Showing posts from 2010

Movember: The month the men grew a face

It is a universally accepted fact that most Indian men have moustaches. The thick lush growth will grace the face of even the scrawniest of men. It’s the essence of mardangi (manliness or virility) and shaan (glory) of an Indian man. However, I grew up in a household full of men that barely had a moustache! My father had a pencil-line moustache as did his two brothers.

One of my earliest memories is that of my dad trimming his moustache. He stood at the sink, the shaving foam on his face, making funny faces he went for the little nooks and crannies. I remember the time it took him to clip and trip that thin strip of hair. I sat in a chair gazing up at him while he performed this delicate and sometimes intricate ritual.

His sister’s husband also had a moustache, a little bit bigger than a pencil line. My grandfather was clean-shaved. I had no male cousins on my father’s side. My cousins on my mother’s side barely had any moustaches among them. At most, a modest growth that did not cove…

New Symbol for the Indian Rupee

The Govt of India has just unveiled the new Rupee (रुपैया) symbol. It takes the र from the Devnagiri Script and the 'R' in the English version and converts it with an equality symbol to a new currency symbol. My friend Sandy thinks it’s ironic that the Indian GoI should be spending money on a symbol to denote equality when all around there are the major contradictions that is India. 
When I was in Grade X - I read E M Forster's 'A Passage to India'. And while the surreal nature of the narrative incites and inflames the storyline, Forster provides an insight into the Indian psyche as visible to an outsider. One of the things he talks about is the contradictions that make up India. And how, India can get under your skin, and once it is under your skin, it stays there.
Living outside India for the last 15 years, it's become more and more apparent to me that distance does lend perspective. I think about my childhood, and the world we grew up in. 
What bit of traveling…

Quick and Easy: Prawn Pakoras

-- For the batter
2 lbs of pre-cooked prawns (Peeled and de-veined)
2 sprigs green onions chopped
4 or 5 green chillies chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro 
1 tbsp ginger paste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup besan
1 tbsp chipotle sauce
1 egg whisked
1 cup water

-- For Frying
Vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a pan (should be about 1.5-2" depth till to Medium High. (You need it hot, but not smoking hot)

Grind half the prawns in a chopper/blender. Roughly chop the rest of the prawns as small as you can.
Mix all the batter ingredients together in a bowl.

Consistency should be thick, about twice as thick as pancake batter.

Drop little balls of the batter into the oil. Fry until golden brown all over. Drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with a little chaat masala if you have it. (optional), and serve hot with a spicy chutney of your choice.

--- Substitutions and aka:

Besan - also called chick pea flour. If you cannot find it, you can use a mix of cornflour and flour. However, you will nee…

Tossed and Turned Paneer

So this is one of those times when I open the fridge and I have a few sorry vegetables at the bottom of the crisper, nothing that you can make a whole dish out of. I wanted some protein - but didn't have any that matched up to my ingredients. So I finally pulled out my emergency ration of paneer. I freeze it when I buy it - for just such an occasion. It is good for about six months or so. Now the dilemma was - how do I cook it! I am starting to hate cooking the "curry" way. I wanted something different. So this is what I came up with - ENJOY!

For those of you wondering what paneer is - its the Indian version of cottage cheese and you can get it in any Indian or Pakistani store. 

You will need
1 packet paneer (about 250 grams)
1 large red onion
2 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste

You will also need
1 tsp dried thyme (crushed)
2 tbsp chopped coriander 
2 tbsp oil for cooking

And then....
In a large non-reactive bowl mix the following:
2    tbsp white vinegar
1    tbsp paprika 
1/2 tbsp salt…

Google Buzz is a Buzz-kill!!

I've been following the Buzz on Google Buzz. If you have Gmail - you have Buzz. It creates a social network based on your email IDs and so on! 

I've always liked Google products. They come from a place of zero aesthetic value and yet highly functional. I do use all the rest of the Google products. And I really like Gmail - simple, efficient, clean ... until I saw the little Google Buzz icon at the top of the page. 
But seriously - BUZZ?? Do i need another social networking tool? I have Myspace and Facebook and LinkedIn. Why do I need yet another one? Especially one that presumes to know HOW I want certain things organized in my life. Yes, email organization is something practically everybody does. 

