Rava Dosa

With having written 2 posts for P and Q, I feel rather at a loss of vocabulary…too dramatic! Yeah 😀 So, here comes a food post – the easiest I could do to keep up with the #atozchallenge.

These days I am looking at everything from a different perspective – understanding what makes certain things work and what does not!

The simple art of making Rava dosa is not so simple anymore; I will tell you why!

First, the batter consistency is very important. Too thick batter, it won’t spread on the Tawa and the dosa will be thick and not crisp. Too thin, it will tear when we try to flip the dosa.

The second is the temperature of the Tawa. If it is smoking hot, the batter will be stuck to one part of the Tawa. And the very low temperature will not give the nice holes in the dosa.

Third, the rice flour used for the batter should be processed rice flour for better results. Also, the flour should be very finely ground. Coarse flours are a big no-no for this dosa.

Fourth, the batter should soak in for a minimum of 2 hours for good crispy dosa.

Fifth, mix the batter well before pouring on the Tawa – each and every time.

Also, it is better to use a flat Tawa than a convex Tawa. You can control the flow of batter.

The recipe I use is my amma’s authentic one 1:1:1 of processed rice flour:Rava: maida. Add salt and mix well. Make a runny batter – not too thick or thin. Add jeera, finely chopped green chilies, curry leaves, and coriander.

Let it rest / soak in for 2 hours at least.

Then it’s time to make yummy Rava dosa.

The best side dish is Idly Milagai Podi and spicy coconut chutney!

Another option is to make Ragi Rava Dosa. Instead of 1 cup of rice flour, add half cup rice flour and half cup Ragi flour. Everything else remains the same and we get delicious Ragi Rava Dosa.

You can add finely chopped onions to the batter to make Onion Rava or Onion Ragi Rava Dosa. Unlimited options are available when we use those tastebuds effectively!

So, do you make rava dosa?😀

And if there is anything different you do, pls share with me.

Quick to Quiet

I can’t believe this myself. I couldn’t think of a word in Q about which I wanted to write. I went and googled some words that start with Q. I stopped at Quintessential, then at Quesadilla, and pondered a lot on Quixotic! Haha 😀

I was Quick to ask for Google’s help but some Quiet time gave me something to write.

I used to be this person Quick to judge others, label them – mainly on doing things to perfect as I had this humungous notion that I am the one who is perfect always! Quietening my inner thoughts and perceptions have led to clarity – no one can be perfect and there is no such concept.

From “jumping to Quick conclusions” to “take-your-time to decide Quiet me“, I have journeyed well.

All the Quick thoughts, Quick actions, Quick cooking, and Quick decisions were becoming more stressful. I was creating stress for myself. Have you heard of this? – Ellu na ennaya irukkanum – which translates to – even before I say sesame seed, the sesame seed oil should be ready! Ugh! I was brought up to be like that and sometimes I expected everyone to be like that! What high levels of stress that thought can create!

Now, it is all about Quiet moments by the plants, Quiet moments to enjoy the tea, Quiet moments with my thoughts and my breath, Quietening myself to observe, Quieter cooking moments – like doing one dish/task at a time! I feel the enjoyment in those Quiet moments!

Priority

I missed writing for 2 days. And I sit with the letter P, this is the word that comes to my mind. There were other priorities that kept me away from writing.

Now, writing is great therapy for me and I love to babble here, in this space about all that is going on inside my head. But there are times when this becomes like a huge commitment to write every day and the thing is there is a built-up of guilt when I skip writing.

This time I was clear about my priorities and I also decided to be flexible about it. The same writing cannot be held at the highest priority all throughout the month.

So, one day became magical with laughter, good food, and great company when I spent it with my friends. Even after coming back home, I was dwelling there, relishing the funny moments, the laughter, the comfort zone among the group of friends! Sigh! I allowed myself to soak in that moment of magic with friends! I prioritized my friends that day!

