My grandmom always said we shouldn’t eat fish/ sea food in those months without an R in its name. That is from May to August. Well back then as children, we didn’t understand why, but growing up I figured it’s the rainy season in India so due to rough seas it’s not safe for the fishermen. Also the fish spawn in this period so its right that that we allow the life cycle to be complete. Its a respect thing to allow life even when we kill for food!
Today, my daughter who is soon to be a Marine Conservationist says, that relatively rural or under developed countries, basically communities that haven’t been affected by industrialisation, barely harm the environment. In terms of recycling and how they use resources.
My son(15) who loves to fish in freshwater streams & rivers is always careful to throwback into the water fish below a certain size (not fully grown). Also, he seems to have learnt the cycles of the fish varieties found and knows when its the spawning season.
A lesson that began with my grandmom comes back full circle as I enjoy the last of the fish curry & fry before the R in the month names!
Mango Fish Curry
Season mustard, curry leaves & onions. Add juliennes of ginger & garlic. Saute & add coconut milk along with chilli powder, turmeric & salt. After a boil, drop in the washed & cleaned fish along with slices of raw mango. Cover & cook. Serve with rice or dosa.
Written & Directed by Aruna Raje. Bold, smoothly made & aptly named.. National award winners Usha Jadhav as Sunanda Raut the lawyer who is known never to lose, yet fair & square in an unbalanced world. Architect husband, Girish Kulkarni as Madhav Patkar, a small town boy who has left the middle class morales behind in lieu of unconditional love & friendship. Highly supportive of his wifes career as well as tolerant of the effects of her abusive past.
The abuse, trauma, therapy & healing there after are the bold elements of the movie conceptualised bang on yet perhaps not totally saleable in the real world with due credit to real victims.
Well shown are the idiosynchrasis of the rich spoilt Rajeshwari Sachdev as Divya Pradhan shown just to harass husband, suave Sachin Khedekar, as Anand Pradhan the sucessful businessman with a soft & sensual side. The couple drifts apart as the wife is unable to accept the less than perfect autistic daughter they have & eventually land up in Sunandas office & life.
An excellent theme of unbiased choices but falls short of reality & ends abruptly on a hurried note as if the director didnt want to tap on the angle chosen lest he bring down the wrath of the morale brigade!
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Growing up, I never understood what the fuss was about classics, except that they were boring. As an adult, I thought I should try & understand.
A reader in our virtual(Facebook) book club asked for recommendations for a spooky gothic novel & Wuthering Heights was repeatedly suggested by many. The spook factor made me want to read too. Three of us decided to buddy-read this book hoping to discuss it along the way not realising that soon we would need to egg each other to read just a little more.. the support of buddy reading sure helped me see the book through! A pic of the family tree I found online helped me unstandard who is who better.
I was very amused at the heavy crass language being used from the beginning of the book & soon realised that the stress I felt was from the feeling like i was reading a school text. I came across words like ‘Palaver’ & ‘Assevaerated’ & was glad I was reading on the kindle or I would be using a dictionary more than reading the book. As also the spellings perplexed me, ‘Almanack’ spelt with a ‘K’! When asked if i was enjoying the book, I couldn’t say so except that Cathys first sighting was pretty fascinating & I wanted to know more.
On finishing chapter 8, I felt no closer to finding out why this book was classified as dark or gothic. Except for the violence that seemed to come easily to people of those times. Must confess though that I was impressed with the thoughts of a 15 year old Cathy when she said “I have dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after..and altered the colour of my mind”.
There were times I would crawl through the reading & felt I would soon be giving up. Its only the thought of the Ghost that kept me hooked. Finally the last couple of chapters did get interesting & thats when I realised that there was a subtle change in the style of writing. This was confirmed when I read ‘About the Author’ which explained that one of the Bronte sisters did revise Emilys texts.
The Grown-Up by Gillian Flynn – Couple of weeks later, one of the buddy readers suggested or rather insisted that we read The Grown-Up.. I was impressed that a book of only 64 pages could be intriguing.
My first thought was lol, what an excuse for carpal tunnel syndrome; mine is rolling rotis! All the scheming & planning just to beg saddened me though I was impressed with the insight on silences..
What a spooky book, exactly what Wuthering Heights was not! Clairvoyance, colours & auras fascinate me, but I realised that this book was a spoof on the ethereal stuff. The book ended all too quickly but lingered on, agreed my buddy too! An insightful book about people looking for an easy way out.
