Turmeric Milk: Soothing Elixir

haldi turmeric ginger milk by Arun ShanbhagTurmeric 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 or cold. And grandma admonished us to sip it hot, letting it course its way down the back of our throats. Haaiiii! She had alchemized this common root, to a piping hot, golden elixir, which not only got us back to school the next day (unfortunately), but also back on the playground (v good). Something magical about that turmeric milk! If she only knew!
Continue reading “Turmeric Milk: Soothing Elixir”

Ragda Pattis, Lassi and Sevpuri

Every evening we take Meera for a walk. Its just a few blocks to the local Maruti temple on Colaba Causeway. After darshan, we invariably stop by Kailash Parbat for some chaat. The bestest!

The Pani puri is best savored at the counter outside, where you stand and the bhaiyya dishes out the puri faster than you can gulp them. With Meera in tow, it is easier to sit inside and keep her occupied with some puffed rice, while we munch on our other favorites. I stick to what I like: Ragda Pattis and a Meetha Lassi – with a dollop of malai on top! M ordered the Sev puri.
Bon apetit!

Ragda pattis lassi Kailash Parbat Colaba


Kailash Parbat in previous posts

Pav Bhaji & Chole Bhatura
Pav Bhaji Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

How to eat a Paani Puri
How to eat Paani Puri Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

Ragda Pattis & Lassi (2004)
Ragda Pattis Lassi Kailash Parbat Colaba

Reading: Wide Angle Lens

A few interesting things. Lets start with wine!


  • An eco-smart alternative to the wine bottle.
  • Slideshow: “Making French Rabbit’s New Eco-Smart Wine Bottle,” Fast Company.

    Seeing this feature in Fast Company, I tried French Rabbit’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Fantastic and it goes superbly well with my grilled salmon. Importantly, a tetra pack has 1 L wine compared to 750 ml of a regular bottle and it was inexpensive ~ $7.99! Our guests loved it too!

    See more reviews here.

  • Plain vanilla gets you to your retirement goals faster!
  • Made to Stick: The Myth of Mutual Funds | Fast Company.

    These authors of the bestseller, Made to Stick, remind us why investing in Vanguard’s S&P 500 Index fund is the way to go! And don’t be mesmerized by the glib talking financial advisers, who are looking after their own retirement! Make money for yourself, not for the financial adviser!

  • AdventNet’s Sridhar Vembu: Deflating IT
  • So fabulous to see Sridhar Vembu featured in The Economist.
    AdventNet’s Sridhar Vembu | The Economist.

    “SRIDHAR VEMBU is a dangerous man. If he succeeds, a lot of people will lose a lot of money: software developers, consultants, shareholders and others. The chief executive of AdventNet does not have fraud in mind. Instead, he wants to remove what he calls the “value-pad” from corporate IT in general and business software in particular: all those millions of dollars he thinks are wasted on inefficient production structures, marketing and, not least, proprietary standards. “In the world of corporate IT”, he says, “the low-cost revolution is very much unfinished business.”

  • Racist policies of the LPGA
  • The recent policy of the LPGA, that all players pass an oral english test was rightly criticized. From the New York Times: Editorial – A Bad Idea From the LPGA.

    The LPGA has since revised its policy: L.P.G.A. Will Revise Its Policy on English – NYTimes.com, but as the following quote from their Deputy Commissioner suggests, they just don’t get it!

    “In an interview with The New York Times last week, Libba Galloway, the deputy commissioner of the L.P.G.A., defended the policy and said the suspension penalty was fundamental to it.

    “…, this is puzzling to us because we think we are ensuring that our membership is better equipped to succeed by having them effectively communicate in English,” she said. “We are equipping them with the necessary tools for maximizing their potential off-course earning opportunities. The suspension demonstrates the importance we are placing on effective communication in English.”

    Nearly half a millennia ago, when the Portuguese butchered and forcibly converted the Konkanis in Goa, their rationale was similar: “They don’t know it yet, we are just saving their souls!”

