Reshma Govind
Recently I tried out a fish curry recipe using coconut. Yes, I managed to make a note of the exact amount of all the spices and other ingredients. Since I didn’t have any fresh fish in stock or fresh grated coconut, I was a little doubtful (I was a bit depressed after my ‘batura’ stunt!). It will taste a lot more “yummy-licious” if we can use fresh fish with proper ‘fish’ smell (I know it sounds weird, but the fish fillets we get in grocery stores here(US) doesn’t have any smell…no vikaaram!!!), fresh grated coconut and last but not the least “man-chatti”(earthern ware). I don’t have man-chatti also, but inspite of all the shortcomings, this dish was good enough for a satisfying meal. So here goes the recipe…



Ingredients

Fish (I used tilapia fillets) – approx. 1 lb
Shallots (Kunjulli) – 5 small ones (cut into two)
Ginger - 1" piece (thin slices)
Garlic Clove - 4 (use whole ones and slit it)
Green Chilly – 3 (adjust according to spice level)
Curry leaves
Salt to taste
Water
Kokum (kudampuli) – 2 or 3 small pieces (too much will spoil the curry)
Coriander leaves (Cilantro)

Grinding

Coconut – 6 Tbsps ( I used dry coconut , but if you have fresh ones that’s the best)
Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
Chilli Powder – 21/2 tsps (I used kashmiri chilli, it brings out a nice rich red colour and wont be too spicy. Use less if adding regular chilli powder)
Coriander Powder – 21/2 tbsps (If you have coriander seeds, substitute half the amount with seeds.)
Dry Red Chilly – 5 (adjust according to spice level)

Seasoning

Coconut oil – 2 tbsps
Shallots – 4 (depending on size)
Curry leaves
Fenugreek (uluva) – 1 tsp

Method

  • Soak Kokum in ¼ cup water for 10 minutes.
  • Grind the ingredients mentioned in the Grinding section with some water to a very smooth paste.
  • Heat the pan or man-chatti and add the ground coconut paste and some water to dilute it (You can adjust water level according to how thick you want it, but we need some water here as it will come down later).
  • Now add shallots, green chilly, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, salt and the soaked kudampuli along with its water and give it a stir. Once this comes to a boil on medium flame, add the fish pieces and gently coat it with the gravy and cook covered for another 5 minutes.
  • Fish doesn’t take much time to cook, so keep it on low-med flame and keep covered. After 5 -6 minutes, remove the lid, give it a swirl (handle with care - breakable!). Give a taste test now and add some salt if not enough. Cook for a few more minutes uncovered until the gravy becomes a little thick. Add some coriander leaves and give it a swirl and switch off the stove.
  • Heat some coconut oil , add fenugreek (don’t add too much, curry will become bitter) and once it becomes golden brown color , add curry leaves and the sliced shallots and sauté till the shallots are light brown in color. Pour this over the curry and keep the lid closed for another 1 hr( Do not disturb ;D..it tastes good when it sits for some time and all the flavors combine well).

Note: As you know this tastes even better the next day, so spare some for the next day also :). Do not use big onions instead of shallots, it will spoil the taste of this curry. Use coconut oil for seasoning for that added flavor. I haven’t tried this with tamarind, hence I am not sure of the taste with the same. Instead of this seasoning you can use just coconut oil and curry leaves also to temper the gravy. If you have faith in me after my Batura disaster: D, be brave… go ahead, try it out and let me know……


~Luv
Resh

Reshma Govind
Yes…this is a new kind of disaster that had hit my home yesterday night. It lasted for about 2-3 hrs and the after effects continued to the next day also. Having fulfilled my wish to enter into bloggers world, my new goal was to post some very successful recipes that I had tried out. But I realized that I cannot blog any of those recipes , since I never checked the exact amount of turmeric or red chilly or coriander or jeera powders...for that matter any other ingredient. I will have to try them all once again with exact measurements!!! Mean while I thought of trying something new and that’s how I came up with the idea of Batura (I know…I over estimated my culinary skills !!)

