Monday, December 29, 2014

Mixed Vegetables in raw coconut and Curd gravy or Avial

Mixed Vegetables in raw coconut and Curd gravy or Avial

This recipe is my take on the traditional Avial. I happened to have a different combination of vegetables at home, but wanted to eat them in curd gravy. So here it is. It is very easy to make, since you can literally take any vegetables, in any proportion. You can adjust the quantity of curd to suit your palate. If you want it to be more spicy, you can use red chillies along with curry leaves for garnishing. 

Potato – 250 gms.
Carrot – 250 gms.
Pumpkin – 250 gms.
French beans – 150 gms.
Brinjal,  medium size – 1 no.
Curd – 500 ml.
Rice flour – 2 tsp.
Grated raw Coconut – ¼ coconut
Salt – to taste
Green chillies – 2 nos. (optional)
Curry leaves – a few (optional)
Oil – 2 tbs.
Rayi (mustard seeds), Jeera (Cumin seeds) together – 1 tsp.
Chop carrots, beans length wise and other vegetables into cubes.
Whisk curd to a smooth paste.
Grind coconut, rice flour, and green chillies to a smooth paste.
Cook the vegetables in enough water to cover them. Add the coconut paste. Make sure the vegetables are not too soft or cooked to a pulp. Remove from the stove. Let it cool.
When the vegetables are cooled enough, add whisked curd and mix well.
Heat 2 table spoons of edible oil in a small frying pan, and put rayi, Jeera and when they start sputtering, add curry leaves. After they are fried, pour over the vegetable and curd mixture.
Avial taste good with hot rice or rotis. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tomato Chutney for Idlis

Tomato chutney for Idlis:

This is a very simple chutney; gets done fast and tastes yummy with idlis; Can also be eaten with rice or rotis. Long time back, I had it at a friend’s place in Chennai. Made the recipe from the taste I remembered all these years. It is one of those recipes you cannot go wrong with.

Tomato chutney

Tomatoes – ¼ kg.
Oil – 2 tbs.
Rayi (Mustard seeds), Jeera (Cumin seeds), Methi (Fenugreek seeds) – together 1 tsp.
Green chilli / red chilli – 1 no. (2 or more if you want spicy)
Onion, chopped – 1 no.
Garlic pods – 4 nos.
Chopped Coriander leaves – small bunch
Salt to taste

·         Chop tomatoes roughly.
·         Heat oil in a pan, add ½ tsp. of rayi, Jeera, and methi seeds. Put 2 nos. garlic pods and fry.
·         Add the chopped green chilli / red chilli and chopped onion when the above start spluttering.
·        After   the onion is fried to a light brown colour, add chopped tomatoes.
·         Cover and cook on a low flame until tomatoes are almost cooked.
·         Take the pan off the stove. Let it cool.
·         Grind the cooked tomato mixture in a mixie or hand blender adding salt. Take it into a separate bowl.
·         Mix chopped coriander to the chutney.
·         Heat oil in a frying pan, add the remaining rayi, jeera and garlic pods. When they are brown, pour over the chutney, and mix well.
·         Serve with Idli or rice.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gooseberry (Amla) Pickle

Gooseberry Pickle:

Gooseberry or Amla (in Hindi), is a seasonal fruit. In south India, it is harvested in December – January. All the Amla preparations are done around this time of the year.
Amla is known to contain very high levels of Vitamin C. So eat Healthy and stay Healthy.
I watched my mom make this pickle as a youngster, but never took the recipe from her. After her demise, I wanted to make it; neither my sister nor my sister-in-law knew exactly what went into the pickle. So, with trial and error, I got the hang of it, finally.
The pickle does not stay long; may be a month or two max. So please keep it in the refrigerator. Do not change the proportion of the spices. You may increase or decrease the number of gooseberries, depending on how spicy you can eat.

Gooseberries or Amla – 1 kg.
Oil – 250 ml.
Chilli powder – 50 gms.
Salt – 50 gms.
Mustard powder (Rayi) - 50 gms.
For garnishing – 1 tsp. (together) of rayi (mustard seeds), methi (fenugreek seeds) seeds
Asafoetida powder– ¼ tsp.
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp.

·         Wash and wipe Gooseberries.
·         Heat 2 tbs. oil in a sauce pan, and add cleaned gooseberries.
·         Cover the pan with a deep plate with water in it. Cook the berries until tender and remove from stove. Let it cool. or
·         Pour 200 ml. (approxi.) water into a pressure cooker / pan, and cook the berries in it until 1 whistle. Remove from stove. Let it cool. 
·         Mix chilli powder, mustard powder, salt, turmeric to the cooked berries along with the water.
·         Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan; add rayi and methi seeds. When they start spluttering, add asafoetida. Take the pan off the stove.
·         Pour the garnishing over the pickle mixture.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Some important formulae useful in day-to-day life

    Here are some important formulae that we need to know in our day-to-day life.

