Meera at the Cape

pics photos of beach at the Chatham Bars Inn Cape Cod by Arun Shanbhag
The views were soothing

Meera was thrilled to be visiting the Cape. She looked forward to this all spring and finally it happened. The weather was perfect – warm days and cool nights. She loved the Lighthouse, collecting shells on the beach, playing in the pool, catching up with friends, soccer on the beach, scoping seals lazing on sand bars, riding the boat and toasting marshmallows by the bon fire. As in earlier times, the food was spectacular. Overall, a great time.

The lighthouse is beautiful.

pics photos of Lighthouse at the Chatham Bars Inn Cape Cod by Arun Shanbhag
Lighthouse at Chatham

Lunch & Chanting at Saraswati Vidya Kendra

photos of kindergarten tudents eating lunch at Saraswati Vidya Kendra Kumta by Arun Shanbhag

I have previously written about the mid-day school lunch at the Shanbhag High School and the primary Saraswati Vidya Kendra in Kumta. When I visited Kumta earlier this year, I took a few video snippets of students lining up for lunch and the KG students chanting the blessing.

At the Konkan schools, teachers too have a uniform saree. In the video, you see them helping. Seniors serve the lunch, while teachers help seat the kids and serve seconds. Continue reading “Lunch & Chanting at Saraswati Vidya Kendra”

Kumta Street Vegetables

In the Kumta market, these women set up shop early in the morning before the crowds got there. Those vegetables look so delicious! It was March, so the variations of brinjals/eggplants were in season. You will also find konkani classics padwal, ghosalae, muLi (radish), tambdi bhaji (red leaves), vaaLi (green creeper leaves), muggae, karate, maskaa sang, jaam and others. If you notice others, let me know.
photos of fresh vegetable vendors on Kumta Street by Arun Shanbhag Continue reading “Kumta Street Vegetables”

Pyāsā – Soda at Rāmnāthi

Photos of the Soda store owner at the Neeta Canteen by the Ramnathi Devasthan Goa by Arun Shanbhag

During Maha Shivratri, as I waited for a rickshaw outside the Ramnathi Devasthan, I shot pics of colorful soda bottles arrayed in crates. The hovering owner felt neglected and offers, “Maegel bhī photo kād” (take a pic of me too). I obliged. I loved the confident pose he struck in front of the red wall. You can imagine him in a previous avatār, curling his handlebar mustache and astride a horse. Quintessential Goa. For that, he gets the opening pic. Continue reading “Pyāsā – Soda at Rāmnāthi”

Thanksgiving In Boston

pictures of M & Meera at the Seaport Hotel Boston Thanksgiving Brunch by Arun Shanbhag
This year we chose to spend a quiet Thanksgiving enjoying a sumptuous and beautiful brunch at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. We started with the breakfast menu of warm croissants and smoked salmon, then crazed on argula salad and gigantic shrimp cocktail; delicious clam chowder, home made mashed potatoes, the bestest dry roasted brussel sprouts and salmon grilled in olive oil, lemon and capers (wow!). We did not venture near the traditional meats. Continue reading “Thanksgiving In Boston”

Jaggery in Boston

Pictures of jaggery in Boston by Arun ShanbhagTo make jaggery (god in konkani; gur in North India), sugarcane juice is simply boiled in open air vats, condensed and poured in moulds. See my picture post on the Making of Jaggery in Karnataka. Jaggery is not refined and no chemicals are added in its processing, it thus retains much of the fiber, minerals and vitamins. When consumed, it’s sugar is released much slowly in the blood stream compared to refined sugars, thus it is considered a healthier alternative to sugar. Jaggery is commonly available as light to dark brown chunks, with the consistency of fudge and can be eaten as is, just like fudge. Continue reading “Jaggery in Boston”

Gupta Chikki – Yummy Candy

Pictures of Lego Minifigures enjoying Peanut Chikki by Arun Shanbhag
Lego Friends enjoying Chikki

Growing up in Mumbai, chikkis were our treats. Local kirana dukkan (stores) had a assortment of chikkis available for a pittance. Chikkis are the traditional Indian candy bars before there were candy bars. PiPi (fennel candy) was our other delicacy. The simplest chikki’s are roasted peanuts in a gooey, crunchy slab of jaggery (see Making Jaggery). Chikkis are made with every imaginable grains or nuts including peanuts, rajgira (amaranth), sesame (black, white), coconut (desiccated), rice (puffed), mango, cashews, pistachios and almonds. The closest equivalent in the US would be peanut brittle, but the indian chikki is typically nuttier and crunchy. Continue reading “Gupta Chikki – Yummy Candy”

Roasted Idli

pictures of Idli steamed in steel bowls by Arun Shanbhag
Meera loves idli (steamed rice cakes) or PoLo (dosa). Any given day we have one of these ready at home. If we have idli, than the next day M would make roasted idli (or also called idli fry). Simple roasting on a pan, transforms the idli taste dramatically. Continue reading “Roasted Idli”

Transporting Sugarcane by Bullock Carts

Pics of families transporting Sugarcane by Bullock Cart in India by Arun Shanbhag