    Centuries later when the British colonized India, their rationale was similar, “we are bringing culture and civilization to these savages.”

    And similarly in Iraq: We have to destroy them to save them!


Street Food: Alaskan Killer Shrimp

If these get you salivating, blame Sia who is hosting Street food Festivities!


After psychedelic uttapams from Murugan Idli in Chennai, I’ll zip you around the globe to Alaska for some spicy Killer Shrimp.

Last year this week in Alaska, we marveled in awe at Glaciers, and ooohed and aaahed at antics of humpback whales and those colorful, darling puffins. En route in Anchorage, we snacked on these Killer Shrimp freshly prepared at an open air stall – the closest you’ll get to street food in the US.

A mother and daughter team fried giant shrimp in butter and a medley of spices.

Continue reading “Street Food: Alaskan Killer Shrimp”

Meeting Aayi of Aayis Recipes

Looking for new recipes, you have likely browsed Aayi’s Recipes the uber popular food blog hosted by Shilpa. This is M’s favorite “go-to” site anytime she needs inspiration for her cooking.

During my travels to India, I look forward to visiting our ancestral town of Kumta – Jewel of the Konkan in coastal Karnataka. And when I read that Shilpa’s Aayi (mother) actually lives in Kodkani, a village near Kumta, I had to make the pilgrimage and take darshan of this Devi – the inspiration behind Aayi’s Recipe. I contacted Shilpa and asked to visit her parents. She readily agreed and gave me their contact details.

And on a beautiful Saturday, I hitched a ride on a school bus dropping kids off to kodkani. Now, that in itself needs a separate post.

As the bus pulled up at the designated place, Shilpa’s father was waiting and brought me to their beautiful home! Wow! A traditional style bungalow, which immediately transported me back to the home of my grandparents in Bhatkal. Terracotta tiled roof; an open ‘jagli’ and a tulsi vrindavan in the front yard. The magnificently blossoming tulsi gave me great vibes of the place (see pic later).

And what a joy it was to finally meet Shilpa’s Aayi! Yes, Aayi of “Aayi’s Recipes.” Hundreds of thousands have salivated at her dishes, as shared by Shilpa. Legions have been inspired to try her creations for their loved ones. And so many look forward each day to new posts to titillate the palate. And I was invited to a beautiful konkani lunch made by her! 😀

Look at the spread. I hurriedly captured it before wolfing everything down. By the time I was through, not a morsel was left. What is more beautiful than all those recipes Shilpa posts on AayisRecipes? Eating dishes lovingly made by her Aayi! … and I got to eat it! nyean, nyean, nyean, nyean!

Continue reading “Meeting Aayi of Aayis Recipes”

Raagi Bhakri

During summers in Bhatkal (Karnataka), every morning we were treated to Raagi-neru. A watery concoction of raagi ground with a bit of coconut and jaggery. My grandmother advised that this would keep our insides cool from the summer heat. We’d hurriedly gulp a few glasses and dash into the orchards, chasing dragon flies!

I recently saw two recipes for Raagi Roti (or Bhakri) and convinced M to give it a try.We followed two similar recipes; one by Latha from Yum Blog! and the other by Asha of Foodies Hope. There are slight variations, so go ahead and check them out.The bhakri had a nice earthy taste and was slightly gritty. The red onions and chillies gave it a nice zing and did not need any chutney to go with it. It did dry my mouth, and I gulped a couple of glasses of water and juice. I quickly chomped down two bhakris and was surprisingly full for the rest of the day. It sits strongly in your stomach. This ability to fill you must be an important reason why raagi is a staple amongst the poor laborers in Northern Karnataka. This would be a great snack to power you on a long hike.

