Friday, July 29, 2011

Day Seven : Capsicum Paneer Bhurji with Coriander Paratha

For the finale i.e. Day Seven of the Blogging Marathon #7, brainchild of the lovely Srivalli , we have Capsicum Paneer Bhurji with Coriander Paratha..
That I love Paneer would be an understatement :)) So I am ever ready to eat it in all forms whether it is in salads or starters or sabjis or even paneer parathas...
Here is a quick and easy to make Paneer Bhurji in which I added Capsicum for color and crunchy taste..
We team Capsicum Paneer Bhurji with Coriander Paratha.. Colorful and yummy combination....


 Capsicum Paneer Bhurji :

Ingredients :
Paneer - 1/4 kg
Onions - 3
Tomatoes - 2
Capsicum - 1 /2
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 7/8 cloves
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Salt  - as per individual taste and preferance
Sugar - pinch
Coriander leaves - for garnishing
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing)- pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Godha masala - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1  

 
Method :
Wash and finely grate the paneer.
Finely chop the onions and tomatoes in small pieces.
Chop capsicum and garlic into small pieces.
Grate ginger finely.
Grind ginger and garlic into a fine paste in a mixer.
In a heavy bottom pan (kadhai) heat oil.
When oil gets heated, add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
Then add cumin seeds and hing.
Add ginger garlic paste and stir fry.
Add onions and stir fry continously.
When onions turn translucent, add turmeric powder.
After onions are cooked add tomatoes and capsicum.
Stir fry continously and add goda masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and red chilli powder.
Cook on medium heat till tomatoes are done.Then add salt and pinch of sugar.
Stir fry continously for 5-10 minutes.
Capsicum Paneer Bhurji is ready to be served.

Tips : Use fresh paneer.
If using frozen paneer, thraw it first and then grate it. Do not mash it.
If you want bhurji to be slightly spicy, grind green chillies with ginger and garlic to make fine paste.
Cook on medium flame and stir continously otherwise the bhurji will burn or stick to the pan.
Do not cover with lid. Water should not be added as tomatoes tend to make it liquidy.



Coriander Paratha :
Ingredients:
Whole wheat flour / gehun ka atta - 2 cups
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Salt
Oil
Water
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon

Method :
Mix atta with oil and salt.
Add red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder to the atta.
Add finely chopped coriander leaves.
Add water and knead into fine dough.
Make small pedas (balls) and roll the ball into full moon shape.
Roast the paratha on tava/girdle on both sides.
Grease with oil or ghee as per taste.

Tip : After washing coriander leaves, let them dry a bit and then add into atta.
Amount of water should be decided after coriander leaves are mixed into the atta.
This paratha is made similiar to Methi Theplas(Gujarati dish)

Enjoy the colorful and yummy combination of Capsicum Paneer Bhurji with Coriander Paratha....

For the benefit of readers joining late, these are the dishes I cooked during the Blogging Marathon#7 :
Day One : Aloo Paratha with Spring Onion Salad
Day Two :  Snake Gourd Paratha with Metkoot
Day Three : Spicy Yam Sabji with Roti
Day Four : Chole Masala with Paratha
Day Five:  Mushroom Masala with Jeera Rice
Day Six :  Kadhi Khichadi
Do catch up on what the rest of the marathon bloggers are upto....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day Six : Kadhi Khichadi

On Day Six of the Blogging Marathon #7, brainchild of the lovely Srivalli , we have the ultimate comfort food : Kadhi Khichadi.
Personally, this combo meal is one of my absolute favorite dish.
I loved Kadhi Khichadi as a child hence it was one of the first dishes that I learnt to cook.
It is supposed to be my specialty. My family and friends send requests (farmaish) for me to cook this simple yet extremely wholesome and tasty comfort food.
No get together of our family is complete without me cooking this dish.
I know that most people have highly complicated dishes as their specialty. But then I do not claim to be good cook ( I am still learning and have a long way to go) and I believe that it is not easy to make even simple dishes tasty and consistently good :))
In Maharashtrian weddings, kadhi khichadi and sheera puri are served for dinner on the wedding eve(simantpujan)
Though generally khichadi is made with moong dal and rice, I prefer to make it with Tur dal.

