Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wonder how are such videos made...

Click on the link and try to touch the man's nose with your cursor... if u go to the main page-- u will find many similar links for different activities...

http://www.selfcontrolfreak.com/slaan.html

Let Kolkatta surprise you

A lovely shadowgraphy clip capturing Kolkatta beautifully....


Monday, October 10, 2011

An ethereal number -- Main toh kabse tere sharan mein hoon

This song is from an Amol Palekar - Suhasini Mulay  movie  Ramnagri... I watched in on television as a kid and fell in love with the lyrics and the music of the song....have been searching for this song after ages and finally found it on in.com.. Sung by Hariharan and Neelam Sahani,  I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do... Happy listening!!!! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyC8FOk3grM

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Visiting Singapore!


Hi! This blog is to create a permanent link  on places to visit within Singapore (Sgp) , for friends who plan to visit Singapore..

Singapore is a very tourist friendly country, city. It is a breeze to do it on your own..The public transport system is very convenient though it makes sense to take a cab if you are four. The economics turn out more or less the same. When you go to the zoo and bird park  makes sense taking a cab , cos they are at the far end of Sgp and you lose valuable time commuting by public transport.  A few pointers when u go sight seeing :

(a) A good pair of walking shoes cos you will be walking a lot .
(b) Hats for everybody. We are near the equator and so while it may not seem so , the sun really hits you hard...and so , sunscreen also is advisable.
(c) Back pack for each, carrying water bottles. It also makes economic sense to pick up cold drinks or juices for each to carry in the back pack -- constantly hydrate yourself.  If you are a vegetarian, you may also consider picking up sandwiches from 7by11 stores  which Sgp is peppered with and each MRT (local train facility)  will generally have one.
(d) The target should be to reach at the opening time --  will give you more time to cover the exhibits and shorter queues.
(e) Umbrellas. It may rain anytime in Singapore. Having umbrellas in your backpack may also ensure , it doesn't rain since u are prepared for it (Murphy's Law?) 


So here we go..
(a) Universal Studio, Sentosa : MRT Harbour Front Station
We start with obviously the latest attraction Universal Studios at Sentosa.  
Keep a day for universal studio.  The link to the studio site giving details of rides, opening hours  is here. I see a link for reservation at " Check Availability" on the left hand side of the page. May make sense booking before hand so that you skip the queues. Do reach at sharp 10 am so that you can take all the rides. If you a kid start with the Transformer ride. Next the 4 D show.. it is marvellous.. also do pack in an autograph book as the characters (Shrek etc)  give autographs.. (at least they did in Universal Orlando and I am assuming it must be the same here) .. check the map below for a list of all the rides in the interactive map. 

http://www.rwsentosa.com/language/en-US/Attractions/UniversalStudiosSingapore
And do check out the free crane dance at the end of the day. 
http://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/attractions/resorts-world-at-sentosa/crane-dance/


(b) Sentosa Island, MRT Harbour Front Station: 
Next day, visit the other attractions at Sentosa island... like the underwater world, Dolphin lagoon. Visit these places first as there ia separate queue for tickets to these. Take your passport along as they give tourists discounts.  Click on attractions in the link below for a detailed list of attractions at Sentosa. 
http://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/attractions/#imbiah-lookout
After visiting Universal, the cine blast and 4D magix may seem a little tame.   Do check out the Animal and bird encounters ..The timings are given in the link below and so plan your activity accordingly. 
http://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/attractions/beaches/animal-bird-encounters/
Some sports events which will be fun and memorable  and are on the must do list are 
* Megazip adventure which has activities  like megazip, parajump, rock climbing
*Skyline Luge sentosa
*And of course the latest IFly  wherein u can experience the thrill of skydiving, indoors! It is the world's largest and first windtunnel for skydiving  without the dangers of jumping from an aeroplane Booking  tickets in advance is a must . You can do so at http://www.iflysingapore.com/


Do check out Songs of the Sea in the evening before leaving. And do travel one way by the cable car. It is a beautiful ride.


When you visit Sentosa, you may have your dinner at  Vivocity, the mall attached to the Harbour Front MRT which has food courts, fast food joints , restaurants. 


(c) Zoo, Night Safari, Bird Park.

