Aloo gobi roti

Aloo Gobi roti

It’s December already and I am seeing lots of 2018 lists all around– the best celebrity weddings of 2018, the worst fashion trends, best movies of 2018, the most trending hashtags on twitter and so on. I am tempted to make my own lists. I am amazed at all the things that seem just the same this year as they were last year and the year before and before that. Here is a list of things that haven’t changed this year. HDFC bank guys called me every day in 2018 just like they called me every single day in 2017 asking if I wanted a personal loan or credit card. I am basically a kind person so I don’t snap at them. I tell them I am not interested when I hear “HDFC”. But not yelling makes me super furious. I’ve therefore come to not pick up calls from unknown numbers. I’ve then had to explain myself to many an Amazon delivery guy for not picking up the phone. I still wake up 1 hour before the school van arrives. I go 15 minutes late to the 1 hour yoga class. Everybody at the gym is the same size I saw them last year. Strangely I’ve never met the weight-loss achievers on the pin-up board. All the books I intended to read this year are still unread. I am somewhere in the middle in each of them and I’ve forgotten what I’ve read so far. I make a list of the outstanding books to read and promptly misplace the list. I can’t resist the books I come across. I strategize that if I buy an interesting enough book and read it fully, that will give me the momentum to finish the rest of the books. I fall asleep on the 5th page. I’ve not acted as Vijay’s akka. I’ve not lost 10kilos yet. I am still paying EMIs. Overall I’d say it’s been a good year. I hope you had a great 2018 too. What was just the same for you this year? I’d love to hear. Please feel free to share in the comments. The recipe I am going to share with you today is a simple Aloo gobi roti, a kind of all-in-one dish. This Aloo Gobi roti is not a stuffed roti. In a stuffed roti, there is the possibility that your stuffing is not evenly distributed...
Veg godhumai sevai

Veg wheat sevai

Here is a movie script synopsis. The Dosai maavu companies, ‘ready-to-eat’ and breakfast mix companies are unable to get a stronghold into the South-Indian household. They expect their packs to fly off the shelves but that’s not happening. They’re unable to crack the code. They sense they’re up against a powerful competitor. They do some research and realize that they’re up against the ‘Upma’. They can’t compete with a 5-minute dish that requires nothing more than salt, water and a handful of pantry staples. They set out to undermine the image of Upma. They hatch a conspiracy against Upma. They fund meme and troll campaigns to make fun of upma, to put it down. They successfully create a bad rap for Upma. Then they introduce an Upma-mix to rub it in. The hero’s favourite dish is Upma. He has to somehow save the Upma from extinction. How he saves the upma and the world from the evil forces makes the rest of the story. Why not? The Americans can set two sets of robot cum cars against each other for a metal dabba (Transformer). I never did understand the Upma-mix though. What was that? They packed the rava and salt into a pack?   I am a great fan of all kinds of Upma, both eating and making. Upma encompasses all kinds of rava & vermicelli. The one I am sharing today is made with wheat sevai – Godhumai sevai (fine wheat vermicelli). I made a simple veggie godhumai sevai with it. The godhumai sevai is store bought. It’s super easy to prepare. Sevai is usually much finer than vermicelli and should not be cooked in boiling water. Sevai has to be soaked for a short while and then tossed with the desired spices and veggies. Alternately you can make a sweet version of this sevai by steaming it and then mixing in grated coconut, ghee and sugar. Enjoy!   Print Recipe Veg wheat sevai Lightening quick, delicious veggie wheat sevai for any time of the day! Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 12 minutes Servings 3 people Ingredients 200 gm Godhumai sevai1 Onion, finely chopped2 green chillies, slit1 cup finely chopped vegetables (carrots & green beans)10 Cashews, broken1/2 tsp mustard seedsSalt to taste2 cups Water (to soak the sevai)2 tbsp Oil1 tsp Ghee Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 12 minutes Servings 3 people Ingredients 200 gm Godhumai sevai1...
Peas Poha upma