Kadhi Khichadi :




Khichadi :
Ingredients :
3/4 cup Tur dal / Arhar Dal ( Split Red Gram)
3/4 cup Rice (whole uncooked)
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 8-9 cloves
Onions - 2/3 
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Water - 4 and half cups
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing)- pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar - pinch
Salt - as per taste.
Godha masala - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon

Method : 
Wash tur dal and rice with water together and after rinsing off the water keep aside for half an hour.
Cut onions into small pieces.
Grate ginger finely.
Chop cloves of garlic into small pieces.
In a pressure cooker, heat one tablespoon of oil.
When the oil gets heated, add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
Add cumin seeds and hing. 
Add onions and stir them continously for 5 minutes.
After the onions turn translucent, add turmeric powder.
Add tur dal and rice which was kept aside after washing and stir continuously.
Add godha masala,red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and sugar and mix well.
Stir for 5 -10 minutes and add water.
Cover it with the lid and whistle and let it pressure cook on medium heat.
After 2 whistles, lower the heat and let it cook for 5 minutes before removing from heat.

Tips :
Do not add turmeric powder before onions as it might get burnt in hot oil and also you will not be able to see the changed color of onions.
Water to be added should be heated separately so that the khichadi cooks faster.
Water to be added may vary as per the brand of rice being used.
My family generally likes khichadi to be of semi liquid consistency. If you prefer khichadi to be of more firm consistency like biryani add less water and use Basmati rice.

Kadhi :
2 cup curd (dahi)
Water
Gram flour (besan) - 2/3 teaspoons
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Garlic - 7-8 cloves
Green chillies - 3/4 
Salt to taste
Sugar - pinch
Coriander leaves(optional)
Curry leaves (optional)
Ghee
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing)- pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Fenugreek Seeds (methi dana) - 1/2 teaspoon
Beat the curd adding water in a blender.
Grate the ginger and fine chop half the garlic into small pieces.
Take 2 green chillies and fine chop them.
Grind ginger, garlic, coriander leaves, cumin seeds and green chillies in a mixer to a coarse consistency.
Add this mixture into the curd and mix well.
Add salt and sugar.
In a small cup take some water and add besan in it.
Stir continuously till there are no lumps seen in the water.
Add this in the curd and water mixture and mix well.
In a heavy bottom vessel pour this and keep it on medium heat.
Stir continuously. When this mixture comes to boil, switch off the heat.
Heat ghee in a small pan.
When the ghee gets heated, add cumin seeds and hing.
Add the remaining cloves of garlic and green chillies.
Add fenugreek seeds and turmeric powder.
Pour this tempering (tadaka) over the kadhi and let it boil for 5 minutes.

Tip : Check the sourness of curd and add sugar / gud according. Gujarati kadhi is generally sweet but in Maharashtra sugar is not always added.
Stir the mixture continously when you cook it as otherwise the curd may start cuddling and the curd & water separate. The kadhi should be a mixture of curd and besan.
As stated above, I made khichadi with tur dal and rice instead of moong dal.
Also my ratio of tur dal and rice is exact half and half unlike the usual 3:1 ratio of moong dal and rice.

Kadhi Khichadi is ready.

Take a look at what the rest of the marathon bloggers are upto....



Day Five : Mushroom Masala with Jeera Rice

On Day Five of the Blogging Marathon #7, brainchild of the lovely Srivalli , we have Mushroom Masala with Jeera Rice.









