Friday, 4 May 2018

Avakai - Mango Pickles
Points to be taken care of while making Avakai - Mango pickles .....
  • Properly sterilise all the utensils in which you are going to mix and store the pickles including the knives and cutters you are going to use.
  • Wash them thoroughly and see that they are dried without any hint of water. This is a major issue and preferably to be done on the previous day.
  • Avakai is prepared with mangoes retaining the inner part, just removing the innermost seed. In South Bangalore where I stay, the vendors in Gaandhi Bazaar and Jayanagar cut them for us neatly according to our choice for a very small price.
  • While going to buy the mangoes, it is better to carry a cloth to clean the mangoes. We can buy the mangoes, clean them thoroughly with our cloth and then spread our cloth on the gunny bag on which the vendor would cut the mangoes.
  • After bringing them home we can again clean the pieces with a cloth to remove any residual seed part. 
  • Take care to never use water to clean the mangoes or pieces.
If you don't have access to the vendors who cut them, its ok to cut the mangoes at home.

Ingredients :

1. Cut mangoes                 5 bowls ( any bowl you use, take care to use the same bowl to measure all the ingredients.
2. Red chilli powder - only Byadagi menasinakai powder 1 bowl
3. Mustard (raw) powder  80% of the bowl.
4. Salt                                75% of the bowl
5. Mustard oil                   2 big cups - depends on your liking
6. Methi seeds                  1 tablespoon

Preparation  :

  • In a thick bottomed pan heat the oil to a medium heat, add methi seeds, switch off the heat and allow it to cool completely.
  • In a big bowl add the mango pieces, red chilli powder, mustard powder and salt and mix thoroughly.
  • Then add the fully cooled oil with methi and mix well. Keep it covered for 10 to 12 hours.
Now mix the pickles again thoroughly and store in airtight containers, preferably glass or pickle jars.

Enjoy the pickles all around the year :-) 

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Kuttavalakki with Sandige


  • 4 cups Poha ( Dappa Avalakki )
  • Mixed Sandige and happala  - Mainly Aralu sandige plus whatever you have at home
  • Menthe Menasinakai - Majjige menasinakai 10 number ( depending on your taste)
  • Groundnut seeds - kadalekai beeja 1 cup
  • Roasted grams - hurigadale 1/2 cup 
  • Curry leaves 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind 1 big lemon size
  • Jaggery 1 big lemon size
  • Oil for frying
  • Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
  • Asafetida 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric 1/2 teaspoon 
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a thick bottomed kadai, dry roast the poha in instalments in small quantities till they splurt.
  2. At the end, in the heated kadai dry roast the tamarind.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry all the Sandige, Happala and Menthe Menasinaki ( chillies ) and set aside.
  4. Take small quantity of roasted poha, tamarind, jaggery, salt and chillies and grind coarsely in a mixture. Like this grind all the poha. 
  5. Check the taste of the above mixture to see that it is hot, sweet and tangy. Adjust jaggery, tamarind and chilli to suit to your taste.
  6. Crush all the Sandige and Happala into small pieces in hand.  
  7. In a thick bottomed kadai heat 2 tablespoons of oil. 
  8. Add mustard seeds, when they spurt, add asafetida and turmeric powder.
  9. Add peanuts and fry till they are slightly golden and crisp.
  10. Add roasted gram and curry leaves.
  11. Now in a big bowl add the crushed sandige, avalakki mix and the tadka.
  12. Mix well and keep in a airtight container.
It can be enjoyed as a yummy snack with Tea/Coffee or you can mix finely chopped onion, cucumber, coriander and grated carrot and relish as a great chat.  

Monday, 11 July 2016

TENGOLU - The crispy tasty snacks from India

This is the easiest and fastest method of preparing crispy golden Tengolu. Only thing is you have to get the rice and urad dal mix grounded in a mill and keep it ready at home. This flour of raw rice and raw urad dal can be kept for a month or two without any problem. 

Take 3 measures of rice and one measure of urad dal – both raw – and get it grounded nicely in a flour mill.

Prep time                           5 minutes
Cooking time                  15 minutes

Ingredients : 

Finely ground flour of rice and urad dal as mentioned above          5 cups
Dalda for mixing                                                                              50 gms
Hing / Asafetida                                                                               ¼ teaspoon
Poppy seeds / Gasagase                                                                    1 teaspoon
Groundnut/Refined Oil for frying
Salt to taste

Procedure :

Heat dalda and in a bowl mix all the ingredients except groundnut oil  thoroughly and then add water. This needs lot of water and constantly needs additional water as the urad dal makes the dough hard within a few minutes. So mix the dough well and soft .

