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Any Guesses ??

This is really an easy one to guess. But then we have enough of them in life !!

It is sundried bittergourd. Thanks for playing it with me.

Fried sundried bittergourd


Sundried bittergourd

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January 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Bay Area Bloggers Meet

Shankari and I were thinking about meeting together after our intermittant chats and a looonngg 2 hour phone chat..

Somewhere down the line Shankari came up with the idea of bunch of Indian food bloggers meeting in bay area and we were so excited about it. She coordinated with other bloggers around here and boooomm

WE ARE GONNA MEET !!!!!

Are you blogging about Indian Food, living in the bay area and want to say hi to those unknown faces behind those blogs, here is a chance !!!!

Ofcourse there are some rules to participate- Shoot an email to indian.cooking@gmail.com. More details here at shankari’s blog. Thank you dear for coordinating this.

Looking forward to some fun !

January 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Addicted to having a job !

This is supposed to be a food blog. But bear with me on this one.

For more than 6 months now I have been thinking of quitting my job. Why ? Just like that. I just want to take life easy and not follow a routine. I have been working for such a long time to keep myself in status in the US of A. I felt liberated when we got EAD. It was such a nice feeling after years of feeling bonded and slogging like a slave. It was the usual run of the mill life of a software engineer on H1B. 24 hour phone support, product deployment at wee hours or midnights, constant torture from consulting company. So when I got the news that I got EAD I screamed my lungs off !!

I was more than happy to quit my job and move to a new city and start fresh. I took a software job again but with a work life balance. After more than 2 years now I have the freedom not to have a job but I am just not able to let it go. My friends and parents are constantly telling me that my mind will be a devils’ workshop if I am idle at home. My mom swears that I cannot be at home after that comfort feeling of having a job. Ravi is scared that I might eat his brains off if I am at home.

Dressing like a professional, being in the midst of go-getters, participating in meetings and see your ideas valued is a very nice feeling. Seeing your programs in action is exciting. Many days after a dull start at home, I had felt my day brighten up because of my job. Because of the change in atmosphere around me ! Personal tensions, worries ease out a bit during the day. Lets face it – To see money in the bank is a nice feeling. It also makes a lot of sense that a woman should be able to support herself and her family.

On the other hand, I feel so sad not find anything to eat when I come home tired after work. I keep asking myself – why do I have to slog so much and not have a fresh cooked meal at home !! The long commute is also not very enjoyable. Having done the same thing over and over again, I am not enjoying my work anymore. I would love to try volunteer work, attend yoga classes, go to photoshop class, finish off my tanjore painting and cook more !

But are these just lame excuses to loathe around at home doing nothing ? Are my dear ones right that I will start sulking and see the grass greener on the other side ? Or am I just addicted to having a routine job ?

Anyone identifying with me ??

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Rain rain go away ! Come again another day!

We had a storm this weekend here in the bay area. But by any standards much much lighter version than those that we have in India. Rain back home is an experience – the battering noise against concrete, the coconut- and palm trees swaying in the fierce winds, hissing of the winds and water rolling and flowing – Its such a beauty.

This is the blissful part of rains in India

But having saying that, its a totally different story from the other side of the window. Its a nightmare getting back from school/college/office. You have my condolences if you traveling in the state-owned buses. Like a true martyr you would be trying to defend yourself from the water dripping in from all sides. With some luck the windows might close. The streets will be flooded with just 15 minutes of lashing rains because of the failed drainage system. The flooded roads just makes the unclosed manholes and other dangers invisible. Not to forget that all sorts of dung would be by now mixed into the flooded rains. For those of you who think I am exaggerating see this video.

So for us with such adventurous experiences this recent storm in the bay area was childs play !! Really.. Seeing the local news covering close ups of branches falling, power cuts and fallen waste bins minute by minute as if it was an emergency was like comedy to me.

I went to office without an umbrella and truly enjoyed the faint reminder of the indian rain here. We had friends over on saturday and had mirchi bajji and samosas with hot tea. Then we got a good movie and watched over dinner. I bought fish and a lot of goodies for cooking over the week. I prepared it per Sig’s recipe – that is another post.
Here is what I bought to cook over the week from Coconut Hill goodies from kerala is their speciality.


