Monday, 17 January 2011

Vegetables & Coconut Milk Stew

( Non vegetarians can add boneless chicken pieces, chopped sausage or egg drop. )

While on my break, with nothing to do at hand, literally, surfing the net
was my only respite from boredom.
And while I came across some very good blogs and writings,
I was distressed to find rampant Plagiarism too.

Photos and text from my blog have been copied and used in numerous places.
I set about tracking down the people.
While most of them have picked my photos, a few have used excerpts of my writings too.
All without my permission. And no credit given to the blog.
I kept my search on.

The plagiarists ranged from bloggers to proffessional website developers to
journalists and writers for epapers and emagazines.
I wrote to whoever I could contact.
It was a problem because most of them did not have a form to post comment,
or an email id to reach them.
Others have their comments moderated, so my comments neither got published nor heeded to.

Most bloggers ... usually new bloggers ... were genuinely apologetic.
I can understand that.
They do not know much about blogging rules or ethics.
But learn quickly.

The website developers too were very prompt in replying with an apology
and removing the used photograph.
The sore losers were however the epapers' writers ... not that I could contact
all of them since most pages did not
have a 'contact us' link.

The most used photograph from my blog is of the Moong Dal Halwa.
Search for any festival on the internet and you are bound to come across this photograph with a recipe that does not resemble mine.

One, who had used this Moong dal halwa photo, actually wrote back to me offering me a 'deal'.
She offered to 'mention' my blog with the writing so that
my blog 'will gain a lot of hits and it will
help you as people will come to know you'.

Livid, I wrote back "Thank you, but no thank you".
My blog gets enough hits and I do not earn anything from it, so in no way am going to 'gain'.
She snaps back in her next mail that she is no longer interested
in keeping the photograph as it is all over the internet
and she has no time to check
if all of them have copyright claims like me.

This, after I had sent her the link to my blog and the post!

Another blogger from Kolkata, who claims to work in the IT industry,
and has a blog that is a mix of a whole lot of things,
has picked up many of my photographs
and used them on recipes that are not
even remotely similar to the snap.
She has stolen almost all of my Ilish snaps and also the Prawn Malai Rice.

She has a 'talent' for removing copyright signs, shrink the snaps to thumbnail sizes and use them.
Repeated requests from me to remove them have gone ignored.

Another has stolen my Posto Pui snaps and using them as some other 'shaak' recipe!!

A reader and blogger from Bangladesh regularly visits.
I found out later that she has been using my snaps for her blog.
After repeated requests she did remove the snaps though,
but not before complaining bitterly
about how the copyright sign was not visible.
Just the fact that the photograph belongs to somebody else is not enough for her.

Recently there is a blogger from Delhi who has been copying my text.
Needless to say, these people never leave a line on my blog.
Yet happily take the credit and respond to comments, on their blogs, regarding the beautiful snaps!!!

What I do not understand is if they are so interested in having their own food blog,
why can't they cook their own food, click their own snaps and use them.
They should know that just because something is on the web
does not mean they can use it freely.
It is somebody else's hard work; it belongs to somebody else.

I have no idea how to deal with this.
So all I can do is distort my beautiful photographs with big sized copyright signs.
Smaller signs have not worked;
the enterprising thieves trim the snaps or remove the signs.

Ranting done, I'll come to today's recipe.
A deliciously creamy, dreamy vegetables stew in coconut milk, this is very quick to make.
Perfect for these winter days or nights.

I throw in as many vegetables as I can.
And sometimes add some chopped chicken chilli sausages for myself.
And to add to the carb content, some boiled pasta which I almost always have in the fridge.

Need :

Chopped onion - 1
Chopped garlic - around 6 to 7 cloves
Very thinly sliced ginger - ½ teaspoonful
Vegetables cut into small cubes - around half a cupful of each
( I used baby beans, carrots, cauliflower, baby corn, mushrooms, fresh green peas )
Fresh green lime zest - ¼ teaspoonful
Thick coconut milk - 200 ml
Butter - 1 teaspoonful
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste

How to :

Heat a heavy bottomed kadahi / wok.
Add a little butter and then the garlic.
Stir a little ... do not brown.
Add the onions and fry till translucent.
Now add all the vegetables except the peas and give a good stir.
( If using chicken, add now).
Add the coconut milk and some water.
Add salt and sugar ( remember, the coconut milk imparts a little sweetness too).
Cover and cook till the veggies are done.
( If using boiled pasta, add now. )
Remove cover and add the green peas and the lime zest.
Give a good stir, cover and switch off heat.
Give it a standing time of around 5 minutes.

Serve hot.

The sweetness of the coconut milk combined with the lime zest gives a beautiful flavour to this otherwise very veggie stew.
I have tried adding a pinch of roasted jeera/cumin powder
to this at the end
and found the flavour very Thai like.
Loved it.

Just a bowlful of this healthy, wholesome stew for dinner is enough for us.
If you want to,
eat it with bread on the side for a fuller meal.

I can have this wonderful stew anytime ... day or evening.
Enjoy !!