Heat the oil in a kadai.
Take Chakkuli oralu with Tengolu bille.   
Grease the oralu inside well with oil to smoothen the flow of tengolu into oil.
Fill the oralu with dough and directly squeeze into the oil.
The oil should be on full flame always.
Keep flipping the tengolu on both sides till it turns fine golden brown.
Remove from the heat and put it on a paper towel.

Repeat the process for next Tengolu.
Remember that the dough would have turned a bit hard by now. Wet your hand in a bowl of water, soften the dough, grease the oralu and press the tengolu.

It needs some energy to press the tengolu as it consists urad atta. So soft dough and a greased oralu is a must. And better to be done by women who are from a stronger sex. Hubby can't press it. You may take his help in frying.

I did :-D             

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Nature.... My Teacher. photo by Natesh Laxman Rao
This universe, the nature, is filled with beautiful messages, only we need to have an open and receptive mind and heart to learn or enjoy. May be because of my very rural background I am extremely attached to nature and very passionate about the five elements. They cheer me up and lift my spirits. As a result the tiniest of rustic and earthly things give me a world of pleasure where as the big worldly materials hardly entice me.

I think I have taken this trait from my mother. She was also very close to the nature, the plants and the fauna. She wanted to grow everything, having been born and brought up  in still interior village. Always the rustic and primitive trees, plants fruits and flowers fascinated us. For example when we were in Raichur, I used to love these fruits we used to call “ Farm Hunasekai”, which I have never seen since leaving that place except may be once or twice when I had visited some remote villages. How I long for that fruit even now!  And then used to thrive on Bore hannu, Mavinakai,  Seebe kai, Badami hannu and what not!

That craving, that yearning still persists. You take me to big malls with fancy cakes, chocolates and ice creams, they just appear to me as good artistic creations. But drive me through a farm or village and I salivate looking at every plant of fruit and vegetable!

And my mother understood this. Everyday when I was back from school, some wonderful aroma of fruit would be inviting me. Worried that I would refuse to eat food if I am given fruits, she would hide them, but boy, can she hide their aroma! I would insist that there are fruits in the house and I want them and with a pseudo-ire she would take out the vessel on the condition that I get them only after I ate my lunch.

Being the youngest of the five children, I had certain special privileges. On the way back from school in Hospet, a town with sugar factory, there used to be a sugarcane vendor. You would get an entire length of cane for all of ten paises. At least once or twice a week, I used to have that sweet sugar cane craving and my mom would send my sister or brother with me to buy sugarcane. Unlike present times, we never used to cut them with knife. Both myself and my mother would enjoy the sugar cane biting them with our bare teeth. And at such rendezvous she would narrate the tales of how as a young village girl, she would enjoy the fruits in her native village.

Coming from a very tiny backward village, she was made to wear a saree at a tender age of 10. She along with her friends would stealthily run to the farm, pick the Mangoes, Jamun fruits guava etc and carry them in her pallu and eat at a village well and then run to the house. Unfortunately, her pallu used to be give away, carrying all the colours of her fruits and made her mother very angry. Ajji would admonish her, but her anger would last barely for a few minutes, she being very well aware of her daughter's craving for fruits. We used to grow Jowar and in our Raichur house there used to be hoards of gunny bags filled with grains, which my mother used to barter for fruits. Yes! Back then in the sixties the barter system still existed. We used to buy fruits with our grains!
And this love for nature, fruits and fauna blessed both me and my mother with a green thumb. Whenever we ate fruits, the seeds inside never felt as waste to us. Even if we just threw them in soil it would grow into a beautiful plant! Look at this Jackfruit sapling which has come out from the seed I have thrown last month!

And these plants have been my teachers. Constantly giving me the lessons of life, helping me to look at the world in a very pragmatic and positive way, always filling  me with hope and a very positive energy. Like a mother, in a subtle way  they impart those quality lessons which make one look at life,  at the world in a very realistic yet optimistic way.

I would narrate how a few of the plants taught me the lessons of life.

Back in 2000-2001, when I got a little time after my first pregnancy and child birth, I had bought my first set of Crysanthamam - sevanthige plants from Indo American Hybrid seeds. The saplings were sold at a very small price of 5 rupees each and they were of exceptionally good quality. Within a few months, it was
Shravana Maasa, a festive season and for Swarnagowri Vratha, my plants were blooming with hundreds of beautiful flowers in tiny plants. They were the cynosure of all the eyes. And after a month or so, all the flowers shriveled. Unable to bear the emptiness, I bought a new set. After a few months the companionship took a break as it was the time for the arrival for my daughter.
And recently, when I restarted my gardening, at Ramakrishna Ashram a lady was selling the sevanthige plants. Longingly I held them, but then more than addressing her, I uttered to myself, “ Once the flowers stop blooming, the plants will also go.”  To my surprise she smiled indulgently at me and told me that once the flowering season was over, I am supposed to cut the stems at the base to allow fresh leaves and flowers. To my extreme delight, it has turned out to be true.

