Friday, February 5, 2016


Soak the kaalu and pressure cook with lot of water. 7-8 whistles. Drain and keep water aside.

2 medium onion, curry leaves lots, Fry both in oil. Add coriander leaves to the frying. After shutting off the fire, add 1 whole coconut. MTR rasam powder 6 spoons. Tamarind soaked and prepare tamarind water. Keep the kaalu aside for grinding. and rest make usuli.
Rest, grind everything else and boil it for 8-10 minutes. Add kattu and salt.

 Grinding 1/3 of kaalu.

Friday, May 18, 2012

10 years!!

This past saturday, May 12th 2012 to be precise, the kid celebrated the much awaited double digit initiation birthday. Key is "celebrated". The birthday itself was over a while ago which was brought in with a dinner and ice cream sundae birthday cake at the children's favorite spot "rainforest cafe". It was fun with animals screeching and howling in the background.

  So, for this celebration, the close friends from school - B, C and D were invited, since the kid didn't want any big shindig being 10 and all now. So, off we went, the 4 kids and two chaperons, moi and hubby, to the AMC dine-in theater to watch the latest kid caper Avengers. We chose to watch it in 3D and the kids were very excited. Now, the AMC dine-in is by itself quite an experience. The executive style plush leather seating, with wide arm rests and convenient side tables to hold the food etc. Subtle lighting lets you peruse the menu with the movie being watched in darkness. And finally, a airplane kind of button for alerting the waiter that you are ready to order.

All the kids went for the kids meal which included drink, apple slices, fries and choice of 4 entrees. I ordered a Cosmo(yes, alcohol is served!) and hubby stuck with his beer. We only ordered a couple of appetizers to go  with the drinks and this was sufficient as lunch.

The movie itself was very funny, slick and sufficient. The kids thoroughly enjoyed. So much so that they wanted to see it again immediately in the next show! We dragged them back home of course. After that,  they played in the backyard to wear off some of the effect of all the sugared drinks that they had consumed in refills. When it got too much in the sun, it was back in the house with more running around. A little close to pick up time, the kids were rounded up to cut the ice cream cake and sing birthday song. After this, they enjoyed the ice cream cake and packed off to their respective homes with a goody bag and a tired ole me left to clean up the ramifications of a bunch of 10 year olds running around the house.

Happy 10th Birthday, sweet heart!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

jeerge saaru (jeerge bhajji)(jeera curry)

Last night I made this jeera concoction that is a childhood favorite of mine. I remember this when its cold and rainy outside and I need some fortification against the cold. Yesterday was one such evening and also since this is really, really simple and tasty, it was a no brainer to make it. It was really delicious and exactly the same taste as I remember of my ajji's cooking. You can eat it with rice or chapathi. When added to rice, I also add some ghee and make sure that the rice is hot. Then, the taste is heavenly! So, here goes the simple recipe:

Jeerge bajji (bajji means a thick curry that is added sparingly to rice and mixed well in kannada)


To grind:
1. 1 big onion cut to pieces.
2. 3/4 tbsp jeera.
3. 3 tbsp coconut shredded.
4. 1 tbsp tamarind paste ( I used tamarind extract from soaking it in warm water)
5. 2 tbsp sambar powder ( I used MTR sambar powder).

For saute:
1. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
2. 3 cloves garlic chopped.
3. Curry leaves.

Grind the above ingredients given for grinding to a smooth paste along with enough water. In a saucepan, add a little oil and the ingredients given for saute. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the rest. Then add the grounded paste to this saute and when it starts to boil, add salt and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Its ready to enjoy with rice or chapathis.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And the Gaints win again!

(This was written in second week of February after the incredible Giants win in the 46th super bowl)
Its been almost exactly 16 years since I arrived in the United States as a wide eyed young lassie. Back then, football meant kicking the ball around by 2 teams until it was kicked into the goal post to win a point. So, it was really confusing to see "Football" being played by men running around in a field with ball in their hands and if they ran the full length of the field with the ball, they scored not 1 but 6 points. Huh?

Unable to avoid seeing the games as both the spouse and the kid perpetually watch them during the football season and somehow seeping up on the rules, I started to appreciate the nuances and skill that it required. Hubby is a huge New York Giants fan and now with the kid too joining in with great fervor, it became mandatory that I either learn the game and enjoy or stay out and get bored. So, I chose to join in. We even went to see a college football game last year and enjoyed the experience though a bit rowdy for me with beer drinking kids shouting and screaming for or against a team depending on who was winning.

So, this year, home team Giants reached the playoffs and in amazing grace and force, won all the games to reach superbowl. The spouse and kid couldn't be happier, for now, they could host the Giants Superbowl party! So, invitations were called out, menu prepared by moi and decorations bought including a big GIANTS baloon that is still going strong in the living room. The game time on Sunday was 6.30pm. And believe it or not, the first guests turned up at exactly 6.30pm! And within the next 15 minutes all the 15 invited guests were in front of the TV cheering for the Giants. The appetizers consisting of ragda pattis, chips-salsa, pakoras, chicken samosas and masala peanuts were brought out and consumed. Drinks were served. And the Giants again triumphed in classic movie style in the very last minute! What a game!!. After the game, a hurried dinner of rotis, chicken curry, alu, dill pulav and raitha was served and hurriedly eaten as it was getting late to return home on Sunday night. Delicious carrot cake and mango pie were served as dessert. All in all, another successful super bowl party.

