Monday, 20 January 2014

Lemon Rice
"Keep a look out for a Tiffany on your side of the highway when I say to."
We were getting ready for our day trip to Srirangapattana when B mentioned this.
I did a double take. "Tiffany?!"
"Yes. It seems they serve the best Maddur vadas."
Maddur vada? I had never heard of Maddur vada .... but gulp down the line.
It would not be fun to see that "But you are a food blogger!!!" look right at the begining of our trip.
The only Tifanny I had known about till then was for the high and mighty and their love for beautiful, glittery things.
So I kept looking out, missing the lovely scenes speeding by.
Travelling on the Karnataka highways is a joy. But I tried to concentrate.
As we approached and just crossed Maddur, I did notice two names that sped by me ... A.K.Tiffany and S.K.Tiffany.
After a second of hesitation I mentioned them.
"There was a Tiffany?! Why didn't you say so ... we should have stopped!."
"But ..."
"They are just two run down sheds on thin metal supports that have already started to lean towards one another. Are you sure they are the real Tiffany?"
"Hmm ... what were they selling?"
"I don't know ... but they looked like tea shops."
"Ok ... there will be more ... then we can stop and check them out."

We did not see anymore of them till Srirangapattana.
On our way back, on the other side of the highway, we did see a few more. But they looked so run down and were bang in the midst of garbage and flies, that we did not dare to go over.
The man looked a little crestfallen and went on to describe what beautiful things Maddur vadas are.
"They are very crisp on the outside but soft inside. And they have soft pieces of onions in them. The whole vada is dotted with small,  crisp round things.
You have to break a hot vada and wait for it to cool and then have a bite of the wonderfully crispy piece."

I listen quietly, trying my best to make a picture of the darned thing.
The description went on but the voice started to sound morose.
"But when did you ever get to taste a Maddur vada?"
"Why? In Pune! You have eaten it too."
Double double take. But again a quiet double double take.

Just as I was giving up hope, there loomed in front of us a big building with the word Tiffany written boldly on it. We parked the car and went in.
It looked like regular idli/dosa joint to me except people were standing around small round tables and having coffee and vadas.
With a look of triumph, B orders two plates of vadas and coffee.
And then starts another round of event.
The moment a boy puts two steel plates in front of us that held  two dark brown coloured vadas that looked like overbaked biscuits, doused with chutney, the look on B's face changed.
"This is not Maddur vada!!!!!"
"No. Wait. Maybe they did not understand."
He walks over to the counter and tells the boy that he wants Maddur vada.
The boy nods and says yes .... Maddur vada.
B says no ... Maddur vada.
The boy nods again ... yes, Maddur vada.
Both do not understand each others' language ... so a lot of gesticulating and nodding goes on.
B points to the huge baskets on the stands behind the boy and says "Maddur vada. Hot."
The boy says " Aa, Maddur vada. Hot aa."
B says " Bring hot."
Boy says "Aa, hot aa. Illaa." All the while with a smile on his face.

After what seems ages to me, and seeing this wasn't going anywhere ... and more afraid that I must burst out laughing any moment now, I coaxed B to give up and at least try what they have served.
After all everybody else were eating it. It must be good.
"No no no ... I must have the real thing."
"Ok then ... we'll get it somewhere for sure."
I did try the vadas ... I had asked for them sans the chutney. They were crisp ... no, a little hard I thought.
I did see onions bits in them ... but they too were over fried and had turned too dark.
And they were cold. I too would have liked them a little fresh and hot.

B was so miffed that he actually did not let me take a picture of the place for my travel blog.

A few days later, after going through a lot of blogs I found out what the Maddur vada is.
What it is made of and how. 
And realised what we had been served was the real Maddur vada after all. But nowhere did it match B's description.
So one weekend afternoon I quietly made all the preparations for the Maddur vada, planning to surprise B with crisp, hot vadas with tea in the evening.
After I proudly presented a hot vada, I stepped back to see his face.
He looked at it, sniffed at it, took a bite and said "Mmmmm .... tasty!"
"What is this?"
Double take.
"Maddur vada."
"But this isn't the Maddur vada!!!!!!"


