Category Archives: Family

Food is the journey to the soul

Tomorrow is hubby’s birthday and wanted to prepare something special for him. You see our birthdays fall just a week from each other. So last week had celebrated my own and it was so much fun. I will write something on this and why we need to celebrate birthdays or  any happy occasion.

So coming to prepare something special for him. I had decided to make Fish curry which he really loves it. We love fresh water fish. So , mostly the fish preparation will be of Rohu or Katla (these are fish varieties and most of the fish preparations in Bihar/Bengal will hover around it.

We love Doi Maach ( A Bengali recipe ) and although it is quite famous recipe but every household will have its own version.

I truly feel that a perfect dish is marrying of flavours , textures and aromas. My cooking philosophy is to cook something out of ordinary. Because when you cook with love , the food tastes divine. Every morsel of food is like a drop of ambrosia.

Food which can talk to you can nourish your soul. But I don’t like to follow a particular recipe and add my own twist to it. So , I made this gravy with ground paste of onion , garlic and ginger and red chillies . Now Red chillies are also of so many variety but I use one chilly from byadagi region which has this smoky texture and gives a smoky edge to any food preparation. The tempering was with kalonji seeds , asafoetida and chilli’s.

To add my twist I did not add curd to the gravy but instead used a half spoon of tamarind paste to give that tangy edge to the gravy. And served this curry with basmati rice and a salad of tomatoes, radish and onions.

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Basmati rice with my own version of fish curry.

 

 

The food was relished with added fervour and zeal and everything vanished in seconds. This post is to inspire people to try to do something which you truly believe in , doing something which comes through your soul. Life has many flavours and you need to appreciate each flavour because variety is truly the spice of life. Leave me a comment if you have tried something different and I will be happy to read your experience.

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A letter to my Dad …On father’s day..

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With My Dad

Dear  Dad ,

The first thing which I remember while writing this is how You used to make us write letters to Baba/Nanaji  ( Grandfathers)  asking us to describe our school result or some place we had visited recently . I and Neha ( my younger sister) always used to resent that thinking ( Oh , not again ) but somehow you never used to excuse us.

Now I realize that because of that habit I am able to express myself , write poetry , conduct book reviews and do so many more things which I could not have done without you reinforcing that .

You were always an epitome of  hard work , sincerity and humanity for us . And though many times I never express myself , today I will make an exception and let you know how you have always inspired us to be a little better every day.

From you I have learnt to love unconditionally and give freely . When you are not bounded by your narrow beliefs , you start living a life which is full of warmth and kindness. Your life is a true example of that. Not every life is extraordinary but there are always extraordinary moments in every life. You have always stood for your family and your friends.

From you I have learnt to give selflessly to others and not expect anything in return . Your zeal for learning new things still inspire me and I am awed by the fact how you still tell us extraordinary happenings in our society with a childlike enthusiasm. I can never match up your zeal for learning new things in my life.

I still remember how we used to take our books and start studying when we used to hear the sound of your scooter entering the apartment building.  And you used to always smile after seeing how we three were absorbed in studying . Now you know the truth , please don’t scold us.

I still make an effort to impress you because somehow you had taught us to do better than what we are.

Because of you I have learnt that it is ok to be ordinary but not okay if we don’t give our best. I still cannot match your steps while walking . I still huff and pant while walking behind you.

You are the pillar of strength , hard work and love for us all ( Me and my cousins). I always feel so proud that You are my Dad . And hopefully one day I will make you proud ..

You have always been my biggest hero, Daddy

Lots  of love ( Always )

Shwetaa

A magical Kitchen

desertIt was Sunday Noon , all are in brooding mood at home . The Son busy playing with his new toy , a remote controlled aircraft he got from his aunt. And I am contemplating to finish all the daily Chores so that I can start working on the new project.

And hubby has gone to the market to get some groceries and a hair cut. In the meantime Son rushes to me , ” Maa,  Can I have a sizzling desert in the night ?”  With twinkling eyes he looks at me affectionately with his puppy look. This look mostly melts the most unyielding hearts.

I try not to relent . And then he sheepishly comes and sashays behind me as the most coyish calf on the town , “Maa I will finish all my work , study for the test and will help you to clean the table also” Trying to hide my smile , I tease him , ” I don’t know how to make a sizzling desert” . And he replies back , “But you have a magical kitchen ”

I cannot help smiling back.  I tease him , “Do you know what to put in your sizzling desert ? “And he says nonchalantly , “Put whatever you want but don’t forget to put lot of chocolate sauce on the plate . And You need to heat the plate first.