And the next day, I gave priority to procrastinating! Haha 😀 Yeah…I did! I just let myself be carried away with what happened in the day and never gave a thought to writing.

I felt exalted! While I felt very powerful expressing myself in words, I felt more powerful procrastinating (the writing) – I hope someone out there would get this feeling! For a person like me, this is like being wild. And I enjoyed the day with myself! My husband was home early and I talked a lot and allowed him to comfort me! Sometimes I find myself very strong and being comforted by another person makes me feel less confident. Yesterday, felt different. There was love in that comfort and I soaked in it. I embraced it with both hands.

I loved the way how the day changed to comfort and love when I changed priorities inside my head. I felt a beautiful lesson bloom there for me!

Orange



I have always liked black – eternal favourite. The other colors come and go in the favorite spectrum as I surge through the different phases of my life.


When I got engaged, I was told in clear terms that the favorite color cannot be put forth for buying wedding related stuff. Black was a big no no!


Then I had to choose my next favorite color and it was rust orange. I bought a sari in that color with a bottle green border and that sari was my favourite for a long time.

I loved the orange colored kanakambaram flowers that everyday I used to get it and decorate my hair. I also loved the jasmine and kanakambaram mixed sets to wear on my hair. I never bothered about how I looked in such bright colored clothes and flowers. I just wore them because I liked them.


I was pleasantly surprised to receive saris in orange from everyone, as gift. Now what to expect when I went blah blah about orange! Some were with zari work and some with thread work. And I continued to dazzle in orange!


Then there was a long break from wearing orange. I chose the comfort of pants, kurtis as I became a mom who was constantly moving. I went to my eternal black!

Recently I wore one of those orange saris for a function. I saw myself in the mirror and laughed out loud🤣 I looked like a walking Fanta bottle! I just don’t know bow I fell in love with that color and wore it with such elan!

No – Nothing



“No post today” – I told myself yesterday on the day allotted for N. For the first time in my life, I just didn’t do something I committed myself to. I let go of the idea to write!


I have heard many times that NO is a powerful statement. But for me, more than the NO, the acceptance of what comes when I say NO is the powerful thing.


When I committed to this A to Z challenge,  I mentally made a promise to myself that I will try my best to write on all days of April except Sundays. So when I didn’t write on a Saturday, I first struggled to handle the disappointment that I gave myself. It may lead to guilt, self-pity, inability to do things which I like doing – it is a vicious cycle.


Yesterday, no such thing happened. My self-love was so strong that I felt I have conquered my biggest fear – the guilt of not able to do things. I slept the whole afternoon and spent the whole evening with family. Never once did the thought of not written for the day came into the picture. Am so very happy about it.


By saying a NO to a simple task of writing, I moved from a space filled with “do this” “do that” to a space called “nothing to do”. That felt very powerful for me.

Mandala Magic

Everytime I draw a mandala, the feeling is magical – the way the strokes and patterns form and create something amazing!
Everytime there is this feeling of “Omg! How did I even draw this?”



This feeling of magic is inspiring too – nudges me to try more patterns! For example, now I feel comfortable with the paisley and I feel the flow of that pattern has become smooth and I am not struggling with the curves.



I have used metallic acrylic paints for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed the brush strokes!



Ok ok…let me come to this one.
This mandala with the six pointed star (also called #starofdavid) represents the unity of Shiva (masculine) and Shakti (feminine). To witness this unity among the backdrop of the Universe and the Milky way is magical!


The phases of the moon around this mandala is just the thing that helps us to understand that everything is cyclical in this Universe. What wanes will grow! What goes up will come down! I actually feel that women have better idea of things happening in a cycle as we go through the cycles of menstruation.



I just love how everything is interconnected in this Universe and created with such precision!