Buy a three in one ticket at the zoo or bird park. One day go to the zoo and the night safari  - both at the same place. The next day you may visit the Bird Park. In the links below,  check out the show timings.. plan your trip inside the zoo/ bird park in a manner that u manage to watch the shows like the animal friends show , rain forest fights back....the show times are given.. In the Bird Park, the Birds and Buddies Show is a must see.
(d) Hip Hop buses
One day u may take a  conducted tour trip in one of those hop in hop out buses, showing u China town, Little India, Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands, Fountain of wealth ... 
(e) Boat ride down the Singapore river
One evening, at dusk (maybe the first evening), u may take a river cruise in one of the boats at Clark Quay...
(f) Marina Bay Sands
You can check out the casino at Marina Bay Sands. Take you passport along. 
(g) Orchard Street
Take a walk along Singapore's most happening place at Orchard Street. If you visit in December, enjoy the street lighting for Christmas.
(h) It is good idea to  check out the tourism website for events happening in Singapore at the tourism board website  so that u may weave it into your itinerary.
(i) We also have a lot of museums, Science centre, Botanic gardens, Chinese temples, Orchid garden the details of which can be found in the following link
 http://www.yoursingapore.com/content/traveller/en/browse/see-and-do/family-fun.html

(j) At the airport u will find maps and brochures .. check out for discount  schemes for tourists .. Orchard road has  a tourist office  too...

(k) A new addition in Singapore is the Garden by the bay with its evening light shows..

http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/home.html

Many visitors are at Singapore en-route to other destinations. I have received a few inquiries on things to do if the visitor has a few hours in hand . Changi airport conducts free tours for visitors, provided they have visas for Singapore. These tours  of two hours each,  are scheduled   at 9 am,11.30 am, 2.30 pm and 4 pm . One needs to register an hour before the trip one would like to take.  Quoting from their site :
 To register for any of the tours, simply approach the staff at the Free Singapore Tours (FST) Registration Booth located in:
  • Terminal 2: Near the escalators to North Arrival Immigration and Skytrain station at Transit Mall North, Level 2 (Near Transfer Lounge E)
  • Terminal 3: Next to Transfer Lounge B at Transit Mall North, level 2
If you are at Terminal 1, you can proceed to Terminal 2 for registration.
Note: 
Please register at the booth at least 1 hour before the start of the tour which you would like to participate in.

Eligibility to participate in the tour is subject to visa entry requirements stipulated by the Immigrations & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore. Please enquire at the FST Registration Booth for more information.

Tour routes may change, subject to weather and traffic conditions.
For further details on the  organised tour, please look up at the following link :
Wishing you loads of fun on your trip! 








Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Paneer Baby Corn Balchao



This dish pairs very well with chicken  fried rice... and more importantly is a low hassle dish.   What I found interesting  about this  recipe is it includes jeera and mustard  .. while I was initially  sceptical about them in a recipe which I initially thought was an Indian-chinese recipe, they did give a different flavour to the dish. Talk of fusion!!  The recipe is tweaked from a Sanjeev Kapoor book.

Ingredients
400 grams Paneer
8 Baby corns , cut into two or three pieces each
1 each of green and red capsicums (optional)
2 each of Onions and tomatoes
1 inch ginger and 10 cloves of garlic.
4 Red chillies ( recipe asks for 10-12 )
1 tspn each of Cumin seeds  and mustard seeds
8 Cloves
 1 " stick Cinnamon
1/2 cup Vinegar
2 tbspns Oil
3/4 cup Tomato puree ( I used home made puree. Store puree would give a lovely red colour to the dish).
1 tbspn Sugar.

1. Grind the whole red chillies, garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, cloves, mustard seeds, cinammon and salt with part of the vinegar to a smooth paste.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and fry them till light brown. Add tomatoes and let it cook for five minutes till it softens.
3.Add baby corn, tomato puree and the ground masala. Cook for four minutes. Add sugar, salt to taste .
4. Add paneer pieces and remaining vinegar . Suggest adding vinegar to taste and not the entire lot in one go. The taste should be sweet and sour. Cook for five to seven minutes.  Switch off the gas and add the capsicums.
Serve hot with chicken fried rice.. Cheers!

Tandoori chicken

This is my first successful attempt  at cooking tandoori chicken through baking/grilling and so elated . I generally used to cook them in a kadahi  . My first attempt at baking was a failure as I had baked it in a baking tray and the outcome was a watery chicken. This recipe is basically for my friends in India , as abroad, grilling/ barbeque is a way of life....


Ingredients
One kilo chicken
1/2 cup thick curd, hung.
One packet tandoori chicken masala .The packet will state the weight of chicken for which the entire packet may be used. So please use the masala powder accordingly. 
A spoonful of mustard oil.

1.  Marinade the chicken overnight  in the marinade. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
2. Line the tray with alumunium foil to collect drippings.  Oil the wire rack. 

3. Place the chicken on the wire rack. Brush oil on the chicken. Bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees C.  If your oven has a grill, u may grill the last five minutes after the baking is through. 

Cheers! 