Mushroom Masala :

Ingredients :
Mushrooms - One packet
Onions - 3/4
Tomatoes - 2
Cloves of garlic - 7/8
Ginger - 1 inch
Salt - as per taste
Sugar - pinch
Green chilli - 1/2
Coriander leaves - bunch
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Water

Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing)- pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Goda masala - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon

Method :
Wash mushrooms thoroughly and cut them in pieces as shown in the photo above.
Cut onions and tomatoes into small pieces.
Grate ginger and chop the garlic finely.
Cut green chillies into small pieces.
Wash and chop the coriander leaves.
Grind together ginger, garlic, green chillies, coriander leaves, cumin seeds and half of the onions in a mixer to make a fine paste.
Heat oil in heavy bottom pan (kadhai) and after the oil gets heated, add mustard seeds.
When the mustard seeds splutter and crackle, its time to add cumin seeds and hing.
Add the remaining onions and stir fry till the onions become translucent.
Add turmeric powder and the paste grinded in the mixer.
Stir continuously and add coriander powder, cumin powder and sugar. 
Stir till the oil is separated and then add tomatoes.
Add mushrooms and stir fry.
Cover with a lid and let the mushrooms cook properly.
Add water and cook.
Mushroom masala is ready.

Jeera Rice :
Ingredients :
One cup rice (cooked)
Cumin seeds(jeera) - 2 teaspoons
asafoetida (hing) - 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee
Onions - 1/2
Potatoes - 1/2
Salt as per taste
Black Pepper / Kali Miri- 5
Cloves/ Lavang - 4
Cinnamon/Dalchini - 1/2 inch stick
Bay Leaf / Tamal Patra- 1

Method :
Cook rice separately.
Chop onions and potatoes into small pieces
Heat ghee in a pan.
Add cumin seeds when the ghee gets heated.
Add hing and black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf.
Add onions and stir till they become translucent.
Add potatoes and cover with a lid till they cook.
Add cooked rice and salt and stir fry well for 5/6 minutes.
Serve with Mushroom Masala.

Tips :
Mushrooms cook fast so be careful otherwise they tend to get overcooked.
As I was having mushroom masala with jeera rice, I added more water. 
In case of jeera rice, it can be cooked directly into pressure cooker similiarl to khichadi.


Take a look at what the rest of the marathon bloggers are upto..

Day Four : Chole Masala with Paratha

Day Four of the Blogging Marathon #7, brainchild of the lovely Srivalli , we have Chole Masala with Paratha.




Chole Masala :

Ingredients :
Chole  - 1/4 kg
Onions - 1/4 kg
Tomatoes - 2
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder-1 teaspoon
Chole Masala - 1 teaspoon
Amchur powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cloves of garlic - 7/8
Ginger - 1 inch
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Salt as per taste

Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing)- pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar - pinch
Coriander leaves - for garnishing

Method : 
Wash and soak chole overnight or at least for 6-7 hours.
In the morning, drain off the water and pressure the chole with water for 3 whistles on medium heat till they become very soft.
After 3 whistles, lower the heat and keep them for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Cut onions in small pieces or grate them.
Cut tomatoes in small pieces.
Cut cloves in small pieces and grate ginger.
Grind ginger garlic together in mixer to make a fine paste.
Heat oil in heavy bottom pan (kadhai).
When oil gets heated, add mustard seeds.
When they splutter, add cumin seeds and hing.
Add grated onions. Stir fry the onions till they become translucent.
Add ginger garlic paste and stir fry.
Add chole masala, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, amchur powder and sugar.
Stir fry till it is cooked nicely and the oil is separated.
Add tomatoes and turmeric powder.
Mix well.
Add chole and salt.
Add water only if required.
Garnish with coriander leaves.

Tips :
If chole cannot be soaked overnight, soak them in lukewarm or slightly warm water with pinch of baking soda.Rinse this water thoroughly before pressure cooking. 
If amchur powder is not available, tamarind paste can be added.

Chole recipe has been adapted from "Hamkhaas Paksidhi" by Jayashree Deshpande.

