My balcony is no longer mine.
Well ... it has never been mine for that matter. The small ledge is the bane of all good in my life ... read a little time spent on the balcony every evening ... or stand a while to enjoy the rains spray.
But no ... there are other important living beings who have laid claims on my property long back. They are our feathered 'friends'. Honestly .. am in a good mind to refer to them as foes henceforth.
First it were the pigeons. Amongst the fast paced real estate boom ... read numerous flats and buildings coming up ... they zero in on my balcony! After a good number of days spent fighting among themselves .. the most able and fittest get hold of the ledge. I wonder if this should give me some consolation regarding free security.
And then comes a longish time of having a baby ... nurturing it ... teaching it to fly. All through this ... dare I step into the balcony, the parents flutter about ... if I sit on the swing ... one of them will sit right across me on the railing and stare pointedly ... till I give up and go in.
Now this corner of mine has been taken up by two Shaliks ( in Bengali ). I had tried sealing the ledge with newspapers and thermocol boxes .. the enterprising pair scraped away part of the thermocol with their beaks and made a door ... and got a home!
I love to be with my greens ... with the monsoon clouds and rain all over ... ok .. I have exactly three pots and 9 plants among them ... so what? I still love to be among my greens.
But no ... the moment I step there ... am shooed off with the best expletives in birdie language ... punctuated with screeches that go zzzzzzinggg .... right thru one ear and out the other. No ... they are not afraid of me or fly away ... it is I who has to give in ... always.
But at least they do not dirty the balcony as the horrid pigeons do.
I had planted exactly 15 saplings of Pui / Poi / Malabar spinach ... out of which only this many survived. DH sniggers everytime I water them or fuss around them ... mentioning something about a butcher taking care of a kid ... waiting.
Well ... I hope I get enough leaves on these so as not to feel guilty even if I do chop off a few for my Chorchori.
A few days back I had made the Dal Panchmela, and since I never measure stuff I am using for cooking I got some soaked dals left.
I usually grind them to a batter and make dosas or adai. But was in no mood to stand in the kitchen and fry one dosa after the other for a long long time.
So threw in a few things that came to my mind while grinding the batter and set it in the oven to bake.
Out came a savoury cake that we relished with tea that rainy evening. It is something close to a Handvo ... but I did check out the recipes for it ... and decided not to call this a Handvo for purists' sake.
This Savoury Lentil Cake came out very fluffy and spicy. Loved every bit of it.
A mix of 5 dals (Tuvar, Urad, Masoor, Chana, Moong ) soaked together
Fresh Coconut ( optional )
Fresh green chillies
Jeera / Cumin seeds
A pinch of Hing / Asafoetida
Salt to taste
A little water
A little cooking oil
Feel free to use whatever spices you want to ... I could not think of much.
How to :
Grind the dals with the coconut, jeera and the green chillies.
Add the hing, lemon juice, salt and baking powder to the batter.
Line a baking bowl with a little cooking oil.
Pour in the batter and bake at 150 degrees C for around 20 minutes.
Remove and cool.
Cut to pieces and serve hot or warm.
I had both my Peanut chutney and our very favourite Onion Chutney in the fridge ... enjoyed with both. And a hot mugga. :-)
Enjoy all !