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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Independence Day celebrations have come of age I think. Today's kids are not psyched up to get up early and rush to school on this day to queue up in files and do the march past for the school Principal and some esteemed guests for the occasion. They are pretty cooool about these days and do not feel 'pride' in being the chosen one for the independence day.

In such an age of indifference, and lack of sensitivity, my teenage boy R is still sensitive to a large extent and is sensitised about all these issues(What else can he do since Mom is always working on too many projects that require to sensitise masses etc etc...)

Since we are stuck at home today by choice, and have loads of home work, assignments, unit tests to take care of, unanimously decided to celebrate by staying @ home only.

But, in all Bong homes, holidays and celebrations always culminate into good food. We could not be any different. As always my chef guru Sanjeev Kapoor's E newsletter gave the final idea to differentiate.

Why not try and find menu options with tricolor touch to brighten up the damp day.

Its breakfast time...

The Teenage Prince found the attempt interesting. So how can Mama be far behind.... Utthapams with tomato, onion, capsicum and green chillis.... made yummy breakfast for a not so conventional holiday.

While the day grew, I am well inspired by Sanjeev Kapoor's latest newsletter. Search is on to serve a tricolor meal for lunch.

A simple Panchratan pulao, Fish Kaalia and a tricolor fresh salad.... the outcome was pretty appetizing.



The afternoon was different... it was turn of Mother Nature to celebrate. A huge spell of shower and lightning, made my day. The view from my balcony was awsome and so, out came my camera once again.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Washing one's dirty linen in Public ad space

Ask Lalita ji..... or, say my Mom, Grand Mom or any one from your family. Th quest for the detergent that washes the best and costs the least is never-ending. In my childhood, many housewives( no one thought of calling them Home-makers, then)like my Mom used to feel proud of their choice. The battle therefore very much there... Surf vs Det vs Rin and so on

The pride in making the right and of course the wisest choice in detergent came with iconised with Lalitaji. Armed with expansion of the TV footprint in Indian homes, Lalita ji's charisma was unmatched for years.

Years passed by, with globalisation, Indian households started using and patronising the global giant brands, Ariel, Henko, Tide, Surf and their endless variants.

Today's home-maker is no longer proud of her choice. In fact she no longer cares. She is insensitive,of course not loyal to any manufacturer, marketer, brand, or variant. Today's wise home-maker is a deal-seeker.What is coming @ what deal? Who is offering what as FREE?

Lost as a bull in china shop, the lady is switching happily between Ariel, Surf, Tide or Henko without feeling guilty of betraying the favourite brand.

The condition of Marketers is no better, millions are being spent in search of the clutter breaking differential to get the special edge over competition.

Unilever's recent Rin ad giving a hoot to Tide is just an expression of that desperation. No matter what is legally, ethically right, the Indian homes are basking in the warmth of brand war in advertisement arena.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dhokaar Dalna..... made faster for today's woman

When my Grandmother was active, and of course, undoubtedly,the in-charge of kitchen, Dhokar Dalna, Chhanaar dalna(Please note it was not Paneer, those days, enchorer dalna or mochaar ghanto etc etc were part of the regular veg. (niramish) menu planner.

Even though we drool over the names of the above dishes, the effort and pain behind those dishes have made them very special, part of a traditional meal cooked with love and care.

But, life is always about 'customisation', and 'improvisation'. For today's generation of homemakers, there are many many solutions to realisation of gluttonic dreams of a true Bong family, living away from Kolkata.

Thanks to the enterpreneural skills of spice Giants in Kolkata, we have the liberty of deciding to have Dhokaar Dalna for dinner at 8pm after a nasty frustrating day in office. Among many known and unknown packets and brands available in Kolkata, one is available in my Supermarket in Gurgaon as well.



This is a staple in my pantry, for one of those home-sick evenings. So, familiar sight of this pink pack is a must in my pantry.

This week, on one of those weeknights, I did not have anything to put on dinner plate than Dhokaar Dalna with Roti. The outcome was soul food, spiked with nostalgia.



Ingredients

Dhoka Mix... 1 packet
Warm water....as per instruction

Potato cubed: 1 large

Jeera (sabut) : 1 tsp
Tejpatta : 1 or 2
Garam Masala(sabut): Clove, Cinnamon, Green Cardamom: 2 each
Jeera Powder : 2 tsp
Haldi Powder : 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder: 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder: 1 tsp(to taste)

Mustard Oil

Process

Soak the Dhoka powder in warm water as per instructions.Heat 2 teaspoon of oil in a wok. When heated, pour the mixture. Stir continuously till it forms a lump, and separates from the sides of the wok. Grease a steel thaali lightly and pour the lump while it is still hot. Pat lightly to form an even square. Cut it into cubes, and let it cool. Shallow fry the dhoka cubes till brown.

In the same oil, lightly fry the potato cubes, and keep aside. Mix all spice powders into a paste.

Add sabut garam masala and jeera(sabut)and tejpatta to the oil.Reduce flame.Add the spice paste, and stir continuously. Add salt and sugar to taste. When spices start leaving the edge of the wok, add water and put the wok on high flame.Let the gravy boil and add the potatoes.Cover, and reduce flame. Let it boil till the potatoes get cooked and the gravy thickens. Add the dhokaa pieces. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.

When done, add chopped coriander before serving. Tastes equally heavenly with roti, paratha or steamed rice.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter is finally going to be over

I am ashamed. I am guilty of not touching on my blog for months. My daily interaction with internet got badly truncated to surfing, emails, chats, and work and work. But, never mind, as the saying goes, Better late than Never.... so here I am at my confession box.

All the above were just because of my technical incompetence and laziness.With a job switch, I changed my laptop. So all my old stock of photographs etc took six long months and a trip to Ranthambhor, to get transferred to the new laptop.

But finally I am done, ready to get going.

This year, the winter was very different in Delhi NCR. It did not touch the magic numbers of 0 or 1 degrees, but tormented everyone with a prolonged presence and a very low maximum temperature.



Every morning, as we wake up, a curtain of white fog waits outside the glass window panes. On one of the clearer days, I managed to click the next apartment complex as in this photo.

Good news now... as winter finally seems ready to bid a good bye for this year. So, its time to shake my limbs, and start thinking of a way to celebrate. What can be a better way to celebrate than with a steaming bowl of Veg Clear soup. It is good for dieters, non-dieters, soup lovers,....everybody.

Veg Clear Diet Soup



Ingredients

Green cabbage 50 gms, chopped fine
Cauliflower 50 gms, florets separated
Broccoli 50 gms, florets separated
Spinach 50 gms, chopped
Tomato 2 large, chopped
Capsicum 1 large, deseeded, and chopped
Onion 1 large, sliced fine
Spring Onions 1 bunch, chopped

Garlic 1 large pod, crushed and chopped fine
Ginger 1 inch, chopped fine
Green chillies 1 or 2 chopped fine

olive oil(optional) 1 tsp

Method

1. In a thick bottomed pressure cooker, add olive oil. When heated, simmer the flame and add chopped garlic, ginger and stir continuously.

2. When it starts changing colour, add onions. Keep stirring.

3. As the onion becomes translucent, add all the vegetables and stir well to mix with the oil, ginger, garlic and onions.

4. Add salt (OR LoNa), crushed black pepper, and 1500 ml of water.

5. Close pressure cooker lid and allow it to boil upto 1 whistle.(You can boil it as per taste)

6. Simmer and allow it to cook for another ten minutes.

7. Before serving, add 1 tsp of olive oil(optional), white vinegar, green chillies, and green coriander chopped.

I enjoyed this wholesome soup for dinner. You can augment it with plain or garlic toast.

It serves thus dual purpose... it is satisfying to my taste buds and takes care of my need to spring back to an effective but satisfying diet.