Enroute from Aurangabad to Paithan in Maharashtra State, India. This is quite a common site when driving around rural India. Because such long trains of bullock carts hamper other vehicular traffic and cause backups, our first impression is to curse them out, “why can’t they just stay off the road?” Continue reading “Transporting Sugarcane by Bullock Carts”

Tigerella Tomatoes

Pics of Heirloom Tigerella Tomatoes from garden by Arun Shanbhag

Catching up on posting pics from our garden: Heirloom Tigerella Tomatoes. Medium-sized tomatoes with yellow tiger-like stripes. The meat is deep red, sweeter and less tarty than cherry tomatoes. Continue reading “Tigerella Tomatoes”

Mumbai Street food: Shri Krishna Batatavada

Pics from Shri Krishna Snacks, Dadar Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

In the back lanes of Dadar (West), a few doors from the legendary Ideal Bookstore, is this amazing place for batatavada, samosa, juices and anything you can stuff in your mouth. Mouth-watering delicacies and super cheap prices. For $2 you can feed a whole family (Meera only sips juice). Continue reading “Mumbai Street food: Shri Krishna Batatavada”

Nutella Sandwich: Nutella spread on Iggy’s bread

Pics of Nutella on Iggy's Bread by Arun Shanbhag
My favorite way to start the day is with two slices of whole wheat sourdough bread from Iggy’s with a liberal spread of Nutella. The bread is hearty and powers me through a crazy morning at the office, or a sadistically long run; the creamy hazelnut chocolate spread, I savor every smear of. This had so completely worked into my running routine, that when I travelled out of town for marathons, I carried my Nutella jar. Continue reading “Nutella Sandwich: Nutella spread on Iggy’s bread”

Cherry Tomatoes

Pics of freshly harvested Cherry Tomatoes from the Garden by Arun Shanbhag
Freshly harvested cherry tomatoes from a friend’s garden. A benefit of watching friend’s house is you get to pick all the ripe vegetables. Delicious! Thank you Vikas.


See more vegetables and fruits: Continue reading “Cherry Tomatoes”

Tambdo Phovu – Red Flattened Rice, v2

Pics how to make Tambdo Phovu poha, red flattened rice by Arun Shanbhag

(During processing these pics, I remembered I had previously written on Making Tambdo Phovu; so, edited the text and added in newer pics.)

Phovu (beaten or flattened rice) freshly mixed with few spices is a staple breakfast of Konkanis. We grew up eating tambdo phovu nearly every day (tambdo for red comes from the crushed red chillis in this recipe). When visitors arrive unannounced, aunts or grandma would quickly mix this snack, usually takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. Since this is simply mixed, it is also called kāláyilo (mixed) phovu. Many households use phova piTTo (powdered spice mix for phovu), but we made this from scratch. Continue reading “Tambdo Phovu – Red Flattened Rice, v2”

Meera loves Jalebis

Pics of Meera showing off Jalebis from Sukhadias NJ by Arun Shanbhag
While visiting family in NJ, we shopped at Edison and bought jalebis at Sukhadia’s. When we got home, Meera ripped open the box and dug into the jalebis, even as we were unloading the car.


Other Indian Desserts:

Mango Manna

Its mango season and I’m reposting this from a few years ago. Gosh, how I miss shopping mangoes in Mumbai. A case of the best.
Crates of Aapus Mangoes at Jyotiba Phule Mandi, Crawford Market by Arun Shanbhag

In India, the scorching heat is but a small price to pay for luscious aapus mangoes. My mother was irked I skipped lunches and feasted instead on four mangoes, and a few more after dinner. During the last week, I was gulping 6-8 aapus a day, hoping to be sick of them by the time I returned. Alas, in the cafeteria today my eyes searched for mangoes, knowing full well there weren't any. Continue reading “Mango Manna”

Beet Red Juice with Apples, Carrots, Cilantro, Lemon and Ginger

pics of vegetables carrots, beet, apples ginger and lemon in Blood Red Juice by Arun Shanbhag

Now that M & Meera are in Boston, I worry less (about the house, yard or anything else) and explore culinary creations. Here is an all-natural Red Juice loaded with important nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. Continue reading “Beet Red Juice with Apples, Carrots, Cilantro, Lemon and Ginger”

Girls making Papad 2

Picture of girls making papad in Kumta, India

A few years back while visiting Kumta I went back to the little shack where I had earlier seen young women making papad (writeup and pics). I was glad to see that this little cinderblock workshop was still active, and women came together to make papad and other eatables to sell in local stores. I like the light in this pic. Continue reading “Girls making Papad 2”

Dayaram Damodar for Sutarfeni in Mumbai

D Damodar Dadar Mumbai Sutarfeni pics by Arun Shanbhag

Post updated with newer pics from a recent visit.

Hope you have all tried Sutarfeni – the sweet, shredded, flaky, rice dough, topped with pista and almonds. What a dangerous agent it is; melts my self-discipline, and like a slobbering idiot I empty a pound of this “buddi ka baal” in no time. Continue reading “Dayaram Damodar for Sutarfeni in Mumbai”

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