Paratha :
Whole wheat flour / gehun ka atta
Salt
Oil
Water
Red chilli powder

Method :
Knead a fine dough mixing the above and let it rest for a while.
Make parathas and serve them hot with chole masala.

Take a look at what the rest of the marathon bloggers are upto..

Day Three : Spicy Yam Sabji with Roti

Day Three of the Blogging Marathon #7, brainchild of the lovely Srivalli , we have spicy Yam Sabji with Roti. 


Spicy Yam Sabji :
Yam (Suran)  - 1/2 kg
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Salt - as per taste
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Oil 
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon

Cumin seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing)- pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar - pinch
Tamarind - 1/2 inch

Method : 
Peel the skin of yam and finely chop in small pieces.
In boiling water add tamarind and salt and add yam.
Let the water boil for sometime so that the yam gets cooked properly.
Remove from heat and drain the water.
In a heavy bottom pan heat oil.
When the oil gets heated, add mustard seeds and watch them splutter & crackle.
Add cumin seeds and hing.
Add yam pieces and turmeric powder.
Add red chilli powder, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder and sugar.
Add salt if required as the yam is already cooked in tamarind and salt water.
Cover with a lid and keep on stirring continuously.
Remove from heat from 10 mins. 

Roti :
Ingredients :
Whole wheat flour / gehun ka atta - One cup
Salt 
Water
Oil

Method :
Knead the flour using water, salt and oil.
Rest it for sometime.
Roll into rotis and roast from both sides on girdle / tava.
Ghee or oil may be greased if required.

Tip : Yam if undercooked tends to leave prickly sensation in our throats while consuming.
This is due to presence of Calcium(Ca)Oxalate in a crystalline form.
Use white yam to avoid this. Red or brown yam are generally prickly.
Boiling in tamrind and salt water will get rid of Calcium deposits and will not cause prickly sensation in the throat while consuming.
As the yam is cooked in tamarind and salt water, add salt later only if required otherwise the dish will become salty.

Take a look at what the rest of the marathon bloggers are upto..

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day Two :Snake Gourd Paratha with Metkoot


On Day Two of the Blogging Marathon #7, brainchild of the lovely Srivalli , we have Snake Gourd Paratha with Metkoot.
An unusual yet interesting combination.






Snake Gourd Paratha :
Ingredients :
Snake Gourd - one cup sliced into small pieces
Besan / Gram Flour - one cup
Salt - as per taste
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Oil
Ghee
Water
Atta / Whole wheat flour
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing)- pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar - pinch

Method :
Finely chop snake gourd into small pieces after washing it thoroughly.
Heat oil in a flat bottom pan.
After the oil gets heated, add mustard seeds into it.
When the seeds splutter, add cumin seeds, hing and turmeric powder.
Add snake gourd pieces and mix well.
Add red chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder and cumin powder.
Add sugar and cover it with a lid.
Let the snake gourd cook on steam.Do not add water.
After 5 minutes, add besan to it and cover it again with a lid.
Water may be added on the lid to avoid the snake gourd getting burnt.
Stir continuously.
When the snake gourd is cooked properly, remove from flame.
Let it cool down.
Grind this into a mixer so that it becomes easier to make into pedas(small balls)
Knead atta into a fine dough adding oil, salt and water.
Let it rest for 10 mins.
Roll parathas similiar to Aloo Paratha
Snake gourd parathas are ready to be served.
Ghee or oil may be greased on them as per individual tastes and liking.

Metkoot :
Two cups split gram daal (channa dal)
1/4 cup split black gram urad dal
1/4 cup rice (uncooked)
1/4 cup green gram (moong dal)
1/4 cup whole wheat (gehun)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon dried ginger powder (saunth)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (sabut dhania) 
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder 
Dry roast all the ingredients separately.
After cooling, grind them together coarsely in a mixer.
Metkoot is ready.
Always store this in air tight container so that it will stay fresh for a longer duration.
Refrigeration is not required.