I started off by mixing all the ingredients for making the dough. I did not have second thoughts about the experiment even though I didn’t have baking powder. The recipe asked to use sooji/rawa for maintaining the puffiness of Batura. Why not??? I added sooji. It had big grains, but I felt lazy as usual(as my mom says LAZY can be my nick name!!) to grind it to fine powder. The dough was a bit sticky, so I added some oil (as per instructions) and left it covered with a wet cloth inside the oven (you need a warm place…and no, I didn’t switch on the oven!). I was supposed to keep it for minimum 3-4 hrs, but I took it out after 1.5 hrs (patience is a virtue…when will I learn that??). Also If I keep it for 3-4 hrs, we would be having dinner next day early morning at 1 or 2 .... My dough didn’t look exactly as the one in recipe video (what did I expect??).But I went ahead with full confidence and started heating the oil in the kadai.

I was ready with a spatula to press the Batura softly in oil to get even golden color and puffiness. I took the Batura and slowly slid into oil, and to my shock, it stayed at the bottom of the kadai as if it was shy to come up!!! I tried to lift it up with my spatula and finally after 3-4 mins it decided to come up. Then I started pressing gently to puff it up and give an even golden color. 5 mins…10 mins….No, it doesn’t seem to puff up or change its color. Finally I gave up and took it out….I almost got an idea of my wonderful Batura and decided not to tell Sree . Let it be a surprise!!! Yes, it turned out to be quite a surprise for him, but not as pleasing as I had expected when I started out the experiment…..!!

So finally we had our oil soaked, hard, rubbery, white, flat baturas made with maida(difficult to digest..) late at night. When I started out, I never thought I would have so many prefixes for my end product. So now you know what not to do if you are planning to make Batura. I had planned to post the wonderful recipe of Batura with a mouth watering snap and finally I had the privilege to write how it became an utter disaster and what not to do!!! Whatever , does every one get a chance like this??? ; D


~Luv
Resh
Reshma Govind
Living close to San Diego we have tried to visit all possible places of entertainment there - Zoo , Wild Animal Park , Sea World. It is during one of these visits that I was stared up on by some as if I was an exhibit inside the zoo. It made me wonder whether I was looking awkward or simply beautiful ;). (i know..i know!!)The chances of second guess being almost impossible, I felt a bit uneasy!! I got to know their point of interest when some one came to me with the doubt. "Why are you having red color on your forehead??" Ohh…finally a relief to know that I am not looking that funny after all (or am I sad with the realization that I am not looking ‘simply’ beautiful?? :( )

Being a typical ‘nadan’(village) girl, Sindoor has always fascinated me. The special charm it brings to a newly married girl is wonderful. In fact I even adore a 60 yr old lady with Sindoor. I have loved it from a very young age and have always wondered how I would look in it when my time comes. As a young girl, I have also tried to analyze myself in imaginary sindoor (with whatever red color I can put my hands on!) in front of a mirror in all possible angles..(I know it sounds silly…but I am just a curious little girl..) . Now that I am married, I don’t restrict myself to a small dot or a single thin line. I don’t hesitate to make a good mark on my forehead even if I am wearing jeans. That might be the reason why people started staring!! But when all of a sudden, some body asked me the importance of Sindoor, I realized that I do not know what exactly it stood for. “In Indian culture it’s one of the symbols of a married woman”. That was all I could think about as an answer and i could tell from their face that they found it strange and i was left dissatisfied with my response. I really did not know how it became the symbol of a married woman (It’s a shame for a person who likes it so much!!!). Soon after I started the research to enlighten myself on the same. As usual I turned to Google -- now my ‘guru’ -- with my question... (he never hesitates to answer any of my questions…. be it silly or serious!).


Tradition of wearing Sindoor is said to have existed for more than 5,000 years in Hindu culture. Sindoor is vermilion, applied on the forehead in the parting of the hair by all married women. It is an expression of the desire for one's husbands’ longevity. It stands for power and good fortune and is a sign of "Soubhagya" in the case of married Hindu women. Traditionally therefore, widows do not wear vermilion. According to the scholars, red is the color of power and vermilion represents the female energy of Sati and Parvati. Hindus believe that Goddess Parvati grants "Akhand Soubhagya" (lifelong good fortune) to all the females who wear sindoor in their hair parting. Sindoor is applied for the first time to a woman during the marriage ceremony when the bridegroom himself adorns her with it. Traditional Vermilion/sindoor (or kumkum) is prepared by mixing turmeric, lime and mercury. Mercury controls blood pressure and activates sexual drive. Sindoor should be applied right up to the pituitary gland where all our feelings are centered. Having said all this, I would also like to remind you to be aware of the products now in market, as most of them have powdered lead compounds ,so be careful when you buy it!!!... So ladies, now you know what to say next time some body asks you about the red mark on your forhead :).