          1.  Compound Interest:
    CI (Compound Interest) = P(1 + r/100)n
P = Principal 
r = rate of interest (per year)
n = no. of years

    2. The Rule of 72:
Number of years it takes the Principal to double is -
N = 72/r
r = rate of interest
n = no. of years
eg 1: 
If rate of interest is 6%
No. of years for the money to double = 72/6 = 12 years.

eg 2: 
If you want the money to double in 5 yrs.,
The rate of interest should be: 72/r = 5,
r = 72/5 = 14.4%

The Rule of 72
Total return %
Years required to double investment

3Recurring Deposits:
Maturity value based on quarterly compounding:
M =R [ (1+i)n – 1]
         1- (1+i) -1/3

M = Maturity value
R = Monthly installment
n = Number of quarters
i = Rate of interest/400

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Puliogare or Pulihora recipe

Puliogare or Pulihora Recipe

I watched my mom make it umpteen times. It is the best food for journeys, picnics, when you feel like eating something sour and tangy! and it lasts for nearly 2 days even without refrigeration!
Very easy to prepare. I always got it tasty. The leftover tamarind juice can be used another time or for 'Rasam' or 'Sambar' or any other recipe which uses tamarind juice. Adjust the tamarind, chillies, salt and asafoetida (Hing) to suit your palate. Those of you who donot like sour taste much, can add half tsp. of sugar while the tamarind is cooking or to the cooked rice. It will balance the sour taste.


Rice – 2 cups
Tamarind – 1 cup
Green chillies, slit length wise – 2 nos.
Red chillies (dry) – 6 nos.
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp.
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp.
Black gram (without skin) – 1 tsp.
Ground nuts – 1 tbsp.
Curry leaves – a few
Oil – 4 tbs.
Asafoetida (Hing) – ¼ tsp.


Clean and wash tamarind. Soak it in 1 cup water for 15 min. Sqeeze out thick juice from tamarind into a saucepan and cook it on medium heat. Add salt and ½ tsp. turmeric to the tamarind juice. Pour 1 tbs. oil into the pan and let the whole thing boil for 15 min. Add 2 red chillies, a few curry leaves (6-8) to the above mixture. Keep stirring. It should be cooked until the mixture becomes thick but liquid enough to pour. The raw taste of tamarind should give way to lovely aromatic flavor of cooked tamarind, curry leaves etc. Take it off the stove and let it cool. This mixture can be done the previous day and refrigerated too.
Clean and wash rice twice and soak it in water for half an hour. Cook the rice to a stiff consistency or until the grains are lose. Empty cooked rice into a wide dish / pan for cooling. Heat a tbs. of oil and pour over the rice. This will keep the rice grains from sticking to each other. Add half a tsp. of turmeric powder to the rice. Mix well (preferably with hand).
Keep adding cooked tamarind juice a tbs. at a time until the rice tastes sour, and mix thoroughly. Make sure the rice is properly coated and check for salt. Add more if required.
Heat balance 2 tbs. of oil in a frying pan. Fry ground nuts, then mustard, cumin, and black gram in oil. When they are brown, add red and green chillies, curry leaves. Finally, add asafetida and remove from heat and pour over the rice mixture. Make sure it is mixed evenly.

Tastes best when eaten after a few hours. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Important points to follow in Personal Finance

Important points to follow in Personal Finance

One is never too old to set one's finances right. From my learning of the Dynamics of Personal Finance, the following points are very important:

A.    Know your ‘Average monthly expenses’.

B.     Always remember the difference between an Asset and a Liability. Buy Assets. Never buy a liability (believing it is an Asset).

C.     Multiple sources of income is the way to becoming rich; however small, those sources of income may be.

D.    Diversify; Diversify; Diversify! Diversify your investments. More the diversity, lesser the risk.

E.     Saving / Investment in the following order:
·        Emergency cash (anywhere between 3 months to 12 months expense money), 
·        Life insurance,
·        Medical insurance (of the earning member),
·        Money for dependent’s (parents’ and / or children’s) needs,
·        Fixed Deposits in banks,
·        Bonds (other than FDs in banks),
·        Equities (Stocks / Mutual funds),
·        Real estate etc.