Take a look at what the rest of the marathon bloggers are upto..

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blogging Marathon 7 : Aloo Parantha with SpringOnion Salad


Due Apologies for the delay in starting the Blogging Marathon #7due to numerous technical and internet problems.
We begin the Blogging Marathon #7, brainchild of the lovely Srivalli today with our first post.
My theme for the Blogging Marathon #7 is Combo Meals.
The first is Aloo Paratha with Spring Onion Salad.

Aloo Paratha with SpringOnion Salad




Aloo Paratha :

Ingredients -
One cup of whole wheat / atta
3 Boiled Potatoes
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Cloves of garlic - 2/3
Coriander leaves (optional)
Red chilli powder - as per individual taste and preferance
Salt - as per taste
Sugar - pinch
Oil
Ghee
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Amchur powder (optional)

Method :
Peel the covers of boiled potatoes.
Grate the potatoes or finely mash them.
Add red chilli powder, salt,sugar , coriander powder,cumin powder and garam masala & mix well.
Finely grind in mixer garlic,ginger and coriander leaves together and make a fine paste.
Add this paste to the mixture and mix all the ingredients properly.
Make small balls (pedas) of the aloo mixture.
For the dough, add water to the wheat powder (atta).
Add some salt.
Knead it with some oil and make a fine dough.
Let the dough rest for half an hour by covering it with muslin cloth.

Take a small ball of the dough and roll it like a puri.
Take a peda of the aloo mixture and place in the middle of the puri.
Seal by pulling the dough on all sides to make a ball.
Dust it gently with some flour.
Roll it like a chappati.

Heat the tava / girdle.
Roast the aloo parantha properly on both the sides.
Do not roast on high flame.
As per taste, the paratha can be greased with oil or ghee.
Hot aloo parathas are ready to be served.


Spring Onion Salad :

Ingredients :
One bunch of spring onion
Red chilli powder - as per taste
Salt - as per taste
Crushed roasted peanut powder (danyache khut)

Coriander leaves for garnishing
For tempering
Oil
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing) - 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Sugar - pinch 

Method :
Wash the spring onions.
Cut them into small fine pieces and keep in a mixing bowl.
Add chilli powder, salt and sugar and mix well.
Prepare a tempering (tadaka) by heating oil in a heavy bottom vessel.
When the oil is heated properly, add mustard seeds.
When they splutter, add cumin seeds, hing and turmeric powder.
Pour the tempering (tadaka) over the spring onions and mix well.
The spring onion salad is ready to be served.
The salad has a crunchy taste to it and tastes well with aloo paratha.

Do try this combo meal and let me know...



Take a look at what the rest of the marathon bloggers are upto..

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ten Day You Challenge - Post 5 : Six Places

Post Five for Day Five of Ten Day You Challenge from Preeti's blog is  6 Places :

The Six Places that I have mentioned are the ones which are on my wish list as places to visit...

The Six Places are :

1)Venice - City in Italy renowned for its wonderful architecture and artworks.
2) Switzerland - Yash Chopra films were incomplete without song and dance in Switzerland :))
3) London and Countryside in England - The effect of reading Enid Blyton, Jane Austen and Agatha Christie. The high tea in the countryside.
4) Maldives - Breathtaking beautiful.
5) Prague and Budapest- Brilliant Architecture.
6) Paris- The French capital situation on river Seine has to be on the dream vacation list of most people.



Coming up Next : Post 6 : Five Foods



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ten Day You Challenge - Post 4 : Seven Wants

Post Four for Day Four of Ten Day You Challenge from Preeti's blog is  7 Wants :



 My Seven Wants are :

Actually wants are too many but the seven wants that I can think up immediately are mentioned :))

1) To be mentally and physically Fit & Healthy : Mental and physical good health are the most important things in life.Like they say, "Health is Wealth"
2) To own all possible books and have a library at home
3) To own a wonderful digital camera
4) To have dream holiday in Venice or countryside in England or Prague..
5) To have my own website
6) To have a dream job :))
7) Of course, to write my own books :))

Coming up next : Post 5 - Six Places.....

