Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Weekend ' E' Accolades!

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you.

~ William Arthur

Its raining awards in blogosphere these days.. and I see almost everyday, friends getting awards and passing them to the ones who motivated or appreciated them the most!



Cham of Spice Club felt the same about me and she rated my blog as Excellent'. Wow, thats one superlative I never associated with my blog as I think there is a long way for me to go and many more things to learn. Everyday is a learning day for me and love the variety of posts I come across. All Thanks to my innovative and enthusiastic blogger friends.

Thanks Cham for considering me and I am so glad that u liked my recipes and stories.

.....Now that I have to pass this on to people who I think are 'Excellent', I have about 28 choices (Yes..28!)..and each one of them is very dear to my heart!

To choose some, with great humility, I consider these blogs as EXCELLENT...

Indira .. Her recipes at Mahanandi are loved by all.and her efforts towards Indian Food Blogging are commendable and truly insipirational. As a special mention, her interview with the authors of "Cooking At Home with Pedatha" touched me a lot and also who can forget Indira's exemplary dedication in making the FAHC Campaign a huge success. Thanks Indira!

Lathamma and Lakshmi.... What can I say about the dynamic duo - Lathamma and her daughter Lakshmi. Just that - I LOVE U both!. Their authentic Tamilian Iyengar recipes at (...very aptly named )- 'The Yum Blog' are to die for. They are loved by all and the most unique blog I came across and definitely Lathamma is one of my dearest soul here in this virtual food blogosphere!

Dhivya .... One best thing that happened in my 5 months of Food Blogging is my friendship with Dhivya who is an expert of organizing a Culinary Bazaar. I think the sole reason that we became bestest of friends in such a short span of time is that - "We both are as crazy as one can imagine!".. She is also an avid cook who comes up with such novel and yummy recipes which amaze me every time!.. Thanks Dhivya for being so good and Krrazzy!!!

Viji...She was the one who commented on my blog first (.. so I have some special sentiments attached to her...), since then she has been a constant source of inspiration to cook more n more!. Her blog is the first place I often land up if I am in a mood of experimenting and mind you, all of them turn out delightful and scrumptious. Thanks to Viji, for making us a part of the delectable adventures of your kitchen!

So, these are my weekend 'E' Accolades. take care n Have a great Sunday ahead!

~ Siri

Friday, February 22, 2008

Storytime # 4: There is No King as God...

One of my favorite pastimes is to read short stories especially 'the ones written for children with some message hidden in it and the best part is - they always have a happy and sensible ending!'. Its my way of reliving those moments which I spent on my granny's lap listening to a short story everyday. I still remember the way I used to gape in amazement for stories of Vikram Bethaal, Ramayana, Mahabharata .....

...and on one fine day, I started sharing such stories with you all thru my blog and I am glad to know that you all are enjoing them as much as I did reading them. So, here I am with another story - an African Folktale "There is No King as God!" retold by an award winning writer of children's stories - Ramendra Kumar.




Long ago in Nigeria, in West Africa, lived a king. His name was Yaburo. He was a mighty king whose empire stretched far and wide. He commanded a great deal of respect from his people for he was both intelligent and powerful.

He held a large court three days a week. His people were all welcome to attend his court and speak about their problems or share their experiences. Now everyone who came to his court would say, “May the king live forever” as the traditional greeting. Did I say everyone? Oops, I am sorry I forgot about Olango. He was a middle aged man who earned his living as a teacher. Whenever he appeared before the king he would say, “No King as God”.

The mighty Yaburo did not like this but tolerated Olango since he did not want to appear cruel and unjust. But gradually even his courtiers started whispering about Olango, who was now called No-king-as-God. Yaburo realized if something was not done quickly people would stop treating him with the respect and awe he had always been used to.

After a lot of thinking Yaburo thought of a plan which would enable him to eliminate Olango without any blame coming to him.

Yaburo called Olango to his court.

“Listen Olango, I am giving you something which is very special to me to keep. I have chosen you since I trust you more than anyone else. You keep it very carefully and return it to me when I ask,” - with these words Yaburo handed over a silver ring to Olango who took the ring without suspecting anything.

Olango went home and kept the ring in a dried and empty ram’s horn and gave it to his wife Baiti.

“Keep this in a safe place and tell no one about it,” he said.

Ten days later Yaburo called Olango to his court.

“Go to Dinidishu village which is to the extreme north of our kingdom. Go tell the people there that they have to come here immediately. We need their help in building the walls of our city.”

Olango did as he was told.

As soon as he had left Yaburo sent for Baiti.