Purchase for the week
– Drumstick leaves, plantain, banana blosom, green tamarind, sprouted channa, uppu manga( Mango in brine ) and rosamatta rice. I forgot to include snakegourd, fish and malabar spinach. I think I bought way more than I can cook in a week. Lets see.


Kanji Uppumanga – Inspired by Shn – Mishmash’s Kanji & Payar

Last but not the least after the mirchi bajjis and samosas I had to have something light for dinner. I made a light gruel with the broken rosamatta rice and relished it with uppu manga. (Mango slices in brine ) – Heavenly..

January 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Revisiting My Blog

( This post was inteded for Nupur’s event – I guess I am late. But nevertheless )

I started the blog for quite a few reasons

1. Very Inspired by Indira of Mahanandi
2. My passion for food
3. To engage myself while Ravi is busy with his MBA.
4. To record some family favourites especially low-cholesterol dishes

I remember the evening when I was searching for some telugu recipe and landed at Mahanandi. Looking at the karela neatly arranged on aluminum foil Ravi exclaimed “Now this is what I call passion, not the blog but the quest for perfection !!”

Then I wondered, can I too do this, after all food is something I love deep down. It was the time when Ravi was deeply engrossed with MBA and I had nothing to do except a full time job where I could work from home. Probably a month later I registered en-ulagam.

I have been blogging a little less than two years now and made a few good friends here. My passion & creativity for food continued to grow with food blog events. I became even more busy than Ravi.

Bloglife 2007 has been very good. Here are the highlights

  • I got into the next level of personal association with some blogger friends. I was thrilled to exchange pictures, learn about their families and talk about non-food related subject. I felt like having a pen friend.
  • Recorded some family favorites and my favorites. I just cannot shortlist. Every dish I created was with lots of love for what I did.
  • Inji’s loud and clear voice about “Plagiarism”. She took my request to announce a Anti-Plagiarism day and we all made a post against yahoo. It was covered by the press.
  • Starting Tamilcuisine with Prema was a very good learning experience. It taught me how to and how not to relate to people – I have to thank Shaheen, Prema and Inji. Thanks to Kanchana and Jasmine for pitching in .
  • I achieved 100000 magic number of visitors to my blog
  • My proud acquiring for my blog my irumbu kadai ( cast iron pan) from my mom.
  • Last but not the least, I was able to pull away myself from participating in blog events. It took too much of my energy, was becoming kind of addiction and with blog events propping up almost every day, it turned out my menu on the real life table was getting dictated by blog events. I had to stop it somewhere. Thanks to work pressure, upcoming india trip, I was able to achieve this.

2008 Bloglife I have a few things to do :

  1. Take a back up of my recipes posted.
  2. Learn food photography tips and tricks
  3. Record more of amma’s specialities and the other recipes listed below
  4. I love to host the site on my own web server, I have the know-how to do it but I dont know whether I will have the time. Lets see.

These are the recipes on my to-blog list:

Ammas’ specialties

  • Mutton potato drumstick kuruma
  • Keeraithandu mochakottai karakozhambu – Spicy kozhambu made with stem of greens and fieldbeans
  • Pacharisi thengai payasam – Coconut-Rice-Kheer
  • Paruppu urundai kozhambu – Kozhambu made with lentil dumplings
  • Thengai paal sadam – Coconut milk rice
  • Mullangi yera kozhambu – Shrimp radish kozhambu
  • Nethili kuruma – Sardines kuruma
  • Beetroot halwa
  • Gulab jamun
  • Sambar powder recipe
  • Rasam powder recipe
For Ravi
  • Hyderabadi biriyani
  • Erra karam dosa – Dosa smeared with red chilli paste and sprinkled with spiced powders
  • Ravis grandma’s Idly karam – I like this one better than my moms’
  • Mokkajonna kudumulu – I got this recipe already need to post it. Indian cousin of tamale.
Healthy stuffies
  • Kalyana murungai – I dont know whether I will even get this greens
  • Keezhanelli urundai – That is what we eat back home when we had jaundice – another greens
  • Veppa urundai – Neem leaves paste – for de-worming
  • Seeraga kashayam – To relieve that bloated feeling made with roasted cumin
  • Nochi ilai aavi – Steaming to relieve sinus block with this leaves.