Chicken Malai Tikka

Joy loved the Kabab platter at Mirchi (Esplanade) .. and so asked me to try making a kabab platter at home... hence the trial of chicken malai tikka and tandoori chicken in one go...  paired  very well with sweet Bengali pulao (my favourite) .. The recipe is from Neeta Mehta's book.... glad to say Joy enjoyed them.


500 gms boneless chicken breasts
1 each of red and green capsicums, tomato - cut into eight pieces
1 onion - cut into four pieces  and separate them.
Chat masala and lemon wedges.

First marinade :
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbspn ginger-garlic paste
Salt to taste

 Second Marinade
1/2 cup thick yoghurt - hung for 15 minutes
1/4 cup thick cream
30 gms  processed cheese, finely chopped
1 egg ; 1 tbspn cornflour
1 tbspn finely chopped green chillies, optional ( I skipped)
2 tbspn finely chopped coriander leaves  ( I skipped)

1. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Marinate the chicken pieces with the first marinade for 30 mins.

2.Mix the ingredients of the second marinade in a bowl. Remove the chicken pieces from the first marinade and add them to the second marinade. Let it marinate for 2 to 3 hours (I  let in marinate for three hours).

3. Line the tray with  aluminium foil to collect the drippings. Oil the wire rack.
4. Oil the skewers. Since I used bamboo skewers, I soaked them in water for thirty minutes . Arrange the chicken pieces with the vegetables in between the chicken pieces.  Since I love mushroom, I skewered mushrooms in one too.

5. Grill for fifteen minutes ( I  grilled for twenty minutes), turning once in between.
6. Serve hot sprinkled with some lemon juice  or chat masala.

I had avoided trying this recipe since long  due to the use of cream.  But once I tried it, found it a very doable and tasty recipe... cheers! 



Friday, July 1, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Total chocolate chip cookies ..


Joy  is a huge fan of Payal's  baking... This quiet sweet girl is  an all rounder.. represents her college in hockey, scores A s, bakes  a mean brownie/ choco-chip cookies !!!  That's quiet a combination, isn't it! Payal shared this recipe with me after Joy went all gaga over the cookies Payal had baked...
Ingredients:
125 gm Dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids)
150 gms Flour
30 gm Cocoa sieved
1 Tbspn Bi-carbonate of soda
1/2 tspn of salt
125 gms butter
75 gms light brown sugar ( I used regular sugar)
50 gms White sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 egg, cold.
350 gms semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Centigrade.
Melt the dark chocolate in microwave.
Sieve  flour, cocoa, bi-carb of soda and salt in a bowl.
Cream butter and sugar in another bowl. Add melted chocolate and mix together.
Beat in vanilla extract and cold egg. Then mix in dry ingredients. Finally stir in the choco chips.
Scoop out 12 mounds. Place on lined baking sheet, about 6 cm apart. Do not flatten.
Bake for 18 minutes and leave it to cool for four to five minutes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cleaning Poem ... Anonymous


Cleaning Poem
I asked the Lord to tell me
Why my house is such a mess.
He asked if I'd been 'computering',
And I had to answer 'yes.'
He told me to get off my fanny,
And tidy up the house.
And so I started cleaning up...
The smudges off my mouse.
I wiped and shined the topside.
That really did the trick....
I was just admiring my good work.
I didn't mean to 'click.'

But click, I did, and oops - I found
A real absorbing site
That I got SO way into it - 
I was into it all night.

Nothing's changed except my mouse.
It's very, very shiny.
I guess my house will stay a mess....
While I sit here on my hiney.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Discovering Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


I had noted books by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. But talk of prejudices! Her ornate name reminded me of Barbara Cartland and I avoided her books thinking the stories would revolve around kings and queens.    Given my recent interest in reading books by Indian authors, I browsed through  her book ' One Amazing Thing' and was startled to read a contemporary setting. Did I feel silly! I  picked up the book along with her 'Sister of my heart' and 'The palace of illusions'.

I feel what ' One amazing thing' did was put aside my doubts on her as an author. It talks of people caught in the Indian embassy amidst an earthquake  . To tide over the stress of the situation, each person talks of one amazing thing in their life. The Chinese grandmother's description of Kolkatta where she  had emigrated from was very interesting.  The introspections  rang very true and I warmed up to the author.

I started on her next book 'Sister of my heart' which talks of the bonding of love between two cousin sisters and their life journey.  I guess the story had me very involved, because I was actually  shaking my head when I read the last chapter visualizing an impending disaster. What also warmed me up to  the book was the background setting of West Bengal, very beautifully captured. The book is peppered with Bengali words like unoon ( clay stove) , luchi (puris) which reminded me of trips to my grandmother's place. In fact there were such mouth watering descriptions of luchis  and other food, that I ended up making luchis during the weekend.