Picture clicked with our beautiful plants by my daughter ❤

Longing – Learning – Letting go – Love

Everyday I sit to practice pranayama – gently working on the inhale and the exhale. First making the exhale long and subtle. And then holding the breath after exhale. This helped me to relax a lot! I was Learning a lot about my breath as I practiced everyday.

Some days, I tried to work on the inhale and may be hold after inhale. I felt energetic the whole day.

As I worked on the inhales and exhales, one thing became clear – the body has tremendous confidence of the next breath coming inside. It just holds a small volume deep inside the lungs and allows the breath to let go! Go breath go – that moment of exhale is too important that you cannot stop noticing it. What assurance do I have of the next inhale? Nothing. Anything can happen or all can be well. But the body knows. Letting go is the best option. Holding it inside is more suffocating. As I type these words, I feel enlightened! Really! Have you wondered about breath like this?

Same holds good for emotions, food, water – anything that goes inside the body needs to be let out. The body cannot hold it all for its suffocating to hold.

I have realised that the beauty of Love is also to let go! When there is so much love for one person, we sometimes try to hold them close and never let them go out of sight. It is like the love is the leash that keeps them connected to us. This is suffocating too. I learned that love needs to be free and giving – not to be held inside but let out in words, expressions, in letting the other person be their own, in not using it to change the other person! And I feel that I am in a space of love and enjoy being in that space!

Being conditioned in that restricting kind of love all these years, it is a struggle many times – to feel the love even when the other person is in no mood to receive it.

There is Longing inside to Love better…
Am Learning everyday to Love better…
The Letting go is helping me to Love better…

Thank you for lingering till the end of this post!

Kinder by 1%

I try to begin my day with an intention like this – let me be 1% kinder than yesterday! Easier said than done – this is a lot of effort but worth every moment of it!

This happened recently – I came across an artificial jewelry seller on Instagram, as I love these big chunky pieces of jewelry esp the jhumkas. I contacted her and ordered first. And I was very happy with the service that I have been buying regularly from her. Recently, I ordered a necklace to send as a gift to this person L. I received it neatly packed and without even opening it to check (my trust in the seller being the reason), sent the gift across to L. It was received well and then I came to know the link chain with the hook was missing from the necklace. I contacted the seller – before she replied to my text, I was drowning in my own thoughts – is it wrong to trust that seller? – why didn’t I check it completely before sending it across? – This has never happened before…why now?

Then I stopped thinking about this and went to do some yoga. I distracted myself from it and did chanting as I did yogasana.

I got a reply from the seller stating that she had sent the link chain separately and she asked me to check the cover. I hid my face under the table. Thinking that clutter-free is the norm, I had thrown away that cover without checking the contents on the same day itself.

I sat and thought about the whole thing. I can either be critical of my actions or keep sulking all day long. I can direct all this to the seller and tell her to take the blame for this incident. But both options will not solve the need – to deliver the link chain to the person who needs it.

I decided to be 1% kinder to myself than yesterday. This was an important moment – the changeover happened at that moment.

So I sent a message to L, accepting that there has been a mistake and I will send the link chain soon. She was quite OK with it. I suddenly realized how simple this turned out to be than breaking my head over the fact that I needed to be the perfect human being doing everything perfectly, according to my standards.

And like this and in many small ways, the practice of kindness is slowly and gently becoming a part of my life.

There is this sense of kindness to my body – listening to it groan, rumble, creak and tries to tell me something. This was my first step. The second part that I committed to do was to be kind with my breath, to watch it and allow it be and then slowly bringing in the nudge to do better. This kindness towards myself is something that keeps me going day after day with a sense of joy and appreciation.

To all the people who come across my path and whose path is not clear to me, let me be 1% kinder than yesterday.

To my husband who carries all the stress and anxiety into the home from his workplace, let me be 1% kinder to him than yesterday.

To my daughters who are caught up in their web of careers and friends, let me be 1% kinder to them than yesterday.

To those people who are dear to me and who have their own life to live and sometimes miss texting or calling back, let me be 1% kinder than yesterday.