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ten Day You Challenge - Post 3 : Eight Fears

Post Three for Day Three of Ten Day You Challenge from Preeti's blog is  8 Fears :


My Eight Fears are :

1) Fear of Disease and Disability.
2) Fear of losing parents and close ones.
3) Fear of being bed ridden and dependent on someone.
4) I am afraid of heights.
5) I am scared of snakes.
6) I am afraid of dogs probably due to been bitten by one and having to take injections for it.
7) I have stage fright though that has not affected my performances in dramatics or elocution or presentations.
8) I am scared of cats.

Coming up next : Post 4 : Seven Wants

Ten Day You Challenge - Post 2 : Nine Loves

Post Two for Day Two of Ten Day You Challenge from Preeti's blog is  9 Loves :


Nine Loves are :

1) Family :My greatest strength and biggest support system.
2) Friends : My BFFs..cannot live without u guys..They have been with me through thick and thin...
3) Cousins : They are more like my best friends and I share amazing bond with them ...
4) Books, books and more books : I love reading ( and that's an understatement) I think the biggest joy for me will be to spend time in bookstores, window shopping and admiring books. I dream of owning so many books that my house will resemble a library {the rest of the family members are still recovering from shock after I voiced my dream :)}
5) Music : Definitely food for the soul.
6) Cooking : I enjoy cooking and am always watching the various food shows or reading up on food books.
7)Dancing: I learnt classical dance for some years as a kid and I love to watch all forms of dance.....
8)Photography: I aim to learn this art someday and capture the beautiful scenic beauty around us.
9)TV and films: we all love watching it ...dont we?

Coming up Next : Post Three - Eight Fears

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ten Day You Challenge - Post 1 : Ten Secrets


When I saw 10 Day You Challenge posted on Preeti's blog, I immediately thought of joining in with her.... but with some family emergencies and blogger mishaps, I am starting the 10 Day You Challenge after Preeti has already completed hers :))


Post 1 - Day One of 10 Day You Challenge is Ten Secrets :

Ten Secrets : Well, to be honest I had already posted about my 7 secrets here....


1)My childhood dream and fantasy has always been to be a writer and write best selling books:)
2)Like mentioned earlier, I love reading.
3)I love pumpkins... dudhi is my all time favorite and whenever I am vegetable shopping, to the much amusement of the vendor and family or friends accompanying me, dudhi is the first vegetable I buy......
4)I am not too fond of sweets and don't eat sweet stuff at all :))
5)I have actually managed to fall asleep during a well known theater play which was running to packed houses ........."sighs"
6)I recently ventured to watch a theater thriller play all by myself and I enjoyed watching it alone all by myself.
7)I have participated extensively in dramatics, elocution and other such activities all through my school and college days contrary to my image of having stage fright :))
8)I was always participating in the school musicals and song related programmes despite or rather in spite of not so great voice :))
9)I dislike calculative and money minded people.
10)Cricket is a religion for me and Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are my favorite cricketers.. I still watch test matches for the love of the sport :))

Post 2 - Day Two - Nine Loves - coming up tomorrow....

