Showing posts from February, 2012

How to fry brinjal with minimum oil

Most Indians love to make some type of baingain (brinjal/aubergine) fry or the other. The preparation differs from region to region. However, as we become more calorie-conscious, we worry about eating delicious food and how to balance the amount of oil that is used to make them. According to Mallika Basu, author of the very popular, enticing cookbook, Miss Masala, here's an easy, healthy and effective tip to keep in mind:

"The trick to frying aubergines quickly and with minimum oil is to soak them in cold salted water beforehand. This prevents them from absorbing all oil in the pan and lying around uselessly for ages, refusing to cook."

Grab a copy of Mallika Basu's Miss Masala - Real Indian Cooking for Busy Living - that is full of peppy recipes that are easy to make, tasty to eat and has healthy tips for cooking too. I love the way she writers her recipes, it's like reading your best friend's confessions. Once you try out her recipes, you will have guests ask…

How to make Creamy Garlic Potatoes

Here's another yummy, easy-to-make recipe I've got from Good Food magazine. It is from a French-born chef and well known cookery writer, Richard Bertinet. I've tried it and now its fast becoming a yummy habit, especially for my fussy son who loves this dish and demands it now as a matter of right. Kids will love this and so will grown-ups.

Here's how to get started while making creamy garlic potatoes:

Enough potatoes to fill your tummy (cut in squares)
5 to 6 garlic cloves
Few drops of oil (i used peanut oil for this recipe)
Double cream 200 ml

Method: Heat the oil in a heavy pan, tip in the potatoes and let it get coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper. When all the potatoes are well coated with oil and you see them becoming sticky as they release starch into the pan, add the garlic and enough cream to just cover the potatoes like a warm layer. Take the pan off, check your seasoning. Tip the potatoes into the oven-proof dish.

Keep your oven-proof dish on a baking …

How to make Apple Berry Crumble

As a regular reader of GoodFood magazine, I picked up a simple recipe that I found to indulge my 'sweet' senses. It's really easy to make and its delicious. 
Here's the tweaked recipe:

6 red apples (finely chopped)
4-5 strawberries (cut into thin round pieces and then sliced into tinier pieces)
2 cinnamon sticks (broken)
5 tbsp sugar
1/2 an orange
75 gm butter
50 gm plain flour
50 gm oats

Method: Tip the chopped apple pieces into a bowl with sugar and cinnamon sticks. Squeeze the juice of half an orange and add to this bowl. Add the strawberries and mix well. Tip this fruit mixture into a baking dish. Pat it down. Chop three quarters of butter into small pieces and put it in the bowl with the flour. Make sure your hands are very clean because you have to use your fingers to mix the butter into the flour smoothly. Make it as soft as possible. So, knead it well. Stir in the oats and sprinkle it on top of the apple fruit mixture in the baking dish.

Dot the rest of the butter over th…

How to run without letting your enemy catch up with you

I have not read a book by Thomas Perry before but I picked 'Runner' up because the plot excited me. It was about a fiercely independent Native American guide called Jane Whitefield who has an unusual profession. She helps people run to places so that they can disappear from their identity forever. The book, besides being a stunning, gripping thriller, also serves as a fantastic guide to be ahead of one's enemies in every way possible  way. The story takes off when Jane finds herself helping a pregnant girl to run and escape from a bunch of hired hunters who are out to kill her. The girl is young and Jane keeps giving her tips on how to be ahead of the enemies once she's alone. Here are some tips that I liked and thought I'd share with you:  1. Don't want to be noticed by enemies? Look for signs that a place is safe before you even turn off your engine. Leave your car where its less conspicuous. 2. Do what it takes to defend yourself. A gallon of coffee won'…

How optimistic/pessimistic are you?

One of my friends on Twitter and now Facebook, Jeena R Papaadi put an update on Facebook stating, "Optimism is like a spoilt child, who shoves food away when we try to spoon-feed it, remains defiant and refuses to grow despite our best efforts. Pessimism, on the other hand, is well-nourished, takes care of itself and grows at the speed of light."
All my life, I've been an optimist even in the most trying circumstances. I've developed it as an armor against all the struggles, tests and trials of life at every point. While I believe it has helped me grow, Jeena's point interested me that pessimism is well-nourished, takes care of itself and grows at the speed of life.
Another friend Shalini Puthiyedam stated in response, "Okies...coz I think this failing to say "I can" is a problem with perfectionists. :) Always tend to feel it is not the best result. So many a time I feel it is more perfectionism than pessimism that impedes progress."
That perspec…

Cultural Performance of Bal Vikas children from Australia

In January 2012, a group of Bal Vikas children from Australia made a beautiful cultural presentation in Prashanti Nilayam. They explore the similarities between the beliefs of the aboriginals and the Vedic culture. 
In aboriginal cultures, every atom of life is the essence of God. Their dreaming philosophy is identical to our Vedic culture. That came as a new learning for me.
If you are interested to see the entire presentation here from the Bal Vikas children, please visit:

Start of the Day: Take pride in your language

Dunno why but at the start of the day, a quote of Jawaharlal Nehru sprung to mind, "The only way for a people to grow, for their children to learn is through their own language."

Last year, while I was traveling in Kochi with my sister, the driver who was taking us told me, "I heard you and your sister studied outside Kerala most of the years. But you both speak our language beautifully better than most people here. How do you do that?"

I said that my parents insisted we learn to speak, read and write Malayalam wherever we were. That's as simple and effective as it gets.

Start of the Day: Do our kids know their own roots?
Today, our kids learn the names of plants, trees, rhymes and everything from other countries more than their own. Gradually, it is from the home or sometimes from dedicated teachers they learn about their own local facts. For example, our kids know about trees, birds, plants in other countries more than what is in their own backyard. 

Start of the …