Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Taj Mumbai-the way I knew it

Dear Blog,
Shamiana, at the Taj hotel was one of our favourite places for a cup of tea and of all the things masala dosa. I liked the sambhar there. Even when friends would wax about the Matunga sambhar, I would think of the Taj sambhar.
When Aaliyah and Aaria were in my womb I had this craving to eat palak paneer and dosa. I waddled to the Shamiana. The kitchen was about to close but they humored my culinary eccentricity. I wonder whether that young man who had a twinkle in his eyes when he served me is alive.
CST is another place from where I used to board trains. 'I reached the station meant I was now safe with people buzzing around, beggars, security guards, hookers.
Now what is safe? Be alert Mumbai. Do not be embarrassed to ask the authorities to check anything suspicious. A vigilant city is the first step to deter terrorists.
Today walked down Mahapalika road(passed St Xavier, Cama and BMC). K has kalakhatta and I had 'zeera soda" at the stall next to Canon.
I can do all this-only in Bombay!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai,my beloved city.......

Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai
Dekhna hai zor kitna baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
-Bismil Azimabadi

Monday, October 27, 2008

A noiseless Diwali

Dear Blog
The pollution is tough on Dad. Had a simple dinner of ghee/rice, gherkin stir fry and okra khichadi. Cut the gherkin into long pieces. Heat a tsp coconut oil in a pan. Splutter mustard seeds and fry curry leaves in the same oil. Add a cup of chopped gherkins into this and a little water. Close the pan with a lid. After a little while add some shredded coconut to it. And do not forget the salt. As simple as that. This is Aaliyah's favourite. She stuffs it in her mouth and walks around
Okra khichadi: Saute some okra in a pan. (the original recipe calls for frying. But I cannot get myself to do it.) Grind a little mustard and coconut and thick yogurt and add it to the sauteed okra. Temper with mustard and curry leaves. And the salt......of course.
Had yummy upma at Usha's place. Her leg is better. The twins had a great time.
Today I wish for:
a noiseless Diwali
a less smoky Diwali
a Diwali where the rupee is strong again (my rupee strongest)
a Diwali where my helps do not tell me,' is baar Diwali bin bulaye aagaya'
a creative Diwali
Wish you a happy Diwali,
Good night!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Preparations for Diwali

Dear Blog,
Was away for two days in Bangalore. It was cold and resembled an English weather. Shopped at the Nilgiris. Purchased ragi flour, sambhar powder and rasam powder. Had awesome dosa and rava idli at a place called Balal Residency just near the Taj.K had his Pongal and refused to have his upma since it was gheey( laden with ghee). Today purchased earthen diyas, rangoli powder and a mould for drawing the Goddess feet. Need the Goddess at home. Cooked aloo mutter, pulinkari and vellirikai pachadi. Looking for the perfect recipe for kalakand....Any ideas? Wrote an essay on Mumbai...........The bad patch was Usha sprained her leg. Took her to MGM and the local doc. Could not get an appointment. She is back at her home in Thane. .........

Good night!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I need a good editor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Blog,
The manuscript is done and Sandra is interested. Now I need someone to help me spruce it up. Where are you?
Cooked chicken cutlets for the girls and drove to Murud with K. Had breakfast at Vadkhal. Batata vada, Misal and kothanbir wadi. The wadi was cleaned by Mrs Patil. I felt good. The sun shone through the blades of the coconut tree and the suparis swung lazily in the westward breeze. The sea was also languid. Overall a good day.
Good night!

Monday, October 20, 2008

After a very long time.....

Dear Blog,
The twins are nearly two. Their time of sleep and food are well defined. This means I have more time to write, cook and watch films. Last night I watched,'Tickets' a movie by Kiarostami, Loach and Olmi. A good one! See if you can pick it up. And cooked today Kerala kadala curry, uppumanga curry and a simple dal. Everyone licked their fingers. The recipes are uncomplicated unlike me. For the kadala curry : Soak two cups of black channa overnight. Pressure cook it with salt, a wee bit of turmeric, a little cinnamon ,two cardamom till the whistles of the cooker drive you nuts. What I mean is cook till the channas are soft. In another pan fry three tbsps of coconut along with a tbsp of coriander seed, three cloves of garlic, red chilly to taste, a little fennel, some more cinnamon and a green cardamom. Fry all the above ingredients till brown and then grind to a fine paste with three or four teaspoons of the cooked channa. Add the ground mixture to the black channa and boil till the rawness of the ground paste disappears. Of course I plucked a few curry leaves from my window sill and added that too. Eat with rice not before checking for salt! By the way, now I try to cook only in earthen pots. I picked up some earthenware when Jinan exhibited kumbham in Mumbai. Google kumbham to discover more about terracotta. Asked Gundya and Swati to buy too.
For the uppumanga curry: When I was walking the streets of Bora Bazar I espied an exclusive Bedekar shop. And I saw tender mangoes in brine and I remembered my grandmother's bharani sitting like a fat woman in the corner of the attic.
The recipe is easy. Grind two mangoes, salt, green chilly and coconut to a fine paste. Add to whipped curd and mix well. Temper with mustard and curry leaves preferably in coconut oil. The mixture should stay in one place like an obedient child and not be runny.
As for Mumbai, at lunch K found a strand of loooong hair in his Chinese thali at Sundance. The dish was replaced but I yucked....
Good night Blog!