Monday, July 4, 2011

Of Chalks and Chopsticks : Just One Cup of Tea

That Mrs.Thakur was fond of reading would be an understatement. An avid reader since childhood, encouraged by her grandfather who was a closet writer himself, reading was a family legacy at her parents house.
Books had always been her best friends.Her parents would fondly reminiscence how she would skip her meal over reading her favorite book. She would be completely engrossed in the world of books, becoming one with the characters.She thought the world of Agatha Christie and she aimed to solve difficult and complex problems a la Miss Marple. Everyday after completing all the morning chores and waving good bye to Mr.Thakur and the kids as they left for their office and college respectively, she would heave a huge sigh of relief and get ready for her tea time or "Me Time "as she would like to call it. She would sit in the sit-out balcony of their sprawling flat located on first floor,from where she could easily see the beach and sea on her left side.
On the right side of their building was an huge old bungalow occupied by an old Parsi couple. They lived alone as both their two sons were settled in the States and could manage to visit the old parents once in an year.  The household comprised of a a nurse cum companion for the invalid Mr.Mehta. They also had a cook who stayed close by and came twice a day to cook and clean and a watchman cum gardener.
Mrs.Mehta, all of 75, was the picture of energy and good spirits. She was very friendly and charming old lady.

In the mornings after finishing her work, Mrs.Thakur loved sitting on her easy chair by the wooden table on her balcony, sipping her cup of tea and reading her favourite book. Mrs.Mehta would be sitting sipping her cup of tea around the same time on the open balcony of her room, situated on the first floor of their duplex bungalow.
Gradually, it became a routine for both the two ladies to sip their morning cup of tea in their respective balconies around the same time and chitchat. They both used to look forward to their "Me Time" together in midst of clear skies, piping hot cups of tea and lovely conversations. On days when the weather would be cold or windy or it would rain heavily, they would sit sipping their respective ginger teas and wave to each other and share a smile or laugh.
Both were totally addicted to their morning teas. It was interesting to note that though both were tea lovers, their method of tea preparation was totally different.


While Mrs.Mehta preferred to have light tea with less sugar due to her age and health, Mrs.Thakur would love to have a completely rich milk laden masala tea for herself.

She would boil 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup of milk together, complete with its cream. Sugar and grated ginger would be added. She would add slight cardomom powder and a pinch of nutmeg powder to it, giving it delicious taste and aroma. After it boiled, tea powder would be added and it would be removed from heat.
After the tea leaves settled down, she would strain the mixture using filter and her garama garam masala chai (piping hot tea) was ready to be savored.

That day Mrs.Thakur was extremely happy as it was Sunday and she had decided to invite both Mr and Mrs.Mehta over for dinner that night. She felt that it would be nice outing for both of them and they both were wanting to sample the lovely cooking of Mrs.Thakur since quite some time. She finished her morning chores in a hurry and prepared a lovely cup of tea for herself and sat by her favorite easy chair. She glanced at Mrs.Mehta's balcony and saw that Mrs.Mehta's tea cup was already kept on the table. She would see the steam emerging from her tea cup and knew that Mrs.Mehta must be coming soon, as she loved to have her tea while it was steaming hot.

Mrs.Thakur finished her cup of tea after waiting for sometime, but there was no sign of Mrs.Mehta."How strange" she thought to herself and called out to her maid to go across to the next bungalow and check on the Mehta family. "God forbid"she thought, "I just hope neither of them has fallen sick" Her maid returned back saying the house was locked."Madam, maybe they have gone out" her maid told her.

Mrs.Thakur asked her maid if she checked with the watchman but the maid replied that the watchman was nowhere to be seen and had probably taken the day off. Meanwhile their cook, who had also just come for work, was returning back after seeing the locked door.
Mrs.Thakur was thoughtful. She was sure that something was wrong somewhere.If Mr and Mrs.Mehta had to go out or leave the house, why should Mrs.Mehta prepare her piping hot cup of tea and place it by the window."No,I must get to the bottom of this matter at once"Mrs.Thakur said aloud.

She called her husband who was at home, it being Sunday and told him everything. She insisted on him telephoning the police station despite his protests."I think you are being hasty in calling the police" Mr.Thakur said calmly, "Just because of one cup of  hot tea, you think something is wrong.I know you read lot of detective fiction and so you think that in reality also, you can be a super sleuth,but I think you are plainly over interfering in their lives. Maybe they had to go away for something urgent and Mrs.Mehta forgot about her cup of tea in the window.She is after all getting in age, you know" he tried his best to reason out with her.But Mrs.Thakur was not in a mood to relent. Once she had felt something was amiss, she knew that she could not rest until she got to the bottom of the matter herself.

