Monday, April 14, 2014

Dee-Day (1): Buttermilk - a guest post by Sharmila

Sharmila is a better story-teller than I am; and you will get a glimpse of that from her own blog  that she recently started. Several years ago, I heard her name through mutual friends. I knew she was an accomplished dancer along with being a full-time scientist and mom. I had even tried to recruit her as my older daughter's dance teacher through the mutual-friend-grapevine ....without success. So when this said friend asked if Anya would like to participate in a Bharatnatyam-based performance that Sharmila was tutoring; I jumped at the invite. That is how I met this incredibly graceful young mom balancing her multi-faceted life in a very competitive manner.  Recently, I reacquainted with her through our Hindi school. Here, I got to know that she's broken some  big boundaries by marrying a North Indian - an act, that I am sure, comes with a rich, aromatic, north-south amalgamation that keeps her on her toes. I found it commendable that she was bringing her son to Hindi school, so he could get a sense of where his father comes from; all the while enriching her kids' lives with traditional ways from her part of South India (both her kids speak fluent Tamil).  That is what prompted me to ask her to write a little piece for MLS...Sharmila's vision and strength are very forthcoming in what she has to say about herself before we go on to her recipe:

On Family Traditions: 
I grew up in a place far from the bustles of a city. I like my family's traditional way of doing things. For example, blenders were there, but my mom used only stone grinders. My parents were very particular about giving pure, natural and organic food to all of us. Regarding life's aspects, they were like most other Indian parents who believed in marks, ranks and grades, but first came discipline. They did not teach us to stoop and touch the feet of elders, but taught us to respect and treat everyone fairly, irrespective of age, status and caste. They taught us to be righteous, confident and warm. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Welcome to Dee-Day: Inviting Guest posts

Here's the thing....

This wasn't really meant to be a food blog. When I wrote my first post on this space, I was upset....and hurt. I had never been a traditional, adhering person. But the day I missed to observe a yearly ritual; I  felt wounded; a little shocked. Traditions brought back memories of family and togetherness....of meals meant to be shared with love. The wounds of loss were still raw. Writing seemed to ease some of that pain. To me; meals and memories are sides of the same coin. In good times and bad; food brings families together. And so, over time, My Life & Spice became a majorly Food blog....with memories thrown in.

 Through my writing, I want to inculcate some of that old way of life in the minds of my two young daughters. To introduce them to my life as a child...
...I want them to see tradition through my eyes; live it as I lived it many years ago....
...I want them to experience tradition with me; as I have been able to recreate it for them - through  fragile, quickly-fading memories....
... some day; I want them to establish their own traditions....and hopefully include me in them. With a little sprinkle of memories that they will create with me in their growing up years.

But their horizons are broader than mine. They are so much more exposed to diversity than I was at their age. I am still learning....

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vrat-Ka-Dosa: A Navratri Special

Here's another one for Navratri fasting.

Except that this time, I chose not to fast the whole nine days...I am just doing the two days; as religiously mandatory. 

But this gives me a chance to share with you an awesome experiment from 6 months ago.  A gluten-free Dosa! I was pretty excited when this turned out as well as it did. Great for satisfying those cravings when you're in a starving mode :-)

The two ingredients used here in this recipe are not grains, unlike the rice and lentils used in a traditional Dosa (Indian-style crepe). In place of rice, we use what is called sama-ke-chawal in Hindi. The name is a misnomer, since the tiny rice-like grain is actually  a seed of wild grass Panicum that is considered a pseudo grain. It's a naturally fat free, low calorie seed that resembles broken rice (see below for nutrient information).