“I know your husband has given you something for safekeeping. I want you to hand it over to me.”

Baiti shook her head.

“I’ll give you a million cowries,” declared the King.

Cowries are small sea-shells which were used as currency as well as ornaments by the people of Africa in those days.

Baiti was tempted by the King’s offer but she hesitated.

“My husband won’t spare me when he comes to know,” she said.

“And do you think I’ll spare you, if your refuse me, your King. You and your entire family will suffer if you don’t obey me,” Yaburo thundered.

Terrified Baiti went home and returned with the horn.

The King looked into the horn and found the ring inside. He sent Baiti off with the million cowries. After she had left he replaced the ring into the horn and asked his guards to throw it far into the biggest lake in Nigeria which never dried up. The guards obeyed his command and returned to the court.

As soon as the horn fell into the lake a big fish swallowed it up.

A few days later Olango was returning home after successfully completing his mission. He met some friends who were going fishing and joined them. He caught a big fish and went home, happy with is catch. As he was cleaning the fish his knife struck something hard. It was the ram’s horn. He pulled it out and on checking found the silver ring, which the king had given him, inside it.

“Truly,” he said, “There is no king as God.”

Just then a royal messenger came to his house and told him he was wanted by King Yaburo in his court immediately.

“Where is the ram’s horn which I had given you,” Olango asked his wife.

Baiti went around acting as if she was looking for it and then finally said, “I am sorry but I can’t find it. I think the rats must have eaten it up.”

Olango did not say anything. He was now able to gauge the King’s plan. He was quite certain that the King had either tricked or forced Baiti to give the horn and hence she was not to be blamed.

Olango set off for the royal court. When he reached there he found Yaburo hadn’t come. A few minutes later Yaburo entered. All the courtiers jumped to their feet and declared, “May the King live forever.”

But Olango quietly said, “There is no King as God.”

The King advanced towards Olango and staring straight into his eyes asked, “Is it really true that there is no King as God?”

Olango firmly replied, “Yes.”

“Okay, now give me the silver ring which I gave you,” Yaburo said his eyes blazing. He was sure he had Olango cornered. In a few minutes it would all be over. Olango would not be able to produce the silver ring and would be promptly beheaded. And that would end all this ‘no king as God’ nonsense forever. He asked his guards to surround Olango.

However King Yaburo was in for a rude shock. Olango calmly put his hands inside his robe and removing the horn gave it to the King. Yaburo upturned the horn and soon the silver ring was quietly nestling in his palm. The King stared at Olango in amazement.

For a few seconds he was unable to speak then slowly he said, “Yes, indeed there is no king like God.”

All his courtiers clapped in approval.

Later Yaburo divided his kingdom into two. One half he kept with himself and the other he gave it to Olango to rule.

Both Yaburo and Olango ruled their respective kingdoms for long with faith in God and concern for the people.

Source: Bolokids

Other Stories told here:
A Friend In Need...
Kalidasa's Shakuntalam
Akbar n Birbal Series: Birbal brings a Princess from Heaven


P.S : For fully Updated Recipe Index: Click here

- Siri

Monday, February 18, 2008

Kothu Parotta

This recipe was on my to do list for a long time and I saw the recipe of Kothu Parotta for the first time : here and here. I never heard about such a dish before that. [ Yes, I didn't..:( ].

....I had many frozen parathas in the freezer... so thought this would be the best way to make a good use of them...:)

To my surprise, it turned out very tasty and had a distinct taste ..:D Next time ,I wanna to use my left over chapathis instead of parathas..:))

Here goes the recipe...



Ingredients:

(Frozen) Parathas - 2 nos
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1
Green Chillies - 2
Salt - to taste
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
Egg - 1
Coriander powder - 1/2 tbsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1/4 tbsp
Oil - to saute
Curry leaves - few

How to make:

1. Take some oil in a skillet, add some cumin seeds, then saute chopped onions, tomato, curry leaves, green chillies for few mins.
2. Now, add turmeric, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well.
3. Then add paratha pieces; mix all the contents well. Finally add beaten egg and stir the mixture for a while.
4. Garnish with coriander and lemon juice. Serve hot.



~ Siri

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Palak Godhuma Dosa

Godhuma Dosa (Whole Wheat flour Dosa) is like a quick breakfast/brunch in almost every kitchen.. its so easy, breezy and yummy. This time I tried to add in some greens to make it healthy too. Sending this to Suganya's 'WBB-Healthy Eats' event.



