Tuesday, April 23, 2013
VISHU SADHYA was my 300th post.
When I posted that, I did not realize that I had completed 300 posts. This 300th mark should have come quite some time ago, but for my health condition which prevented me from using my hands for a long time. What started as a mild pain at the base of my thumb in my left hand soon became very acute and I thought I may have strained my hands while doing a particularly difficult knitting pattern. We were planning a visit to our elder son at Jallandhar so I postponed any doctor's visit till then. As soon as we arrived in Jallandhar and I explained my problem to my son, he arranged for an MRI scan and diagnosed the condition as Tenosynovitis.
I was asked to restrict the use of my hands and hence my long absence from the blog. Though I started to write in between, I had to discontinue due to the pain. I am much better now and my son says I can use my hands for short periods. There are a few posts which I started last year, which I thought I must complete. Since I am continuing from where I left off, I had difficulty in bringing back my thought process of that time. The following post is from February 2012.
Back in Jalandhar and am still settling down and getting acclimatised. It is still quite chill here and temperatures are quite low even during the day. Added to that is the advice of my son to restrict the use of my hands by wearing splints. Easier said than done. What all activities can I restrict? Even though hubby dear takes care of all the kitchen work, still there are so many activities in my day to day life, where I have to necessarily use my hands. Anyway, I am trying to restrict as much as possible.
Good opportunity to reflect on all the years gone by, actually they zoom past me fast. Well why this sudden looking back? Not without reason. For it is only recently that I became a certified senior citizen, which gives me a lot of privileges officially and otherwise.
For the starters I became a real patti in the last year and all these years in our house patti denoted my children's patti and now when my son tells his son, "look at patti", I am naturally turning back to see where the patti is and only later do I realise that he is referring to me. There are other privileges or the long awaited privileges as per hubby dear. In the last few years he had been telling our children very often, "another couple of years and amma can travel at 50% concession in the Indian Railways". And as I was nearing the magic date, here comes our hon. rly minister with an announcement that women are eligible for senior citizen concession from age 58. All the years of eagerness put to rest.
The year is very special in our family because, it is not only me, but 3 of my cousins are also attaining the magical age. I am trying to visualise 4 children all under the age of 1 year in our ancestral home 60 years ago, yours truly being the senior most among them. It must have been a lovely year back home with the bawling of 4 children and the young mothers tending them and comparing their activities. Mind you, 3 of us grew up in the same house till the age of 10 and two of us till age 15, until I went to college. When I say this to the youngsters today, they just cannot believe that 4 sets of parents with children could live in the same house for so long. Well that is history now. Today, the youngest of my cousins has come to live in the same city as I live and we meet quite often reminiscing.
What is special about attaining the age of 60? It is special because the Hindu Calendar consists of a cycle of 60 calendar years, each having a different name starting with Prabhava. When person attains the age of 60, it means he or she has completed one full cycle of the 60 years. In the days gone by, with limited availability of healthcare and nutrition, very few people completed one full cycle of 60 years. Hence there was a big celebration, which was actually a big thanksgiving for having been blessed with long life. The celebration with vedic rituals is known as "Shashtiabdapoorthi Shanthi", during which again, the person asks for forgiveness for any sin committed knowingly or unknowingly during this long journey of life. He actually retires from active life and spends time in spiritual activities. This was also the time to hand over the responsibilities of running the household to the next heir. Symbolically, the children celebrated the shashtiabdapoorthy of the parents, thus commencing on their taking over.
However with better healthcare and other facilities, these days the average life expectancy has increased, and many people live to much older age and their responsibilities never end. In fact on attaining the age of 60 and taking retirement from one's services, today's senior citizens have to be more active taking care of the grandchildren and the households. The children are just waiting for their parents to retire from their professional fields so that they can have them to come over and share their responsibilities of taking care of their children and running the household.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Our Vishu Sadhya this year was simple but very enjoyable, especially because we are with our elder son and more so because, being Sunday, we could have our lunch at the right time.
We had mambazha pulissery, chakka curry, mixed vegetable thoran,badam payasam,pappadam and karuvadam.
We also had elai adai in the evening.
Happy Vishu once again!
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Hope everyone had as lip smacking a Uthrada Sadhya today as we did.