WHAT on earth were people at Google thinking - or perhaps they were not. Maybe the reason people have different email accounts is because they WANT to keep some accounts separate? Like most people I have separate email accounts - for fun, for friends, for work, and for personal private…

The Age of Foolishness

When I was in my BA class, three gentlemen from America had come to visit our college - they were from some Rotary club. One of them asked us: 'What are the first two adjectives that come into your head when you hear the word - America' and I answered 'fast and free'.

I grew up in a small town in India. My parents believed that we should be sheltered from hurt and unhappiness. But never from truth or facts. They did not hide anything from us, instead answered our questions as honestly as they could. A few weeks ago, I was sitting with friends and they were narrating how embarrassing some of their progenies' queries could be! and how they handled those situations, and it was nice to hear their no-nonsense approach to these situations. I had thought then, that well, there you go, with parents like these, the future looks good. 
And yet, there are people out there making decisions for their children based on their view of what the world should be. Not what the world is.

The Modern Minstrel

I am sitting at home, watching TV following the Hope for Haiti telethon. I just watched Coldplay sing a song. I had already watched the telethon from Canada - we do have a Haitian-Canadian Governor General as well as one of the largest populations of Haitians outside Haiti. But as I watched Coldplay sing - I thought 'Please give me some money - I will entertain you with the talent I have'. 

I noble endevor indeed. But all of a sudden, I remembered this beggar who use to come begging in our area every Sunday around 10 in the morning. He was suffering from leprosy. He had two tiny cymbals, which he would ring while singing his little song. He would do a little bobbing dance with it. For some reason, I remember the raggedy clothes he wore, the ribbons of fabric blowing in the wind as he sang the same song every Sunday. A simple song. That spoke of a simple need. 

'Gobinda is hungry
If Gobinda is fed
Gobinda is happy'

And he would smile his toothless smile as he sang this littl…

Lates Calcarifer ...

....यानी के सारी दुनिया जिससे बरामुन्दी कहलाती है. हम इसे BHETKI कहलाते हैं. बंगालियों के लिए यह एक ख़ास  मछली है. बंगाल के तालाबों में यह मछली मिलती है. इस में बहुत कम कांटे होते हैं, और इसकी मॉस बहुत ही स्वादिष्ट होती है.

कई साल पहले मैं ने DISCOVERY CHANNEL पर एक शो देखि थी. दो AUSSIES खाना बना रहे थे. मछली देख कर में आश्चर्यचकित हो गयी. यह तो अपनी भेटकी है!! पर यह लोग इसे BARRAMUNDI कह रहे थे. पता चला, बरामुन्दी का मतलब है large scaled river fish - पर अगर मेरी नजरिया से देखो - तो बरा मुंडी यानी 'बड़ा सर वाला' जो की इस मछली का बिलकुल अची description है. अजीब है, न?

खैर, जब से मैं अमेरिका आई, यहाँ पर कुछ कुछ मछलियां पाई. - जैसे रोहू, इलिश, पाब्दा, पर भेटकी न मिली. यह मछली मुझे बहुत ही पसंद है. इसे खाने को मैं तरस जाती हूँ. 

कल शाम को में खाना बनाने चली - पता चला घर में हल्दी नहीं है!! अरे! किसी बंगाली के घर में हल्दी न हो तो खाना कैसे बनेगी? आज ऑफिस से वापस आते वक़्त मैं एक Loblaws में रुकी. Canada का यह एक बहुत बड़ा बाजार है, पर मैं पहली बार आज गयी. 

मछलियों का counter पहुँच के…

Easy, peasy toasted bread:

I made this recipe out of leftovers - and its a great munchie!! ENJOY!!
Chop up the bread slices into little cubes
toss with salt, pepper
spread on parchment paper on baking tray
sprinkle with some soy sauce, oil
handful of chopped onions,
raw peanuts
in the oven at 350 for ~ 25 minutes until crunchy
serve hot

What is this?

So I decided to start this blog as an alternative to my other blog 'Travelogue' (!

I'm going to be writing down my thoughts here and also some of my recipes will appear here. 

Now I do not pretend or even pretend to pretend that I know what the heck I am talking about - but I like to write and this is going to be so much fun!

Oh yes - don't forget to look up my recipes on

Read the posts - browse the links - Leave your comments - enjoy!