Peas poha upma

It’s that time of the year in Chennai when everyday is a potential school holiday. Give one holiday and we’re spoilt. We keep checking the news and whatsapp groups for a holiday announcement every day after that. For me, a school holiday means an extra hour of sleep, so that I start cooking late and I am late to office by the same amount of time that I am late on school days. I am consistent that way. I feel vulnerable when I am out of idli maavu (idli/dosa batter). It’s like you’re at a function and nobody seems to notice you and you don’t have your phone, so you can’t act busy. You could have scrolled through your empty whatsapp chat and looked at people’s profile pictures. Now you’re forced to look at people, half-smile because it’s not clear if they’re smiling at you. You end up making conversation with some aunty next to you and realize it’s not so bad after all. You realized you’re not as anti-social as you thought you were. Only when I am out of idli maavu do I explore other tiffen possibilities. I quite enjoy the different tiffens that I come up with and I am surprised I didn’t try these more often. One of those days, I made Peas poha with the leftover Aval (poha) from Krishna Jayanthi. I like my poha on the chewier side, so I don’t cook it too long. If you like it softer, you can sprinkle a little bit of water and cook a little longer. This Poha Upma is infinitely customizable. I skipped the usual boiled potatoes because I wanted to cut down the carbs. Instead I added peas. You could add sweet corn or paneer or anything else you fancy. You can add some grated ginger for extra zing. You can add fried cashews for extra interest. Make it your own. It’s infinitely easy and is full of fresh, yummy flavours. Enjoy! Print Recipe Peas poha upma Peas poha upma is infinitely easy and is full of fresh, yummy flavours. Enjoy! Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 5-8 minutes Servings 3-4 people Ingredients 4 cups Poha / Aval / Flattened rice1 cup fresh green peas1 Onion chopped fine2 Green chillies chopped fine1/2 tsp Mustard seeds1/2 tsp Turmeric powderSalt to taste1 lemon, juiced2 tbsp oil1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time...
Barley porridge

Barley porridge | Naturally sweetened, made in a pressure cooker

There was a time when I didn’t consider porridge normal food. It was too boring, too good. It must be for sick days. That was my notion. Like most other things in life, this too has come to pass. With age, with excess weight and with the constant deluge of over-the-top tasty foods, I’ve come to appreciate mellow, subdued, good for the body, good for next-day-morning foods. Did you know barley is packed with nutrients like potassium, Vitamin B6 and folate make it great for heart health? Barley is an excellent source of fiber, which helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. Barley also contains Selenium which is not present in most foods. It plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Barley is also useful in maintaining a healthy weight. I’ve taken a liking to porridge now. I find it comforting and satisfying. Also I am a sucker for sweet breakfasts. This naturally sweetened barley porridge is a great breakfast to start the day. The recipe I am going to share with you today will make barley porridge making a breeze. Barley generally takes a long time to make. So I dump the barley in a pressure cooker along with dates and cook them both together – 2 tasks in one shot. Barley is cooked through and so are the dates – all ready to be blended into a creamy porridge. The dates lend a lovely rounded sweetness without being cloyingly sweet. If you desire more sweetness, you can add some brown sugar or honey to the porridge. Adding just a pinch of salt balances the flavours and highlights the sweetness. You’re less likely to make the dish too sweet when you’ve added a pinch of salt. The toppings are everything. Here’s where you add crunch, texture and interest to the porridge. I went with toasted, slivered almonds, sliced cherries and bananas. You can go with any toppings of your choice – toasted cashews, chopped dates, chopped fruit, a drizzle of honey, anything you fancy! Enjoy!       Print Recipe Barley porridge | Naturally sweetened, made in a pressure cooker This naturally sweetened barley porridge is a great breakfast to start the day! Healthy and yummy! Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 35 minutes Servings 4 people Ingredients 1 cup Barley4 cups Water1-1/2 cup Milk1-1/2 cup Dates1...
Sathu Maavu Adai

Sathu Maavu Adai & Tomato Thokku | What’s your happy song?

I know the song I’ll dance to if I reach my goal weight. I know where I’d shop for what when I reach my goal weight. I know the neck patterns I want for my new saree blouses. I know I won’t post before & after pictures because I’d want to pretend that I was never fat. I’ll probably try to spin a series on how I lost all that weight. I may try to shoot a video doing push-ups. The entire plan is there. I just need to lose the weight. It’s the same song I’ll dance to if I am published. It’s my happy song. You have your own happy song too, don’t you? Come on. You don’t? Everyone has to have one. Think of one right now. You never know when you’ll need your happy song. Your child may get selected in Vijay TV super singer in which case you’ll get hired as a full time performer at Vijay TV. You’ll need a song and a few steps for your sarakku party/booze party. You’ll need to dance at the cousin’s/friend’s wedding; if you do well you could be an extra in their wedding music video. Want to know my happy song? Here it is (Tap the image below for the full video). I love it because it seems just like how I’d dance if I were happy – uncomplicated, comfortable, unbelieving of my luck, insanely grateful, crazy happy and in a lungi. What’s your happy song? Let me know in the comments. Here’s the long pending update on my weightloss journey – Project50k. I’ve been yo-yoing around a 1 kilo range for several months now with the end nowhere in sight. I decided to up the ante a bit and try something adverse this week – A week full of salad lunches. I am not a salad person. I am actually a biryani person. I know there are people who claim to be salad people. I do not believe anyone can be a salad person deep inside, in their heart. For me it is particularly difficult. I don’t believe I’ve ever ordered a salad in a restaurant. It always seemed ridiculous to me. I’ll however be eating salads all this week. I’ll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile here’s an easy-peasy Sathu Maavu adai recipe I tried last week. I am sure you’ve made ragi adai...
Sprouts dosai, crispy, delicious dosai that is healthy too

