stuffed okra

Stuffed Bhindi

Yesterday I did what no fat mommy should do. I looked through my wedding albums (after 7 years). So much younger, half the width, half the circumference… Everybody else seemed to have aged too, which was comforting. There were some who had since lost weight. That irked us a bit and in a fit of childish competitiveness, Jagan and I decided we had to exercise twice a day and eat once a day. I decided also, To not buy jeans till I lose weight. That I can’t find one that fits, and if I do and if I wear it, my behind looks like a huge parentheses is immaterial.    To not wear said parantheses jeans in the name of social good.   To not buy new clothes as they may be too large once I’ve lost weight.   To not attend parties & weddings until I lose weight.   To stay out of selfies, to avoid having to shoot 100s of photos, to avoid turning sideways or hide behind someone or hold my breath or photoshop the hell out of it.   To camouflage my fitness tracker. I wear a Garmin vivofit fitness tracker all the time. I like to believe I am fitness conscious. I am conscious that I am not doing anything about my fitness every time I look at my fitness band. Wearing it though has given me great grief. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE asks me what I am wearing and once I’ve explaied – how much I’ve walked and how much weight I’ve lost. Once they hear I’ve not achieved much yet, their reactions go from smug satisfaction to ridicule to advice. One very thoughtful lady went as far as to ask why I would even try, beyond this point, suggesting that I am married, a mommy and that I am old and I should settle into my parantheses. I will meet her once I’ve lost weight. Till then I am not telling anyone it is a fitness tracker.   Very important. To not look at the wedding albums till I lose weight. That felt like therapy, like a pact to myself. Thanks for hanging in there. Now on to today’s recipe. This recipe for stuffed okra/stuffed bhindi is really close to my heart. It is easy, slightly time consuming than your regular okra stir fry but totally worth it. I love the stuffing in this...

Spiced Bhindi and baby potato fry

You know how you instantly like the turquoise blue saree in Sundari Silks, you shortlist it, set it aside lest anybody buys it and then go over the rest of the shop to make sure that you are right. You then realize that this shop is not the universal set. So you drag your mother/husband/friend to RMKV, Pothys, Nalli and Kumaran Silks and go over their inventory. You shortlist some at each place but can’t take your mind off the turquoise blue saree you saw first. So you go back to Sundari Silks, and ask for your shortlisted turquoise blue saree. You decide that this is the one. You ask the salesperson to bill it. Then a peacock blue saree catches your eye. You ask him for that saree. Meanwhile the lady next to you pulls up the turquoise blue saree, inspects it and asks the salesperson to open it up. You decide immediately that turquoise blue saree it is. You swiftly pay for it and leave.  My shopping dilemmas are worse now. I spent the better part of a Sunday scrolling through 845231 dresses across multiple sites, filtering, comparing, measuring Hasini every which way, poring over size charts, saving/liking the dresses (the online shortlisting equivalent), turning the dresses around and inside out and finally deciding on a couple of them. It is late afternoon and I already have a throbbing head-ache. Then my sister tells me I ought to check if there are coupons I can use. I appreciate her presence of mind. I check and I find that there is a 25% off coupon if only I bought for 700 rupees more. Wow. There is something to all this online shopping thing after all. So we scroll through 6549 dresses for my sister, filtering, comparing, measuring, checking with size charts, saving/liking dresses and turning them around and inside out and finally deciding on one. We add it to the cart triumphantly. We key in the coupon code. It said “coupon not applicable on these items, choose from our list”. I empty the cart, close all windows and shut down my system. If I am out shopping, I am thinking I might get a better deal online, I might have more choice. If I am online, I always feel the material is going to be cheap, it is going to look nothing like what it looks on the screen....

Mutton Rogan Josh – Kashmir special

I broke the cardinal rules of making rogan josh but still managed to make a top notch mutton rogan josh and I am mighty pleased with it. Mutton Rogan josh is a kashmiri delicacy, a spicy, deep and flavourful mutton curry that must undeniably be one of the best mutton curries around, a pride of India. This is probably why it features in most restaurant menus. There are many versions of mutton rogan josh but I liked the authority and confidence with which ecurry proclaimed its rogan josh and I can now vouch for it. I went ahead and added onions because I wanted more body to the gravy and I guess its ok ‘cos I am not a Kashmiri Pandit (who don’t include onions). Onions were not part of the original recipe. I substituted fresh ginger for dry ginger powder because I couldn’t find the stupid thing in the cupboard although I found 2 boxes of it 2 weeks later when I organized the kitchen. I always seem to have more of the rarely used ingredients but I am never able to find them when I need them in a recipe. Sounds familiar? Kashmir is famous for its apples, pashmina shawls, silk carpets, dum aloo and mutton rogan josh and militancy. Kashmir the much fought over state, at the northern end of India, one of the most picturesque places in the world and probably one of the bloodiest too features in Roja (directed by Mani Ratnam) an all-time hit and a classic. Mani Ratnam makes everything stylish. Suddenly engineers were sexy and romantic, patriotism was cool and chinna chinna aasais (little whims) were cute and adorable. There’s no girl who didn’t fall for Arvind Swamy in that movie. What a stunner! Ahem.. It’s Kashmir and Mutton Rogan Josh we’re talking about. Everybody wants a piece of Kashmir. Don’t know if everybody can have Kashmir, but everyone can have this mutton Rogan Josh. Follow the recipe exactly and it’s yours. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 1 hour Serves: 4 Ingredients Mutton – ½ kilo cut into 2 inch piecesOnions – 3 large thinly sliced (not part of original recipe)Yogurt – 3/4 cup yogurt + 2 tablespoon yogurtLemon juice – from 1 lemonAsafoetida – ½ tspKashmiri Red chilli powder – 3 tbspGaram Masala powder – 1 tspDry ginger powder – ½ tbsp. (I substituted fresh ground ginger because I couldn’t...

Mushroom & Green Peas Curry

Mushroom and green peas are a cute pair, they complement each other well and they taste so good. This curry is more of a stir-fry but a slow one, the juicy, lightly caramelized mushrooms and the fresh green peas on a simple onion-tomato base hit it off with just a dash of black pepper and red chilli powder. This is a simple and elegant dish. If you’d like the stir fry to be drier, skip the tomato. I didn’t add any water to this curry as I wanted a dry curry. So keep an eye on this curry while it cooks so that it doesn’t burn. Browning the mushrooms separately is the key to getting a dry curry not to mention the oodles of flavour that it adds to the dish. Serve hot with roti or rice. Prep time: 10 minsCooking time: 15 minsServes: 3 Ingredients Mushrooms – 1 pack (200 gm)Green Peas – 1 cupOnion – 1 large chopped fineTomato – 1 large chopped fineGinger-Garlic paste – 1/2 tbspRed Chilli powder – 1 tbspBlack pepper powder – 1 tspTurmeric powder – 1/2 tspSalt to tasteOil – 1+1 tbsp Method 1.      Rinse mushrooms well in water. Drain and pat dry. 2.      In a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and add the rinsed mushrooms. Fry till all the water has evaporated and the mushrooms start browning around the edges. Remove on to a plate. 3.      In the same pan add the remaining oil and add the chopped onions. Stir around till the onions turn translucent. Then add the ginger garlic paste and let fry for 2 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till soft. Then throw in the green peas. Season with salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes till the green peas are cooked through. Then add the fried mushrooms and mix well. Add black pepper powder. Mix well. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes for everything to blend together. 4.      Serve hot with rice or roti.
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