Ain't it a lesson for me? Neither to cry over spoiled milk nor to break a relation that has gone sour, but to cut the negative thoughts, memories and feelings at the root and allow fresh feelings to grow and pass on???

And then there are Cosmos flowers, my favorite because of their vibrant colors and the very very easy way to grow and maintain. You just have to have one plant and within months your garden will be full of new plants and flowers. As with the chrysanthemum, when my first plant of Cosmos started to dry, I tried to adopt the same method. Alas, you can't have the same medicine for all the diseases!
At that time I had a chance to visit the Gurukula, a Vedic School near Kanakapura. The first thing that caught my eyes when I landed there were not only the colorful cosmos plants and flowers, but the fact that the plants had all grown very tall and almost all of them were green. With a frown I entered the Gurukula and what welcomed me was a beautiful bowl, filled with water and decorated with colorful Cosmos. Yes! The Newton in me said Eureka!!! Unlike chrysanthemum, I am not supposed to cut the stem at the root waiting till the flowers and plants shriveled, but to cut the flowers as soon as they bloom, leaving only a few for seeds so that the plant retains its greenery and glory!

What it taught me? Don't let your ideas, thoughts and dreams go stale! Use them, nurture and them let them flourish. So that more and more new ideas and hopes are born!

Look at these tiny little plants on my slope roof. Leave alone going there, I can't even reach them to mend or water them or care them in any way. How did they grow there?

Let me take you through an anecdote. This was a very very old incident. Long back when my son was barely three years old. One day when I came back from office, he was nowhere to be seen at home. On inquiring, I was told that he was upstairs playing with his cousins. It was a three storied house and he had never gone to play there. A bit concerned, I went upstairs and what I saw there made my head spin. The blood rushed to my head and my heart was in my mouth. While the other children were playing on the terrace, he sat there, enjoying their game on the parapet wall with his legs sprawled on both sides!!!

I was terrified to even think what his reaction would be if he senses my arrival and turns or tries to get down. With my heart pounding in my chest and palms wet with sweat running all over my body, I walked as fast as I could and held him tight. I was extremely grateful to God for saving my kid but the fear lingered.

In my new house there is a parapet wall above the slope roof and if anybody so much as go near the wall or try sitting there I can't even bear to stand there. So to discourage anybody from sitting there, I have arranged tiny pots there with Tulasi plants. And as I told earlier, Cosmos plants breed themselves and some had grown along with these Tulasi plants.

And then there came my ancestors, all adventurous and doing monkey business. These un-welcomed guests would arrive at their will not only ruining my plants but also my peace of mind. One day there was a blank in the row of the Tulasi plants and as I was in a hurry I didn't think much. But on a Sunday when I was mending my plants leisurely and walking around the terrace, I was surprised to see Cosmos flowers smiling up at me from the slope roof! While Monkeys were playing mischief around, the pot must have slipped there, but the tiny plant had not only survived the ordeal, but also was growing and flowering!!!

Troubles and problems are part of life but the thrill, the pleasure you experience when you overcome them has to be experienced to be believed. Even in the plants and fauna, there is this grit to survive. So when there is strength and willingness to fight back and survive, there is nothing that can stop you. Period.

Look at these three bitter gourds. All grown by me in the same creeper. From the same seed. watered and tended equally. Without any bias. Then why are they so different? You can't even blame fate or luck :-)  So whom are you going to blame? The fate? The caretaker? They all had the same soil, same genes, same environment and the same care. Still they grew differently. Is in internal strength, the will or what's it?

The message, the lesson???

Change what you can't accept and accept what you can't change.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Rava Dosa


  • 1 cup unroasted rava/sooji/semolina)
  • 1 cup rice flour.
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour/maida.
  • 4 green chilli, finely chopped.
  • 3 medium onion, finely chopped.
  • 10 to 15 curry leaves, chopped.
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped (optional)
  • Buttermilk as required.
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves. 
  • Salt as required.

