Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pachai Sundikkai ( Thabatu or berries ) Kozhambhu

I chanced to see berries or Thubatu or Pachai Sundaikai in the market yesterday. Just bought it because I wanted to make cook something interesting out of it. Did some quick asking around from elders and made this Kozhambhu. Kozhambhu is what the Tamilians mix with rice and eat. It is soupy or gravy in general.

Here is your recipe for making Sundaikai Kozhambhu.

Green Sundaikai - 10 or 15
Tamarind Paste - one cup if made from old tamarind ( dark in color usually) or two cups if made from new tamarind ( beautifully brown colored)
Sambhar powder - 1 table spoon
Salt to taste.
Powdered Jagerry - one spoon.
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch

Seasoning :
Curry leaves, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, gram dal, asafoetida, red chilly, Gingelly oil for best results. If not available use refined oil.

Here is how you make Pachai Sundaikkai Kozhambhu:

  1. Slit the berries into two and soak them in tamarind water ( soak some tamarind in water and use the extract) for five to ten minutes. Discard the water.
  2. In a cooking pan heat one table spoon of oil.
  3. Add Mustard seeds. After they splutter add the rest of the items listed under "Seasoning".
  4. Add the soaked berries and fry until the green color fades indicating that the berries are cooked.
  5. Now add the tamarind paste.If too thick add a little water to make it soupy.
  6. Add turmeric powder, Sambhar Powder, and bring the mixture to boil.
  7. Add salt and jaggery and let the contents cook for five more minutes or until the oil separates out from the pan or until you achieve the desired consistency. 

It all depends on how much time you have and how long you plan to store the Kozhambhu.Five to ten minutes is ideal cooking time. If you have messed up with the consistency or if you have people who wont mind waiting until the oil separates out from the dish, then you can continuously stir the mixture. Tastes great this way.

This Kozhambhu when properly prepared can be used like pickle with curd rice and other South Indian rice based breakfast items. Natives eat rice with Sundaikai Kozhambhu teamed with Roasted Pappad. I served this dish with Molagootal, a popular Kerala Favorite.

Apple Tomato Soup

Ingredients :
Apple - 1
Ripe Tomato - 1 if very sour  ( usually the smaller types with lot of seeds taste very sour) and 2 if ripe but moderately sour.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Coriander if possible and if you are trying soups to reduce your sugar levels.

Here is how you make it :

  1. Cut the apple into two and remove the seeds.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into two.
  3. Pressure-cook the cut apple and tomatoes with 3/4th cup of water.. It should take you five minutes at the most.
  4. Remove the cooked pieces from the pan and grind in your mixer. 
  5. Add the paste back into the cooker. 
  6. Now measure the contents with a cup. Chances are you would have three cups of the soup.
  7. Add one cup of water, salt and pepper to the mixture.
  8. Bring the mixture to boil.
  9. Add chopped coriander leaves.

Important : Serve this soup warm or cold.Chances are that you wont be able to enjoy the taste of the sweet and sourness blended in this soup if you serve this steaming hot.

The cooked apple renders the soupy consistency that is normally given by corn flour. This way you avoid adding carbohydrates to your intake.

You can choose to grind Green Chilly and coriander leaves along with the cooked apple and tomatoes if you like.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wonder Why?

Wonder why

  • Floods and famines have less importance than the election rallies?
  • Bomb blasts and terrorism are discussed more than the rights and duties?
  • Next door man doesn't behave like a friendly neighbor anymore?
  • Sending kids to school has become a scary thought?
  • In whatever we do there is a sense of caution?
  • Amassing wealth for self and family has become more important than amassing love and relationship?
  • Easy money and lotteries and game shows are taken more serious than 'just-a-game'?
  • Tomorrow seems more important than the lovely today?
  • We waste a lot of time doing nothing other than worrying about life at large be it personal, professional, social,economical, or political?
  • Man doesn't realize that he has better sense than animals and is supposed to behave like a human being?
  • Love and friendship have less importance than money and material comfort?
  • Living has become so tough than it was before, given that we live in a more advanced society with better education and supposedly better standard of living?
  • We think we can do it all??

