Food is memories

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I had made rava upma the other day. While S loves it with pickle or chutney, his favorite indulgence is to have it with a sprinkle of sugar on top. That’s exactly how his grandmother used to eat it and all his siblings still follow her food combination, unconsciously.

Just like how thayir sadam always makes me want mavadu or dried narthangai – its a memory now but it filled my childhood days mainly because of patti doing such things. She loved her pazhaiya sadam (yesterday’s rice soaked in water so that it ferments overnight) with one watery buttermilk and narthangai or maavadu…sigh…am drooling while typing this.

Similarly, rava dosa kindles in me the comfort of a mother’s hug – my mom does it the best! Also, milagu poricha kuzhambu, milagu kuzhambu, arachuvitta sambar…sigh…endless !

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S will surely go for an extra helping if it’s his mother’s recipe for masala kuzhambu, parval fry, pagarakai nool katti fry (bitter gourd stuffed and tied with a thread and fried)! Not to mention her amazing dal poori – that’s something to drool for !

The other day, my brother wanted the recipe for thakalikai kootu, just as our Amma makes…see – childhood footprints playing again !

And when we grow up with such yummy foods, which related to our taste buds, its a hard thing to let go of it.  We might relish a pizza or a burger or a North Indian kulcha, but the food we grew up with has a special place in our heart, ok…the tongue and the taste buds !

The other day, my elder one was drooling for thavala adai and thengai chutney, while she gets awesome rotis and dals.  And when I made poori yesterday, the younger one was drooling for it. Even though they get awesome food wherever they are, sometimes the simplest of upma or dal will rekindle their memory and they’ll feel like coming home.

That’s where the root is formed and it needs to be simple and strong !

That’s why brought up is very important – both for cultivating food habits and moral habits too !

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So, what childhood food memory are you thinking now – to enjoy over the weekend ?


Picture courtesy – Google

Day 4 – When laughter came to meet me :)

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For this November blogging, I made this decision to write about the goodness around me. But then what about the goodness that happens to me? 😉 I feel a strong urge, almost equivalent to thrill, to share this here.

Yesterday, was a day to remember when my home was filled with laughter and non-stop chatter for nearly 4 hours, when I listened and listened and smiled and laughed along with her. Yes…am talking about the awesomely lovely Pinoo with her impeccable laughter!

When she called to say that she’s coming, the first question I asked was “What do you want to eat at  home?” And she was like “How about Rava dosa?” – she just knows the way to my heart.

But then yday, she went suddenly like “Can you give me Sambar rice?” How can I refuse a request for food?! Made capsicum sambar and loved watching her love my food…its a special moment for me.

As we all say we never felt like we’re meeting for the first time…it happens with us bloggers always 🙂

I hugged her tight like I do to my girls even though she kept saying that she’s sweating…ha ha…who doesn’t sweat in this hot city Chennai 😀

A memorable yesterday and a feeling good me !

Microblog Mondays – A perfect breakfast

The alarm rings
But I switch it off
And then doze off
To be woken up by a feeling
Of being late
Sigh
Some Mondays begin this way !

Then I hurry
In between sips of coffee
To cook
Plan out things for the day
So that nothing is forgotten !

And when this is what I get
After rushed moments
In the hot kitchen
The smile blossoms
Just like a flower
Its a happy soul
That sees the perfect idly
Soft too
With jackfruit seeds sambar
And Podi
Its a match made in heaven !

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WOW !!
What a great beginning to this week
And to this day too !


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My kitchenology

There is this paal pathiram
And of course the vaal pathiram
The rice goes in the pottu pathiram
Sambar in kuzhambu pathiram…

Kuzhivu pathiram is for keerai masiyal
Which goes with vetha kuzhambu, always loyal…
The kuzhivu helps the wooden mathu to mash
So that the combination is one of royal.

We even had a abhisheka pathiram
And a thenga thiruval muram.

The Aappam chatti
The Iluppachatti
And the kal chatti.
Not to forget the Appakarai
To make the delicious sweet bombs
Called the Appams !
Idly paanai
Arisi paanai
Thanni sombu
Eeya sombu
Ennai sombu
And the puja special pithalai sombu !