~Luv
Resh
Reshma Govind
Past week had been a little chaotic with all those terror attacks .I got so serious about it that I went on reading a lot about the articles on the terror attacks happened so far, terrorists and different violent massacres and finally ended up with the genocides !! All these left me kind of sad, shocked, angry and insecure:( I decided not to read anything more as it leaves you depressed at the end of the day. So here I am posting something very light. Have these hot delicacies with a cup of steaming Elaichi tea and relax….



Ingredients

Maida or All purpose Flour – 1 cup
Salt to taste
Water
Green Chilly - 1
Coriander leaves (Cilantro)

Seasoning

Mustard Seeds – 1tbsp
Jeera -1tsp
Onion – ¼ - ½ cup

Method

Mix together Maida, salt, water and blend well without any lumps. It should be of Dosa batter consistency. Now add in the green chilly and the cilantro and combine well. Heat some oil in a pan and crackle mustard seeds and jeera. Add the onions and sauté well till pale and soft. It tastes good with a lot mustard , but make sure it has crackled properly else it will taste bitter. Add this seasoning to the dosa batter and mix well. Keep it aside for 20 -30 minutes. Make hot - hot Dosa’s and enjoy!! (don't forget the tea :) )

~Luv
Resh
Reshma Govind
In the past few days India has witnessed the most shocking terror attack in Mumbai. It really makes us wonder whether we can walk on the streets or be in a movie theatre or a restaurant or railway station or our home in India without being blown up into pieces or shot dead. My relatives are also there in Mumbai and by god’s grace they are safe. But it’s really horrifying to know that they are always living in a state of fear and uncertainty , where you cannot tell whether your loved one will come back home from work or school or college to share all that happened in a day and be with you..... Yes,I know life is always uncertain but this state of fear and uncertainty is unbearable. India is now listed among the 20 most dangerous places to visit, where the other countries in the list are Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Thailand, Mexico, Lebanon etc. The most frustrating part of all this is the fact that State Government of Maharashtra was warned of these attacks from March onwards , but still no action was taken towards it. It sounds like a cliché if I say government didn’t do much to help. But now it’s high time they get up and do something to protect our beautiful India.

It’s been so shocking that I was glued in front of the computer to follow the related reports closely in NDTV Live. There was a lot of debate going on everywhere about why always most of the terrorists turn out to be Muslims. Of course I agree with people who argue that terrorists doesn’t have any religion... Every religion teaches about God, loving, sharing, helping others... It’s always sad to see how people misinterpret the teachings of a great religion Islam, to engage in killing innocent people. If people say only Muslims are terrorists then 2002Gujarat Riots is a good example of how Hindu activists have done some of the worst, horrendous things ever to happen in this world in the name of religion and revenge. The most shocking and haunting incident is that of a Muslim pregnant girl. She was full pregnant, but the rioters dragged her out of her house while she pleaded to take everything she had….. money, valuables everything but just to leave her baby alone. But these human ‘beasts’ slit open her womb with their swords, pulled out the unborn baby and burned it alive along with her. Many women (including pregnant women!!!) and young girls were raped in the name of revenge. Here is the picture of a young Muslim surrounded and attacked by Hindu rioters, begging to the Police to rescue him from there (Sources - http://www.gujaratplus.com/riots_gal/)
His helpless face is such a haunting image which will never go off from your heart. All these terror has nothing to do with any religion. It’s a bunch of cruel, heartless, crazy people who has gone blind and mad and just uses religion as a mask for all the horrible crimes. All these acts underline the fact that ‘Man is the beast of all animals, god has ever created”. Here I take a moment to pray for all those people who lost their lives, all those people who lost their loved ones, all those people who happened to face these great terrors in the name of religion and last but not the least , all those who are fighting against terrorism!
~LuvResh
Reshma Govind
Recently I stumbled upon this you tube video which talks about the meaning of the word Arangettam (‘Arangettram’)Arangettam??? - different views

