Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yellow Dal with Raw Mango and Methi Saag

After a trip out of India, I yearn for simple home-cooked food. I mostly cook myself some greens, yellow dal and rice and that really makes me feel I have come home. This recipe is meant for the complete novice. This is how home-cooked arhar dal and methi saag taste in U.P.

Methi Saag for Dummies


Fresh Methis saag 1 large bunch cleaned and chopped fine
2-3 Potatoes diced
1 Tablespoon oil (I normally use olive oil, but any vegetable oil is ok, and mustard oil gives it a nice zing)
Salt to taste

For Tadka:
1 teaspoon cummin (Jeera) seeds
1 teaspoon methi (fenugreek) seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
chopped garlic - any quantity you are comfortable with (I use 4-5 cloves, because I like garlic v v much)
chopped ginger - any quantity you are comfortable with (about 1/2 inch should do)
chopped green chillies - any quantity you are comfortable with (I use lots, but 2 or maybe even 1 should do fine)

Tadka ingredients:

Clean the methi saag

Chop finely (I use kitchen scissors to do the deed)

Take a kadhai/ wok. Heat and add the oil. Wait until oil starts smoking, add the cummin, mustard and methi seeds, let them sputter, add the chopped garlic, ginger and chillies (in that order). When the garlic starts turning golden brown, add the diced potatoes.

Don't worry if you burn your tadka, I often do and believe me, the carbon's good for you. Heh! Reduce the heat to low. Cook until the potatoes are 3/4th cooked. Add the chopped methi, cover and cook for another 4 minutes on low.

Add salt, cover and cook again for 3-4 minutes until it looks like this or the potatoes are done. If you have looked closely enough you will observe that the potatoes got slightly burnt. That's because I was also watching TV and almost forgot I was cooking.


Arhar (Yellow) Dal with raw mango for Dummies

1 cup arhar dal (makes enough for 2-3 people)
1 big raw mango - peeled
salt to taste
turmeric powder about 2 pinches
water - enough to cover dal + 2 cups

For tadka:
Ghee 1 tablespoon (I use olive oil and its not bad at all)
1 heaped teaspoon cummin seeds
2-3 garlic cloves chopped (optional)
1-2 green chillies chopped/ sliced (optional)

Cut 2 slices off the 2 sides of the raw mango so that you have 3 longitudinal slices of mango, 2 without and one with the seed. Add mango, arhar dal, water, salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker. Cook until 3 whistles. Let the pressure subside. In a wok/ kadhai add the ghee and heat until smoking point. Add the cummin seeds, let them sputter, add garlic. Cook until golden brown, add chillies and then the cooked dal. Let it come to a boil. Take off burner.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Memories Of A Meal Gone By

I'm trying to remember where I had this meal, but I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was in Singapore. I do remember everything else about this meal, though.

The Amuse-bouche - This was truly lovely - honeydew melon puree with pistachios.

Foiegras - there was something else also beneath the foiegras but I don't remember what, but that squash chip on the foiegras was amazing as well!

Crabroll - This was seriously amazing, though it looks deep-fried, the inside stuffing was succulent crab, mint and I think bean-sprouts?

Seafood Risotto - I was in a very seafood risotto phase at that point...

Mussels - Tomato and garlic sauce - Not spectacular, I've had better.

Dessert: Chocolate something -or-the-other and lovely buttery icecream.

Why I Adore Older Men

And absolutely hate men my age.

1. Older men are better looking. Seriously, men look better as they age, so do some women, but the percentage of men looking better is higher.
2. Stopping the goddamned competition. Case in point - I discover, not one, not two, but 3, THREE IITians in my salsa class. Seriously people, what are the chances? What? ALL three asked me what I did, which college I went to and if I did my masters or bachelors from the IITs. Seriously, what are the chances and why me? Why God, why? Contrast it with this seriously sexy older guy I keep meeting (sadly at work) - first question ever, (non-work related) older guy asks me is, "Do you like travelling?" Notice, young men, that's an opening. We spoke for 2 hours over dinner. I had a lovely evening and older guy has charmed me into possibly more dinners and conversations.
3. Not being obssessed with being thin. I'm saying this because I'm plump and I find men my age calling me fat and being rude. I guess as men age, their "standards" drop or they have some sense kicked into their upper storeys?

Thank You

Thank you for every tree and flower
Thank you for every sky of blue
Thank you, I should be every hour
Truly thanking you

Thank you Sis, Dem, JAP and Brett. Thank you very, very much.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Have you...

1. ... danced the salsa with tears streaming down your face trying to make the depression and the terror just go away?
2. ... hated yourself for no apparent reason, even though the rational part of your brain screams that there is nothing wrong with you really?
3. ... felt alone and isolated and bitter even though you have never looked better and your clothes have started fitting better despite the pmsy bloating?
4. ... felt as if you have no one, even though your loved ones are just a phonecall and an hour away?
5. ... had no one understand why you were so down and out, even though you have told them many times that your brain is awash with chemicals due to pms?
6. ... missed a hug or just a pat on the arm or even a wag or two because really that's all it takes sometimes to make the tears stop.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Depression Blog

I really should change the name of this blog from Baker's Dozen to Depression Blog. I suffer from depression caused by PMS and if it wouldn't be for the fact that I don't feel comfortable with most doctors, I would seek medical help.