I then moved to ' The palace of Illusions'. When I realised , the novel described events as seen by Draupadi, was I elated!  As a kid I had heard of Maithili Sharan Gupta's epic  on Lakshman's wife Urmila. In college, my friend Amita had  narrated very vividly Shivaji Sawant's Mrityunjay - Karna.  These two books had fired my imagination  and so was delighted when I came across this book on Mahabharata as viewed by Draupadi. It never fails to amaze me that ancient ancient epics like Mahabharata, Illiad  has been  enthralling  us across generations! At a time, when everything seems to be effected by generation gap, these epics seem to effortlessly bridge the generation gap!  . Shashi Kapoor's Kalyug was based on Mahabharata, and a movie as recent as Rajneeti lightly mirrored Mahabharata again. I have watched Helen of Troy as a ten year old child,  and I have watched Brad Pitt in Troy just a few years back!  
Coming back to the book ,'The Palace of Illusions' had me captivated and I found it very difficult to keep the book down. The book does not  white wash Draupadi. It shows her as a woman who had to be strong due to  the circumstances she found herself in. As I read the book, I kept remembering Rupa Ganguli in the serial Mahabharata and felt the directors had aptly chosen her to portray a beautiful but strong   Draupadi . This is one book I would recommend as a must read...  

Malwani Chicken Curry

I had 500  grams of boneless chicken , planning for an Indian Chinese dinner. The idea of chopping vegetables suddenly did not appeal to me and I was looking for a chicken curry which could be eaten with steamed rice and salad. In essence, a short cut to elaborate cooking. I came across Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe for Malwani mutton which looked delicious. I realized it used dry coconut. I had been eyeing for long a piece of dry coconut  in my refrigerator, wondering what to do with it.  And that decided it! The chicken curry turned out yellowish and not beautifully red like Sanjeev kapoor's dish. That was because he had used ten pieces of chillies. I used four pieces only and realized that itself was too spicy for me. I took other liberties with the recipe too.  But the end result was delicious and the taste very different from the curries I normally prepare. Hence, decided to share. The recipe is not strictly as per SK's instructions, but rather how I interpreted it.

Chicken 500 grams
Onions 2 medium sized, sliced finely
Ginger 2 one inch piece, grind to a fine paste.
Garlic 10 small cloves, grind to a fine paste
Coriander leaves a few sprigs
Oil 4 tbsp
Salt to tate
Turmeric powder half tsp ( I used one teaspoon)
For Malwani masala
Red chillies whole 10 ( I took 4) 
Coriander seeds 2 tsps
Cloves 4-5
Pepper corns 7-8
Cumin seeds Half tsp
Shahi jeera Half tsp ( I skipped)
Green cardamoms 4-5
Dry coconut (grated) Half cup
Poppy seeds 1 tsp (I replaced it with five cashewnuts) 
Dry roast the Malwani masalas and grind to a fine paste with a little water.
Heat oil and saute onions in it till light brown. Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a few minutes.
Add chicken pieces, turmeric powder, salt  and saute for a few minutes.
Add the malwani masala and saute for two minutes. Add water and cook on low heat till the chicken is cooked.  
Since the curry turned out too hot, I added a tspn of vinegar, after shutting the  gas, to mellow the heat of the chillies. 
Garnish with coriander leaves and  ginger julienne (which I forgot as obvious from the picture).

Bon appetit! 



Pistewala Murgh

This recipe is one from Sanjeev Kapoor. There are no hassles making it which scores a big point with me.  This  dish pairs up very  well with pulao ...


Boneless Chicken  500 gms  ( I used 800 gms of chicken thighs with bones)
Onions 2 large sized
Ginger 1 inch piece, grind to a fine paste
Garlic 4-5 cloves, grind to a fine paste
Yoghurt - Half cup, whisk it.
Pistachios Half cup
Green chillies 4
Oil 4 tbsp
Coriander powder 2 tbsp
White pepper powder Half tsp
Salt to taste
Fresh cream Half cup (I skipped this)
Garam Masala powder Half tsp

