Chicken lollipop

Chicken lollipop

You know how all the crazy stuff you admired in your boyfriend, come back as worries about your son? That’s called payback. Your boyfriend lied expertly at home to hang out with you, made you laugh, rode super- fast, sweet-talked you into stuff and smoked stylishly. Yuvan was about 4 when he defiantly withstood an entire evening’s gentle prodding and questioning, claiming he had not scribbled on his sister’s drawing. All of us knew he had. He has his grandmothers and aunts thinking they’re his favourite girl. They have no clue he has said the same line to all the women in the family. They each secretly buy him ice cream thinking they’re the closest confidante. He compliments me when I wear a saree. He says I look cute. Last weekend he burped loudly. I :  “Ippadiya asingama yeppam viduvaange?” (How can you burp so nastily)?” Yuvi: “Seri, cute’a vidatuma?.. koo” (Ok, Shall I burp the cute way?.. koo) I laughed so hard. Jagan is mostly amused to see a smaller, possibly niftier version of him practicing his antics. He is prepared. He says I shouldn’t expect anything else. I worry. I am not prepared for this. Yuvan’s single most favourite order at restaurants is Chicken lollipop. He’ll not shy away from trying to order it in Saravana Bhavan also. That and biryani together make his favourite meal. When he was much younger and shorter, he stood up on his chair at the fancy schmancy burger place to get close to the waiter’s ear and told him “Biryani’ um pachadi’ um eduthitu vaange” (Bring biryani and raita). The waiter smiled in understanding. I make chicken lollipop every few weeks at home because he loves them so much. When I ask him how the chicken lollipop tastes, he doesn’t just say “It tastes very good.” He says “Did you make it amma? Really? It tastes so good, so much better than the restaurant lollipops”. He does finish his plate. So Yuvan’s flattery and charm notwithstanding, these chicken lollipops are really lip-smacking and are as good as the restaurant fare. These chicken lollipops are incredibly quick and surprisingly easy to make. You really can’t go wrong with these. Let me know if you make these. I’d love to hear your story. Print Recipe Chicken lollipop Lip-smacking chicken lollipops you can make at home in 30 minutes. Course Appetizer Cuisine Indo-Chinese Prep Time...
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...
Pineapple kesari

Pineapple Kesari

Happy new year! I hope you didn’t party too hard to not be alive. I’d hate to die like that. It’s such a silly way to go. Since I am not the partying kind and since I could not get myself excited about it all and since I am crowd-phobic and most importantly since I am very very lazy, I stayed at home like I do every year and watched TV. I waited for “Sagalakala Vallavan” at 12 but none of the channels played it. I walked to the balcony and looked out. Bells were ringing and people were crowded around the little pillayar koil in the corner. Bikes were whizzing past. I saw fireworks in the distance. It was way too cold outside. I went to bed. That was my new year eve. To start off the year on a sweet note, here is pineapple kesari. I promise I didn’t eat more than 3 spoons. You have to trust me. I made it for others. I am still on the healthy eating challenge. As always, ever hopeful that I am, I make resolutions and plans for the new year. I hope this will be the year I begin to wake up early and be writing by the window in the early morning light, before everyone else wakes up. I hope this is the year I will reach my target weight. Here are some broad plans I have for the new year. Learn a new skill every month. There’s plenty of interesting stuff I’ve always wanted to learn and I believe pursuing something for a set period helps keep you creative and passionate about everything. Top of my mind are – learning to whistle, roller-skating, swimming & making sushi. Minimalism with stuff. This is something I’ve been practicing to some extent. I intend to continue. Clothes, books, toys, cosmetics – anything I don’t anticipate using in the next few months will need to go. Reading & writing every day. Visiting more temples. Experimenting more. I want to say yes to things that I am not really prepared for, that I am not good at. The key to making a ghee oozing, soft, ‘manal-manal’ consistency of kesari is keeping in mind the important ratios. 1:1:2:3 – Rava:Ghee:Sugar:Water. You’re adding as much ghee as rava. Don’t die yet. That’s the only way to get that melt in the mouth ghee-laden taste in...
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 Barley 4 cups Water 1-1/2 cup Milk...
Curd rice