Ingredients (essentially from Latha’s post)

  • Raagi flour – 1 cup; see making Fresh Raagi Flour
  • Cilantro, finely chopped – half bunch
  • Red onion, 1/2 of medium sized, finely chopped
  • Green chilly pepper, 2 finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Method:

  • Mix ingredients in the least amount of water and knead into a smooth soft dough.
  • Set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Spread a few drops of oil on a hot tava (pan), place a ball of dough and pat it to a pancake. Try to get it as thin as possible.
  • It helps to rub oil on your fingers to prevent them sticking to the dough
  • Roast covered over medium heat
  • Flip and roast other side as well.
  • Don’t crisp, but leave soft.

A little background: Raagi is also called African millet or red millet, and was introduced into India four millenia earlier from Ethiopia. In Maharashtra it is called Nachani and in Konkani, we call it Nanchano. The raagi crop grows well in arid lands making it popular amongst farmers in parts of the dry Deccan plateau. The seeds once harvested are also resistant to insects and spoilage and another reason raagi has become a staple of farmers. And it unusually brings vital amino acids to an otherwise starchy diet.Give it a try! Eat Healthy!

Karnataka Cuisine: What a feast it is!

Food blogs are fascinating ways to learn about different cuisines, new dishes, new ways to prepare old dishes, and importantly, gives ides of what to cook up for the simple daily dinner, or even the special feast coming up.

Have to confess, M looks through a few food blogs every day to figure out what new dishes to conjure up every evening to tame her impatient, ravenous husband. Yes, I am well fed! 😛

As I have elaborated before, food blogs have an important advantage, they are not written by celebrity chefs mixing ingredients in designer kitchens for TV fans. These are written by your average householders, who are always time-challenged to cook something delicious yet simple and healthy for their loved ones – their own spouses and kids. Yes and in their cooking you find the most precious spice of ‘love’.

But how do you track the seemingly millions of food blogs out there? Over the last several months I have tracked several Foodies and listed them in my Food to Live For blogroll on ArunShanbhag.com

A useful trend amongst foodies is to organize a ‘Round-up’ based on an ingredient or festival. Contributors post recipes on the theme and an organizer rounds-up and links the recipes in a large post.

Asha of FoodiesHope, recently organized a Round-up of “Regional Cuisines of India: Karnataka.” Foodies from around the globe recreated traditional dishes in modern kitchens and also conjured up new recipes with locally available ingredients.

Asha, received 368 contributions and has painstakingly sorted and summarized it in four posts. If you even remotely like Karnataka Cuisine, this is verily food nirvana:

  1. Appetizers and Snacks
  2. Breakfast and Brunch. (Includes a dazzling variety of dosas!)
  3. Dishes for the Main Course
  4. Spicy Powders, Desserts and Else.

So take a few minutes to visit her posts, identify the recipes you like, click through for the complete recipes. Since some of the contributors were already on my Food to Live For blogroll, we have tried several of these dishes at home. Yumm! No doubt I have not had a chance to post – coz we were busy eating :-))

Gokulashtami Food Spread

Over the last several weeks I have found scores of excellent Indian Food Blogs. These are not written by celebrity chefs, but by regular, albeit very talented women cooking everyday meals at home for their families. And many are based in the US and use locally available ingredients. The collection is truly spectacular and makes me drool.

Even M has taken to following their recipes and trying them at home!

Many of these home chefs also organize ‘Round-ups’ with a theme such as ingredients (Rice, Banana, etc) or festivals; and have others submit their related posts. Latha from the Yum Blog recently compiled a virtual gathering of Janmashtami foods. She had more than 30 submissions and they are all posted in this Janmashtami Round-up.

Browse, link through and revel in these beautiful culinary creations. A lot of easy to make desserts!!! Of course, I was thrilled she highlighted my Gokulashtami post. 🙂

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 with the aromatic Dill, popular in coastal Maharashtra. Dill Idlis are primarily made along the northern coastal Karnataka (Konkan).

In making these idlis, the key is to retain the subtle taste and gentle aroma of dill, which is later complemented by warm tuup and honey while eating. So here is the brief recipe and a few pics.

Fresh Dill
Pics of Making Dill Idlis - steamed rice cakes by Arun Shanbhag
Continue reading “Dill Idlis: A Konkani Delicacy”

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