This and that...

Lordy lord! Its been ages since I came back to blog. The thing is that its been awfully busy at work. The atmosphere is no fun anymore. People are biting each others heads off etc etc. Well, you take in the crap and move on since its a bad economy, right? Anyway, the silver lining to this was that last week, we went away to sunny california for a week long vacation! It was actually 10 days with family visiting the big cities - San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Have to say that compared to the east coast, the west coast is bright and shiny, partly because it is much newer than the east coast of course and also the weather there is pretty much constant being mildly chilly in winter and not too hot in summer.

After being back, we celebrated the landmark birthday of the kid. We went to rain forest cafe and ordered some regular fair. The surprise volcano cake with shiny paper for lava and a candle was something the kid was really taken in with. It was a surprise alright and a very pleasant one too. The waiters sang the birthday song loudly and clapped to it. It was really nice. Hope the kid remembers it in the years to come.

Well, I will stop now. I promise to be back a little more regularly and begin the Alaska diary.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Show and Dinner.

We recently went to see the Disney On Ice show in Trenton. This was to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. It has long been on the wish list of hubby to see this show. So, it was finally fulfilled. The kid was really, really reluctant. It took some convincing on my part to get the kid going. Finally everyone enjoyed. The kid mainly because the Lion King was featured and got to eat cotton candy (at $10 per packet!!!). After the show that finished around 4.30pm, we shopped a little to pass time until dinner. Dinner was at Chinese Mirch in NJ. If you remember my NYC post, we had to skip this one restaurant as there was a minimum of 30 minutes wait.

So, finally, we got to taste the Chinese Mirch food in its Jersey branch in North Brunswick. We ordered a few appetizers including their veggie steamed momos ( having never tasted momos before, I compared these to the dim sums that we have in other chinese restaurants and they didn't really measure up), chinese slaw ( this was a really fresh and crispy slaw that was very yummy!), crispy okra ( they gave a huge amount of this in a big cone. It was a little slimy for my taste) and chicken lollipop ( This was just ok. The kid didn't like how the chicken had to be wrestled from the bone). Having filled up with these appetizers, we didn't have much room for entrees. So, only ordered soy tamarind besan pakoras. We were intrigued as to how it would taste to have mixed pakoras with soy but have to confess it was not the best combination. Brown rice was on the side. To finish up, a little chocolate souffle and chai was ordered. All in all a passable fare but the ambiance was refreshing.

As an aside, the hubby surprised me with a really well wrapped gift that I found on my bed stand when I woke up on the anniversary morning. The box was a longish narrow box which really puzzled me as to their contents. So, with the spouse still sleeping and the kid really eager to know what was inside, I tore away at the box. Inside was more of gift wrapping tissues. I impatiently searched between them and out came a pair of really soft and fluffy house slippers! They are really cute with pink and purple flowers pattern. So, the spouse had remembered me wanting them a few days earlier. Now, I wear them at home all the time. They keep me feeling warm and comfortable in this cold season. So, after 16 years of marriage, you are really happy getting a pair of chappals for your anniversary day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Alaska - Part I - Planning

Ever since I saw pictures of Alaska, especially of in and around Juneau (since that's where my sister-in-law lived for 5 years) I have wanted to go and see it. So, when a friend of ours asked us if we would join them on a cruise trip to Alaska, we jumped. So, more friends were asked and they in turn asked their friends and relatives and in the end, it was a grand group of 27 people. So, here is my first tip. If you are planning a cruise to Alaska, if you can get more people to come with you, its lot of fun and also cheaper. Now it was time to plan and execute the reservations. This was around March of 2011. With this many people, and everyone not local, I found free conference to be really helpful in setting up planning discussions.

Looking at everyone's schedule and the best time to see Alaska, early July was chosen as the time frame for the trip. It was decided that we will do a 7 day cruise and then go to Denali National Park(DNP) for another 3 days for a total of 10 days trip. Once we had this down, we now had to book a cruise that would be one way from south to north and the last port close to where we could drive to DNP.  From an earlier cruise I had booked to Bermuda, I told the group that Costco Cruises was the cheapest I could find back then. Sure enough, it was at Costco with Princess Cruises that we found the cheapest price for the Vancouver to Whittier route. Since in our earlier two cruises, we had a balcony room, this time too we wanted one but the difference between a cabin with balcony and one without was big, almost $300 per person, so, we settled for a oceanview instead while others went ahead with inner cabins. The total cost of the cruise booking was $3255 for 3 people. The flight to Vancouver was chosen so that we arrived at Vancouver around noon for the 4.30pm departure. The schedule looked like below:
Cruise Schedule
Once we had the cruise and flight booked, it was now time to reserve transportation from our last port to DNP. We rented a minibus for this that would take the 22 people(5 of one family wanted to do their own) to DNP from Whittier.

We booked at Mckinley Village Lodge for our DNP stay. And shuttle buses to take us around DNP were also reserved online. And finally, the train that would take us back from DNP to Anchorage for our return flight home was also taken care of. Having done these arrangements, we waited for July. Do come back for my day to day description of our Alaska trip and tips.