See you all in the New Year !

Wishing you and your dear ones Good Health, Happiness and success in whatever you do.. Happy New Year !!

December 31, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Homemade Organic Shampoos – Going Brown !!

I am on a hunt for natural – chemical free products. Thanks to Suganya of Tasty Palettes, I switched to Seventh Generation products a few months ago. I have been researching on organic shampoos without much success. Manufacturers are trying all gimmicks to cheat customers with words like “all-natural”, “botanical extracts”, “pure plant extracts”. They even dare to put the organic label on the bottles and then disclaimer that no human eyes can read – Certification from Belgium, European standards etc etc

Aritha – Soap nut and the seed inside. The nuts are size of marbles


Shikakai – Acacia Concinna
Image source http://www.aminet.or.jp/~zen/hena/maha/img7/shikakai.jpg
Wiki : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikakai


Dried Shikakai pods have been used for centuries as a hair cleanser. It is a mild cleanser relatively low in pH and does not strip the hair of natural oils. So it was obviously the choice for cleansing hair in olden times. Washing hair is a elaborate routine back home. Shampoos were strict no-nos at home. I hated shikakai – hair was not like those models on TV, the silky wavy hairs I longed for !! With shikakai it was nowhere close to those shimmering shampooed hair.

I would run around dodging my mother because shikakai also causes irritation when it gets into eyes and my mother got them in my eyes everrry singglle time and I would be crying and yelling at her.

I longed for the shampoos because the model on the TV advertisement was always smiling when washing her hair – shampoo never irriate your eyes. So I thought !!! Finally my mother gave up and I remember using Egg shampoo ( I think it was Pond’s) the first time. I loved the squishy yellow fragrant precious liquid and when my mom started scrubbing my hair I was all smiling with my eyes widee open ! And before I knew it got in my eyes and there I was crying and wailing – only this time my mother was yelling at me !!!

This time around when I went to India I got shikakai powder – homemade. PRECIOUS !

The shikakai pods are similar to tamarind pods. A fine powder of around half kilo of these pods along with a tablespoon each of rice, fenugreek, a handful of dried hibiscus flowers and a few sun-dried lemon peel – Makes one heck of a hair shampoo/tonic.

Aritha is also a natural hair cleanser. It is called soapnut in english, soapukai in tamil – so you get the idea. They are dried berries enclosing a seed inside. They lather with water and can be safely used on hair. Since soapnut strips hair of oils it should be used in lesser amounts and works fantastically with shikakai powder. Gently crush the the nuts to break them open and remove the seeds. Grind them in a clean dry coffee grinder and store air tight.

Aritha/soapnut berries are found here in US in the indian groceries. Alternatively you also get Hesh Aritha powder. Mix with 3 tablespoons shikakai powder to 1 tablespoon soapnut powder in little water and work up a chemical free lather.

If you have strained water from rice ( starchy water drained after cooking rice ), then use it as a conditioner – This water contains nutrients and is considered an excellent conditioner for hair.

Shikakai & Aritha powder paste – Herbal shampoo – Closest to getting organic


Aritha powder – Coffee grinder does the job.

December 27, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

If you have not heard about Jenita…

This is about Smalin Jenita a 23 year old girl from Tamilnadu, India – a immigrant on dependent visa – allegedly tortured. This soon to be mother, now seven month pregnant, had met with a grave car accident, here in the US, that left her partly paralyzed and incoherent because of brain and spinal cord injuries. She is stated to have been in coma for a few months before she regained consciousness. The parents’ side say that she has been pushed out of the speeding car.

The Highway patrol however have included the case as an accident. The guys’ sister was also injured in the crash. The accident happend in July and Christy Danius ( the husband ) returned to India in September, after which her father went to US and brought her daughter back. She is getting treated in India now.

