Carrot coconut milk

Carrot coconut milk

Mornings I wake up early to the sound of birds before everyone else. I brush my teeth and brew coffee. I read the paper while drinking coffee from my coffee mug. I take a shower, dress up and with my wet hair wrapped in a towel, I head to the kitchen to make breakfast and lunch. I then wake up the kids and husband. I gently chide them for being lazy. Kids smile and go get showered and dressed. I lay the breakfast on the table. Kids say their prayers and sit down for breakfast. Jagan is reading the papers. Once done, kids hug me, say bye and walk over to wait for the van. The van arrives and they climb inside and wave to me. I wave back and walk back home. That is my morning routine – said no one ever. The actual morning routine has all of these elements but inside out and upside down. I wake up last along with the kids. So it’s kind of a tie. I head straight to the kitchen to make breakfast and lunch. There’s no smiling in the morning. There’s a lot of yelling, blaming, searching for socks, shirt, jatti and science classwork but no smiling. Nobody dare sit down for anything least of all to eat breakfast. You may sit down to put on your shoes but that’s about it. We don’t wait for the van; the van driver waits while we scoot across the road. He always turns onto our road when I am tying Hasini’s first ponytail and we can see him from the balcony, so I have to hurry downstairs while still tying the second one and it ends up being a bit lopsided. Hasini seems to go with uneven ponytails on most days. Hasini is sometimes angry I haven’t given her money for the canteen. She doesn’t wave to me. Yuvan is not pleased that he doesn’t get the window seat. He doesn’t wave either. I walk back home marveling that I’ve somehow managed to send them off successfully to school yet another day and take my first bathroom break since yesterday night. Jagan is reading the papers. The bird call happens last. Our neighborhood crow calls out to me from outside my kitchen. He hops aside while I place his breakfast. He eats once I walk way. I then make my morning drink. I...
Avocado banana smoothie

7 Healthy Smoothies & Juices

I am a big fan of easy, lazy just blitz in the blender smoothies. The fruits I pick for my smoothies are easy to process without too much peeling or picking seeds. I prefer to have smoothies in the mornings. Sometimes I have the smoothie as the breakfast itself. I have a big jar of it mind you. Other times, if I am sharing it with Jagan and drinking only a small glass of it, I have the smoothie alongside my breakfast. All the smoothie recipes below are for 1-2 people. I do not believe anyone needs a recipe to make a juice or smoothie. At-least not yet. It is so much easier to sit where we are and scroll through the list of juices and order one than to lift the bum from the seat, walk over to the kitchen, peel that fruit, chop it, dump in the mixie with milk and honey and blend and pour into glasses and then wash that blender. But I urge you to lift the bum from the seat and make the smoothie yourself because you’ll eat more fruit if you make it yourself, you can control the amount of sugar in your smoothie and you would have lifted your bum. I hope these smoothies below inspire you to make your own delicious smoothies. There are just a few things to keep in mind. Use soft, ripe fruits for your smoothies. Mix and match any type of fruit. Anything goes. Avoid citrus fruits if you’re going to be using milk or yogurt as the base. Your smoothie can get curdled. You can use water, milk or yogurt as the base for your juice or smoothie. Have chilled milk and yogurt in your fridge at all times. Always use only chilled milk in your smoothies. Hot milk will curdle too when blended too long. You can use yogurt instead of milk if you prefer a slight tangy undertone.   There are plenty of ways to sweeten your smoothie. Honey, brown sugar, powdered jaggery, jaggery syrup or just plain sugar. I’ve tried all of these at different times. Honey is very light sweet, so you may need to add more of it if you have a sweet tooth. The brown sugar adds a lovely caramel kind of note which I love in a banana smoothie. Sometimes I add just plain sugar too if I need straight...