This is what I did:



I pureed a cup of spinach leaves with a tbsp of Jeera, some fresh coriander and salt.
Then, In a bowl mix in these ingredients:
2 cups of Wheat flour
Salt to taste
1/4 tbsp Turmeric
1/2 tbsp Red Chilli powder
1 tbsp Besan (Chickpea flour)

Add the palak paste with sufficient water to get a dosa batter like consistency.
Finally, make our usual Godhuma Dosas and Serve with coconut chutney or idli karam powder.



Hope you all liked my palak twist..:D

Have a great weekend ahead folks!

~ Siri

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love is in the Air...

Your eyes say what I want to know...
Your cheeky smile makes me glow.
What power do you possess that makes me melt...
Because of every word spoken, every touch felt.

Every awake moment is spent thinking of you...
Every second apart feels so wasted, makes me blue.
The warmth from your enclosed arms is a haven...
Gives me unparalleled security - a feeling of heaven.

The words which I want to say have not yet been found...
Every thought, every feel so deep and so profound.
But on this day, to let u know what I am thinking will just suffice
Cos you just got to see how much I love you through my "lovestruck" eyes........

- written by this sweet friend of mine...:D




Happy Valentine's Day dearies!

~ Siri n Shriya

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Funny or Smart?

Note: This is a non-foodie post.











P.S: All these images are from a mail forwarded to me sometime back by a friend of mine.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Whole Wheat Bread Upma

“Give me yesterday's Bread, this Day's Flesh, and last Year's Cyder.”

- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard's Almanac

Who doesn't have Bread for breakfast... say at least thrice a week?..Its something I (we all..)love to have - as its easy, breezy to use up and saves so much of time in those hurried n busy mornings..:D. My usual bread-breakfasts are Bread-Butter, Bread-Jam, Bread-Omlette or a Bread-Sandwich. These days we are being cautious whats out intake is, Whole Wheat Bread is our new addition from past couple of months. and we are loving it.

Note: Check the ingredient list to make certain whole-grain flour is used in greater quantities than other flours.

...I tried out my usual Bread Upma with it and tasted yummy with all the whole grain goodness in it...:D...We ate this for our breakfast as the preparation time is not more than 15mins. So,forwarding to Suganya's WBB:Healthy Eats Event.






You need:

6 slices of Whole Wheat Bread ( or any kind of bread)
2-3 tbsp of Yogurt
Salt - to taste
1/4 tbsp Turmeric
1/2 tbsp Red Chilli powder
Fresh Coriander
1 Green Chilli
1 medium sized Onion - finely chopped

For Tadka:
1 tbsp Oil
Cumin seeds
Mustard seeds
Urad dal
pinch of Hing

How to make:

1. Cut the slices of bread into chunks and marinate them in salted yogurt for few minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a wok take oil and add all the ingredients listed under 'tadka'. Let them splutter.
3. Add chopped onion, green chilli and coriander. Saute them for a while.
4. Season with salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.
5. Finally, add in the marinated bread pieces and mix the contents well.
6. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Marinating the bread pieces in yogurt gives a nice tangy taste and a distinct flavor. If one doesn't like yogurt, skip marinating and instead sprinkle some water in Step 5.



Off I am to a trip this weekend and am planning to make this again as it packs well for short travels and lunches. That reminds me to send this to EC's 'Travel Food Event' too!...:))



Have a great weekend ahead guys! Cya all next week!

~ Siri

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lemony Green Tea

Green Tea (scientific name: Camellia sinensis) is one such drink to which I am totally addicted to. I make this once a week and store in my refrigerator to drink in when ever I am bored to just water. And its numerous health benefits makes this addiction of mine even more worth while..:))

Research says that the Green tea has high amount of essential anti-oxidants that help to prevent atherosclerosis, particularly coronary artery disease. Also it lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL ("good") cholesterol. Moreover, this tea has such properties that lower the risk of various types of cancers like Bladder Cancer, Breast Cancer, Ovarian cancer etc.

...Surprised to know how much goodness can this simple tea can give us. Even I am , as I was not aware of these health benefits when I got ADDICTED to it..:DD. Now, that I know....'I am even more happy!!!'..:D

.. A usual green tea can be made even more flavorful by adding every day ingredients such as ginger, mint and lemon. Here is one such 'Lemony Green Tea' recipe which I am forwarding to Coffee's JFI:Lime/Lemon event.







Adapted from here.
Serves: 6

You need:

6 Green Tea bags
3 ounces of Ginger - peeled and thinly grated
few Mint leaves. ( I am not big fan of Minty flavor, so used very few of them!)
1/2 cup Honey
2 tbsp Lemon juice
Water

How to make:

1. In a flat saucepan over high heat, combine the ginger and 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and add the mint and tea bags.
3. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a large pitcher.
4. Now, add the honey and lemon juice. Stir the contents well.
5. Chill in the refrigerator and Serve when desired.



