flour, corn flour and salt using water as needed. Take only a tsp. of the 2 tbsp ginger, garlic, chilli paste, add it to the flour/corn flour paste. Dip the cauliflower florets in the paste and deep fry till golden brown. Keep aside.
Heat oil in another pan and add the chopped onions and left over ginger, garlic, chilli paste to it. When the onions give off an aroma, add the hot sauce, soya sauce and ketchup to it. Add the fried cauliflower to this onion mixture and mix well. When the cauliflower florets look well blended with the onion dry gravy, take it off the heat and serve as an appetizer or as a side with fried rice.
This dish turned out fantastic! Hopefully by the next blog, I will start feeling a lil better and the entry will be more sanguine. So until then…happy eating and smile! It’s almost the weekend!

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