I started thinking whether I made a mistake by choosing this title for my very first post (I like to dream that people from all parts of world are reading it ;)…of course there is no harm in dreaming...) Most of the people who doesn’t know the word seem to imagine it as some type of spider or insect or eight legged animal(quite absurd!). All these doubts and this video took me to my beautiful childhood days. I had the privilege to learn dance from a young age since my house is near to the famous Kerala Kalamandalam. It follows the old Gurukul method. I couldn’t attend this system, but was lucky enough to learn dance from very good teachers who graduated from Kalamandalam. In the initial years we study about the different mudras, bhavas (rasa), adavus (basic steps). Once we attain some level of perfection in all these areas, we go ahead and start learning beautiful compositions. After years of study, once the Guru (teacher) feels his/her student is capable of performing for long hours in front of a big audience we get to do our Arangettam. It is the solo debut performance where he/she gets to showcase her talent in front of a big audience for the first time displaying all that she has learned all these years.

I was very lucky to have my Arangettam done at the famous Guruvayoor temple. It’s always very difficult to get bookings there and might take one year to get a slot for one group. We finally got it in April of 1997 and all the students learning under my Guru (teacher), ready for Arangettam, were selected and each allocated with 2/3 performances. I had two performances in BharataNatyam and one in Mohiniyattom. We got to select our costumes and jewellery. I got two beautiful dresses one in yellow with maroon border and one in peacock blue color. Friends and relatives of the young 'dancers' came and every one was busy with one or another - Rehearsals, Make up, arrangements (full of excitement!!!)…That’s when we realized that some other dance group is also given almost same time slot as ours. A big argument started between the two groups. Both the groups had so many students anxiously waiting for their performance in front of a very big audience for the first time.Finally both agreed to cut down on some of their performances. Since I had 3, one was removed from my list (there goes my peacock blue dress!). Still I was happy that I got to wear two different types of attires. ( Mohiniyattom has the most enchanting , beautiful dress according to me...).

After a lot of commotions our dance program started and I finished one of mine (Mohiniyattom) and started getting ready for the next. There was a beautiful spirit and innocence between children as they were helping each other with make up, dress and other things where as some of the elders were pushing their kids to first finish their own make up before helping out others(Guru is busy on stage and back stage is always full of commotion!). My second dance was the last in our program list. Finally when my turn came conflicts started between the two groups again and they decided to start off theirs right then. I was shocked and sad to learn that I won’t be able to perform this one also. On the stage, behind the curtains a big fight ensued between the parents and others. Both sides were not ready to give up at all. I was standing in a corner helpless (all made up and ready!). Finally it seemed to go no where and I couldn’t control myself and started crying (What else can a 14 yr old do?). Some body in the other group saw me crying in one corner in full make up and finally decided to give up and let me do it !(Tears have great powers :D). So after a dramatic stage fight and tears, I finally got to perform my dance with my worn out make up in front of Lord Sri Krishna.

But I stopped dance soon after, as I was going to 10th std (Yes, you are supposed to concentrate for board exams without any other distractions…!!). That was the biggest mistake I ever did. I didn’t get a chance to perform on any other stages there after and that was the end of my classical dance life. If there is another life, I would love to learn classical dance and music as they are precious knowledge one can ever get in their life. According to me, blessed are those who get to learn and perform a lot in the field of Indian classical dance and classical music…..


~Luv
Resh
Reshma Govind
It all started off like this. “Why don’t you do some thing productive than Orkut and You tube when you have time?”, “How do you spend time at home?”, “Don’t you get bored of sitting at home?” These are some of the questions faced by a person who is on leave and sitting at home in US as dependent. All these questions resulted in my decision to take American driving license. Being a proud owner of an Indian driving license (taken 8 years ago!), I was more than ready to do this. I applied for an appointment and started reading the DMV book earnestly. I got a lot of previous year question papers and realized that they just repeat the same questions in a different order (Sounds like studying for University exam right?). I went to the DMV office like a student ready for exam and after finishing all the formalities took the test. As I suspected, all questions got repeated from previous papers. Still I managed to fail two or three questions, but came out happily with permission to drive along with a licensed driver. Of course the licensed driver being my hubby, I was more than happy.