F.     Pay yourself first. Save first from the income, and then pay others.

G.    Have a good tax consultant, a banker, a stock broker, an insurance advisor, a lawyer, and an accountant, as part of your team. Pay them well for their services. They will serve you well in the long run.

H.    Invest and monitor your investments closely, like a hawk.

I.       Allocate your assets (investments) to suit your risk profile and needs.

J.       Re-balance your portfolio regularly.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Trek to Siddha Parvat in Bhatti, Sanguem, Goa

Dt: 16-11-14

Trek to Siddha Parvat in Bhatti, Sanguem Taluka, Goa

It turned out to be another memorable trek with Eco Treks! I am glad I talked myself into going! 

Siddha Parbat is in Sanguem Taluka, in South Goa. So, about hundred of us eager trekkers started on our south Goa journey on a bright November 16th. Morning at 7.30 am. We travelled for a couple of hrs. and reached the entrance gate to the Siddha Parvat. By now we were on the ghat roads. Someone pointed a huge mountain in front and said we have climb it. I could not see a trail leave alone a path!

Entrance gate

As per the schedule, we were served breakfast of Pav bread, peas curry and Ragi sweet: of course as much tea as we want! After we partook the hot food, there was the usual round of introductions by all. 

Introductions going on

The newcomers / first timers are welcomed with hearty clapping. The trek in-charge discharged a few instructions, and we all started walking / climbing at our own pace. There was no flat ground anywhere and it was climbing all the way. The trail narrowed and only one person could go at a time. On either side of the trail, it was lush green forest, and we could not see beyond twenty feet. 

Steep climb

Lush green forest

At one place a huge tree had split into two and one part fell across the path and we had to go below it. The roots of the trees went crisscrossing across the trail, forming a sort of steps and making the ground more firm.  At places the run off water carried all the top soil leaving only stones and pebbles exposed. 

Under the fallen tree
Some kind soul marked the directions on stones at intervals. Without them you could wander the mountains forever!!! 

Direction marker on a stone

Finally after climbing for one and half hrs., we reached the top of the mountain. It was a like a flat table at the top, and there is a small Siva temple. One wonders how the building material was hauled all the way to the top! We caught our breath and rested our weary legs for half an hr. Those into photography clicked pictures of the views all round. 
Shiva temple at the top

Resting after a strenuous climb

Salaulem dam reservoir can be seen from the top.

Salaulim dam reservoir 

It is a magical place! I wonder, why, of all the mountain tops in that region, only this one was chosen to build a temple on!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Toor dal with Methi (fenugreek) leaves

Methi (Fenugreek) leaves

Toor dal with Methi (Pigeon peas & fenugreek leaves)

Toor dal with methi leaves


Toor dal / Arhar dal (Pigeon Pea) - 1 cup.           
Methi leaves (fenugreek) – 1 small bunch
Salt – to taste
Turmeric (Haldi) - pinch
Green Chillies – 2 nos.
Mustard seeds & cumin seeds (Rayi & jeera) – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – a few        
Oil for seasoning (tadka) – 1 tbs  
Method 1:
  • Wash and separate methi leaves.
  • Add methi leaves, Haldi, chopped green chillies to dal in a pressure cooker. Add 3 cups of water and cook for 2 or 3 whistles or until dal is cooked soft.
  • When cooled, mash the dal to a coarse paste. Put salt into the dal mixture and cook it on stove without lid. When it is done, remove from stove.
  • Heat oil in a sauce pan (kadai), add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves. When they start spluttering pout the oil over the dal.
  • This dal can be eaten with rice or roti. 

Suji (semolina) & Atta (wheat flour) Halwa

Suji & Atta Halwa:

This is a very easy recipe to make; very wholesome, healthy and tasty too. Try it with small quantities initially.

·         Atta (wheat flour) – 1 cup   
·         Suji (Rawa / semolina) – ½ cup
·         Water – 6 cups
·         Ghee (clarified butter) – 2 or 3 tbs. (more is better)
·         Sugar – 1 cup
·         Dry fruits (assorted) for garnishing

·         Chop and fry dry fruits in a tsp. of ghee and keep aside.
·         Heat ghee in a frying pan and roast atta and suji until golden brown.
·         Add water and let it cook. Keep stirring to make sure it does not stick to the base.
·         When the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan, it is done.
·         Add sugar.
·         Remove from the stove after the sugar is absorbed.
·         Spread the fried dry fruits on the halwa and serve hot.

Note: More ghee, better the taste! 

Salvadordo Mundo Church - Goa

  It was Easter and we have a ritual of going to a natural spring before sunrise and drinking the holy water from it. Since both Jo and ...