Diary of Hobbitt

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Operation Vada Pav !

Thanks to Australian Open , I achieved the perfect vada pav yesterday ! One might wonder what Australian Open has to do with the famous amchi vada pav of Mumbai -well , here goes - my better half is an avid fan of tennis and whenever time permits and whenever AXN , HBO , Star Movies , etc. , etc. channels do not show some action movies ( don't know why men all over the world , and of all ages love gory bloody scenes with lot of guns and revolvers ) , he will automatically start watching any sports channel which is showning any tennis match ( it could probably be last years match or the year before that ,it does'nt matter as long it is tennis !) in any part of the world ! So for obvious reasons any of the BIG TENNIS MATCHES simply have to be watched - not that I grudge him of that pleasure, far from it - all programmes for that particular Sunday (If I am right all these finals are normally held on a Sunday) are cancelled and priority is given to the Big Event.

Yesterday being the finals of Australian Open , my better half sat down to watch, with lot of excitement ( after being married for 28 years , I can sense his moods even though he is the silent type and is not given to revealing his emotions ! ) . About my interest in sports - I am a cricket fan (like most Indians ) and tennis somehow does'nt excite me . Hence with a long afternoon and an evening before me , my thoughts turned to one of my interests _ cooking .

With two thirds of the working members at homeI decided to tickle their tastebuds with something more interesting than the usual "chakli , sev, farsan'' Sunday evening snacks. A light shone in my mind's eye and before me I saw the humble but ever so popular Vada pav !

Operation 1- Armed with Tarla Dalal's ( God bless the sweet lady ) "Chaat ", I delved into vada pav recipe with full energy and excitement and a little nervousness and proceeded to create the perfect vada pav- boiled , peeled and mashed potatoes, let the oil splutter and swish , in went mustard seeds, & garlic-chilly paste, into the sizzling oil and finally mashed potatoes, a pinch of turmeric powder, asfoetida and salt and two minutes of stir fry - the golden potato stuffing was ready, merrily garnished with fresh coriander ! Next , ( now the excitement was growing !) some grated coconut , red chillies and some garlic pods roasted ( what an aroma !)and ground coarsely - Voila the pungent " lasun chutney " ! Finally, chopped green green chillies, fresh coriander, and ground with salt and a little tamarind and there -green chutney was ready too. Finally , gram flour, soda bicarb ,salt and a pinch of chilli powder mixed proportionately with water to the right consistency and lo behold - the batter was ready !

Operation 2 - Heated oil in the kadhai and as the oil sizzled blobs of potato filling dipped in batter, went intothe oil and emerged golden brown ! Took a pav ( one of those very soft ones ordered from the friendly neighbourhood kirana shop ) , sliced it , applied lasun chutney on one side and green chutney on the other and in between the two went the golden brown batata vada . The fruit (more appropriate to say snack ! ) of my labour was ready !

The stage was set for the verdict to be given by the family members and I was as nervous as a school girl as, first, my husband bit into his vada pav . Slowly his eyes widened in surprise and his face broke into a wide smile and nodding his head he ,gave me the thumbs up sign ! I heaved a sigh of relief and happiness washed over me , but I was still a little apprehensive as my daughter had to give her opinion ( she happens to be the one who, over the years has contributed by no small means to boosting my confidence in my cooking and till today considers me to be the world's best cook ). One bite and by the look in her eyes I knew that i had not let her down. "Romba Nalla Irukku , amma " (its very good ) and the lasun chutney is amazing " she piped ! I knew from that - I had made the perfect Vada pav !

Vote of thanks - 1- The Australian Open Finals without which my mind would not have come up with this creation on a Sunday evening !

2. Ms. Tarla Dalal without whose guidance I would'nt have created the perfect "Vada Pav " .

3. Last but not least, my better half and my daughter ( my confidence booster !) for their encouragement and giving me the feeling of "duniya meri muttee mein " as far as cooking is concerned !

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Live & Let Die !

Like the average good human being , I also belong to the category which follows the theory of 'live and let live' .However living under conditions of current times, namely dense population ,overcrowded living and health disorders of various types, I am forced ( like so many of my fellow human beings ) to change my policy - hence the policy of 'live and let die' ! In this regard I would like to clarify myself -this policy is not towards homo sapiens but towards the various species which make life miserable them !

A couple of days back the pest control guys arrived in my house, fully armed with all the lethal weapons to eradicate termites, cockroaches ( both big and small) and got down to serious business of carrying out their job- an operation that took two hours. Holes were drilled at various spots and medicine injected into and then sealed, toilets were sprayed with poison and repellants and gel applied to every place thinkable -walls, cupboards, kitchen cabinets, drawers, computer unit, chairs , tables -the list is endless ! Whether the concerned pests were affected or not , I certainly was , as I kept sneezing and wiping my tear filled eyes ! The house looked like a war torn area, with fine particles of dust suspended in the air and acrid smell lingering throughout the day ! How ever when I woke up next morning and saw small dead cockroaches here and there , I realized that "live and let die " had come into effect!

