Saturday, August 28, 2010

My version of Bharwan Karele ;)

Well, Pras loves his Karela. However, he loves them the south-indian way - with the skin not peeled and only the hard seeds removed, as a poriyal. I had other things on my mind when I picked up these tiny baby karelas from the store last week - yes, Bharwan Karela. ;)

I got home on Friday evening with plans of making this dish but had a customer feedback session by 6:30pm and I was sure that I would not be able to make the dish in time. Fortunately, Pras and I had a fight and we both went to bed hungry ;) Come Saturday morning and I was all set to make the dish.
It turned out real good that things were back to normal between Pras and me... So,here's how I made it :)

You will need :
Baby Karelas - 5 (preferrably soaked in salted water for a few hours)
Onions - 1 medium sized chopped finely
Tomatoes - 3 pureed
Garlic pods - 3 crushed
Garam masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil - 3 table spoons

For the stuffing :
Besan/Gram flour - 1 cup
Red chilli powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Onion - 1/2 finely chopped
Water - to bind into loose lumps
Salt to taste

Method :
1. Scrape the skin of the karelas. Slit the karelas lengthwise - make sure that you don't go all the way through. Scoop out the seeds et al. I discarded the peels as well as the insides. Some people suggest using them in the stuffing.
2. In a bowl mix all the ingredients for the stuffing. Add just enough water to bind the ingredients together till they resemble coarse bread crumbs
3. Fill the empty karelas with the prepared stuffing
4. Heat oil in a wide skillet. As the oil heats, add the crushed garlic pods and cumin seeds.
5. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the chopped onions and fry till they turn golden brown.
6. Throw the red chilli powder and fry for a minute.
7. Put in the tomato puree. Fry for 3-4 minutes. Add garam masala powder and salt to taste.
8. Place the stuffed karelas in this tomato chutney. Pour some water till the karelas are partially covered. Cover the vessel and cook on low heat. Every now and then, you can turn the karelas around to make sure that they are cooked evenly.
9. Garnish with coriander and serve with hot rotis.

I loved it and so did Pras. The karelas were a bit bitter but the sweetness of the besan and the sourness of the tomato chutney blended with it well.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Nuances of modern communication

I, being a fairly frank person, love modern communication methods. Email, texting as well as chats allow me to BE the frank ME. I have been able to put across a lot of my thoughts to my good friends through chat which I would not have been able to do, had I been facing them. It is really hard to be outright FRANK when I am face to face with a person. Up to a limit, I shall go but beyond that, I always prefer to use other means.
However, there are drawbacks too. Like, you can be misunderstood easily. The reader can also get the tone wrong though you never would've meant it. The reader can and will read in between the lines, which can not be clarified there and then, leaving a mark most of the time. And, the worst of them all, emails are living proof that "You Did Say It"!!!. When you talk face to face, there is no proof unless it has been recorded, of course.
The last two days have taught me a lesson to proof read my mails before I send them out and that I should never ever be brash in emails.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The big fat Sindhi wedding!