Cut the boneless chicken into  one and half inch sized pieces.
Peel, quarter and boil the onions in one cup of water. I used a little less than one cup of water as I did not want to drain too much water away. The water covered the onions three fourth way through.  I let the onions boil for say a minute, mixed the onions so that the top onions sat at the bottom and put off the gas, letting the onions sit  in the hot water. Drain, cool slightly and grind to a fine paste.
Soak pistachios in a cup of hot water for ten minutes, drain and peel. Grind the pistachios with the green chillies.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the boiled onion paste and saute for three to four minutes or till oil separates. The colour of the onions should not turn brown.
Add the ginger garlic paste and stir-fry briefly.  Add coriander powder, white pepper powder ( I used black as I had run out of white) , and salt to taste. Mix well. Stir in the pistachios and green chilli paste and cook for a minute.
Add chicken pieces and saute for two minutes. Reduce heat , add one cup of water and simmer for four to five minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked. Stir in yogurt and continue to simmer for two minutes , stirring occasionally.
Stir in fresh cream, sprinkle garam masala powder and serve hot.
What I would do differently the next time is, I would saute the chicken for two three minutes in oil taking care not to turn it dark brown, take them out and then start from step one.
As I clicked a picture of the dish, I was left appreciating the importance of presentation . Here is a picture of how the dish looks like in Sanjeev Kapoor's book. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"If God was a Banker " and " Keep the Change"

I do not know if it is the success of Chetan Bhagat or is it that I have only recently started going through the book shelves of contemporary Indian authors -- but I found the shelves abound with novels with IITians and banking as the background. I picked up recently, Ravi Subramanian's  'If God was a banker' and Nirupama Subramanian's 'Keep the change' .



'If God was a banker" talks of two new entrants to a foreign bank and their growth to the top . While both do work hard, one rises through sincerity and  the other  uses deceit. The author does a good job and I was sometimes reminded of  Arthur Hailey's ' The money changers' . 
  
The book had me flummoxed and I kept thinking is this how things work in Mumbai at private banks. As I read ahead, I would think of people I had met with similar designations and would wonder about them  (read , were they part of this big bad world). The book left me wondering how much of it was fiction and how much of it real. I remembered watching the movie ' Life in a Metro' and my discussions with friends many of whom said the movie did reflect reality in Mumbai...me still confused. Frankly, what I wonder the most is how  does one  find a place for a clandestine rendezvous without  bumping into someone u know...:) :) :) 

Nirupama Subramanian's 'Keep the Change ' was refreshing... While I would not call it brilliant, I loved the flow of words and her easy style of writing. ( I am also partial to lady authors).  It talks of a Tamilian girl who moves from Chennai to Mumbai and the way she adapts to the change  and her search for a life partner.   It started with  some irreverent gems like   " In this unfair world, a boy looking like a constipated blob of ectoplasm can aspire to get a fair, beautiful, well-educated girl who can do the Bharatnatyam while singing Meera bhajans and make ten kinds of rasam..." and was I hooked! ..

Amidst  de-glamourising a  plum job in a  foreign bank , one thing which struck me was the usage of words... For instance, the protagonist named Damayanthi has been assigned the task of re-engineering the bank operations. She is in a review meeting with her boss where he asks her if she had noted anything significant.   I quote 
" I remembered someone talking about the time it took to get a simple query resolved and another one saying it took too bloody long to get a letter of  credit opened. 
 'There were some issues on turnaround times', I remarked. ' These were more evident for certain processes like complaint resolution'..."
Was I grinning from ear to ear. I remembered my transfer from plant site to corporate office at IPCL. The change in lingo had me amazed, impressed.... and after some time exasperated when I found one HR guy using  "buzz " words even in his farewell party... 
Don't get me wrong. I do believe the right  words do give a different flavour to sentences, to interpretations..for instance 'secret' rendezvous explains the situation sufficiently but a clandestine rendezvous gives a further emphasis on the background of the meeting... But as Abhijit Majumdar in his wonderful article " Who Moved My English" says "You no longer speak to explain. You speak to impress, to baffle"... A reading of his article will elaborate further

I would love to know from my friends in India   if this English of buzz words still rules in the working world. Do you  feel as an employee that it does make a positive difference to how one is perceived using English in this manner over plain simple English. I would also love  to know from those are  in senior positions how do they view this trend.. I would also love  to know from those    who have observed working styles both in India and  abroad , if this lingo works abroad too..

Would also love to hear of any book you have read of contemporary authors which you have enjoyed...

Have a great day! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicken Sizzler


During my December trip, I picked up three sizzler plates from good old Pande and Sons at Sitabuldi, Nagpur. The memory of the  succulent sizzler at Yoko during my trip to  Baroda  this March,  inspired me enough to bring the plates out of their hibernation...   here goes....

Chicken roast
(a) 8 chicken things or chicken pieces weighing 800 grams
(b) Barbecue sauce  or Red wine and garlic marinade or any ready marinade of your choice. I have used barbecue sauce. 
(c) Alternately u may marinade in 1.5 tbspn vinegar + 3 tbsp tomato ketchup + 1 tbsp worcetshire sauce + 1 tbspn mustard sauce + 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper each (marinade from Nita Mehta's recipe book)  

Marinade the chicken . I have used Sadia chicken thighs as they are very soft. You may marinade them overnight or for an hour. I have thereafter roasted the chicken in an oven, basting with the sauce halfway through. I do not trim the fat as I do not baste with any butter or oil. 