We had Rasakalan, Erissery (plantain and elephant yam), Olan, Naranga Puliinji (a new recipe), Semiya Payasam, Pappadam and Upperi. My brother and nephew joined us for lunch.
I had given the recipe for Mathan Erissery some time back. The erissery with Nendrankaya and Chena (yam) is the one which is prepared for traditional sadhyas (feasts), especially for Onam. The recipe is a little different from Mathan Erissery.
Nendrankaya (raw Nendran banana): 1 no
Elephant yam (Chena): 250gms
Turmeric powder: 1tsp
Pepper powder: 2 tsp
Jaggery: 2 tsp
Grated coconut: 3/4 cup
Coconut oil: 1tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1tsp
Urad dal: 1tsp
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
Salt to taste
Cut the banana vertically (do not peel) and then chop into 1/2" thick slices. Chop the yam into similar sized pieces.
Pressure cook the vegetables, adding turmeric powder and pepper powder.
Grind half the quantity of the coconut and 1tsp of jeera to a smooth paste.
Transfer the cooked vegetables into a thick bottomed pan and boil. Add salt and jaggery. Allow to cook for 5 mnts. Add the ground coconut paste and boil again. Remove from heat. Add few curry leaves.
Heat oil in a wide pan. When the oil starts smoking, add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add the urad dal. When the urad dal turns pink in color, add a few curry leaves and the remaining grated coconut. Fry on a moderate heat until the coconut turns brown in color. Pour on to the prepared curry.
Happy Onam to all.
P.S. Nendrankaya can be substitued with other varieties of raw banana also. The taste would differ accordingly.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Thiruvonam is just around the corner. People observing Onam are busy shopping for the Onasadhya (the grand feast) and Onakodi (new dress for Onam). We had been to the Onachanda (Special Onam Shoppe) to buy the special Kerala vegetables. These days Onachandas are organised in almost all cities by the migrant Keralites for the benefit of the non-resident Keralites. Bangalore has more than one Onachanda; in fact there are many, one in each pocket of the metro where Keralites are concentrated. For the past two years, an Onachanda is being organised very close to where we live. Vegetables, fruits and other groceries like ada, banana chips, pappadam, coconut oil, red rice, puttu powder, unniyappam, jaggery etc are brought from Kerala and sold at a reasonable price. We bought Nendrakka (Macho plantains, unique to Kerala), Nendranpazham, Chena (Yam), Chembu (Arvi), and Vadukapuli Naranga (Citron) among other groceries.
Now to the Onasadhya. I have already given almost all the recipes prepared during Onam like Rasakalan, Sambar, Kalan, Olan, Aviyal, Pachadi, Thoran, Erissery, Pulinji, Naranga Achar, Varuthupperi, Sarkkara Puratti, Vazhakkathol Upperi, Palpayasam, Chakka Pradhaman, Idichu Pizhinja Payasam, Semiya Payasam, Parippu Pradhaman etc.
I strained my memory to recollect any more recipes that I have not included and I remembered Pazha Pulissery, Thayir Pachadi, Kichadi, Kootukari, Erissery (plantain and yam). There could be many more. Anyway, we will look at the recipe for Pazha Pulissery today.
Pulissery, as I have said earlier, is a fruit based gravy curry, flavoured with coconut and green chillies in curds, of which Mambazha Pulissery and pazhapulissery are the most famous. As mangoes are out of season during Onam, it is pazhapulissery that finds a place in the Onasadhya. A meal with just pazhapulissery is a sadhya so one can guess what a sadhya it would be with pazhapulissery along with many more mouth watering goodies! Pazhapulissery is an all time favourite at home and I am sure it would be so with any one who has tasted this yummy curry.
Ripe Nendran bananas: 2nos
Turmeric powder: 1tsp
Pepper powder: 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Thick sour curds: 3cups
Coconut (grated): 1 cup
Green chillies: 4 or 5 (according to taste)
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 2 tsp
Red chillies: 2nos
Methi seeds: 1tsp
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
Slice the nendran banana to thin discs. (The banana should be very ripe. Over ripe bananas are the best)
Boil the sliced bananas in a thick bottomed pan with 1 cup of water. Add turmeric powder, pepper powder and salt. Allow to cook in moderate heat.