Well, as most of you do know, I studied in CIT, Coimbatore. During those 4 years, I stayed at my dad's youngest sister's place. She has two sons - Kunal and Dilip. When I heard that Kunal was getting married, I was like "So soon?".. Never occurred to me that I had got married a year ago and people around me are growing up. Anyways, Kunal's wedding was fixed for August 17th, 2010 to bubbly Deepika Punjabi. The mayhem was to start on 15th August, 2010.
Pras and I booked our tickets and then applied for leave. Sadly, Pras's leave was not immediately approved. Since he does not believe in lavish weddings, he did not try asking one more time. It did prick a bit but I was looking forward to the cocktail ring ceremony, with or without him ;)
Free hair cut:
I worked late till 1:30 am on Friday night, to try and show the device team engineer that the issue was actually on the device and the management software could not really solve it. However, was unsuccessful. On 14th, Saturday, I went to YLG salon in Frazer town for my scheduled free haircut. I had bought 2 bars of Galaxy chocolate, with which I got a coupon for a hair cut worth 350 rupees. However, though the haircut cost 600 odd rupees, it was all free :) We took the Lok manya express coming from Mumbai to Coimbatore. The train was FILTHY!! Ugh!! After ages I was travelling in sleeper class. As usual, I got adventurous and we got off at Peelamedu Railway Station. We then navigated our way to the closest bus stop, took a bus to Singanallur and then from there to Ramanathapuram, Sungam to freshen up at Venu chettan's place.
Venu Chettan's place:
It was nice to be at Venu Chettan's place for a few hours on the 15th. For the first time since my wedding, Chaitu and Mridu played with me. Chaitu has spoken to me before but this time it was really nice. I got to know both of them quite well. After a hearty breakfast and a tummy filling lunch, Pras and I left for Rajasthani Sangh in R S puram. My parents were put up there. I was expecting Guddu to be with them but alas, when I entered the room, it was Adi with them. Anyways, it has been long since I visited Ooty. I wanted to see my dad who has been suffering from gout since a few months. I am going to Ooty along with Vidya and Abu in September for FOUR full days :)
Cocktail party :
I wore the shoulderless/backless frock which Priya had gotten me when she left Chennai. Pras was part of a the cocktail party for an hour or so. He left totally irritated though - not really sure why. The cocktail party was at Jenny's Residency opposite CIT on Avinashi Road. The party started off with the exchange of rings and cutting of the cake. Following that, there were some dance performances - they seemed never ending.. I was yelling for them to stop so that I could have my fun. While waiting, Pras left and I had a drink - vodka+sprite. I had just gotten high and the dance floor was open to all. Attack!! There was one really tall guy - Abhishek - who kept trying to dance with me. I tried avoiding him by dancing with Guddu/Jhanu or jumping into some group but he never got the hint. ;) At one point, he took my phone and put it into his pocket so that we could dance with no interruptions... Ahem!! I snatched my phone from him as soon as I could and turned away. Got to the room at 1:30 am that night. Danced till the very end.
Day two - Mehndi and reliving the past:
I had planned that I will roam around CBE and go for Peepli Live. However, that never happened. People kept asking me about the guy I was dancing with - Abhishek - I said I had no idea. They told me to tell him that I was married and that he would not come near me ever again ;) I was asked to go for the Curry Chawal function to feed Deepika. I got to apply Mehndi there. I applied on one hand then. I came back and got mehndi applied on my other hand. Hence, I was not handicapped with wet mehndi on both hands at one time :) Smart eh? Sadly, not everyone was as lucky as I was. They all got to apply on only one hand. Hmm!! Talk about cost cutting!
Later that day, we had the "Tel" ceremony where we apply gingelly oil on the groom and tear all his clothes - like a new beginning for him.. Kunal was so despo to get it over with and meet Deepika that he sat silently while we all applied "COCONUT" oil on his head and make on his face umpteen times while his dad kept wiping it all away. They refused to give us gingelly oil!!Grrr!! My bro applied rotten tomatoes, egg, etc. on Kunal's head. When we began to tear his clothes, Kunal willingly removed his clothes and gave it to us :) Ha ha ha... Usually, the guy would wear many layers to save his shame but Kunal was ultimate. He had no issues with getting naked in front of all his relatives.
Had tea with Sid, Suraj and Mohan. Sid is the same guy who had once stayed at our place and had come out of the toilet with just a towel around his waist when I told him that a girl, Reshma, had come looking for him ;)
Post that, Suraj told me not to sleep but to join the guys to play cards. While waiting for the guys, I got to know Sonam. Sonam is Kailash's sister in law. She is so different from her sister Radhika/Sangita(we change the name of the girl once she gets married based on her husband's stars - fortunately, no such thing applied to me ;)). Finally, we played cards. It was like reliving the past when all of us cousins would play cards in Ooty during the summer vacation. Missed Jeetu a lot then. Wish he was with us. Wish Kanchan also was okay to have joined us while we played late at night. Slept at 3:30 am that day.
The finale :
While waiting for the "baaraat" at Rajasthani Sangh, I once again bumped into Abhishek. I then told him that I was married and that I work for HP. He was stunned. He felt that I was may be in the 10th or 12th and in college maximum. He was a friend of Deepika's and he was from Andhra. He had scored 98 percent in his CA exam (I think) and was currently working for ICA in Coimbatore. Once again the dancing in the baaraat with Sid and Suraj while Mohan was busy pressing the right button in the toilet.
Post that, I was off to decorate.. umm.. spoil Kunal's room for the night. Could not do much as I had to rush back as my in-laws had reached. When I got back, I went shopping for new clothes with my in-laws. Bought a new salwar set as it has been ages since I bought myself one. Wore a saree for the reception. Many people were like "from a tomboy to a pretty butterfly" :)

I will miss these 3 days. It is good it was not longer as it may have turned sour. I will also definitely miss the "JEALOUS" people who went "most people put on weight post marriage but you still so slim"..... ;) I just wish I got to tell them that!! Ha ha ha

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I just love cooking. It is so relaxing, especially when you know what you want to cook and have all the ingredients handy. However, I am always in a dilemma. I have so many recipes that I want to try out and taste. I miss home so much. My mom is a fantastic cook who makes loads of variety. Hence, I am used to all cuisines. Cooking is my way of reliving my days at home and eating yummy food. Further, after a stressful day at work, when the food is tasty and yummy, the results are well worth it and the day is all fruitful :)
A few weeks back, I met up with Compromise and Namroos. I follow Namroos's blog like crazy. All her north Indian recipes are so much like how my mom makes them. is her blog - check it out.
Pras gets really irritated when he sees me browsing for new recipes or watching cookery shows on television. How mean!! Does he not enjoy the yummy food I cook? Hmm..
The other day I was chatting with Ambareen and she was talking about different variety rice recipes. I thought to myself, "When was the last time I thought of making variety rice? It has been ages since I made the plain tomato rice and potato fry". I always end up trying so many different things that it is a looong time before I try out the same recipe. However, a skinny south Indian meal is a standard once a week as Pras loves his rice, being a mallu.
Tonight I am gonna cook up the tomato rice and potato fry as we have run dry of veggies. No matter how much I buy never seems to be enough these days. Two reasons : Pras works from home and secondly, I keep trying out different recipes that sometimes I cook two dishes for a meal. Fortunately, super markets these days have so much variety, that one does not have to run around to take a grab at ingredients.
I however do miss baking and dessert making. I remember making all these yummy desserts when I was at home. Mom, Meema or Susheela would do the regular cooking and I would do the desserts - rock cheese cake, black forest cake, etc.. I also remember trying out exotic dishes which would require hours in the kitchen like the boats recipe - half cook the potato, scrape out the centre and then bake them, following which you stuff the centre with some filling and what not. I really don't think I have that much time and energy to try out those things these days. I would love to but for now I will have to make do with the jhat pat khana which is not bad in any way.