Summer plans

The heat is on in Chennai. I am feeling thirsty all day, every day. I am craving tall glasses of chilled fruit juices but I don’t want to pick out seeds, strain the pulp and wash all these dishes for a single glass of juice. I will also complain that juice shops charge exorbitant rates for a single glass of juice. And I just can’t seem to resist Watermelon juice and Jagan beer. Don’t worry. This is not a recipe post for Watermelon juice. It is not a recipe post because Vitamix, Hamilton and Kitchenaid and even Preethi mixie said they don’t want to sponsor this post. And I trust you my readers to chop up the watermelon, discard the green pith and blend the chopped watermelon to a juice. Promise me you won’t go wrong. Also since many of you told me you look forward to my stories more than my recipes, I decided to skip the watermelon juice recipe this time. I have big plans and bigger dilemmas come summer. I have a long list of vadams and pickles that I plan to make on my weekend dates with mambalam maami friends that I need someone to organize for me. I try to get out of calling people. I am not social enough. Before that I need to go shopping for the maa vadus (tiny tender mangoes) and ingredients. I need to make lists. Every time I look at the lovely low hanging mangoes in our terrace, I remind myself I need to go buy some maa vadu. I have two Hattori/Motu Patlu binge watchers at home that I need to keep from scraping their already battered knees doing cycle races through their very own dirt track over the siphon, into the puddle and through the mud track between the road and the pavement. I need to keep them away from the TV, away from all the smartphones in the house; pins and passcodes of all of which they have memorized. I need to keep them from razing all the crayons down to wax powder, from drawing on the newly painted walls, from raiding the cookie boxes and feeding the extras to crows, from drenching themselves under the garden tap, from bringing the garden into the house, from cooking their leaves and dirt curry in my non-stick kadai, from coating the living room floor in biscuit crumbs, sticky...

Cardamom Flavoured Milk

I always looked forward to the annual exams in April because I could go home earlier, because while riding home from school Appa would buy me  flavoured milk from Aavin, because two whole months of unbridled fun with cousins awaited me – slurping entire mangoes through tiny holes (no knives needed for this method), taking turns learning to ride the lone BSA SLR, playing carrom pauper and losing every time, sweeping the driveway, plucking leaves and tossing them in the air while dancing to “Pattasai chuttu chuttu podatuma” and littering the driveway, getting chased, plucking nellikkai off trees and running around the house. No TV except Friday evening, when we’d wash our faces, oil and plait our hair, powder our faces and get ready to watch the biggest show – Oliyum Oliyum – chart busting Tamil cinema songs for a full half hour. Afternoons, there was nothing on TV even if you wanted to watch. Static meant no programmes now or your antenna was off. Someone would run up to the terrace, shoo away the birds and adjust the antenna, another would position himself on the stairs midway between antenna operator and the TV viewing public and shout back and forth – ‘Now?’, ‘Not ok’, ‘Now?’, ‘Innum mosam’ (even worse), ‘No go back to previous position’, ‘Hey I can see neighbour’s TV from here’, ‘Shut up and hurry’, ‘Ok podhum’ (enough). What brought on this wave of nostalgia is the cardamom flavoured milk I made a couple of days back. Aavin Cardamom flavoured milk is still my favourite. Every day after my exam, while coming home with Appa on our scooter, we’d stop at Aavin on Thirumalai Pillai road and I’d get myself a pack of flavoured milk – usually cardamom flavoured and sometimes Pistachio flavoured. Nothing for Appa. I’d sip on my flavoured milk the rest of the ride home. Hot sun blazing above, sweat drenched shirt sticking to my back, hair sticking to my head, shoes are hot too and then with the first sip of the chill, daintily sweet flavoured milk – Aah what pleasure! I couldn’t grab Hasini and Yuvan’s attention for a couple of minutes amidst ‘Ninja Hattori’, ‘Motu Patlu’ and ‘Chota Bheem’ to introduce this cardamom flavoured milk to them. Yuvi is already the ‘Coke’ type of guy and Hasini the ‘Slice’ girl. I have bought new spiral straw cups to entice the little...

Mangai More | Raw green Mango & coriander flavoured buttermilk

It is so hot. Everything’s got to be short now – our dresses, recipes, time in the kitchen and this post too. In telegram style, I’ll be making super short telegram posts like these. ‘Kaasu ku yetha dosai’ (crudely translated ‘penny wise pancake’). For super simple recipes, posts are going to be super short telegram style too. Survived April Fools day un-fooled. Didn’t open Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp or newspaper. Phone battery dead. Friends busy. Haven’t checked weight since start of diet. What if? What if? What if no change? Ding Ding! (Hattori style) Any stricter diet Ninja style, I am really ding ding. Why are there no hair-styles for non-curly, non-straight, in-between hair type people? Bloody Systematized society! Know a good place to straighten hair? Nights spent wrapping and labelling Hasini’s new books. Had to fight for the privilege. Don’t ask. Not hungry these days. Really! Thirsty yes. Loved this Mangai More – chill, refreshing and with just a hint of pucker from the grated mangai (raw green mango). It is best had chilled. Perfect any time of the day. This Mangai more cools from the inside. Dieters, take heart. No portion control on this one. Glug away.        Prep time: 5 mins Serves: 4 Ingredients Yogurt – ¾ cup Water – 3 cups Salt to taste Coriander leaves – 2 tsp very finely chopped Green chilli – ½ chopped very fine Raw Mango – 2 tsp grated (with skin on) Method Whisk yogurt/curd well. Add water and whisk or use your churner to whisk/churn until frothy. Add in the finely chopped green chilli, coriander leaves and grated mango. Add salt. Mix well. Chill for an hour. Serve chilled any time of the day.