For tempering
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Oil or ghee as required for roasting the dosa
  1. Take rava, rice flour, all purpose flour, green chilies, ginger, onion, coriander leaves in a mixing bowl.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a small frying pan add mustard seeds when they stop spluttering, add the cumin seeds. Then add the curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds.
  3. Add this tempering mixture along with the oil to the other ingredients in the bowl and add salt.
  4. Pour buttermilk and make a thin batter without any lumps. The batter should not be thick or of medium consistency. If the batter becomes too thin, then add some rice flour to lightly thicken it. keep aside for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat the tawa or non-stick pan. Smear a bit oil with a slice of onion or paper napkin.
  6. With a ladle pour the dosa batter from the edges towards the center. Don't try to spread it.
  7. Sprinkle ¼ or ½ or 1 tsp of oil from the top.
  8. Let the base becomes golden and crisp. Flip and cook the other side. When both the sides are cooked, remove the dosa from the pan. 
  9. Serve the onion rava dosa hot with coconut chutney or vegetable sambar. Onion rava dosa has to be served immediately.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Bisibele Bhath

Prep Time          10 Minutes
Cooking Time  30 Minutes
Serves                  4

Ingredients :
Rice 2 cup
Toor Dal 2 1/2 cup
Tamarind 1 Lemon sized
Jaggery     1 Tablespoon – depending on the sweetness you wish
Sambar/Huli  powder 2 Tablespoon
Red Chilli Powder   1 Tablespoon
Ghee  2 tablespoons
Salt to taste

Vegetables :
The following vegetables cut in 1” length

Finely chopped methi leaves 1 cup
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves

Fresh peas or  Hyacinth Bean - Avarekalu 1 cup ( If you have neither, then you can use peanuts. But Avarekalu tastes best. In the season if you get Jackfruit seeds, you use them. After Avarekalu, they are the next best :-) )

PS : Here I would like to mention that the choice of vegetables is entirely yours. If there is a plus or minus, it is absolutely no problem.
For Tadka

Oil 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder ½ teaspoon

Preparation :

Soak tamarind in water.

In a cooker cook daal along with vegetables and rice in separate containers.
For rice generally we add water at 1:2 proportion. But here, you need to put a little more water so that the rice is cooked soft.

Once it cools down, in a thick bottomed kadai, heat oil and add mustard seed. Once they splutter, add turmeric powder and hing.
Squeeze the tamarind pulp in it and add 2 glasses of water and let it come to a boil.
While it is boiling, add jaggery, red chilli powder, sambar powder, salt and curry leaves and let it boil for another 5-6 minutes till it gives some fine aroma.

Then add the daal cooked with veggies, add water if required and boil for five more minutes.

Add the cooked rice, mix well and taste to check if you need some more salt, chilli powder Sambar powder or jaggery. Cook on low fire.

The bisi bele bhath at this point should be quite liquid. If you make it solid at this point, later on it will turn still hard. The best option would be to get a right liquid consistency at this point and still add half a glass of water and cook for just a few seconds and turn off the gas. So even if you eat it after hours, it will remain liquid and light.

Add ghee and garnish with finely chopped coriander and cover for five minutes.

Serve hot with Raitha, Boondi kaalu or chips.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Dhatri - The Village resort
I had set my eyes on this destination, a rural, rustic, village resort for more than a year. It was my idea of a holiday. An escapade into the nature. I have written about my craving for nature and village life a million times, may be ad-nauseum. The regular weekend resorts with swimming pool, badminton court and table tennis, the staple North and South Indian dishes is not my cup of tea. I would rather have a village home, with its aangan, plants, flowers and fauna, birds chirping in the background and of course our very own grandma's cuisine. And Dhatri Village Resort fitted the bill to the T. So off we went. Fifteen girls from Basavanagudi Branch. But of course, why that smirk? We are as young as we feel :-D I would take you through the resort and have given the contact details at the end. I bet you would scroll to it before fully reading through the details! Hold on !!!

This is the resort and this is the type of welcome you get on arrival .....

The beauty of this destination is it is not very far off from Bangalore. It is just about 80 kilometers from Bangalore near Kyatasandra, Tumkur. It caters mainly to a full day package, from dawn to dusk. You can arrive here by morning 8 o'clock where a sumptuous treat of breakfast would be waiting for you.They are not your staple bread and butter, but delicious desi delicacies, with abundant dose of fresh desi ghee. The menu varies and on the day we went it was Ottu Shavige with gojju and ghee, Ottu shavige with Kai haalu and ghee, Ottu shavige with capsicum and chillies with ghee, Avalakki khara pongal with ghee, Ragi Hurittu with ghee ... Yes! that's the breakfast we were offered with piping hot filter coffee!!!