Alternate  with pressure cooker
If you do not use an oven to cook chicken, here is the alternate. Take a pressure cooker, put a teaspoonful of oil and rotate the pressure cooker in a way to grease the entire bottom of the cooker. Place the chicken on the bottom of the cooker. Each chicken piece should touch the  bottom. Close the pressure cooker. Alight the pressure cooker. After one whistle, lower the flame and let it cook for another seven minutes. Put off the gas and let the cooker open. Remove the chicken  and reserve the liquid therein to prepare sauce. Yes, you do not need to heat the oil before placing the chicken or add any water. Eureka, your chicken is ready. 

Stuffed capsicum. 


I stuffed the capsicum halves with  a mixture of boiled potatoes, bread crumbs, butter, cheese gratings, grated garlic, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper to taste. I grilled it for ten minutes. You may similarly stuff large mushrooms - only exclude the boiled potatoes from the stuffing. Grill the mushrooms for five minutes.  

Glazed  vegetables
Stir fry chopped vegetables in generous dollop of butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Buttered rice.
Cook rice . The grains should be separate. Take a generous amount of butter. Fry chopped onions. Add salt, pepper and the rice. After mixing it thoroughly, add fried egg  and boiled peas. 

Final arrangement
Remove the iron plate from the wooden stand. Place it directly on flame and let it go red hot. Very carefully, use a pair of tongs and gloves to place the iron plate on the wooden tray. Arrange lettuce leaves on the plate. Arrange rice in the middle and place chicken on it. Place stuffed capsicum on one side and the glazed vegetables on the other. You may consider adding French fries like they do in restaurants. Pour sauce over the chicken. I heated barbecue sauce separately and poured on the chicken.  (I have not added too  much sauce in the pictures here to avoid covering the chicken) . If you have cooked the chicken in a pressure cooker, thicken the remainder liquid with maida. 

As I manage to burn myself very easily, Abhit helped me out with the final arrangements of the hot plate and food therein.


In a separate bowl, he took equal amounts of oil and water (as suggested by Tarla Dalal in her recipes) and poured it over the hot plate for the sizzle. The hotter the plate , the more the sizzle....


Bon appetit!  



Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a real easy one to make and it turns out chocolatey and chewy... it won't be crisp like a biscuit... I found this recipe in my oven cookbook. I cook this on the auto mode and so am not sure about the temperature. I am guessing it is at 180 degrees C.... so do keep a look out if it is done...I am posting the recipe exactly as it says in the recipe, but I would recommend adding more cocoa to make it more chocolatey...(I guess thats cos , am the dark chocolate lover) ... 



60 gms soft butter.
100 gms castor sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1 medium egg
180 gms sifted self raising flour
40 gms chocolate chips
30 gms walnuts ( I skipped this)

Self raising flour (googled this)
1 cup flour
1.5 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla essence. Mix in sifted flour, then mix in chocolate chips and walnut pieces. Shape thirteen tablespoons of mixtures into balls . Place on greased foil paper, pressing each down slightly. Bake for fourteen minutes. After baking, remove from the oven immediately and let cool.


Chocolate eggless moist brownie

This is the second Brownie  recipe recommended by Sohini. This is a hassle free recipe and so just perfect when u want to bake a brownie on the spur of the moment ... Delicious and very moist indeed... The brownie below is without the topping...



(A) 1 cup sugar
      1 1/2 cup flour
      1/4 cup cocoa/chocolate powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1 tsp baking soda (soda bicarb)
      Choco chips
(B) 1 cup water
      1 tbsp vinegar
      1 tsp vanilla essence
      1/3 cup oil ( I use olive oil or sunflower oil)


Sieve all the ingredients in (A), excluding sugar and choco chips. Make a well in the mix of flour etc and pour the liquid mix into it. Mix with a spatula until no granules can be seen. Bake at 180 degrees C or 350 F for 35 minutes. 

Topping (optional)
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp walnuts coarsely ground.

Beat butter and sugar and nuts in the milk. Spread on cake and grill for 5-7 min. 


 



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Brownies


Joy has become a huge fan of Sohini ever since she started sharing her brownie recipes . He says Sohini aunty should have her own cookery show - her recipes are awesome.  Here goes the first of the brownie recipes from Sohini.  The result is a very rich and superfabulous ( from Shukti's vocabulary) brownie! The above picture is the brownie I baked for Joy's birthday  in 2010.