I have here today a simple lemon rice that I usually make when I have left over rice in bulk .. i.e. enough for a meal.
I am not sure if this is the way South Indians make it but I have seen Ma make it this way always.
 I sometimes add a pinch of hing to the tempering.
In winters I add fresh green peas ... my favourite ... too.

Need :

Cooked rice
(updated: leftover rice kept in the fridge for a day or two works better)
Urad dal
Curry leaves
Mustard seeds
Lemon juice
Red chillies - whole
Turmeric powder
Cooking oil

How to :

Heat oil in a kadahi / wok.
Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds.
When they start to splutter, add the whole red chillies, curry leaves and a tablespoon of urad dal.
Add the peanuts and fry for sometime.
 Then add the rice, salt and the turmeric powder.

Add salt and the lemon juice and mix well.
Serve hot.
I love to have some fresh curd on the side along with this.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

These are a few of my favourite things ...

Reading - I started when I was two. Ma says I'd spend hours reading a piece of paper handed to me ... upside down. Later, I'd look for places to hide, from insisting cousins at play times ... below the beds and nooks between the almirahs and walls, to read in peace.
Even today, when reading, I have no sense of what is happening around me ... a person might stand in front of me, say something ... and I'll have no recollection of it.
I lap up a book in 1 or 2 days ... and spend 1 whole day sulking.
Why? The book was finished ... that's why. :-) And yes, I am the only student in my school who was allowed two books from the school library in a week.

Singing or listening to music
- Started training in Hindustani classical (vocal) when I was eight. Dadu's evenings were spent listening ... with silent pride ... to his grandchildren singing. The madur or the mat would be laid, harmonium and the tanpura set and we cousins would sing Dadu's favorite songs.
Today, my days are always accompanied with music. While I love good compositions, old or new, it always Rabindra Sangeet that I go back to. In happiness, sadness, sickness, despair, Gurudev's music and words have always guided me. When I sing, it is like I'm in prayer.
The sounds of the piano and the guitar are some of my favorite sounds.
A small part of my collection

Collecting sea shells - I love sea shells. I love beaches. And I love beaches that have sea shells strewn all over in the early mornings ... waiting to be picked up. Today, it is impossible to get beaches where you can see sea shells ... but we usually visit remote places and so I get lucky most times.
I have been collecting shells ever since I was a child ... growing up near a beach helped ... and now have a nice, big collection. I can sit and go through my collection, for hours, marveling at nature's artistic creations.

Writing poetry - I've been writing poetry from std.VI. Many of them have been published in the school magazine almost every year in senior school.
Later I moved on to writing in Bangla and Oriya too, other than the usual English.
I still write. And have a compilation here too. It is not open to public, so please don't feel offended if you can't view it.
From my window

Spending time with old people - I love sitting and listening to old people talk. They are a treasure trove of  memories and wonderful anecdotes and tales.
First hand witnesses  to times gone by, times I can never be a part of, ever, they take me to unknown places and introduce me to unknown yet very interesting people.
I used to sit for hours with Dadu, a freedom fighter, and listen to his memories of those turbulent  times. And I loved spending long, winter evenings, sitting quietly beside Dida, hands warming inside her shawl ... and listening to her soft voice, remiscising about the beautiful days in her maternal home and old times.
On my balcony railing after a downpour

Rains - I love the rain. I can sit and watch it for hours. Sometimes raging, pouring pellmell ... sometimes light, almost with a hesitation.
I can sit listening to it for hours. The changing patterns in the sound of rain ... sometime soft, sometime loud. With thunder playing on the side.
I love to listen to the quiet after the rains. You get to hear the very light drip drip from the leaves or the hush with which they fall on the dried leaves below.
I love the rain.

Traveling - visiting new places as in old time places. Especially those relevant to Ancient Indian history. Forts are my obsession. As are structures of Mughal architecture. I have gone lengths to actually see and feel the Pietra dura works just as I've explored Rajasthan and have climbed numerous forts ... just to be able to touch the ancient canons atop them.
And beaches. I love the sea and would go to any extent ... read distance ... to be on a sea beach.
I try to maintain a travelogue too, here

 Knitting - I love knitting wool. I cannot live without knitting something ... anything.
Starting while still in school,I have knitted for numerous people ... parents, cousins, grandparents, friends, their children ..... the list is endless.
I've recently compiled a few of my handiworks here.
Clicked during my early blogging days
Photography - My first camera was a simple aim and click gifted to me by Bapi on my nineteenth birthday.
And I have not looked back ever since.
I click photos because I love to. To hold on to something or a moment that I know I'll love to look back again and again. I do not click under pressure. And usually I love to click natural, random shots and not created ones.
After I started my food blog, I have been clicking to my fill.
Though my hands and shoulder do not allow me to wield a heavy camera anymore, I still try to catch a shot that I know will never come back for me again.