And Voila the magical kitchen produced the most scrumptious desert . Magically the desert also disappeared in few minutes though I managed to grab few spoons 🙂

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A Deepawali Memory…

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The festival of lights is here.  And there is such a hullabaloo about the festival . The newspapers , media , social media sites abuzz with sale , designer clothes and materialistic stuff. Not to forget there are celebrities and film stars inviting you to take a peek at their homes and to their designer wardrobe.   Do we associate  each celebration with how much clothes we buy , how many jewellery sets adorned our body and how cool parties we threw ?

Long back while growing up in the ancestral home at Dhanbad , My grandfather had a brigade of servants working at our hotel and the soap factory which my uncle used to run. Deepawali was the time when he used to buy clothes for all the people who used to work for the businesses run by him . He had a big heart and he will treat all the people working for him as his own children . And that’s the reason everyone used to adore him . He was magnanimous and would lend money to anyone in need.

I remember I and my younger brother used to go to school in a rickshaw . The rickshaw puller was Lakhiram and he was like a hanuman , always ready to do anything for my grandfather. He will wash his clothes , clean his  White Ambassador Car . He was the man for every small need he had. But my grandfather always treated him as someone from his own family . We were kids then , mischievous and playing pranks on others. We will always trouble him , pulling his Dhoti , running behind him .

And those days there was no television and no facebook.  Everything was real ,  celebrations were inclusive, bursting crackers , exchanging sweets , getting money from the elders as blessings. The collected money would be pushed inside a Gullak  folded and pleated. Lakhiram had a son Naaru and whenever he visited our home , he was treated as a family member . Even awarded money just like us .

Today Naaru is  married and works for BCCL ( a public sector company) . His children go to school and Naaru lives a  comfortable life , even owning a Car and living life  like a Gentleman. Most of the servants who used to work for my Grandfather are owning shops , working and earning a decent life.  It is only because  he instilled values of Honesty , self respect and the joy of  hard work.

This Deepawali I pay my tribute to my Grandfather , for his values and for his memory and for  all the things  he taught me . As I type this tears swell in my eyes and I miss him dearly . Sometimes growing up is so hard and I wish to be transported in the time machine to be again under his affectionate tutelage.

Love you lots  BABA…..

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Maximum City -Mumbai , Bombay or The city of Bollywood.

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Just few weeks before got the chance to see Mumbai , the heart of India , the commercial capital where life never stops , which is always buzzing with activities ,people , construction ,vehicles and something new . Last few visits to the city and I could only see the airport . This time when hubby decided to run the Mumbai Marathon , I was Mumbai struck thinking that I will be spending few days in her lap . Having been to all the metros , I knew what to expect . But I was wrong . Mumbai is Mumbai , it is changing and evolving every nano second. From secluded to crowded beaches , street  to gourmet food , chor bazar to designer labels , chawls to sprawling bungalows Mumbai has a bit of everything for every soul. The first day in City and we decided to go to the Juhu beach and experience a part where the old and new meets . The beach is thronged by people from all age; couples , weekend travelers , students , backpackers . And it is crowded . My only lament , “why we don’t keep our beaches clean? ” Though the tempo driver gladly mentioned that because of the initiative of many celebrities the beaches are clean now , still I could see paper cup floating , spits on the sign boards , people throwing empty plates in the corners. May be one day we will learn to treat our public places as our own homes. Juhu beach is a Mecca for the street food hungry Indian .From Pav bhajis made on Iron plate which looked like an UFO to me , golgappas , bhel , munchies , ice cream golas with different colored bottles stacked on the van , you can get anything which your  heart desires. And there are vendors who are ready to click pictures in the setting sun for few bugs and you can freeze the moment forever. The kiddo located the Dominos pizza while entering the beach . And we decided to eat the pizza in the evening while enjoying the spectacular view of the city and the ocean.

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Mumbai is like a conundrum , in just a lap of few meters you can experience two different worlds which are just opposite to each other. This place is a perfect example of symbiotic relationship between have and have not , from jhuggis to multistoried buildings , from temples to Mosques , the cart pullers to the Armani clad people zipping in their BMWs. But what makes Mumbai apart is its endurance to survive despite all odds . Next day we had decided to visit Gateway of India which was thronged from people all over the country . You can also take a jetti ride from here to visit the elephanta caves . Adjacent to the gateway of India you can see the famous Taj palace and many star hotels in the same street facing the gorgeous ocean views . A walk along the walkway is mesmerizing . We also took a lunch break here in one of the roof top restaurant at a star hotel. And was quite surprised that Food was cheaper that many of the gourmet restaurant we frequent in Bangalore. The area adjoining the Gateway of India is called Colaba and I loved this area with cobbled pathways , heritage buildings and streets cutting at right angles to each other . Colaba is one of the posh areas of Mumbai and abuzz with eateries , Spas , shops selling antiques , books and a variety of knick knacks .