(a) 1 cup unsalted butter         
(b)   1 cup of cocoa          
(c) 2 cups of sugar
(d) 4 large eggs                    

(e) 1 cup of flour          
(f) 1 cup of chopped walnuts/ choco chips
(g) 1 tsp vanilla essence          

(h)  1 tsp salt(optional)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Melt butter and  stir in cocoa.  Stir in sugar.  Break eggs into mixture one at a time, then add flour and stir to combine.  Add walnuts/ choco chips , vanilla and salt.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Pour into a greased and lightly floured  baking tray.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes (I found it requires 40 minutes). Do not overcook or it will turn dry. 

Mishti Doi (Bengali sweet curd)


My sister Shukti and I are hard core mishti lovers and foodies.  The joy of partaking a delicious dish has to be shared with each other and that is what a major of our mail exchange  cover. The small joys of life? Though making us larger in size! The picture is of Shukti and me when we were in college.

The following recipe is from Shukti.

(a) 32 oz of plain curd (which I understand would be around 900 gms) 
(b) One tin of condensed milk
(c) One tin of evaporated milk

Mix the above three in a glass bowl. Cover the bowl.  Bake the mixture in the oven at 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven. Do not touch the bowl and let it remain overnight inside the oven.  In the morning , move the mishti doi  to the refrigerator. Serve chilled.

Kadahi Chicken

I used to be a  mutton curry cook , back in Baroda . My few attempts to cook chicken there, the way I cooked mutton,  were sore failures. When we moved to Singapore, my first attempt to cook mutton was a trying incident. I picked up some mutton from the local store NTUC , picked up some leaves which I  thought looked similar to Indian spinach (palak) . The menu for dinner was palak mutton and pulao . Twenty minutes on the pressure cooker and the mutton had not softened - the more I cooked it , the harder it got. To add to my consternation, the palak smelled oddly like radish leaves!!! It was time for Joy to return home and I did not relish the idea of  cooking all over again. Drained the curry and turned it into mutton soup . The dinner menu quickly shifted to soup, sandwiches, fruit custard. Joy was delighted, Abhit was amused. I soon realized, it was lamb I had been cooking and not mutton. Mutton entailed trips to Little India. So I shifted to chicken. Kadahi chicken was the first recipe I tried and was floored. I have since  become a huge fan of Nita Mehta for her doable recipes (which turn out tasty too). I use this same recipe to prepare rajma too  which turns out to be an equal  winner . I feel it is the red chilli- dhania powder which gives a special taste to this dish. While I add  the  cream  only when we have guests at home, adding it does change the entire flavour of the dish... here goes....

(a) 800 gms of chicken
(b) 1 chopped onion
(c) 1 whole pod of garlic chopped and crushed
(d) Finely  shredded 3" piece ginger
(e) Half cup green coriander - chopped ; 2 green chillies.
(f) 4-6 whole dry red chillies
(g) 2 tbsp saboot dhania
(h) 6-7 large tomatoes
(i) 1 tbsp kasoori methi
(j) salt to taste
(k) 4-5 tbsp of oil
(l) Half tspn garam masala; 4-5 tbsp cream

Roast the red chillies  and saboot dhania on tawa  till you smell a nice aroma . Pound it coarsely to a powder.
Heat oil in a kadahi and fry onions till they are light brown.
Add crushed garlic and saute over medium heat till light brown.
Add the powdered chilli and dhania powder and stir for 30 seconds.
Add chopped tomatoes and saute for half a minute.
Add half of the ginger and half of the coriander leaves . Reduce the heat and let the tomatoes simmer until  soft. Add salt.
Add the chicken, cook on low flame with the lid covered, stirring occasionally till the chicken is tender.
Add kasoori methi and garam masala. Uncover and stir fry till oil separates.
Add cream and cook till the masala coats the chicken. Remove from fire.
Garnish with remaining ginger, green chillies and coriander leaves.

Bon Appetit!

Recipe from Nita Mehta

Chicken Mayonnaise Salad

This post is specially for my niece Raisa... Easily prepared, it is a sure winner with kids....

(a) A large bowl of boiled and shredded chicken
(b) Half cup mayonnaise
(c) One small bowl chopped pineapple (canned)
(d) Two  hardboiled eggs, cut lengthwise into four.

Mix (a), (b) and (c). Taste and add pepper and salt as required. You may add mustard paste (English mustard) .  Garnish with the Egg slices. Serve chilled.