I'm glad no one sees me when I sit before my PC, eyes streaming, crying for no reason, eating popcorn and moong dal halwa.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Analness Pays

I love having things organised. If I had the time, I would colour code, bar code and file my books, my clothes, my shoes and my CDs. The sad truth is that I barely have time to even fold my laundry and so it goes. However, I invested in a filing cabinet and today when for the first time in 5 years, I managed to complete my accounting in just 3.5 hours compared to the 3 days it would take me sans filing cabinet (2.6 days to just locate my papers) I thanked the powers for propelling me into buying my filing cabinet despite being sniggered at, by all and sundry.


I'm doing taxes on a Friday night!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

In Which Poo And I Write a Book...

...Trashing men.

Funny, at this point in my life I don't really hate any man, because I have gradually come to accept the general assholeishness of the men I love without prejudice (not just romantically), as I am sure they have accepted my bitchiness and randomness, but I still enjoy trashing men. Because, thats what women mostly do. Single women, i.e. not married ones. Married ones are always married to Gods, they just trash their girlfriends' boyfriends and how their single girlfriends should be careful because the men they are dating are not as "settled" (read: boring or similar to or not into IT) as their husbands.

As we recounted the miserable gits we had dated, who had "seen" us (the arranged marriage thing), who thought that we thought they were a free ticket to the USA (argh! I still have visions of my ex-boyfriend's concerned father* asking me, "Are you interested in him just because he stays in the USA?"), Who's mothers thought we were too strong for their sons (yes, has happened with both of us multiple times) and who's mothers thought we were either too fat, too tall, too top-heavy (the wife of concerned father* - ex-bf, do you still wonder why I was in a hurry to not know you?), too independent, not earning well enough, earning too well, not rich enough, too rich by their standards, hair too straight and not curly enough (happened with Poo), laughed too much and too easily, talked too much, were frivolous, did not wear make-up, wore too much make-up, too young, too old, too dark, too fair, wore glasses, did not wear glasses, was too educated, was not educated enough...

All the above have been reasons quoted by men doing the arranged marriage thing or even the non-arranged marriage thing, at which point we just busted out of the marriage mart, because if there's one thing that I don't want my life partner to do, it is to constantly judge me.

Point to be noted, there has been no bias of any kind where the men were concerned, men we reviewed were reasonably well-educated with atleast a bachelors degree, mostly PhDs and MBAs with bowlfuls of professionals thrown in - pilots, doctors, architects, lawyers, public servants, engineers.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


The sis and brother-in-law have gone to the UK for a 7 day long vacation, leaving the neph with an aunt and the 5 nos. household help. It is my assigned duty to call up the neph everyday and see if everything is fine.

Today I called up the neph and was talking with him. Then, evil woman that I am, I asked the neph why mamma and baba have not taken him along with them. The neph spells out, in a world weary tone, "S-C-H-O-O-L" and then sighs.

Next Time I shall Salsa

I joined Salsa classes today on a whim. I had gone to the gym to work out and saw the advertisements and signed up. While they taught me the mambo, the rumba, the closed salsa, the open salsa and the right turn, I didn't think about work, my career or worries even once.

All the people in my class including the instructors were way younger than me, thinner and shorter. Even the men! If I wear heels, the guys will have to hold my back and not my shoulder.

I like doing the salsa. I like being led, being guided through the motions, now I just have to find a partner taller than me. I didn't realise how strenuous it would be and how enjoyable and how sensual.

I've gone to so many salsa bars and never danced, just watched. Next time, I'm going to be on the floor till they close the doors.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Money burns a hole in my pocket
How I wish I had millions of dollars and nothing to do
But just buy pretty presents for you

Money burns a hole in my pocket
How I wish I had oil wells in Texas to keep me supplied
With money while I sit by your side

Every day of the week
We would visit the store
All the beautiful things you see
Would soon be yours
Cuz money burns a hole in my pocket
So I'm bringing your perfume and candy and roses of red
And wishing they were diamonds instead

Every day of the week
We kinda visit the store
All the beautiful things you see
Would soon be yours
Money burns a hole in my pocket
So I'm bringing your perfume and candy and roses of red
And wishing they were diamonds instead

The Best Anniversary Present Ever

I moved into my house/ apartment exactly one year ago. Today I am celebrating by watching the world cup, (Thank you Ricardo!) dancing alone, drinking sangria and eating paella. I've presented my home new curtains and a coffee table. Thank you for holding me down, grounding me and making me always feel warm, protected and welcome.

Oh! And in the middle of the England-Portugal match I chased a lizard out of my castle.

Ricardo, I'm Your Slave

Portugal! Portugal! Portugal!

Now, I'll be happy if Spain wins too.

I haven't missed even one portugal, brazil and argentinian (judases) match. Fun! Fun! Fun!