On the next weekend we decided to start off the driving lessons. Having taken driving license in India after all those ‘H’ and clutch and gear changes this should be a small kid’s job (My stupid thoughts!!!). Brimming with full confidence we started off in a small parking place near to Carlsbad City Library. I was doing a reverse to take the vehicle out of the parking place and to move on to the road. As per the instructions, I put reverse gear and took the vehicle back and next second stepped on the accelerator to zoom ahead. Instead of going forward our car zoomed behind towards the Lexus, a devil in disguise!!(What else can you expect when you are on reverse gear??) . Thinking about our bank account, we called all the gods and our vehicle stopped just 3 inches away from Lexus. My husband had his first heart attack (he doesn’t have a hand brake to control me....totally helpless!!).

Hiding my embarrassment and still thinking of proving myself in front of him, I changed the gear took the leg off from brake and moved ahead. Our car started to move smoothly, except that it was moving at the pace of a snail! Still positive I raised the speed and moved forward. When we were about to reach a stop signal (I didn’t notice of course:)), he asked me to stop the car. In that moments excitement I pressed on accelerator with full force instead of the brake and our car zoomed ahead with pride at the stop signal.. (second heart attack!). My confidence level dropped considerably. Instead of proving myself I am giving him panic attacks. Still we decided to go ahead, and that’s when it happened. Someone frustrated with my pace, shouted from behind our car “Get out of my way you*#@$”. This time I had the heart attack. Everything went blank and I could feel the heat in my face and before any thing happened tears started rolling over my cheeks (yes, I am blessed with very good tear gland!). I decided to stop driving at that moment, but had to move ahead before I get showered with all the 'bad' words in US from the frustrated person behind our car. I somehow managed to do that, but stopped at the nearest possible place and moved into the comfortable passenger seat with a red embarrassed face. That put an end to my driving lessons.



My hubby's precious Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor...Still in one piece(after all my adventures!!).He takes so much pride in this vehicle and sometimes makes me wonder if he loves it more than me!!! After all these incidents and panic attacks, he still wants me to take license before going back to India. I am still thinking ……. (Should I or Should I not?)

(Here is the link for a hilarious clip on what not to do during your driving lessons:D (in malayalam)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggI__8_lw7c)


~Luv
Resh
Reshma Govind
After an unexpected start in blogging, I got so engrossed with its look, feel and the comments from people reading it, that I forgot about cooking dinner. As I said before it’s quite intoxicating! My husband who had been very encouraging and happy with the thought of me blogging, didn’t seem to be that ‘enthu’ after my first blogging show. To be exact his expression made it clear the meaning of the Malayalam proverb –“vadi koduthu adi vangi" (Somebody plz help me here with the proper proverb for this situation in English!!). I know I can’t blame him as the reason behind this dullness is the thought whether he will be deprived of home cooked food for the coming days because of his wife’s new found interest. Although he gave me looks and actions to let me know that, he is very hungry, I didn’t seem to notice. I also seem to ignore the sounds from my stomach who was trying in its own way to make me aware of dinner time. Finally I came to my senses when my poor hubby gave up his attempts and started heating the Pulissery (whatever was left over in fridge!!) and Bread. Yes…..the side effects of blogging. Finally we ended up having Bread and Pulissery. Now I can hear all the “what’s!” and exclamations from every one reading this. But let me tell you Bread and Pulissery is a great combo, especially when you are very hungry;D. I know it sounds weird, but try it out once and let me know!


Having said about the side effects of blogging, my husband after realizing his mistake has established a golden rule between us for a good healthy, happy family life - Cooking comes first and blogging only after that!!! To justify this, i thought of posting this Mambazha Pulissery recipe. I don’t offer anything new or secret in this recipe (except my love of course:)).For those who are not from Kerala, it is a curry made with ripe mango, coconut and yogurt . It’s an all time favorite of Malayalees with a unique combination of sweet and sour taste.