  1. Dear Sharmila
    Nice to see you are back and feel bad that photos have been copied from your blog. It is really painful.
    Very nice recipe indeed, I am not allowed to eat vegetables these days, but will try it out for the family:-)
    Have a nice day

  2. I coudnt see none of the pictures in this postm could be my ccomputer too.
    I dont get how people can steal pictures from other blogs,these ppl are so shameless.
    I have no idea if ppl stelal pictures from my blog, i have known lot of other bloggers also complaining about soms ppl taking the pictures and some are lucky that they get remooved,
    I hope they stop stealing your pics.

  3. Hi Sharmila, Thats really pathetic. I can fully understand how you must be feeling about these people who steal your blog content and do not even feel like apologising.. I mean can people get.. ek to chori upar se seena zori!! Some hard hitting actions must be taken against this.

    Also loved the stew, it looks so yum :)

  4. welcome back Sharmila....
    copying the pictures is so common and so shamelessly done all over the places...

    Stew looks great more awesome pic to copy :)

  5. Sharmila,
    An editor of a popular e-magazine had to resign because she thought that taking content and not giving credit is ok because it is available on the internet. So this behavior is rampant. The entitlement mentality is even more annoying.

  6. I totally understand how you must be feeling see ing your pictures in other blogs and websites. I have come under the same situation, many of my pictures have been stolen. emails or complaints nothing worked for me.
    If your recipe or picture is unique then it gets all the attention both good and bad.Still dont know what to do about it.

  7. This is my first time to your blog and the clicks look awesome. Too bad to hear abt copying of the clicks. Watermark them in future. You cannot stop them but prevent your clicks from being stolen.

  8. Dear Sharmila,
    As a blogger,I can understand how it must feel to see your own creations getting copied shamelessly.In fact,after reading your post I got the creeps that maybe some lurker out there is happily stealing away my creations as well,you never know!I mean this is just so disgraceful!

    The pasta in the stew caught my eye and it really tells me how much you truly love pasta:)Well,another interesting recipe for me to try out!Thanks a bunch!


  9. uhhh sabbai dekhi ei problem e porche. kije boli janina. between ki kore khunje bar korcho kon chhobi ba post copy hochhe? amar kono idea nei.
    stew ta amaro fav. kerala te kheyechi amon. chhobigulo ki bhalo hay tomar...bright and sunny.

  10. Mr.Ghosh ... thanks.

    Happy .. yeah ... some do remove them but a lot of them don't.

    SS ... I do wish I knew of some hard hitting action against this ... would love to try it.

    Sangeeta ... oh no!

    ISG ... more than the bloggers it was the attitude of that journo that shocked me. No professional ethics, no ethics at all.

    Sumi .. yeah .. that is hard consolation.

    Radhika ... I have. Doesn't work.

    WWW ... the best part is people do even need to be on your blog ... they do a search and pick up from Google ... watermarking or copyright signs totally ignored.

    Sayantani ... just do a search on Google images. If a site is using your snaps, they'll usually come up after the 2nd or 3rd page. You'll get the link there.

    Thanks a lot everybody ! :-)

  11. Sharmila,
    eyi jey ami chobi dekhte parchi na Finla'r moton ..and about stealing ..these people are really shameless and the kind of attitude these have is so pathetic and annoying..i have gone thro the same phase and i know it really disturbs you dont loose your cool like i did and continue doing the good job you are doing now..hugs and smiles

  12. First time on your website - this recipe also is very kerala-ish and would go well with puttu that I am planning to make -- Awesome blog :)) very psyched that I am discovering all these wonderful foodies and recipes!

  13. Sharmila this plagiarism thing is making me want to cry. don't know how we can keep looking thru this vast world. I am fighting ananda bazar patrika online for copying my photograph. i had no clue till i was pointed by a friend. who knows where the photographs...It is such a shame that we have been given no right or protection.

    for the stew, i need it. It is freezing cold here and this is just the right thing. kaalke amio aloo kopi diye stew korechilam.

    Love your photographs.. esp. the one with the book.

  14. Sharmila, I am so glad you are back with newer recipes.
    I recently put some some thai lemon leaves (kaffir lime)in a fried rice and loved the flavour. A bit like our Gondhoraj lebu. While reading this recipe, was thinking of these leaves. Some are still lying in my fridge.
    Incidentally, how do you come to know if someone is using your pictures and your texts? I see a lot of people coming to my blog everyday and they never leave comments. If they are using my blog, I really would not know.

  15. I always wondered how I'd feel if someone copied from my blog and when a newspaper did it, the first reaction was one of intense anger and indignation, though I kept referring to it sarcastically as having arrived.

    I simply don't understand why hobby (and non-advertising) bloggers would do something like this even after being told it's wrong.

  16. feel like preparaing this soup now,...i guess this gonna help me a lot specially when i am down with cold,..:-)

  17. Jaya ... reloaded them. Hope you can see them now. Am really trying not to lose my cool.

    NS ... thanks.

    Soma ... ABP too??! Chee chee.

    Aparna ... thanks. I stick to the fresh lime zest as I usually do not find the fresh leaves here. The flavour is awesome .. na? :-)
    I got to know from Google ... but since your blog is more on text, you can try using Copyscape ... though most of the time it never works. Believe me, we are helpless.