Finally, after much deliberation, she dialed the number of the nearest police station herself and spoke to the inspector on duty explaining the problem while urging him to come urgently.

The inspection,Mr.Kamat came immediately with his force and heard her out. Like her husband, even he thought she was being hasty in calling the police but he agreed to go next door and investigate the matter. After an hour and lots of screaming and shouting coming from next door, they received a phone call from Mr.Kamat, inviting them to come next door as the matter was resolved. Mrs.Thakur hurriedly ran with her husband next door and saw the Inspector sitting with frightened looking Mr and Mrs.Mehta.

"Thank you so much"Mrs.Mehta practically shouted with happiness on seeing Mrs.Thakur"You saved our lives

Mr.Kamat explained that when he went next door, he saw that there was a big lock on the main door and the watchman was nowhere in sight. They broke the lock and on opening the main door,they saw that the nurse cum companion and her accomplice were threatening Mr and Mrs.Mehta with knife. They had planned on robbing the old couple on the watchman's day off. The nurse had locked the main door from outside, to prevent anyone from entering the house to help the Mehtas, while she herself entered the house through the back door.
Both Mr and Mrs.Mehta were shocked and frightened and felt betrayed by their own nurse. When Mrs.Mehta tried to resist, they pulled knives and were threatening both of them. Just then the police broke the door and caught them.

"I can't thank you enough, Mrs.Thakur" Mrs.Mehta said choked, in complete tears and hugged Mrs.Thakur tightly."We both were scared out of our wits"she added.
Both Mr and Mrs.Mehta as well as the inspector,Mr.Kamat praised Mrs.Thakur handsomely for calling the police in nick of time, thus not just preventing the robbery but also ensuring the safety of Mr and Mrs.Mehta. After accepting all the praises showered on her, Mrs.Thakur could only beam happily,thankful that the old couple were safe and sound.

"But I don't understand" Mr.Kamat wondered aloud,"how were you so sure that something was wrong?"
"Oh, that" explained Mrs.Thakur, " Well, Mrs. Mehta and myself have a habit of drinking hot tea at around the same time everyday in the morning. When I came to my balcony today, I saw that Mrs.Mehta's cup of tea was already kept on her table. She must have just placed it there because I told see the steam coming out of the cup.When she did not come even after a long time, I knew something was wrong".
Mrs.Mehta nodded and said, "Yes, I prepared my usual cup of tea and kept it on the table. Just then the nurse called me downstairs and when I came down, I saw that she and her accomplice were already threatening Mr.Mehta and they wanted to rob our house and take all our belongings."

"Kudos to you, Mrs.Thakur.You were simply brilliant"said Mr.Kamat.Turning to her husband,he went on to say further, "Mr.Thakur, I must compliment your wife. She is extremely alert and very sharp. You must be very proud of her today.""Of course, I am very proud of her." exclaimed Mr.Thakur, looking at his wife fondly.

Mr.Kamat promised to investigate the matter deeply and see that the miscreants were punished. He also placed security outside their bungalow.

Mrs.Thakur invited Mr and Mrs.Mehta as well as the inspector, Mr.Kamat and their team for tea to her house. After reaching their house,Mrs.Thakur teased her husband," Just because of one cup of tea?" . Mr.Thakur laughed aloud and said "Yes, my own Ms.Marple, I owe you an apology for doubting on your sleuthing skills. It's difficult to believe that so much can happen only because of one cup of tea. Let's celebrate this occasion with your special masala tea.Here's to one cup of tea."
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This is my entry for "Of Chalks and Chopsticks" started by Aqua, hosted by Bong Mom's CookBook this month.
The Picture: The Picture that you see in this post is from Bong Mom's CookBook and was our cue for this month's entry.
For details about this whole concept check here
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