Ingredients
Ripe Mango – 1 (I used a big one.)

Green chilly – 1 or 2 (slit into four halves. Use according to your spice level).

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp

Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Water

Curry leaves


Grinding

Coconut - 1/2 cup

Jeera

Green Chilly -1

Yogurt/Curd - 1/2 cup


Seasoning

Mustard seeds

Fenugreek seeds (Uluva)

Curry leaves

Dry Red Chilly


Method
  • Remove the skin and cut the ripe mango into big pieces. I didn’t have the option to put a whole mango in the curry as it was too big and the only one available in Indian store! If you are using ‘naadan’ mango (small one), remove the skin and use as it is.
  • Cook mango pieces with salt, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, few curry leaves, green chilly and water till its soft and done. You can adjust the amount of water depending on how thick you want it. Mine was a bit thick as I didn’t want it to be runny for Onam sadya which already had Sambar, Rasam and Parippu (Daal). So choice is yours, adjust according to your taste.
  • Grind the ingredients mentioned under To Grind section with little water to a smooth paste.
  • Add the ground mixture to the cooked mango and stir well. Cook this on low flame till one boil. Stir constantly to avoid curdling of the yogurt. Do a taste test here and adjust the sweet and sour balance by adding a little sugar if needed.
  • Finally season with the ingredients mentioned under the seasoning section. Be careful not to use a lot of fenugreek seeds as it will make the Pulissery bitter.
Note: This tastes better the next day. There are different variations to this. Some people add shallots (kunjulli) and garlic to grind along with coconut. Some add turmeric and dry red chilly also. Another change is to add ginger along with mango while cooking. I haven’t tried any of these variations but there is no hard and fast rule. So be brave and try different variations, after all who wants to have the same recipe each and every time!

~Luv

Resh
Reshma Govind
How can i stop myself from entering this attractive blogging world??? Today everyone is in a blogging spree. Yeah..why not? It lets you talk about anything you wish and it will be read by people whom you have never met from different parts of the world, that's quite interesting..isn't it? In fact, blogging for me, is a very nice platform to express our views and thoughts loud in front of a big audience. That sounds almost like public speaking. Most of us may not agree with this point of view.I am a person with lot of stage fear. It always intimidates me to go and speak loudly and confidently in front of a group of people be it 10 or 100.Hence i would like to think of blogging as a public speaking experience which inspires me more to enter into this intoxicating world.


Now coming back to this wish for blogging, initially it was an idea of blogging my dishes. I am not a great cook nor do i have a lot of experience in cooking. But people seem to enjoy some of the dishes prepared by me where as some are utter disasters.But still i love cooking, hence with my hubby's support i thought of starting a cooking blog. Feeling thrilled i started surfing for the cooking blogs to get some ideas. That's when i was taken aback by the vast number of blogs already in place, flourishing in every which way with beautiful skilled photographs captured with DSLRs (which made me wonder if having DSLR is one criteria for a cooking blog!!) and excellent recipes one can ever think of. That put an end to my desire to start the cooking blog. I know i am not being very sporty here. But to be frank,it kind of scared me. But still the wish to blog remained in some corner of my heart. Now that many of my friends started blogging ,my wish to blog which was comfortably hidden some where inside me has resurfaced again.But i dropped the idea of starting the cooking blog and thought of writing one which will open the doors into my little world.I enjoy this idea more. There is no limitation to the topics. But still i want to include cooking posts also to satisfy my love for cooking. With all these thoughts, I have decided to call this blog - My Little World. On that note, I welcome every one into my world and hope you enjoy every bit of it.


I would like to start this blog by devoting a prayer to Lord Ganesha. This is the Gayatri for Lord Vighneshwara,one who removes all vighnas or obstacles.


"OM Ekadantaya Vidmahe
Vakkratundaya Dheemahi
Tanno Danti Prachodayat"

Vinayaka Gayathri Translation
We devote our thoughts to the one tusked Lord, we meditate upon him who has a curved trunk. May the tusked one guide us on the right path

~Luv
Resh