If at all the guy and his family were responsible for this accident and the plight of Jenita, they MUST be brought to justice. No matter what and in whichever geographic location he is in the world.
But US police force is not dumb and they dont take such matters lightly. A few years ago one of my friends got a deep wound while working in the kitchen – there was a lot of blood and 911 was called – The police launched their own investigation even without a filed complaint. The victim and her partner was thoroughly questioned and only when they were convinced did they label it as an accident.

There are quite a few questions to be answered in this case :

1. Why would the guy put his life and the life of his sister in danger to harm the girl ?

2. Why did the parents not go to see the daughter in coma ? Were they even informed ?

3. Why did the guy abandon the girl in September and return back to India – after which the hospital authorities had to file for petition for a guardian and get her father there ????

4. If at all he has returned back to India why is he not yet arrested, even after complaints from the girls father ?

5 . Does the No. 1 tech company that he works for ( in case he is still working there ) taking any action ?

6. Why did the father along wtih the hospital authorities not file a complaint in the US itself ?

If the guy is genuinely innocent then he deserved heartfelt sympathies where his wife has been gravely injured, his unborn baby had been in danger and his sister too injured. But if it is not the case then such inhuman acts should be punished with the capital punishment so that NRIs should not think that they can leave the foreign country where the crime has been committed, bend rules in India, let people forget the case with time and get ready to pounce on another life with “another wedding” .
Newspaper articles regarding this issue:
Story of Jenita – US side of the story
NRI reduces wife to wreck – Story from Indian newspapers

November 23, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Vacation Break !!

On a Vacation Break ! Hopefully will be back with lots of foodie pics and trip photos.

Until then friends, wishing you happy eating !!

July 18, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Container Gardening Showoff



Methi- Vendhaya keerai – cute little ones – Planted them three weeks ago



Coriander and Methi – clustering babies – sowed some coriander seeds but they did not sprout at all. So gave up on them and sowed some fenugreek. As soon as they got some company the coriander started growing !! Now there seems to be some competition now !! 🙂



Chamandhi – from the little bouquet basket . I got the $3.99 bouquet basket from Raleys for the Tamil new years day in April for the rituals. I usually get these live bouquets so the flowers stay fresher for a long time. Almost a month. After using up the flowers did not want to throw away these alive little one so planted in a planter. It loved the new lease of live and been blooming regularly.



Lone green chilly – I got the small chilly sapling from walmart around october last year, I moved them indoors to survive the winter. It gave lotsss of chillies then started retiring I moved them back to the patio and seems to be picking up again.



Okra/Ladies-finger – Sowed seeds three weeks ago. Guess they grow slowly



Year old Pudina – Planted them from used up mint stalks around a year ago. They seems to be getting taller and taller then realised they are a kind of creeper. They were dormant during winter and now started to let out some greenery and great smell !!

July 8, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

New at TamilCuisine

Its really difficult managing two blogs let alone manage one. With lots going on we had practically abandoned our Tamilcuisine till Prema whirled around and added new recipes. That got me started and I added quite a few today. My mouth is watering just typing these links.. Check them out and let the bloggers know what you tried !!

For veggies :
Uppadam – From Tastypalettes
Sodhi from VCuisine
Vaazhaipoo kola urundai From Premas cookbook
Carrot vadai From Sobilas menu
Eggplant medicinal curry from MathyFor non-veggies :

Aatu kaal Paaya
Mutton Brain Masala
Mutton Liver Fry – All from Josephs’ Kitchen

The dish is here but do you know how to serve and eat on a Banana leaf ? Whats the big deal you ask? Check out Mangai’s Eating on Banana leaf – 101 ( Post is in tamil )

We have compiled more from the Tamil kitchen. Check out for more new tamil recipes …If you blog features Tamil kitchen, drop us a line at tamilrecipes@gmail.com. We shall include your blog in the blogroll.


Bounty from the farmers’ market. cherry tomatoes, oranges, strawberries, bittergourd, Amaranth leaves, japanese eggplant, ginger, chillies, an unknown greens

Food for some Thought – Thirukural :

“Inna seidhaarai oruthal avar naana nannayam seidhu vidal”

“The best way to punish someone who has hurt you is to do them good which would make them feel ashamed of themselves”

July 2, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment