Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lauki ka Raita (Bottle-gourd Raita)

Raita is made of curd and a vegetable of choice. Seasoned with
salt, sugar , chilli powder and roasted and ground cumin seeds
it is a refreshing accompaniment to a summer meal!
Here I've used grated bottle-gourd, and let it stew in its own
juice. I whipped the curd with rock-salt ( I used sweetened
curd) then added the cooked gourd. Then I created the pattern
with roasted and roughly ground cumin and chilli powder.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pithas for tea!

In Assam, a favourite tea-time snack is, pitha. The taste
is sweet and melts into your mouth. The ingredients are--
rice powder or flour, sugar or jaggery, depending on the
type you're making. For the ones in the picture, I used--
One small coconut, grated
Two cups rice flour
One cup sugar
One third of a tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
Water to mix
Oil to fry
In a bowl, add all the ingredients but not the water. Mix
with hands thoroughly. Now add very little water.The con-
sistency should be such, that the dough can be shaped into
round pithas.
Heat oil. When it becomes really hot, reduce the flame and
start frying in batches. They need to be turned just once,
when the colour turns golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
Your tea-time snack is ready!
The same mixture can be used for steamed pithas. For this,
more water should be added but the mixture must not be
runny.The mixture can be put into idli moulds and steamed
till done.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bamboo Shoot

A Bowl of Bamboo Pickle

The shoots waiting to be cut into thin slices

I come from a region whose terrain and climate nurtures
an ocean of bamboo. When you drive through the great,
wide plains of the north east, you see them in different
shades of green. And yellow too. With such abundance
the plant has myriad uses. Huts, furniture, bridges,
baskets--decorative and functional, the list is endless.
Without bamboo scaffolding, building highrises would be
difficult! In the hilly areas too, it's a sea of bamboo,
The shoot is either plain food or a delicacy, depending
on how it is prepared. The first shoots of the year appear
in late May and continue to sprout till late October. It's
fried with meat, mainly pork, mixed in curry, dried or fer-
mented. The fermented bamboo is made into pickle or used to
enhance the taste and flavour of meat and fish dishes.
To the uninitiated, the pungency of fermented bamboo is
something that whacks your sense of smell. Or to sound
euphemistic, the taste needs to be acquired.
The shoot has a pretty tough exterior. I use my sharpest
blade to hack away, taking care not to touch the fine
hairs. For that would be asking for itchiness, with a
capital "I"! But once that is done away with, the lovely
white vegetable is ready for the wok!


As I walked home last night
I saw a lone fox dancing
In the cold moonlight.

I stood and watched. Then
Took the low road, knowing
The night was his by right.

Sometimes, when words ring true,
I'm like a lone fox dancing
In the morning dew.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kitchen stuff

The ripe fruit of the palm, juxtaposed with the ones on
the kitchen tiles.

Next to the egg-rack is a 'can'did confirmation of
my belief in recycling!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ode to Wine by Pablo Neruda

Day-coloured wine,
night coloured wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashelled
and full of wonder,
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
At times
you feed on mortal
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
transitory tears;
spring dress
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Birds of a weather.....

...brood together. Silhouetted against an overcast sky,
one on a tree, and a wood pigeon on the wire, my feathered
friends seem to wonder, "Will the skies be clear by tomorrow?"

Ever since I started my blogs, I've started noticing the
different kinds of birds who come to my compound everyday.
I still do not know them by name but I'm taking a lot of
photos and I hope, through these, I'll be able to learn
much more about them. I've just learnt to identify the
calls. The bird on the tree has the sweetest and the
gentlest of chirps......

Friday, July 11, 2008

Going Bananas!

I recently had the girls over to lunch and the theme
was 'Going Bananas!' It helped that my backyard
bananas had ripened ( LOL) so there were three dishes
that had the flavour of the day!
The photo is of one of the three banana cakes that I
baked with coffee and chocolate swirls. The trifle
pudding also had generous pieces of banana cake topped
with home-made banana liqueur!
Since it's always good to get together ( after all, it
doesn't happen often), 'going bananas' is an apt theme.
It reflects the mood of the moment, looking forward to
'catching up' and enjoying the dishes that'd certainly
taken time to be planned and prepared. And if not the
fruit-based recipes, don't we go bananas about other
things/interests in our day to day lives?

I love....

  • Dew on the bamboo, yellow flowers and orange sunsets, the sound of rain...the whistle of the wind, the rush of flowing water, the smell of woodsmoke, the crackle of a wood fire,the moon in all its phases.......

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