Onam and other random mutterings…

I have no business posting, not when I have a million things yet to be done. Which includes emergency grocery shopping, because I have almost run out of essentials like rice..

But sometimes, a girl has got to do what she has got to do!

The whole day has rushed past, I managed to avoid doing my grocery shoppng which means that I will have to go to the supermarket tomorrow, Friday, when every other person would be there trying to avoid the weekend rush. To add to it, tomorrow is Onam, but I just don’t feel like preparing a proper sadya. All I can probably make is a payasam for that festive touch, and a pookalam – for which I still have to figure out where to source those flowers from.

Daughter is totally excited about Onam, she is waiting for tomorrow morning, when I have to wake up early, do the pookalam and make her favourite payasam. And fry pappadams – something I keep putting off – thanks to my aversion to frying.

Seeing my lacklustre Onam mood, daughter has been threatening to go off to Ammamma and Achan(my parents). She is already upset that she is not their daughter. My dad explained to her that it is much better to be a grand-daughter, because he never scolds his granddaughter while his daughter always gets scolded. Pat came the reply, ‘That is because I am never naughty and Amma is always naughty!’. Sigh! If I don’t make that payasam, I am sure she will disown me with no further ado.

While on the subject of daughter, she is now year 1 and considers herself a BIG girl. Where does time fly?

So those of you who do celebrate Onam, what plans for tomorrow? Can I please gate crash into somebody’s sadya? Pretty please? As for me, I have a whole load of grocery shopping to do tomorrow.

PS: The sun is finally out in this part of the world!!!!  Onam magic, do you think?

Fish, Anybody?

Before you guys think that I am cooking/serving fish here.. it is just a few pics from our vacation.

We had been to a seaside place near here and everywhere we looked we could see fish. Be it, fish and chips or people fishing or the fish at the Sea life centre.. Here’s a few from the Sealife Centre. I am assuming that not many of you would be interested in Fish and Chips :)

P1020272A Ray fish – which Poohi insists on calling Raymond!

P1020273These fish were almost transparent – not clear in the photograph, sadly.

P1020281Penguins! I love the way they waddle :)

P1020292Look at that naughty seal peaking out :) They were a treat to watch!

P1020302A spider crab which freaked out Poohi – she is terrified of spiders.

P1020309A snake headed turtle – it’s head did look a lot like a snake.

P1020310A bunch of little turtles – they looked incredibly cute as they swam around.

P1020318And finally a sea horse.

Am sure I would have bored you all thoroughly with these, but I don’t know what it is about aquariums.. There is something incredibly peaceful about them.. Must be the green and blue all around. And the fact that nature has such beautiful and diverse treasures. Some so tiny, some huge, all lovely and beautiful in their own way and doing their bit in maintaining the ecological balance. Surely, mankind must the only species which, by its actions does more harm than good….

On a different note, its festivals everywhere! Happy Eid to every one.  Happy Durga Puja and Navaratri! Hope all of you have a lovely festive season!

Onam wishes and dishes

Onam is here, it’s tomorrow! And a lot of us have been waiting for it..

One of the things I enjoy about not working is the fact that I get to celebrate festivals better.  The first time I made a Onasadya was last year – before that, the day would come and go. The last time I actually celebrated Onam was when I was at home with parents, a long long time ago.. Those days, I was not particularly fond of the sadya. I was more fond of north indian cuisine. When I got married to a non mallu, funnily, he turned out more fond of the sadya that I was. But over the years – probably, thanks to the fact that I hardly get to eat it, I have been craving mallu food.

Last year, I did make the sadya and had a friend over for lunch and we had planned to enjoy Onam – but daughter had other plans. She managed to fall and hurt herself and I managed to spend the afternoon in the accident and emergency in the Hospital and my poor friend did not even get to have lunch :( This year, hopefully, it will be different, good different hopefully. I also plan to make the pookalam, the flower carpet, welcoming Mavelli home, which I hope daughter enjoys too.