Here is a recipe in 3 simple steps.. 1. Soak 2 cups kabuli channa overnight & next morning, throw out the water & pressure cook with fresh water till soft. 2. Roast 2 tbl spoons white sesame. Cool & powder fine in mixie. Add 3-4 tbl sunflower oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp pepper powder & juice of 2 whole lemons. Add 10 cloves garlic to the mixie & blend well. This is Tahini. 3. Save 3-4 boiled channa & Add the rest of the cooked channa to the same mixie. Blend roughly not too smooth. Scoop into a bowl & make marks with the back of a fork. Sprinkle red chilli powder & Serve with a drizzle of olive oil. Decorate with the 3-4 boiled channa kept aside.
The only delicious low calorie & healthy spread that can be eaten guilt free as a dip, as a side or by itself. Paired with falafel, kebabs, layered in shawarma & smeared into the pita pockets filled with shredded veggies.
Hummus is so versatile that it is enjoyed plain or flavoured with many different add ons.. Roasted capsicum, beet or basil (for pesto) & more. It can be served with pita chips, even khakra, avacados, roasted veggies(bhindi/okra in pic) & any innovation that appeals to you.
What is essentially a meditarean spread is quite a household name even in Indian Metros.. Very popular among dieters & a high protein snack for school goers too.
Plain, Masala & Ginger are flavours of Milk tea that is popular, sold at tapris, nukkads, posh cafes, restaurants & made in every home. The stories exchanged over chai are even taller than the ones over an evening drink!
Every home has its own ritual or equivalent of a tea ceremony. The best treat the lady of the house can get is the tea made by the husband, the first cup of the day or the one when she finally puts up her feet at the end of chores. Whether the tea leaves are steeped in water or added after the water & milk or with no pani at all is definetly a personal choice.
Garma garam Adrak chai served with Pakoda on a rainy day is a must as is a stop at the road side dhaba on your first date with an old melody playing on the radio becoming the signature tune of your love. Chaha~Poha is timeless tea time snack too!!
Burum Maska Chai in an Irani restaurant in Mumbai is a culture that will never go out of fashion. The crisp Pav slathered with butter when dunked in a hot cuppa is ooh, divine.
Green Teas & the newer Blooming Teas are actual flowers that bloom when steeped. The fragrance is heady & sensual with added health benefits too. Popular among the elite, made in special pots & served in dainty cups to be sipped with the lil pinky sticking out.
Anytime is Tea time.. for all/any occasions too.. When hungry, its Chai~Biskoot, after a heavy meal its a Sulaimani or Mint tea. To seal deals or break news..its always a cuppa.
It’s quite a tradition with my friends to share a virtual cup over social media by posting a pic of their cup of tea over sunset every evening. It’s our way of bonding & recapping events of the day!
First impressions.. Lasting impressions no?.. I am willing to change mine for a clean shoe rack!!
People have foot fetishes, shoes fetishes.. I have a shoe rack fetish! The bigger the better.. the cleaner even better.. Neatly arranged the best!!
Buying shoes is therapy. It can be calming & extremely satisfying. Indian women love street shopping only because it allows us to haggle & bring the price down. Knowing the vendors don’t have a high margin like the bigger stores or even like branded ones does not make a difference I have noticed. Trying on shoes & gloating at how little we paid for it, is this the key to a satisfying street shopping experience?
Most people tend to ignore shoes, belts & wallets/ purses in the bigger scheme of dressing. Balancing the match is the key! May you always put your best foot forward…
Cabbage Idli (Konkani delicacy called Amshe-Tikshe.. Meaning Sour & Spicy.. Usually made with left over patrode batter)
Konkanis are the people from along the Konkan – Western & Southern coast of India. Typical of all regions of India, there are Konkani speaking Hindus, Muslims & Christians. The cuisines are similar yet a lil different. Chitrapur Saraswats are among the many Konkani speaking communities who have great many varieties in their interetsing cuisine.
Cabbage is not usually liked by many but this Idli was & remains my favourite as perhaps I didnt know it had cabbage. The strong odour is masked by the simple masala making this a gut-healthy fermented snack.
To make 8 idlis.. Soak ½cup Toor dal & ½ cup rice for 2 hours & grind along with 1cup grated coconut, 6 dried r.chillies, 1 small ball tamarind & 4 tbl spoons jaggery. Add 2 cups grated cabbage & allow to ferment for 4hours Atleast.