It also instills inside me a deep sense to draw boundaries so that I can be kind to myself first. And then, from within those boundaries, I am trying my best to practice this “1% kinder than yesterday”!

Joyful

Now this word kept doing the rounds in my mind since yesterday but I certainly didn’t decide on what joyful experience I wanted to write about.

The Universe always presents solutions when we look for them. I found my muse in my friend’s story! This friend of mine is off to a trip with her colleagues.

That took me back to my school days. It was my one and only excursion when I was in school. I had gone on visits to the Bharat Scouts Camping Site many times where we learned things to be self-sufficient, took part in other scouting activities, and finally earned my President’s Guide Award. Maybe some of the skills are helpful, especially the one where we break the ice and talk to new people. I am digressing.

Now, coming back to the excursion – I don’t have many great memories of the trip and what we did but it was a joyful time. I remember wearing a long Kurti with long side slits and legging kind of pants! The long Kurti and the legging were a first for me. It was also a first for me when I didn’t wear the dupatta that we always wore to cover up and I felt kind of liberated. I had never worn that kind of dress before and I felt excited and dressed up for the excursion. We went to Mahabalipuram, as all the people planning an excursion in Chennai did in those days. Since it was the 10th standard, many of us were planning to change school the next year and hence this was a special moment for all of us to be together. I remember the joy of a 15-year-old girl who was excited to be away from the family for a few hours, with her friends and enjoy it all!

There have been other joyous moments – relishing the pista cake from Adyar Bakery and always choosing the pista flavor after asking about the availability of other flavors – visiting the library near Kodambakkam railway station along with my friend and sharing books between us – every moment spent sitting in the bus was devoted to reading all the books – the joy of reading Asterix and Obelix, Tintin, thanks to one amazing friend – walking on the sands of the beach and occasionally venturing into the water with corn cooked on coals – making train trails on the sands of the beach by sitting in vajrasana and moving by gently shaking the bum (it is tremendous fun :D) – walking in the rain by refusing to carry the umbrella (you see, carrying the umbrella will jinx the rains 😉 ) – just thinking with the search word “joy” brings in so many entries. Am feeling it in my bones now!

I would like to share this video which is a joy shared through dancing…

Feel joyful from inside!

Instagram

Actually I was thinking of Influence for I. And then it stuck me Instagram…ha ha…the influence I wanted to talk about!

I have written this many times before but putting on record again- I have found some of the amazing souls here, in the virtual world – Facebook, Instagram!

I have always found people here who help me to embrace the changing me. When I started learning about yoga and started practicing it, I found people who were on a similar journey like mine. I was able to connect and learn more.

When the mandala art intrigued me, I found an amazing set of people who share with me the artistic passion.

I always found people who are crazy about nature, who share pictures of skies, trees, plants, flowers, fruits, sea, waves, sand, mountains, snow, flowing rivers and just everything they appreciate in nature.

When I started my account in Instagram, Facebook helped in the setup and followed all the food accounts I was following in Facebook. I used to cook like crazy in those days, made so many lunch box ideas, baked almost every week, wrote a tambram cookbook which is still in drafts and it was always everything about food. The reason behind this food fetish was my motherly love for my daughters. I wanted to cook delicious food for them, all the time.

Slowly, the daughters went their own way to college and work and I just didn’t know to cook less or not cook at all! Menopause happened and then that changed a lot of things in my life. I stopped cooking like crazy and allowed my body to rest. I unfollowed all food accounts. I started following those accounts which felt good for my mental space.

I found amazing people behind those accounts and I have made good friends over these years.

While many people may wonder at influence of Instagram as “a not so positive one” – the one in which all the time is lost by unnecessary scrolling and random following, I find it an enriching experience where I have met amazing people, people who have inspired me, and people who are like-minded like me sharing similar passions!

The app is an app…what we make out of it is what we are looking for in it. Right?