Beat the curds well. Grind the coconut and green chillies to a smooth paste using one or two spoons of beaten curds . Mix the ground coconut paste with the remaining beaten curds and add to the cooked bananas. Add jaggery. Allow to boil. When the curry starts boiling, remove from heat. Add curry leaves.
Heat the coconut oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add the red chillies (broken into 2) and methi seeds. When the methi seeds start turning pink in color, add few curry leaves and pour the whole garnish over the prepared pulissery. Mouth watering, yummy pulissery is ready.
Pulissery tastes best with steamed rice. It also tastes great with Idli, dosa or chapathi.
Enjoy this Onam with pazhapulissery.
Happy Onam to everyone.
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Hope everyone celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi with religious fervour. We also celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi with the usual Pooja and neyvedyams and visited the local Ganesh Temple. We prepared Sweet Kozhukkattai, Ammini kozhukkattai, Kadalai Chundal, Kovil Payasam and Ellu Kozhukkattai.
I usually do not prepare Ellu Kozhukkattai. The usual fare in place of Ellu Kozhukkattai is Ulundu Kozhukkattai. So. for a change, this time I prepared Ellu Kozhukkattais. Ellu (sesame seeds) is considered a favourite neyvedyam for Lord Ganesha. Our Echiyamma used to offer Ellurundai (Sesame Laddu) on Chaturthi day. Some time back our younger son asked me for the recipe of Ellu Kozhukkattai, so I thought of trying it out before telling him the recipe.
Here, then, is the recipe:
Ingredients for the outer shell same as sweet Kozhukkattai
For the Stuffing:
Black sesame seeds: ½ cup
Jaggery: ¼ cup
Ghee: 1 tsp
Prepare the dough for the outer shell as explained here.
Dry roast the sesame seeds until they crackle. Cool and grind coarsely. Melt the jaggery in 2 tbsps of water and strain to remove dirt. Boil the jaggery syrup for 2 mnts. Add the ground sesame seeds and stir until all the moisture evaporates. At this stage, the stuffing will leave the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and remove to another plate (Any more heating will make the stuffing very dry and the kozhukkattais will break).
Make small cups of the prepared rice flour dough and stuff 2 tsps of the stuffing inside. Close the cups and steam for 15-20 mnts. Yummy Ellu kozhukkattais are ready.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Once the month of Avani starts, there is an unending series of festivals. Close to Avani Avittam, we celebrated Gokulashtami and before we know it, Ganesh Chaturthi will arrive, to be followed immediately by Onam. Not too far away is Navarathri.
Though Ganesh Chaturthi was a week away, I prepared sweet and savoury kozhukkattais last week, as our elder son was with us and was going back to his work place before Ganesh Chaturthi.
This time, for savoury kozhukkattais, I prepared carrot kozhukkattais. They came out very well and every one appreciated the new taste.
Here is the recipe.
Ingredients for the outer shell of the kozhukkattais are given here.
Ingredients for the stuffing:
Grated carrot: 1 cup
Moong dal without husk: 1/2 cup
Grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Green chillies : 2 nos
Salt to taste
For the garnish:
Split urad dal: 1tsp
Hing: 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: a few
Oil: 2 tsps
Dry roast the moong dal to a light pink color. Cook with little water so that they are done but not over cooked. It should be soft to touch but the grains should remain separate.
Grind the coconut with green chillies without adding water.
Heat oil in a wide mouthed pan. Add the hing and mustard. When the mustard starts crackling, add the urad dal. When the urad dal turns pink in color, add the curry leaves, followed by grated carrots.Saute` for 5 minutes, add the cooked moong dal and saute` again for 2 minutes. Add the coconut mixture. Mix well and remove from heat.
Prepare the rice flour dough for the outer covering as per this recipe.
Make small cups of the dough and stuff 2 tsps. of the stuffing into it. Steam for 15-20 minutes.
Yummy carrot kozhukkattais are ready!
So, this time,for Ganesh Chaturthi, go the vegetable way!
Happy Gowri Ganesha to all. May the Elephant faced God remove all obstacles and give a Happy and Prosperous life to all of us.