The trick to making the creamiest, just tangy enough Curd rice

Now as soon as I say that the recipe I am going to share today is Curd rice, I can imagine Maamiyaars and Gayathris in families (gossip-specialists & critics in families) turning up their noses. They’d compare me with their daughter, themselves, their maid or that horrible character in the TV serial (Indian TV serials have only 2 types of characters – saccharine good & perfect or deviously bad & empty) and profile me as the lazy woman who makes a big deal of a simple curd rice. I believe every dish, however simple can be exquisite or bleh. A fried egg is simple. It can also be the most beautiful thing – lacy slightly browned edges, soft set whites holding a jiggly yolk with a smattering of freshly ground pepper. Or it could be something else. I also do not believe the single recipe dish. There are always numerous ways to make a dish. I am always on the lookout to make a dish better, to put a different twist on it, to make it easier or quicker. My complaint with curd rice was always that it was either too runny or too thick and lumpy. It did not stay the way it was packed. By lunch time, it would have transformed into something else. Sometimes the curd rice turned too sour. If I tried to control the tang by adding too little curd, it tasted too flat. The rice had to be soft too – not pureed in a mixie, baby food kind of mash but pongal kind of creamy soft. The one trick I am going to share today will solve all your curd rice problems, I promise. Cook rice in a pot of water till it is cooked through and the rice grains are full length. Then add milk and cook the rice in milk until creamy and soft and pongal like. This step makes all the difference. Cooking the rice in milk ensures that the rice remains creamy, luscious and soft. The milk also offsets the tang in the curd brilliantly to make it just as tangy enough as you want it. Towards the end when you’re tasting and adjusting the seasoning, feel free to add in a spoon of curd or milk to achieve your right amount of tang. There is no right or wrong here. Since the rice has already absorbed a lot...
Chicken Alfredo pasta

Pasta in Alfredo sauce

I finally get excited about the Aadi sale happening all over town. I have terrible luck with discounts. So I am pleasantly surprised that the dressy slippers with glittery brown straps I like, is on 50% discount. I can’t remember when I last bought something like it. It must have been my marriage. I’ve since donned several different sizes of round, I’ve all but lost interest in clothes and consequently in shoes, bags and mirrors. Having finally lost some weight (although nowhere near my goal weight yet), I finally feel a faint interest well up again. I tell myself it’s time I dress better. I buy the dressy slippers to wear with sarees. The next day is the paal kudam festival at our temple. I wear the glittery strapped slippers right out of the box. I’ve never done that. I never wear stuff as soon as I buy them. I let them sit awhile, get a little old and familiar and not as precious before I wear them. This time though, I thought a change was in order. I was putting off things too much. I told myself I had to jump in and do things. I was feeling chirpy. Not normal. I left my slippers outside next to a flower-seller’s shop thinking to myself how pretty it looked. I returned a couple of hours later to find that my slippers were gone. The rest of the family’s slippers were intact. Only my new dressy slippers with glittery brown straps were gone. I asked the “poo kaari” (flower-selling woman) nearby about it. She didn’t for a minute ask me what I was talking about. She seemed too ready for the question. She told me it wasn’t her job to take care of our slippers. She wouldn’t look me in the eye. I knew then that the “poo kaari” shared my taste in dressy slippers too. I returned home barefoot. I was at my rotten worst the rest of the day. I swore. I cried. I threw a fit. Jagan, at the receiving end of all of this, offered to buy me the exact same slippers the very same day. I again swore, cried and threw a fit and then agreed. I went to the same shop and bought the same pair at 50% discount again. Jagan told me “You weren’t meant for the discount”. My maamiyaar told me that I’ve...