Sprouts Dosai | Tastiest breakfast that includes sprouts

I want to share a spectacularly easy and delicious Sprouts Dosai recipe with you but I want to tell you a little story first.  Story I was cycling away at the gym. A mobile phone rang somewhere nearby. The person next to me on another cycle picked up one of his two mobiles. It was one of those large screen LED TV type mobiles and there was a bright flash of light which even I with my poor eyesight could see quite clearly. A woman’s photo flashed on the screen. I turned away because I am decent and well-mannered and I don’t peep into people’s mobiles. He spoke for a couple of minutes which I did not listen to. I happened to turn that way when he hung up, the light caught my eye and I saw “Wife Darling” in big bold letters on his phone. Now I didn’t know which way to look. I looked at others who were very seriously going about their workout uncaring of what I had witnessed. I had to say this to somebody. So I am writing it on my blog. I’ve also seen a few men who stored their wife’s number as “My Wife”. This particular Parthiban and Vadivelu scene comes to mind. Why the “My”? It’s not like you have the numbers of all the wifes in your apartment – “ABlock 19 Wife”, “B34 Wife”, “Carparking fighter’s wife”… I tried to understand the characters who’ll store their wife’s number as “Wife Darling”, “My Wife”, “Wife Chellakutti” and so on. I know we store our mom or dad’s number as mom/amma, dad/appa because that’s how we call them. But “Wife Darling”?! I tried to list down the kinds of people who’ll do that: New to marriage Is the expressive kind of person who’ll write long posts on facebook praising his wife for cooking for him and having his socks sorted. Is the kind of guy who likes to be “mothered” (smothered), the one whose wife calls him 20 times a day, tells him what to wear, what to eat, answers for him and accompanies him everywhere he goes. This is the kind of guy who’ll willingly hand over his phone to the wife who’ll read his whatsapp messages, change his picture and then name herself “wife darling”. This could be the person who forwards exclusively “nagging-wife” kind of un-funny jokes to all whatsapp...

Shakshuka – The Muttai thokku of foreign origin

Hasini and Yuvi cracked up when they heard it’s called Shakshuka. They made up their own words out of it – “sokka pota suka”, “shoppu shappu”.. If you’ve never heard of Shakshuka, let me explain. Shakshuka is the mottai thokku of foreign origin. The muttai thokku (poached egg curry) that we make when we’re in a hurry, when we’re not in the mood to cut vegetables, when we’re craving a meaty dish but have nothing on hand and settle for an egg dish. Our humble muttai thokku is the sexy shakshuka of the western world. Like Haldi Doodh and Turmeric latte, Dal and lentil soup, kurma and curry, lassi and smoothie. Hasini loved the Shakshuka more than anyone else. Towards the end, I sprinkled some grated cheese over the eggs, covered the pan for a couple of minutes and let the cheese melt. We toasted some buttered bread slices and mopped up the Shakshuka with them. It made a delicious and filling breakfast. It’s also a great recipe to make for your next brunch.
Rava Idli

Rava Idli

When I am moping, I lie in bed while my kids climb over me, I shut my eyes tight when Yuvan pries my eyes open. I hear Hasini echo my dad’s words – “You’re always late.” Back in the days when I was single, when I was free, I’d brood on the toilet seat for hours without visitors, knocks and questions – “why are you taking so long?”, “what are you doing?”, “Did you go out the window?” (That’s a good idea!). I’d lie in bed reading all day, sleeping in between, ransacking the fridge at midnight for something sweet, going back to bed to read. Chocolate soothes me. Reading drugs me. Those days, I like to eat Paal Saadam (Rice and milk). I feel comforted.   When I am stressed, when I am wound up and exhausted after a frenetic day of work, I want to eat Dominoes Pizza and coke. I want to eat biryani and thumbs up. I want my soda. I want sugar. I want cheese. I want chocolate. I want empty calories and Vadivelu comedy. When I am happy I want to eat Molagai bajji, chocolate cake and Lasagne. When I miss home, I yearn for idli, vadai, sambar and thengai chutney and Ilayaraja songs. I want paruppu rasam saadam and fried egg and Balachander movies. When I am angry, frustrated, I want Paneer soda and friends to hear my story. A small paper cup with watery canteen coffee would do too. When I am hungover, I want Jagan’s lemon soda in a dark room. When I am busy at my laptop, I have filter coffee by my side and Hasini combing my hair. I want pattani and uppu kadalai while watching TV. There are times when I make Rava idli. I make Rava idli every time my………………………………….. yogurt turns sour. Every single time I feel ingenious to be making rava idli instead of rava upma. I am terribly proud of my soft, tender rava idlis that I make from scratch. Rava idlis were one of the first things I made after my wedding. I’d make them from MTR’s rava idli mix. I’d make MTR rava idlis and coriander chutney and wait for the Maamiyaar to be impressed. I had no clue then that making them from scratch was just as easy. You’ll never go back to buying the readymade mix once you make these...

