Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Dear Madam Amma,

My thanks from the deep heart in your commitment towards peace in (y)our (e)state of Tamil nadu. It has been evident from the beginning of your term how you reduced the noise across all corners of the state. First you silenced the excess noise created by the mixers and grinders early in the morning ensuring continuous unavailability of power across the state at all necessary instances. This also made sure that the noise pollution from the industries is also silenced.

The whole state of Tamilnadu was under the deep threat of violence to be caused Mulla Omar sitting in the north-west of corner of Afghanistan who got hurt by the wrong portrayal of the otherwise peace loving Talibans. Thanks for banning the movie Viswaroopam that was created with every ounce of planning to stir the third world war from the state of Tamilnadu in India.

Here are more ideas to curb violence and continue peace in our state:

1. In line with your vision to maintain peace in the state of Tamil nadu, we request you to pass an immediate ordinance under section 7A (amendment to include TV along with theatres). This will henceforth stop all News channels available for view in Tamil nadu to telecast any news that conveys people about the violence or attack across any country caused by people of any community so that it does not hurt the sentiments of that community or stir violence from other communities.

2. All news paper columns should be reviewed by the Home secretary of Tamilnadu to ensure that you can maintain (f)law in order.

There are Germans and there are Nazis. The Germans are a bunch of intelligent people who have made some big contributions to the world of science and industrial development. The whole world appreciate their intelligence and their struggle in reforming a country breaking walls in between. The Nazis were a bunch of mislead hooligans who call themselves of German origin by blood. In that analogy, there are Muslims and there are Talibans. PERIOD. Every educated person in the world knows the difference between both. So if you take care of educating the people in the state, the peace takes care of itself. You can send home even those 9000 police you have to maintain peace.

If 'activity' refers to a man and 'creativity' refers to a woman in the qualities of a human being, you just forced a Burka on the woman in the name of religion. Remember, even Islam leaves 'Burka' to the choice of a woman.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Chakarai Pongal - a debutant's story.

Running back into the nostalgia of that Pongal celebrations where my dad used to do Surya Pooja over that concentric circles Sangu Kolam in the half shaded mutram (an open roof space in the middle of the house), I had no business other than ringing that pooja bell when ever my dad tells and drool over that hot Chakara Pongal and other special items on the menu while they come out for the Neivedhyam (symbolic offerings in the trust that God will not eat anything) at the end of the Pooja.

Will run immediately to the kitchen after the Pooja  where my grandma would have a plate of little pongal and little rice that I need to put at a designated spot in the open area behind the kitchen for what half a dozen crows wait everyday at the stroke of 11 AM. On the return, I get to have one full dabara of hot chakara pongal with a spoon to be blown, tasted and gulped, swinging in the long oonjal (swing) along with my sister watching those special programs on Podhigai Channel in the 15" Black and White Uptron TV. Yeah, I also do the antenna pole rotation every time there are more grains in the middle of the program.

Time has gone by and finally here I am, a Pongal day when I have to actually work!! :-(

I brought with a load of utensils as told earlier. Thought of making some Chakara Pongal to hook on to the customs from the roots. It may not be as good as Mom made Pongal, but still I can call it Home made Pongal. :-)

The last time I made a sweet all myself was Rava Kesari during school days. For Chakara Pongal, got lost in the various recipes and ingredients and finally got saved with a simple recipe mailed over by my foodie friend Deepa Iyer. Purchased most of the ingredients from the Indian groceries around the next street but after a double thought skipped cashews alone in the list since I felt it was a bad idea to stock cashews at home as there were no small packs. 

Woke up at 5 AM, did 12 rounds of Suryanamaskars in place of the Surya pooja. Took a nice hot shower and ventured into the kitchen at around 6 AM. Followed the recipe very diligently and modified a bit by reducing the jaggery little to my taste. 

Somewhere in the recipe it read,
"elaichi powder - 1/4 tsp (if you get whole elaichi - you can roast and grind)"

Grind?? I do not have a mixer!! That Rava Kesari experience came in handy. Powdering elaichi by just ramming it does not work. Rolled it in a thick plastic sheet along with a small pinch of sugar and rammed it to powder.

Since I decided to replace cashews with almonds for the final dressing, had to soak that in warm water for a while and peel the skin off. Roasted the almonds and raisins together in a scoop of ghee. 
I was pretty excited by my first attempt of cooking something on my own and was taking pics at each step. Was trying hard to get focus and lost time to get the nuts and raisins little over roasted. :-(

Closed my eyes and prayed Suryabhagavan for a min who was yet to show up even at 7:00 AM here in Detroit and tasted a spoon of the pongal that already looked promising. 'Yep, yummy!!'. I have always loved or tolerated what I cook. To re-assure the taste, offered bit of it to my roomie and he said 'Nice'. Still was not very sure about the taste and packed the remaining in the fridge. My roomie took some more from the fridge in the evening along with his dinner and said, 'really very nice man' without me asking about it!!. So my day is made. 

 Happy Pongal.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The curious of case of a Pressure cooker

During my first visit to the states 6 years ago, I had some one lending me an electric rice cooker. It just had 3 pieces and I had to wash 2. The rice container and the lid.

During my visit to the states last year, I stayed in a hotel and used a the large sauce pan to cook rice. It took a long time to cook. But still had just 2 pieces to wash. The pan and the lid.

This time, my mom and my sister insisted on carrying a pressure cooker with all necessary accessories - 8 pieces!!

To begin, how I packed it?

The lid and gasket together  between my sweaters and towel. (2/8)

The pan with 3 of my favorite T-shirts rolled in it. (3/8)

The rice vessel with my thermal wear tucked in it.(4/8)

The dhal vessel with my dry fit shirts. (5/8)

The cook rack and the top plate between my jeans pants. (7/8)

and the weight separately in the side zip. (8/8)

For the weight that this occupied, I compromised on some books and favorite T-shirts. :-(

The safe package was untouched during all my days in the hotel room and unpacked everything when I moved to an apartment.

Today with out any prior experience of handling any cooking in a pressure cooker, I successfully cooked rice in it. Not too dry and not too smashed either.. Yay!!

The pressure cooker did take less time than my sauce pan. But have 7 pieces left over to wash!!

My humble thought:

Time for cooking in a sauce pan             Time for cooking in a pressure cooker
                      +                               <                                 +
Time for washing a sauce pan                 Time for washing a pressure cooker.

What next?
The curious story of The Idly Paanai!!