Next stop was marine drive , also called Queen’s necklace . This is one of the most famous areas of Bombay and in the night with all the lights glowing it looks like a beautiful necklace . And there is never a dull moment here . From hawkers selling tea , snacks , pop corn , earrings , scarfs , goggles , it is bustling with people , couples jogging , running and spending quality time with family . This is the shoreline which makes Mumbai so glamorous, shown again and again in many TV channels. Here You can also take a Tonga ride which takes you a round in this beautiful locality and you can have a taste of Mumbai’s life.  We had decided to go to Siddhivinayak Temple next morning which is thronged by devotees all around the year. I had heard so much about this beautiful temple . Enroute we also took a stopover at a roadside eatery and tasted some of the most famous snacks which Mumbai is known for including the Misal , Sabudana Vada and the Modak . Modak was so delectable that it just melted in the mouth. There was a long queue of devotees but was able to get the Darshan in 15-20 minutes. I was inquisitive when I saw the devotees echoing their wishes in the ears of the huge mushaka and found it really endearing. After  visiting the temple we decided to a bit of Street shopping and was totally taken aback by the number of things you can buy in Mumbai streets. Mumbai is like a drug which gets in your nerves , for people living there they cannot think a life without it , because it is the epitome of life. Two days back while lunching at a restaurant  I met a certain Mr Rao and his adult son who runs an eatery in Andheri and they were from Erankulam , Kerela. A little chat with them and they told they are here from  more than two decade . And I asked candidly  , ” Would you like to go back ? ” And in unison they replied , “Never , Life is so interesting here and it is such a happening place !” And that sums it all ” Ye dil hai mushkil jeena yahan , Zara bachke , zara hatke , Ye hai Mumbai meri Jaan !!!”

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A party to remember

A party in the night

Under the candle light

Food, laughter and the sparkling eyes

There are some days when I am just running out of groceries in my kitchen and I am in dilemma what to cook for dinner . And some sudden frequented showers in Bangalore and the temperature dips considerably. To top it all having a bad cold makes things worse  and you don’t feel like going out from the warmth of my home.

And yes next day the school is their so the child needs to sleep early too . Mom suggested why not make egg curry and I smiled reluctantly , ” Yes good idea Maa ” . But then my mind started thinking , ” Why not innovate and cook something different ? ” I  asked feebly looking for her affirmation . She remarked , ” Yes , Ok , make whatever you want and then we will make the Rotis ”

I was happy that she agreed . And my mind started working on how I will make the curry . I just had few basic things in the kitchen onions, tomatoes and some capsicums. And yes not to forget the eggs sitting pretty in my oversized refrigerator .

I used to love egg curry but used to hate the yolk which will be dense , hard and gluggy and almost every time  that was the one which will go in the bin. I decided why not cook something so that we can devour both the white and yellow part . So , I diced some red and green capsicum , some onions and tomatoes . The diced capsicum was whisked with six eggs . And then I added some mozzarella , salt and oregano . It was whisked again resulting in a frothy concoction.

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I heated the pan , added some butter  and quickly  spread it evenly all over the pan . I poured the egg mixture and then closed it with a lid . After two minutes when you take out the lid , the omelet would have  swelled and cooked in the steam. Take it out nicely and cut into small squares and let it cool . The pieces will be really thick and the mozzarella adds nice zing to the omelet. Now make a gravy of tomato and onions , with some curry powder , garam masala and your favorite spices. In india every home has their own recipe of curry powder which they will use in their curries. Once the curry starts boiling you put the omelet squares in the curry and let is simmer for two minutes.

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The curry is ready to be served with hot rotis or parathas. In my home it was served and enjoyed in a nice candle light. The rain and the mist added an extra zing to the dinner. And Mr Smiley made sure that we enjoyed this dinner with lots of laughter and love . It is always nice to bond with your family over food , food cooked with love not only satiates your hunger but your soul too. And not to forget the dinner was enjoyed to the last bit with  lot of adulation pouring from the hubby and parents. It made by day .. 🙂

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