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What is Moon?

Its the most important question according to me today... My one plus little girl now knows that the white crescent on the blue-black sky is called the Moon. She still does not get that the round ball of white on the full-moon lit night sky is the same Moon that she knows about..

I went on to explain the Moon to myself leaving alone the science. What would I call it??

A bright dome of white light in the night sky??...
Just a light close to the kind of white light in our living room??

In the City of Lights as I would like to call Muscat as, sometimes this white ball of light seems to fade in the background for my daughter's eyes as she watches out of the car window.. So these two explanations didn't seem okay to me.

I finally decided on this: Moon is the light given by God for us to see in the darkness of the nights. 

Not that she will follow this right away, but to think about it, in the olden days when transport didn't exist, people depended on the Moon to show them the way through the darkness when their lanterns didn't work.

The attempt to explain the Moon to my daughter brought up all these thoughts:

We have given scientific meanings and explanations to many things under the sun, but the base is always this: Everything that the nature has is meant to be useful for the life on earth. We think we know it all and have mastered the science and concepts, but there are things that are beyond our capacity to comprehend. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Will the News channels listen?

Of late, my views on news channels have changed.. They keep changing often though. The current state of mind is this : News is not only about what is happening in the world around us but also about how much the news channel hypes up each news item.

There is all day coverage of whatever news item the channels decide to mark as KEY.

I simply dont understand the meaning and relevance of statements like ...." So and So has left his residence at 11:00 A.M for the trial in such and such a court.. "...

" So and So didn't answer any queries from the news correspondents prior to the hearing "...

" So and So did not offer any opinion"...

And all these for some news item that is just not too important in an otherwise chaotic world.

All day we get to see some news items getting repeated. This I agree, because it probably is important for anyone who switches on the TV at that hour. In such instances statements like the aforementioned don't really mean anything at all. Why waste the channel time and people's time??

Once I heard a doctor mention, people waste most of their healthy time watching news that is irrelevant to them at a certain age. There is always headlines to watch and read. Nothing else is required, he said in the context of a Healthy Heart.

Some points that I can think of for these news channels are:

  • Just  call a Spade a Spade... 
  • Categorize news and make mention about important news items once every session ( Morning, Noon, Evening and Night).
  • Interim timings should not be talking the same subject over and over again.Your flash news and line items will cover that for the casual watchers.
  • There can be documentaries and other talk shows scheduled in the interim timings. If at all anything serious and important happens and you have information that cannot wait until the next news hour, interrupt the programe and talk about the flash news.. 

In any case there is no need to cover anything all day.... funerals,cases and trials, wreckages and accidents.... Such cases are serious and important but do not call for repeated talks all day with the same statements and same status....

Will the news channels understand??

Apple Raita

Here is a very simple side dish for Rotis and variety rice. My  father's idea and it came out very well. It is every one's favorite in my house. I make it when apples remain in the fridge untouched for more than three days.. According to me, if you have not eaten them in three days time then it is time for Apple Raita.

Here is how you make Apple Raita.

  1. Cut an apple into small pieces. ( You might want to remove the skin if you are serving old people and children under the age of two.This is quite a bit of work.)
  2. Add three table spoons of yogurt, half a tea spoon of salt.
  3. Add pepper or chat masala ( a north indian masala powder ) if you like.
  4. Garnish with finely chopped coriander, if possible.
To avoid the apple pieces changing color as soon as you cut them, add salt immediately, or another option would to be to put the apple pieces straight into salted yogurt. Experience will teach you what works best for you. In any case, the change in color wont hamper the taste.

If you have no more than five minutes to spend on a side dish for fried rice or rotis, Apple raita is your best bet.


With new opportunities also comes to fear and self-doubt. How can we navigate these very strong forces in order to reach our fulfillment...