Today, some of us planned to have a virtual Ona sadya – to make some of you drool :) So here are my contributions… Avial and Pal Payasam. Please hop over to Deeps’ for more info and more yummy recipes!

Avial

Avial is a sort of mixed vegetables. And it has been a favourite of mine since years.

Ingredients

Mixed vegetables  – 2 cups.

Vegetables like carrots, yam, raw mango, green beans, drumsticks, snake gourd sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces – something like french fries.

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

grated coconut – 1/2 cup

Green chillies – 2 (I use 2 as the chillies I get here are super spicy – please use according to taste)

Cumin seeds  – 1 tsp

Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

Oil – 1 tbsp

Curd – 2 tbsp

Method

Heat the oil in a thick bottomed dish.

Add turmeric and cook the washed and chopped vegetables  on a low flame until they are cooked.

While the vegetables are getting cooked, grind coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies and curd into a smooth paste.

Once the vegetables are done, add salt and the coconut paste and coconut paste and the curry leaves. Cook until any excess water is evaporated.

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And now for the dessert.

Pal Payasam

Ingredients
Milk 1 litre. (Full Cream Milk)
Sugar 100 gms
Water 1 cup (120ml)
Rice 4 tablespoon (I use Basmati rice)

Garnishing
1. Elaichi 3 powdered – I am not too fond of the taste of elaichi – so I normally avoid it.
2. Cashewnuts and raisins – as per taste

Method

Use thick bottomed pressure cooker with vent.
1. Boil Milk – adding water .
2. Add the washed and cleaned rice in boiling milk.
3. Keep the pressure on and cook on low flame for 35 to 40 minutes. (no whistle required).
4. After the pressure has cooled down open the cooker.
Mix thoroughly, boil for 5 minutes in medium flame.
5. Now add the Sugar and cook for another 10 minutes.
6. Garnish with the dry fruits

Slurp up!

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Here’s wishing all of you a very happy Onam. Onaashamsakal!


Happy Vishu!

Vishu, the Malayali New Year is here! As far as I remember, Vishu was my favourite festival thanks to the ‘Vishukaineetam’, which is the tradition of the elders giving money to the kids:) Now, that was something to look forward to!

Vishu falls on the 14th or 15th of April and the Bengali New Year, Poila Baisakh falls on the same day too. The Tamil New Year falls one day earlier or later than Vishu and Poila Baisakh. When we were in school, I used to wait for Vishu for 2 reasons – the Vishukaineetam and because Vishu was the only festival that I had in common with other friends:) Most of the other festivals like Holi, or Diwali had no correspodning Malayali version :(

Vishu is traditionally celebrated on the first day of the Medam month of the Malayalam Calendar.  The day is supposed to start off with the ‘Vishu Kani’. We normally arrange it all the previousight n and are supposed to see the Vishu Kani the first thing in the morning! There is something wonderful about this  – I can’t describe the feeling..  My mother used to bring us all to the Kani , blindfolded.. My daughter, unfortunately opened her eyes before I could get to her , but she loved the Kani all the same.

The Vishu Kani consists of  all things auspicious – Rice, fresh linen, a tradional mirror, vilaku(lamp), raw mangoes, fruits,a particular kind of yellow flower.. all arranged in the puja room..I wish I could post a snap of our Kani – but this year, I was exceptionally unprepared – so I have just my version of ‘all things auspicious’ .

Traditionally, crackers are burst on Vishu in Kerala. I remember my Dad, recounting these stories.. Unfortunately, I have never had the fortune of celebrating Vishu in Kerala.. I hope to make a payasam at the very least today :)

Wishing all of you a very Happy Vishu, Poila Baisakh, or Baisakhi or just Happy New Year to all of you who are celebrating it today! Don’t you think ,we are all really lucky that we get to celebrate 2 new years in a single year!

PS : Apologies to all of you, for not responding to your comments on my previous posts. I just got back last night and am now down with fever :( So will respond to your comments and read all your posts over the next 2 days..