Separate are the plates to eat
And are never mixed with the rest of the fleet.

It can be Non-stick or made of Iron
But Dosa tawas are treated as kitchen scion
For it’s the perfect dosa spread
That many people tire in dread
Which can make a Super-Chef out of an ordinary person !

We do have a few more rules
Of tea spoons, dinner spoons and other kitchen tools
Wooden spatulas and their steel angles
Not to forget the baking chronicles!!
Then there are the bottles and candles
And the recipes to handle…
Being in a kitchen humbles
As even an expert can fumble.

Every pathiram has a job to do
And they hold onto it like glue
The jobs don’t get interchanged
It’s a rule of my kitchen game.

I believe that there is methodology
In my kitchenology 😀

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Pathiram – Vessel

Paal – Milk

Vaal – The vessel with the handle

Pottu – Dots – The vessel with a dotted design all around it

Kuzhambu – Sambar and stuff similar to it

Kuzhivu – Curved at the base

Keerai – Greens similar to palak

Masiyal – Name of the keerai dish – just cook keerai with jeera, mash well with a spoon of rice flour, add salt and do a tadka of mustard seeds and red chillies – basic and delicious.

Mathu – Masher

Abhishekam – Its the bathing ritual for God. We had a separate vessel to hold the water for God and we never used it for any other purpose.

Thengai thiruval muram – Coconut scraping plate

Aappam chatti – The kadai to make Aappam – the hemisphere like rice pancakes
Iluppachatti – Kadai
Idly paanai – The vessel meant for steaming idlies
Arisi paanai – The vessel to store rice
Thanni sombu – The pot to store water and drink from it too…small and handy
Eeya sombu – The special pot made out of tin alloy for making rasam which smells like heaven…seriously.
Ennai sombu – The pot for storing oil.
Pithalai sombu – The brass pot used in puja.

Dosa tales :D

It’s a matter of pride for me.  The dosa I make is always crispy, the perfect golden brown and the concentric circles look very appetizing. I take time to temper my tawa to the right temperature and always maintain a consistent temperature while spreading the batter. And I feel like a scientist when I talk about how the high and low temperatures affect the texture and crispness of the dosa.  Also when someone tries to make dosa using my tawa and they don’t get it right, I have this feeling of proud ownership, where my tawa listens only to me. And the next moment, in front of their eyes, I make a fabulous dosa in my tawa – it’s all about the correct temperature, you see 😉

From the time I started making the dosa batter, its been a learning curve. The proportion of rice to urid dal, the coarseness of the ground rice, the amount of fermentation everything plays a major role in getting that perfect dosa.  And I’ve experimented and learnt on the way.

When I was in Grade 8, my thatha gave me the test of making dosa. I’ve already written about it many times but that exhilarating feeling of making a perfect dosa the first time and the nod of appreciation from my maternal grandfather, is just too good to pass by without mentioning.  And I’ve graduated well from that day in Grade 8 to an expert on making dosa.  Give me any variant, I’m all for it – Rava dosa, Masala dosa, Wheat dosa, Ragi dosa and even the jaggery variant.  With coconut chutney, sambar and milagai podi, its a match made in heaven ! Of course the sweet variants need pickle 😀

I’ve always admired my amma’s dosa making skills. That perfectly round dosa has taken me to heavenly bliss when I used to come back from work, tired and drained. Her rava dosas are a class apart. She actually sits on the kitchen top during the rava dosa sessions as it always takes a hell a lot of time. And I’ve always dreamed of making rava dosas like her. Now…when she appreciates my rava dosa skills, it’s a moment to behold and smile at the perfect transfer of genes pertaining to dosa.

I had the most amazing iron dosa tawa which was a fabulous gift from my amma during my wedding. But, I’ve switched to non-stick pans owing to my tennis elbow problem. The use of iron tawa needs a bit of effort and my strained muscles used to hurt a lot and then I switched to non-stick pans. And I keep changing the pans quite often for that perfect outcome of dosa.

