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Gupta Chikki – Yummy Candy

Pictures of Lego Minifigures enjoying Peanut Chikki by Arun Shanbhag

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 […]

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Video: Making Rava Dosa and Masala Dosas

(move your mouse out of the video frame, to lose the black border) Growing up in Mumbai, dosas were a staple in our home. We never tired of them. Could munch dosas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the expert hands of my mother, dosas were easy; its the parathas and North Indian fare she […]

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Video: Jana Gana Mana, List of Performers

With democracy comes a serious responsibility. What are you doing with your democracy? Happy Independence Day!

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Video: Approaching Kumta on the Konkan Railway

Move your mouse out of the video frame to lose the black border. Music: Mere Desh Ka Salaam, Shobha Gurtu. Those who have ridden the Konkan Railway can attest, the rural countryside with emerald green fields is mesmerizing. I think of an early retirement in a village, a small house and running a school. To […]

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Video: Weaving Jaaii Flowers

pic of Puja for Naga Devata with Jaaii Juhi flowers in Kumta by Arun Shanbhag

During recent travels, I was visiting relatives in Honavar, Karnataka – a sleepy coastal town south of Kumta (see google map below). I had stopped by a family store to add money to my pre-paid cell phone. There, this older gentleman was weaving these delicate pink buds called jaaii-che kaLo. These buds only sprout after […]

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Video: Making Puran Polis

When in Mumbai, we attended a puja at my aunt’s place in Jogeshwari. There we enjoyed a delicious south india lunch, served on banana leaves. Freshly made, warm puran polis, dribbled with home-made tuup (clarified butter), was one of many desserts. The catering crew were making it in the back. Enjoy the video. And see […]

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Turmeric Milk: Soothing Elixir

Turmeric is an ubiquitous indian spice and a common ingredient of pre-mixed curry or masala powders. Turmeric (haldi, Konkani; haridra, Sanskrit) is also an essential component of fish marinade. While I take for granted the turmeric used in cooking, I distinctly remember my grandma preparing scalding hot, turmeric milk whenever we had a sore throat […]

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Kaapi: Way Coffee Should be Enjoyed

Running Update: To keep up with my training for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC I had to run 13 miles through partial rain and dodging puddles the entire way. Running with squishy shoes for a couple of hours is not fun! I made it around in horrible time and sore hamstrings. This year […]

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Great Penance: Descent of the Ganga

Photos of the Great penance descent of the Ganga Mamallapuram by Arun Shanbhag

Mamallapuram, about an hour south of Chennai along the East coast, hosts India’s largest and most dramatic relief-sculpture. It represents the celebrated myth of the descent of the river Ganga from heaven to earth. The Great Penance, is carved on a giant granite rock wall 27 meters wide and 9 meters tall, and was believed […]

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Krishna Mandap @ Mamallāpuram

photos of Pallava Krishna Mandap in Mamallapuram by Arun Shanbhag

Earlier you saw the Varāha Gudi (Varāha Mandap) from early in the reign of Pallavā, Mahendravarman (571-630 ce). In addition to other fabulous caves, he commissioned carvings into the side of mountains, combining creativity and artistic excellence. In this Krishna Mandap, devotionally carved reliefs pays tribute to Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan. The shallow cave-like slot […]

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Phova Dosa: Beaten Rice Crepes

I am well-fed. Thanks to all foodies on my “Food to Live For” Blogroll (see sidebar), M is inspired to try various dishes. After adapting Sailu’s recipe for our Boston home, M made these delicious Phova poLo with our own onion chutney for brunch. Phovu (beaten or flattened rice) is a staple of Konkanis and […]

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Varaha Mandap at Mamallāpuram

Pallava art Varaha Mandap at Mamallapuram by Arun Shanbhag

Mandapas or Cave shrines of Mamallapuram. The Pallavas (4th – 9th century ce) were the first dynasty to rule over large tracts of present day Tamil Nadu. Their capital at Kanchipuram was at the cross-roads of the North-South trade in spices, gems and silks. Their thriving port at Mamallapuram was the export nexus for trade […]

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PiPi Unbound

Growing up, even a thimble full of these squiggly bits was a treat It still is. I found this in a desi store here. Now I get my stash from Mumbai on every visit. (Chikki was my other treat.)

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Ten Tips to Survive Saree Shopping

Photos of Kancheevaram sarees from Nalli Sarees Chennai by Arun Shanbhag

Yes guys, that day will surely come. You’ll have to accompany the wife or significant other for saree shopping. How you respond to the not-so-subtle hint is going to mark you for ever. In the good old days of the joint (or extended) family, you were safe. She may go saree shopping with her MIL, […]

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Dill Idlis: A Konkani Delicacy

During this summer, we had parents, siblings and their families visiting. In addition to catching up on gossip, we were constantly eating various dishes that the women conjured up. And they made one of my favorites, Dill Idlis (Dill is called Shaepi in Konkani). These idlis represent the marriage of the South Indian staple idli […]

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Idli Sambar: Its whats for brunch!

Idli Sambar: Its whats for brunch! Of late, I was craving idlis. First it was Lakshmi, who tormented us with her pati's excellent idli making skills. Then at the Konkani Sammelan we had idli sambar for breakfast, and I only got one serving! Considering the long lines, I felt guilty and did not go for […]

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Kumta: Field of Dreams

The road leading from my cousin's house in Chitragi to the Kumta (paent) market. It's a beautiful 10 minute walk. Here, bicycles serve as family vehicles. Notice how calmly, mom and infant are enjoying the ride on the rack. The open drains on the side of the roads, carry the heavy monsoon rain water run-off. […]

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Sitaaphal

The one fruit I sorely miss. Sitaaphal from the fruit-wallah on Colaba Causeway, Mumbai. Sitaaphal is also called a custard apple. Other Fruits & Vegetables Posts: Cherry tomatoes Elephants Ogling Raspberries Oooooh, Those Red Peppers Grape Tomatoes on ice. Beet Red Juice with Apples, Carrots, Cilantro, Lemon and Ginger Colaba Vegetable Market Vegetable Market in […]

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Mando – A Konkani Delicacy

During the annual Ganapati festival, our house in Colaba is a bee hive of activity. See my earlier post on shopping for flowers at Dadar. For weeks before the festival, the women are busy preparing konkani delicacies from scratch: Cheeroti, Chackli, Gaanti, sweet and spicy diamond shaped shankar-pali, Puran-Poli, Nevri (Karanjya), Chevda, Mando, and a […]