Bombay Toast

I am officially jet-lagged. I am dozing away early evening, at night and waking up late too and finally that seemed to be acceptable. But someone told me that sleeping any time of the day is actually extreme laziness being passed off as jet-lag. I pretended to be falling asleep when ‘someone’ was still talking. I am very mature. I spent the last month in US of A but resisted the urge to change my Facebook location. Don’t worry guys – I made sure to visit Niagara. Indian travelling to east coast is not allowed back in India if they don’t produce their Niagara floaters. I did what I had to.   I ate my way through chicken salad sandwiches, quinoa bowls, Burritos, orange chicken, Japanese bento box lunches, pancakes, cheese burgers, Greek Gyros, pizza, Bao buns, eggplant parmigiana, pot-pies, ravioli, grilled chicken and Spanish tapas – and everything with a large order of fries and coke. I forget Bud light Lime. I lost myself in the food aisles of Walmart – ready to cook pot pies, Lasagne, pasta sauce in jars, canned beans, tortillas, minced garlic, pancake mixes, puff pastry, breaded chicken cutlets, biscuit mixes. Why would I chop vegetables, knead dough, roll out dough, soak beans? I lost reason for effort. I picked up some bare essentials as a back-up for hungry times, for lazy times. Strange that I went looking for garlic paste, ginger paste, garam masala and basmati rice for my back-up. I wanted to be equipped to make biryani when the need arose. Now that I am back in India I want to make croissants. I loved the stick sized butter and the tbsp. measurements on the wrapper. Third world me, I’d spend 5 whole minutes trying to mentally register all the snacks in the snack vending machine before choosing. I met some old friends, among the sweetest ones while I was there. Nisha made us dosa after crisp dosa along with a fiery hot chicken curry. It was around the first week when everything seemed all wrong – “The steering wheel is on the wrong side”  “The vehicles are on the wrong side of the road” “The restaurant tips will bankrupt me” “Stop making small talk with me – “check out person”, “store lady”. I have no ability for that.” I was sure I hated the place. It was around this time that we...

Banana buttermilk pancakes

In the mornings, Hasini likes to lay on the bed and sing while I am in the toilet. I like to listen to her while she sings like nobody is listening. She sings songs I didn’t realize she had memorized, songs from another time, some of my favourite songs which I like to play but didn’t think she’d remember. This morning she sang “Saathi malli poocharame” followed by “Rasathi en usiru ennathilla OOOOOO” complete with the deep throated “OOOOOOO”. I chuckled inside. Yuvan woke up a little later. Together they strolled out of the bedroom on to the “dhallam” heading downstairs to watch Ninja Hattori like they usually do. They stopped midway. There was the unmistakable aroma of mango wafting over and a series of loud thuds on the asbestos above the carpark. They ran over to peek. There was Venkatesan up on the tree plucking mangoes and tossing them into the bucket on the ground. It was mango picking day today. “Manga parikaranga…  Manga Manga….. yaaayyy”  they went hollering downstairs to catch the mangoes being tossed. They ran up to the terrace to climb on chairs and pluck those low hanging mangoes they had been eyeing for a long time. I asked for a small basket of mangaoes to be set aside for my pickle experimentations. We’re enjoying the summer holidays, revelling in the homework free evenings, late mornings and leisurely breakfasts. One such morning I made these banana buttermilk pancakes although it doesn’t take too long at all to whip up.  In fact these banana buttermilk pancakes are super quick and super easy to make. I cannot believe how soft, moist and absolutely delicious they turned out. I am a sucker for sweet breakfasts. I loved these. I made these without eggs. You could add eggs for fluffier results if you wish. These pancakes are a great way to use up your over-ripe bananas. Go on, make these. Top with pancake syrup, caramel, chopped bananas or whatever makes you close your eyes and say “Hmmmmmmm”. Enjoy!