As for the mosquitoes, the hugely advetised All Out repellant (which is claimed to have the maximum MMR-mosquito mortality rate- a tall claim though !) is dutifully set every night with fond hopes of a mosquito free night only to have such hopes dashed to the ground when "oing " sound penetrates into the ears along with "khooni" bites bywretched mosquitoes ! I am seriously considering gathering support to sue the concerned company and make it pay for sleepless nights and blood loss incurred by khooni bites of mosquitoes !

Moral of the story- In order to live and let die , one has to go the gates of hell and come back !

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mummy Logic vs Ramsees Logic !

My daughter & I have different views on several matters especially on those relating to healthcare . My views are termed as 'mummy logic' by Ramsees (my pet name for my daughter whenever both of us are in a jolly good mood and are willing to listen to each other even if we do differ on opinions regarding anything ) and I on my part consider her views as "Ramsees Logic" !
Following are some samples of conversations which reflect "mummy logic" as well as " Ramsees logic " . Here goes
( Mummy Logic to be referred simply as ML and Ramsees logic to be referred as RL ).
ML: Early to bed and early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.
RL: Wrong. Late to bed and late to rise makes the body feel well rested and feel energetic.
(Never minmd that acidity which rears its head due to skipped breakfast and makes Ramsees "energetically" irritable !)
ML: Oil bath should be had in the morning and if had in the evening is not good for health.
RL: Old wives tale ! Oil bath can be had any time .
(Of course following her logic loyally Ramsees will choose to have it only in the late evening ).
ML: Maintaining regular timing for food keeps acidity, headaches, fatigue vagera vagera at bay.
RL: Eating at any odd hours is fine with me , after all what the body needs is nourishment and what difference does it make whether I have my breakfast at noon or my lunch in the evening or my dinner at 1 am in the morning !
( This has given rise to the new concept of "noon breakfast ", "evening lunch" and wee hours of the morning dinner "! God help such population when they reach their evening years with such companions like diabetes, hypertension, cholestrol, acidity etc. etc ! ).
My final logic "An apple a day keeps the doctor away " is met with a cheeky retort from Ramsees " If the doctor is handsome, keep the apple away " !

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Co-existence & Clash of the Titans !

Whether we are heirs to vast property or not,we certainly are heirs to health problems passed on to us by our ancestors - a study of todays population's health will reveal that 99 % of us do suffer fr0m some hereditary health disorder or the other. The average Indian family will have a case history of either Diabetes, or high blood pressure , or arthritis , or cholestrol etc etc . among its family members.

Being a true Indian in this matter I am no exception to this rule. I am the third generation (to my knowledge-since I have no info on the generation before my grandfather! ) in my family to be afflicted with diabetes. In addition to what I have inherited from my ancestors , I have made my own contribution ( of course I am nowhere when compared to some illustrious ancestor who bequeathed the "wealth" called diabetes !) -namely thyroid, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis ,which, coexist peacefully within my body at times ,and ,wage a civil war at other times !

My body takes it in it stride and I go about my day to day activities keeping all these inhabitants in check by popping the reqired pills and insulin injections ! However all these residents have their mood swings and ego battles too - like the day I gave into temptation and had a gulabjamun, and that sent my sugar level shooting up (Diabetes is a very touchy customer -he does't like very sweet outsiders !). Not to be outdone , My other inhabitant Mr. Rheumatoid Arthritis immediately made his presence felt(bhala uske shakti meri shakti se kaise zyada ho sakta hai. Ma kasam meri shakti dikhata hoon ! )-the pain in my joints increased by leaps and bounds (pun intended!) . I then had to appease Mr Diabetes by assuring him that henceforth no "sweet " outsiders would be allowed inside my body ( rather ironical - the landlady apologizing to the tenant !) . Mr.Diabetes's ego thus pampered and bribed with a shot of insulin , decided to behave. Automatically Mr.Rheumatoid arthritis also magnanimously calmed down and withdrew the severe pain inflicted by him ! All is well that ends well and today,
in addition to medicines and insulin injections , I have a new friend called Yoga who helps me to keep my egoistic and moody inhabitants in check !

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Khana - Gaana Classes !

One of the FM channels regularly relays a programme called "singing chef" in which the presenter (no doubt well versed in the art of culinary delights ) takes the listener through the methods of making a particular dish ,singing popular hindi songs -quite innovative I must say-guy does'nt have a bad voice also !

Being a fairly good cook myself (thanks to constant reminder to that effect by my daughter) I have decided to share my knowledge with interested eager-to-learn students ,by conducting musical cooking class in my house (I also happen to be a trained classical singer blessed with a good voice- anybody who has heard me sing can vouch for that !). Adding my own idea to the existing idea , I plan to have jugalbandi ie., while preparing say Indianised pasta, I will resort to mixing a rendition of Carnatic music with a Beatles song - it might be Strawberry Fields Forever sung in the raag Kalyani or say Indianised Chinese wantons being taught singing "meri wanton garam masala, meri dimsum garam masala !" ! I am sure my students will definitely appreciate that.

Classes will be starting from next month . Those interested in cooking and singing may apply to Chachi ka Khana.com. Special discount will be given to those who have a good voice (a trained music expert has been appoinmted to interview such students, so that deserving students can avail of such offer.So hurry - First come , First served (pun not intended !)

PS - On completion of six months course the best student (one who can cook as well as sing) will be given a guitar and a Tupperware gift hamper ! SO Hurry !