Hot Chocolate | Hot Cocoa

Hot Chocolate is super-easy to make and is almost a non-recipe. It’s that simple. Make sure to use good quality cocoa and always add a pinch of salt. Salt always ratchets up the chocolate flavour to another level, so don’t skip it. And another important thing to keep in mind is to never let the cocoa boil or it’ll get burnt and you’ll be left with that ugly scorched smell. I made this hot cocoa the morning we were starting on our vacation.  So while the rest of my family were scampering about to stuff in last minute things into the luggage, I was photographing this hot chocolate. I was yet to bathe and dress up my kids. Jagan gave me nasty looks and I just about managed to click a few pictures with the drink in the frame. So as usual the pictures aren’t the greatest but the recipe is a definite keeper and is off Hershey’s cocoa box label. You can serve this hot or cold. Either way it is delicious. I am sending this to Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon theme – Chocolates and to Srivalli’s kid’s potluck party. Prep time: 5 mins Cooking time: 2 mins Makes: 2 Tall glasses Ingredients Dark Cocoa Powder – 4 tsp Salt – a pinch Sugar – 4 tsp Water – ¼ cup Warm Milk – 2 glasses Fresh Cream – 2-3 tbsp (optional) Method 1  .       In a pot combine, cocoa, salt and sugar to the water and heat. Let it come to just under a boil. Keep stirring so that the cocoa and sugar are dissolved and to make sure the cocoa doesn’t burn. Remove from heat when it begins to bubble around the edges. 2  .       Add this cocoa mixture to warm milk and stir to combine well. If using fresh cream, add at this stage and whisk or blend well to combine. Divide the hot chocolate between the two glasses and serve hot or refrigerate for 2-3 hours and then pour into individual glasses and serve cold. Notes: 1  .       I used Fresh cream because I wanted my hot chocolate a bit thicker but it’s up to you. You can skip it all together. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#33

Falooda

Falooda is my husband’s favourite dessert order at any restaurant and we’ve tasted quite a lot of versions of Falooda – some really interesting ones. One version had tutti-frutti, another had different colours of vermicelli, and yet another one had javvarisi (sago) which I think was their substitute for Basil seeds (sabja seeds) that are traditionally used in Faloodas. I searched high and low and couldn’t find these basil seeds anywhere. If anyone knows where I can find these in Chennai do let me know. My Falooda is also a Basil seed-less Falooda and is most similar to the Falooda served in Fruit shop. It’s a wonderfully fulfilling dessert to round off a meal where you’ve had a little bit of everything and you’re pleasantly satiated. Falooda is one of those extremely impressive but deceptively simple desserts to pull off provided you have all the components prepared before-hand and chilled. Falooda makes a wonderful occasional treat for kids. My kids insist on eating desserts themselves and they look like greedy little kittens that have fallen face first into ice-cream buckets. My son (not yet 2 years old) gets his ice cream on his nose and up till his eyebrows – I don’t know how. I invariably wouldn’t be able to find my camera at those instances and I always miss taking those Pinteresty pictures. Preparation time: 15 minsCooking time: 10 minsMakes: 6 servings Ingredients Ice Cream – 750 ml any flavour (I used Kwality Walls Pineapple flavour tub)Jelly – 1 packVermicelli – 100 gmCut Fruits – 2 cups (I used 2 mangoes)Rooh Afza rose syrup – 6 tbspMilk – 2 cupsSugar – 7 tbsp Method 1.      Cook vermicelli in milk till soft but not mushy. Add sugar when the vermicelli is cooked. Mix  well. Use just enough milk to immerse the vermicelli. If you have those long vermicelli strands, break them up before you boil them in milk. Make sure the cooked vermicelli is a thick mixture and not too runny. Refrigerate. 2.      Make any flavoured jelly as per pack instructions, which is usually to pour boiling water into a bowl containing the jelly powders. Stir well. Set aside to set for 30-45 minutes and then refrigerate. 3.      Cut fruits into tiny cubes. I used ripe mangoes. You can use any combination of fruits – apples, bananas etc. Refrigerate till serving time. 4.      Before serving, cut up the jelly into...