Cooking -  I had no idea what it actually takes to put those platefuls of nutritious lunches or dinners or tasty, favourite snacks that I had taken so much for granted before I got married.
Guided by the man and my cousins here, and after numerous fiascos like putting the pressure cooker on without putting in enough water, leaving a curry or milk unattended on the stove, etc. I finally could serve a decent a plateful of meal.
Now I do enjoy cooking. And love to share my efforts too.

After my injury and persisting pain, most of the above things like reading a book, knitting, travelling and cooking have become impossible for me.
But I hope to get back to them someday.

A few other favourite things  : -

 - I love to laugh. I am usually quiet by nature and not an extrovert, but I love to laugh a lot.

- I love  Ma's old saris, with her smell on them.
Everytime I come back from home, I would bring a couple of her saris that stayed with me till my next visit.

- I love puppies. And birds.

- I love to walk with my eyes closed.

- I love waking up very very early in the morning and  listen to the quiet around me.... a world so different from the one after daylight starts.

- I love to shut  the sounds around me and just sit back and watch a roomful of talking and laughing people and their gestures, from a different plane.

Colour - White
Flower - Carnations
Book  - Wuthering Heights
Song - Aguner poroshmoni chowao praaney (A Rabindrasangeet, prayer)
Person - Thamma (Grandmom) 
Food - Dal, bhaat, aloo bhate

A dear blogger friend Vani, of the beautiful Mysoorean, had once made a post on her favourite things.
I had said I'd take a page out of her book and make a similar post too ... but a whirlwind of things kept me away from it.
I finally have compiled a list and posting it.
It is not enough if you are trying to know me, but is indeed a little peek into my own self.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Dahi Aloo / Potatoes in yoghurt gravy

 Hello! Happy New year!
I know, I know. It's been a long time since my last post.
But I have been waylaid by a lot many things. And that left me with little time for Kichu Khonn.
But I came as soon as I realised that I hadn't made a single post this new year ... and it is already past a week.
Easier said than done.
I cook much less these days. I click even lesser.
So went back to my folders loaded with snaps that I had clicked once upon a good time and picked up these ... a quick scan confirmed I had not posted them .. yes, it has come to that .. I do not even remember things I've posted.
So here's a brand new recipe on the start of a brand new year.
Yesterday, a RJ on a station I was listening to, said that she has decided that she'll keep wishing everyone "Happy New Year" all through January ... till the 31st.
So, on that line, I guess I am not too late to wish you all a very happy new year ahead!

I had made this dish with yoghurt/curd ... yes. But I had also added a good dose of Tandoori masala to it.
Was undecided on a name ... so stuck to Dahi aloo.
You can call it the gravy version of Tandoori aloo ... sans the colour and the roasting.

Need :

Small potatoes - boiled in salt water and peeled
Ginger paste
Garlic paste
Curd - beaten with some water  till smooth
Haldi / Turmeric powder
Red chilli powder - a pinch
Tandoori masala
Kasuri methi - powdered
Salt - to taste
Cooking oil

How to :

Pick the potatoes with a fork.
Heat oil in a kadahi /wok.
Add the ginger and the garlic paste and fry well.
Add a little haldi powder and the potatoes. Fry well till the masala coats the potatoes.
Add some water and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and add the tandoori masala and the kasuri methi. Simmer for a while.
Then slowly add the beaten curd and do a taste check for salt.
If needed add some more.
Simmer for some more time, covered.
Remove from heat and let it stand covered for a while.

Serve hot with rotis or naan.

Ok ... I have lost Feedly too ... so am totally lost. I cannot hop over to your blogs as regularly.
So I apologize for being out of touch.
Will hop over to your spaces as soon as I get a good reader.
Till then do keep coming over and stay in touch friends.

Wish you all a very happy and healthy new year ahead!