Recipe from Nita Mehta

40th Birthday poem written by yours truly


I just can't believe my ears,
I have whizzed thru forty years,
Why it just seems the other day
Mummy taught me badminton to play.
Helping dada make a paper kite (Madras)
Waking up in Mumbai to rainy nites
Dada telling "Shukti, grab Shilpi's ankles
While I pull her by the arms",
If you haven't guessed it by now,
They were trying to get me taller, thats how,
Saturday nights at Nagpur with Shukti,
Watching Amitabh/Hitchcock movies with much glee,
Pouring out my heart to her,
I feel so very much  loved by her.
Boy! were the get togethers in Kolkatta fun,
Am I glad that we cousins bonded like a glue gun,
The next fifteen years have been equally special,
Bonding with additions in the Mukherjee family has been swell.
God blessing me by giving me Abhit as a best friend
How did I get so lucky when he added another best friend
Around Abhit and Joy revolves  my life
Joy is my son and I am Abhit’s wife
I guess it is the laughter  and the special memories of the days past,
That has made these forty years go so very fast,
If that indeed has been the case
I don't know why have I been scared of the forties phase????

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I knelt to pray but not for long -- Anonymous



I knelt to pray but not for long,
I had too much to do.
I had to hurry and get to work
For bills would soon be due.
So I knelt and said a hurried prayer,
And jumped up off my knees.
My Christian duty was now done
My soul could rest at ease.....
All day long I had no time
To spread a word of cheer
No time to speak of Christ to friends,
They'd laugh at me I'd fear.
No time, no time, too much to do,
That was my constant cry,
No time to give to souls in need
But at last the time, the time to die
I went before the Lord,
I came, I stood with downcast eyes.
For in his hands God held a book;
It was the book of life.
God looked into his book and said
'Your name I cannot find
I once was going! to write it down...
But never found the time' 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Charity of the Poor -- K Parthasarathi ; www.kparthas.blogspot.com


I see the old beggar woman sitting at the same place in the bazaar very close to my house. She never changed her place but in the evenings moved to the opposite side of the road to escape the Sun’s rays. I don’t know why-but my eyes look for her crouched figure whenever I pass that way. She may be around seventy but looked much older for her age. An emaciated and shrunk figure she had unkempt hair that had never seen oil for ages. There was a slight pucker in her lips suggestive of a smile but it otherwise revealed no emotion. 


She sat on a torn mat with a tattered bed sheet on it. She was a leper with her dimmed vision and eaten away fingers. I used to wonder where she lived and who brought her safely to the corner. She raised her head whenever she heard the approaching footsteps but never made a plea for alms. There was however a dignified deportment about her even in her pitiable state. I have always found natural dignity is not associated with one’s station in life or the by the apparel worn. Even a beggar can look dignified while a rich man can be indecorous in manner. In the news paper spread before her the people flung the coins that she gathered with her trembling fingers once a while to put them in a Dalda tin. 


One day there was a heavy drizzle and I saw her drenched completely but she made no attempt to move away to a shelter. The next day I gave her a big sized old umbrella that was lying unused for her to protect from the rain and scorching sun. She did not thank me except raising her head towards my direction and letting out what seemed a smile. I dropped invariably a coin whenever I passed through that place. I suspect she had an uncanny knack of identifying me from my footsteps as she always raised her head as a form of salutation. God evidently gave keener faculties to compensate for those lost. 

I asked my wife that day whether she can give one or two of her used saris to be given to the beggar woman.”Why one or two? Take these half a dozen saris and give her. If you need more, I have a huge bundle that I have been thinking of to give a poor home.”The next day I took four saris with me on my way to the bank to be given to that woman. Surprisingly she was not there. I could not find her in the succeeding two or three days also. A vague fear that she might have fallen sick or got involved in an accident while crossing the busy road took over me. I could check with none and my ego wouldn’t permit me to check with the small tea shop nearby. 

I was relieved when I saw her at the same place four days later. I went back home much to my wife’s surprise and amusement to collect the four saris. When I told the beggar woman that I was looking for her, she replied she fell sick after the drenching in the rain. When I proffered the packet telling that there are four saris, she immediately said”Sami (Sir), I don’t need more than two. I have no hut. I sleep on platform. This bag contains all my earthly possessions. I cannot carry more weight. One spare would be more than adequate.” 

When I was hesitating, she said “There is a young woman sitting a little yonder. She is an orphan after her mother another beggar passed away. She has no clothes to conceal her shame. She is troubled by the other beggars when it gets dark and seeks my protection. I remain awake in the nights and shout them away almost daily. Give her these two saris and help her by finding immediately a secure home for her. I would be indebted for life to you, Raja.” 

My eyes became moist at the generous heart within this frail and destitute woman who is more concerned about a pitiable woman than herself.”What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal” I found her taller and richer than me as I learnt in that single incident that the value of a person resides in what he/she gives and not in what he/she is capable of receiving. I was reminded of the famous quote.”A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”