And personally I feel this is the ideal season to visit the resort because it would be fresh and green everywhere, all the plants washed in rain and flowers blooming everywhere. With Jackfruits and Jamoons inviting you and peacocks flying around, you will feel as if you are in Malnad!

And the host Sri.Ravi will then engage you with innovative village games, witty and full of fun. They were so interesting and funny that we fell off our chairs unable to control our laughter :-)
He conducted one game after another, engaging us in one activity after another giving a small break in between and we were so engrossed and relaxed that we forgot everything else in the world. You will have the choice to play or just sit back and relax soaking in the beauty of the nature. Mats and pillows are arranged inside the hall for those lazy bones!

And even before that healthy sumptuous breakfast could be digested, he invited us for a light snacks and juice. Now again!?! But none could resist the tempting sihi and khara avalakki with panaka :-)

And then again back to games, so innovative were his ideas that we could not help but marvel at his ingenuity and involvement and became children again!
And the lunch at 3 PM was again healthy, tasty home cooked delicacies. Look at these snaps and watch the video because I may not be able to do justice trying to explain the dishes. and rounded off by the bananas and betel leaves grown in their farm. The hosts will then give you the option to buy their innumerable home made products.

Post lunch a tour through the farm amidst the greenery was what we needed to burn all the calories. But because it was all healthy and home grown food and included none of those sweet and fried dishes, we were all feeling rejuvenated and raring to go with the fresh air and rain drops and flying peacocks giving us company.

And along with coffee, the hosts distributed the prizes, conspicuously taking care to see that each and every visitor got a prize! And what were the prizes? All the fresh veggies grown by them!!!

And it was time to bid adieu and like the old kannada adage " Undoo hoda, kondoo hoda", they gave us boiled groundnuts to munch on our return journey.

PS :

Sri. Ravi, along with his family is the host and the organiser of this resort comprising of about 5 acres, which was started three years ago. The charge is 600 rupees and it's a day package. However if you wish to stay back for the evening, they will arrange "Kai tuttu oota" for the night and rooms to stay at an additional cost. But beware of the hounding mosquitoes!
It would be usually thrice a week and you have to book in advance. He prefers a minimum group of 20 to 25 persons. If your party contains less number or if you are going just with a family, you have to wait for his date to accommodate with other party.

His contact number is  9945179936

Have a fun filled rural escapade!!!


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Heerekai Huli Thovve
Prep time                        10 mins
Cooking time                   20 mins
Serves                             4


Heerekai / Ridge Gourd  :      1 bowl ( 2 medium sized)
Toor Dal                        :      1 Cup 
Coriander seeds             :      1 Tablespoon
Urad dal                         :      1 1/2  Teaspoon
Channa Dal                    :      1 1/2 Teaspoon
Methi / Fenugreek seeds :      1/4 Teaspoon
Jeera                             :      1/2 spoon 
Cinnamon:                     :      1/2 Inch 
Red chilli (Byadagi )        :      5 to 6
Coconut                         :      1/2 Cup
Tamarind                       :      Small marble size (Optional)
Jaggery                         :       1/2 Teaspoon (Optional)
Curry leaves                   :     6 to 8
Coriander Leaves            :     2 Tablespoons. 
Hing (Asafoetida)            :     a pinch
Turmeric Powder             :     a pinch
Oil : 2 Teaspoons. 
Mustard seeds : 1/2 
Salt to taste

Method : 

1. Wash and cook toor dal in pressure cooker.
2. Wash and remove the outer skin of ridge gourd and cut it into small cubes and cook it with required water. 

3. In a pan fry chana dal, fenugreek seeds and urad dal with little oil .
4. Fry them till they turn golden brown. Add cinnamon, red chilly and coriander seeds. Fry for 10 seconds.
5. Add hing and 4 to 5 curry leaves and put off the fire. Add coconut and jeera. Grind all this to a nice paste with little water.
6. In a thick bottomed kadai add a spoon of oil and heat.
7. Add 1/2 Teaspoon of  mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add channa dal and urad dal. 
8. Add Hing and cooked vegetables and dal.
9. Add required salt, turmeric powder and mix it well. If you are adding, add the tamarind juice and jaggery now.Let it boil for 3 to 4 minutes. While boiling add curry leaves.

10. Add ground coconut mixture and mix it well. Add water if it required. Let it boil for 5 to 6 minutes.
11. Boil it nicely and shift the Huli -Tovve to a serving bowl.
12. Add coriander leaves and a spoon of ghee.
13. Serve hot rice and a spoon of ghee.

14. It can be relished with chapati and rotis too.