Sunday, October 30, 2011

Coconut macaroons: and our Halloween Pumpkins

Just as the Diwali excitement seemed to be dying down, I got swamped with "What are we doing for Halloween" concerns. My uninterested "nothing" for an answer did not go very well with little anxious hearts.   "Can we at least go trick-or-treating with Vienna?" asked Anya. "Yes mommy. I be a butterfly with Bienna", chimed in baby P. A and I exchanged a look, 2 looks actually. One with a "no" (yours  truly); and the other with a "let them go" (A, of course). And the decision was made. I called Vienna's parents to ask about the plans, and got invited to a pre-trick-or-treating sweet tooth affair. Which meant that instead of getting to spend a lazy Sunday, I had to come up with something to take to their place.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Khasta Kachori: and our Diwali memoirs!

The other day, a friend and I got talking about traditions - especially surrounding our festival season. We reminised about all the preperations that went into Diwali celebrations back home; and then about all the short cuts we take trying to celebrate this huge day after work; in the US.  Kind of sad, but true.


I loved Diwali back home. I can still relate to the excitement that preceeded the days between Dussehra and Diwali. School life came to a virtual standstill; as we were too excited to be learning anything. So instead, we had a week of talent shows, fancy dress competitions, traditional wear days, and arts day where we created numerous rangolis, kandils (paper lanterns) and diyas for our home. Mom got busy with superloads of laundry that included everything from drapes to bed covers. She was a good

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rajasthani Khatta Kadhi: A meal out nothing (almost)!

A friend who fasts one day a week was contemplating the other day about her dinner options - restricted as she was by the rules of her fast. She said she was bored out of her mind eating aloo-tamatar every time that she fasted. And somehow, in trying to brainstorm onion and garlic free choices for dinner with her, the topic of Kadhi came up. I suggested it; and she looked shocked.  Apparently, she's never made this North Indian staple without the quintessential onion. And as far as I can think, in my home, we've never used onion in Kadhi. Yes, you could add onion pakoras in it, if making Punjabi Kadhi. But it isn't required, and tastes just as awesome. In fact, the Rajasthani version of Kadhi, known as the Khatta Kadhi in my home, is a lighter, more liquidy dish than the Punjabi Kadhi so popular in Delhi. It is also my go to dish on the days that my fridge is glaringly empty of all vegetables - including potatoes and onions!! A very simple, 2 ingredient dish (you basically need yogurt and a few Tbsp of besan to make this), this is a hands down winner in my choices for onion-less meals. And I really recommend this friend of mine to try it some time....


Sunday, October 16, 2011

(Hi)Story of Spaghetti....Squash

There is a history between me and Spaghetti Squash: a fall vegetable that looks like a smallish, oblong fruit I knew of as 'phoot (or fruit) kakdi' in Rajasthan. My extensive googling has not  got any hit to explain this fruit (the phhot kakdi; I mean) to you. So, to draw for you a mental picture, imagine a dull orange colored obling/ elliptical, smooth skinned fruit (sometimes with dark brown stripes along its length), about 8 inches in diameter at its widest. When cut open, the insides reveal very thin skin,   bright orange, melony-flavored flesh and a core that looks just like a melon. The taste, is somewhat in between that of a kakdi (not cucumber- but the long, light green kakdis of North India), and a not-so-sweet melon.  Or, if you know a spaghetti squash; then imagine that on the outside and a not-so-sweet melon on the inside.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Diwali party: starring Kesari Phirni!!

It's the season again. If we've just started thinking about Dussehera in past tense, can Diwali be far behind? The countdown to India's brightest festival has begun: clean and shine.
Meet and greet.
Feast and diet.

Lost and found!!
I'm talking about this picture now, if you're wondering. This picture from last year's Diwali season resurfaced a couple weeks ago as I was cleaning up my desktop to make a move out of my then-job. As I looked at the picture, I remembered how proud I'd been the day I clicked this. It was for a Diwali potluck at A's friend's. I

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sinfully sweet: Shakkarpara for Dusshera

Oftentimes, my everyday life is accented by memories of past that flash out of nowhere. I am, where I was in a different avatar long ago, and I just want to turn the clock back and be what I was and do what I did then. At times, this happens because I'm missing those days. More often than not, I feel like I want my children to experience the little things in life that marked my childhood. And never does this desire hit me harder than during the traditional Indian Holidays, when I think about the celebrations as they used to be - the sights, the sounds and the smells that ushered in our Holidays.