Due to its anti-oxidant properties as mentioned earlier in the post, this also qualifies for Cate's ARF:Tuesday event!

~ Siri

Oven Baked Chickpea Falafel

It was one lazy Sunday afternoon and we were in a mood to have something light and preferably a *healthy* snack.

...As I was flipping through my to-do list of recipes( as usual with some dreamy eyes at their drooling pics! ..), I came across this mouth watery Falafel dish which I wanted to try out from a very long time.. But, 'No Oil for deep frying' was one of our strict rules.. So, I thought why not oven bake them ( as in Baking Bites).

.. We were in a no mood to have Pita bread with Falafel which is the usual combination - just had this as our EVENING SNACK.



Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas
1 medium sized chopped onion
2 slices of whole wheat bread
salt - to taste
Butter spray
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tbsp black pepper
3/4 tbsp cumin powder
fresh coriander
1/2 tbsp red chilli powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 to 6 tbsp of flour (for binding)

How to make:

1. Grind the chickpeas into a coarse paste .
2. In a bowl, mix the chickpea paste with the rest of the ingredients and make batter which is neither too wet or dry.
3. Refrigerate it for couple of hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 deg.



5. In a baking tray, spread foil (or) parchment paper and make balls out of the batter. I made them round and flat so that they bake properly.
6. Bake these for 10 minutes, flip them and again for 10 minutes until golden brown.
7. Serve with any chutney or sauce.

...The verdict was - 'Simply Superb' , 'Yummy' and finally 'Good Job'! and I am happy gurl by the end of the day!!!



Off these go to Susan's 'My Legume Love Affair' event.




~ Siri

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tomato Rice

'Comforting Food' - to me is something which I look forward to every single time, which peps me up on one gloomy day, which instantly rejuvenates me!!

....as Meeta aptly says - "It's the type of food that picks us up when we are down, warms us when we are feeling lost and cold and blurs out the bad mood. The first mouthful takes us straight back to the familiar, the good; to the time when all was well. "



Yes, I made this dish a zillion times before, but I am never ever bored of it. It is THE thing-fling between me and this dish since childhood and oh, it still continues.. U could say its my FIRST LOVE or Love at first sight (..*taste*)..I still remember the day, my mom made this for me ... *on a Sunday morning*..and since then there was no stopping for both of us...:)

.. and its none other than .... ***** TOMATO RICE *****



Thanks to Meeta, I got another good reason to meet my love and spend some silent, comforting moments with it..:DD

You check out the recipe here, the slight variation is, I used Biryani Pulav Masala, instead of normal Garam Masala!

Also sending this to Mala's "Kid's Food Event" - this being my favorite food since childhood!



~ Siri

Friday, February 1, 2008

Potato Pulao

......Potatoes contain many of the essential nutrients that the dietary guidelines recommend Americans increase in their diet. Potatoes eaten with the skin provide nearly half of the Daily Value for vitamin C and are one of the best sources of potassium and fiber. One medium-sized potato has 110 calories and provides complex carbohydrates needed to fuel our brains and bodies, giving us the energy we need for a busy lifestyle......

[Source]

Oh common....we don't need any of these reasons to have our POTATO .. Right.. so here I made a simple Aloo Pulav and sending this off to both Dhivi's "The Potato Fe(a)st" and Sia's "Ode to Potatoes" events..:).. and they say more the better...so, this is just my first entry to u guys..:)))



Simple Ingredients:

Diced Potatoes - 1 can ( Yup, I was too lazy to peel, cut and boil the potatoes..:))
Rice (Boiled) - 1.5 cups
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1 medium sized (chopped)
Green Chillies - 1 (thinly slit)
Biryani Pulav Masala - 1/2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - 1/8 tbsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tbsp
Fresh Coriander leaves - few

Simple Preparation:

Heat the butter in a wok, add onions - saute them for untill brown. Then add ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and then diced potatoes. Mix the contents well and Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
Add in the salt, turmeric, biryani pulav masala and redchilli powder. Cook for a while. Finally add rice.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

This is the most simplest pulav one can ever make.. and surprisingly its an all time favorites for many others like me!



UPDATE: When Cham of 'Spice Club', left a comment saying this 'Potato Pulav' is her kid's favorite, then I thought why not send this to dear Vanamala's "KID'S FOOD EVENT" ...:)



~ Siri
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