That reminds me the reason for this post. I realized this morning that my dosa tawa needs to be replaced and I’m going to buy a new one. Sigh…more crispy dosas await everyone at home 🙂

Day 25 – Stories the pictures say…

24 days of blogging continuously !! WOW, I am surely giving a huge pat to myself !! And I hope I’ve not gone too much into the gyaan side and all 😉

All those new mothers out there, who are documenting every moment of their little one’s life in their blog – I envy you all. I didn’t think of documenting it in my little diary years back neither did I know about blogs and all that time. And even when I started blogging, I never wrote about day-to-day happenings with my girls…sigh !  Anyway, I’m trying my level best to remember all those little things from my memory and have them recorded here in this blog of mine.

The elder one always used to play with vessels and be in the kitchen with me. Even now, if I’m making dosa for her, she’ll come and sit in the kitchen, talk to me and eat there itself. She feels happy in the kitchen, just how Nigella says 😀  And so perfectly, she has chosen her profession to be a Chef !

The younger one, aaahhhh, I remember that her cousins used to call her as “Advisor”, as she is always at it – advising others on what to do and how to do.  As she keeps learning the right way of doing things from me, I can see her imparting that knowledge to others, even while playing. Many a times, that has been her complaint too – that other school kids are hesitant to play with her because she is always telling them what is right and what is not.  And now rightly, she has chosen to study human behaviour and stuff and want to become a “Counsellor” – How apt !!

There are things from your childhood which follows you always….we just need to look for the signs.

And when I was looking at some old pictures from the album, there were some photos which told a whole story…

There is a picture of the elder one on an elephant and recently I had written about her love for elephants – that’s such a cute picture.

The girls learning to swim and with their new swimming costume – damn cute I say !

All the funny faces the little one makes during picture clicking – she’s adorable with her glasses, which always tends to fall to the tip of the nose and her peeping tom eyes through that gap…sigh…do I miss those little girl days !!

Like the time in the cable car, how scared the girls were initially. But a little later, they both enjoyed the whole ride.

How wonderful it was to see them doing the rides and playing the silly bike games just because they have to follow suit their cousin brother!

And how the girls endlessly wore only shorts or pants, to copy their cousin brother – he was the super hero for them !  He even formed a group called “Extreme team” with all this little girl sisters and issued membership cards and all – super cute, I say 😀

How wonderful it was to see the elder one ride the cycle without supporting wheels and when she realized that she has done it on her own and her dad was not holding the cycle, she was super thrilled with her riding skills.

While my elder one is too good with drawing, painting, arts and making hand-made things, the younger one can’t draw a straight line using a scale.  But she is too good with music and a natural drummer too.

And how the picture of beach and waves made me smile at the fun times we had getting wet in the beach !

How the elder one started clicking pictures on her own and some of her pictures are too good for their lighting effects and angle. The flowers she clicks are too good, I say ! And the B&W ones too. And her subject for Food photography has helped her understand more intricate things to do with lighting and how that affects the outcome of the picture.  Its interesting, how I’m learning a lot of things from them.

Month of ramblings

Day 1 : My Paneer Kutti

So, this sweet friend of mine, Shail has been doing this February – a Month  of Ramblings.

In my sincere effort to kindle my blog and hence my brain, I’m taking this mammoth step in writing a few lines every day.

Hope you enjoy the ramblings 😀

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Motherhood has always surprised me. And every phase my daughters go through, I also go through them and we evolve and our bonding grows better !

Interesting anecdotes which I remember will feature here and what we, as mother and daughters, learned from it or rather enjoyed the whole episode in our life.

This happened when my younger one was about 3 years old, when we shifted from Chennai to Trichy.   She was all fine in Chennai, but the moment we shifted to Trichy, she developed sudden allergy to the milk available there. Every day morning will be a great ritual of giving her the milk and she will start vomiting it all over the hall. The vomiting will make her cry as her throat used to irritate her a lot. And I’ll feel bad about making her cry in the morning.

And so she refused to try paneer, when she came to know that its made from milk.

It took me six long months to find the milk which suited her and thereafter it has been a hitch-free milk journey…ha ha 😀

Today, paneer is her most favorite food and she loves it in various forms. Sometimes, she’s glad that I found the right milk which suited her, so that she was able to eat paneer too without any fear.

Whenever I see paneer in the supermarket, I think of my little one and her humorous introduction to paneer 🙂

Month of ramblings