    Sra ... I have found blogs that try to be a jack of all trades and their recipe section will have not more than 6 recipes ... all stolen.
    And they are full of advertisements. Mine is the hobby blog.
    And the imbecile writers who pick snaps for their writings have such a rude attitude!

    Priyanka ... this is good to slurp on when feeling down. Hope you get well soon. :-)

  18. God, Sharmila, that is so disturbing. I can imagine how upset you must be! Plagiarism is shameful beyond comprehension. I am glad you managed to find some of the people who plagiarized your content.
    On a happier note, your stew looks incredible and so beautifully colorful.

  19. Bowlfuls of stew are the best things you can have while scouting for chors on the Internet. Ekta bowl amake o daao, tomaar shonge paashe boshe dujone chotta der dhori. :-)

  20. Vaishali .. thanks. It hurts more when I approach them saying it is my snap and get back pure rudeness in return.

    Pree .. lol. Tai korte hobe ... maybe the stew will help add a little mildness to my anger.

  21. Sharmila di,
    Feels great to have to back. Keep posting more yummy dishes!!

  22. You are just like my mom. I find your recipes as simple as hers and yet, once I diligently replicate them (yes, i actually, need a paper with recipes written down the first time around), voila.

    I have tried your chochori and loved it. And, the stew and the chingri malai rice are making me itch to go back to the kitchen. This of a girl who had the heebyjeebies a year or two back when it came to even lighting the stove or pouring oil to start cooking.

    While, ma remains my 'phone-a-friend', you are my 'Google search' :D I also like the blog, Preeoccupied and both of you taken together make for my online Bangla recipe almanac.

    Thanks so much for spelling out the recipes so simply.Today, hope to try your posto-onion bhaja. Used to love it raw as ma would prepare with a drizzle of mustard oil on the mix.

    All the best in your fight against plagiarists; maybe you could use your network in FB, put the word out for such people... But please keep writing.

    PS. Have you tried making patisapta? Thought of doing it. Planning to turn to my granny for help. But if you have, please do share the recipe when you have the time. The best thing is, you talk about not getting ingredients and still making up for it. I don't have to fret, as a result, staying away from Cal :)

  23. Swagata ... thanks.

    esskay ... moms are the best and am not even close to cooking like one ... but am really touched by your comment.
    When I started cooking I used to be scared of the weird sound a gas stove lighter makes .. so you are far better than me.
    I'll try to post the patishapta but cannot promise to very soon ... please bear with me.
    And I do have the kancha posto makha recipe on my blog too.
    Thanks again for the nice words.

  24. Dear Sharmila

    Painful to hear about such blatant plagiarism happening now a days.There is no other way but to propagate this in social networks so that people are aware of it. LOL when a female offered you a deal to write your name.
    Also, Stew looks delicious and apt for such winter.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  25. Thanks a ton for sharing such good and simple recipes for a beginner like me. I am a marwari girl, recently shifted to US and really struggling with cooking as for some weird reason whatever I cook, they all taste same.
    You are really a great help. I feel like reading and going through each and every blog of yours. Hope that's fine with you. I am getting a feeling that that very soon I'll be in love with cooking :)

    Let me share my experience of finding you here..I don't know but for some strange reason a liked a red leaf vegetables in an Indian store here and picked them for no sensible reason as i dint even know the name of the vegetable... and from that moment my search started... followed with phone calls to my mom, mamma and then to friends.. and after couple of calls managed to find out the name of the vegatable that either its 'Chandalayee' or 'lal saag' but what to traust as all recipes kept on changing as per name and finally when people went to beds in India ..I thought of wandering in the software world and landed on your land- KICHU KHON!! lal saag/ red spinach..YES!! decided to follow your recipe and prepared the same with masoor dal and rice. Todays dinner is for you Sharmila!! thanks :)

    Thank you so much for crafting those Indian dishes/recipes so well..they remind me of my mom's recipes and I know, can be trusted completely.

    Now seriously want to learn bengali recipes from you..

    thank you once again


  26. Please don't bother yourself by thinking too much about people with tht habit of tehy dont worth your precious time. Specially when they are aware of their shortcoming so well...they are good in doing that only COPY-PASTE. they themselves have no real talent in them and that's the reason try to seek shelter under a giving tree like yours..... just forget about them and keep moving on your mission... I am quite sure, they wont be able to follow you for long!!
    Enjoy your writing pls..believe me, it doesn't matter after a certain limit as you know whatever is yours is yours one can take that from you...people can just copy and duplicate your stuff!! You are too good :)


  27. Rashmi ... thanks for such nice words. Am so glad me and my blog can be of any help and that you like my recipes. If you have any questions or doubts regarding a recipe feel free to write to me. Good luck! :-)

  28. Thank you so much..managed to cook moong dal kachori..and to my own surprise!! it tastes exactly like... what we get in Rajasthan!! too good!! I have taken pictures, wanted to share with you but there is no option to attach files in the blog :(

    once again ...thank you sooo mcuh!!



Thank you for sharing Kichu Khonn( a few moments ) with me in my kitchen!