Happy New Year!! – Puttandu and Vishu

Picture2

Tomorrow being the Tamil (Puttandu) and Malayali (Vishu) New Year, this post seemed most apt!!

And both are equally important for me as I am a Tam married to a Malayali 🙂 – so double celebrations. The day will start by viewing the Vishukani which is a display of fruits, raw vegetables, gold, currency – all those things which you wish for in the next year. Its believed that viewing these items first thing in the morning will ensure prosperity and abundance throughout the year. This Vishukani is set the night before by the eldest family member and is the first thing to be viewed by all family members. Also Vishu is the time for the younger members to receive blessings in the form of cash and kind from elders. So a great time to populate the piggy bank as well! 🙂

The dishes cooked on this day for both Vishu and Puttandu are a mix of all tastes – sweet, salty, umami, bitter and sour. This is indicative of the mixed flavours  that life offers and helps us appreciate and prepare for the same.

So in the festive spirit, sharing the recipe of the raw mango chutney we prepare for Puttandu!

Ingredients:

  • Raw mango – 1 or 2 big mangoes
  • Jaggery – can adjust as per the sweetness desired
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp for tempering
  • Mustard seeds – half tsp
  • Dry red chilli – 2-3
  • Fresh neem flowers
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Peel and shred the raw mango and keep aside
  • In a kadai, take the raw mango, add just about enough water to submerge it (not too much) and little salt. Cook on medium flame
  • Once the raw mango dissociates and reduces, add the jaggery and cook. The jaggery will melt making the whole mixture slightly runny. This consistency will get adjusted as you cook.
  • Once desired consistency is achieved (like chutney), switch off the gas.
  • In a small pan, heat ghee, mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add neem flowers and red chillies. Once the neem flowers are brownish in color, add this tempering to the chutney.

Hope you try this and like this as well…

Looking forward to hearing from you!!

Puttandu Nalvazhtukal!!

Vishu Ashamsakal!!

Summer Coolers ….Urgent Requirement….Phew!!!

Summertime calls for the need to whip up coolers everyday….and of course with kids, taste is important.

My favorite coolers are more traditional and revolve around yoghurt and lemon.

–  Buttermilk/lassi – sweet or salted – its the ultimate cooler.

– The addition of pudina, coriander leaves, cucumber and asafoetida (hing powder) while blending adds a whole new dimension to the buttermilk, in addition to the natural cooling it provides. You can choose to add chillies and curry leaves as well to make it zingier.
Down South, we also add some tempering of mustard seeds in oil

–  The addition of some rose water or fruit pulp like mango, strawberry, chikoo enhances the flavor of the yoghurt and makes it interesting for children as well.

– Lemon – my favorite addition to the regular lemonade is grinding slices of ginger with the lemonade. It makes the regular lemonade more interesting and also provides health benefits.
Being a South Indian, curd rice is almost staple in the summers. To make it delicious and interesting, I add finely chopped cucumber, raw mango and a tempering of mustard seeds, chana dal, curry leaves, chillies, cashews and raisins…try it…its really yummy!!!

Wishing you a cooooool summer!!! :):)

Kids – let them choose their own life path!

Whenever I meet parents, grandparents, they of course talk highly about their kids and grandkids but also seem to have similar selfish expectations – “Woh bada hoke hamara khayal rakhega”, “Woh hamare khandaan ka waris hai”.

Whenever I hear this, a wave of sadness and anger overpowers me. Why do we treat our kids like some Fixed deposit or a Money back policy?

Didn’t we have kids because we wanted to create a bundle of joy with the person we love? A beautiful child to relive our childhood with? Correct me if I am wrong.

If that is the reason why we brought our kids into the world, why do we have such expectations from them, making them feel that they owe us anything? They don’t. It was our decision to bring them into this world and not theirs.

Can’t we treat them as individuals who can look forward to their life and build it in the manner they want without any tensions of our selfish expectations?

Can’t we be pillars of support and strength for them without any selfish expectations except of a great future for them!!

Let’s be selfless parents as we are meant to be!!

 

A loving and doting mom like all the moms out there! 🙂

The upgraded Fathers! – v2.0

The changing role of Fathers and the gusto with which it has been accepted by men is very heartening. Having experienced the earlier generation of Fathers, such roles seemed to be impossible to be adopted by Dads in the future. Nowadays dads are doing it all – changing diapers, attending to sleepless babies at night, accompanying the kids to the doctor for their shots or when ill, cooking when required, doing the household chores…and the list is endless

Given the increase in nuclear families and the need for the couple to work, the contribution of each parent becomes crucial while raising a child. Also, just like the Mother, the Father has a critical role which cannot be substituted. Having said that, it still needs the Father to be proactive and don the role of the Father, Husband, Son. Kudos to all the men who have done that and those getting there.

They are not only providers anymore..they are also responsible in building the image of all men in the child’s perception. And I must say, most fathers today are doing that beautifully – being a good, supportive husband, caring father and son which impacts the child positively and are life lessons for them.

Men are not naturally known to be multi-taskers, but the fact that they are moving towards it and honing their skills, makes me believe Version 3.0 is not far away..

So cheers to all the lovely dads out there – give yourselves a pat on the back and enjoy the compliments you receive on Father’s Day (record them if you wish for posterity sake. You might not get to hear these on other days :))!!

Looking forward to seeing v3.0 soon :):)

Evolution Of A Full Time Working Mom To A Freelance Mom!!

After working for 12 years, through my pregnancy and beyond, I never thought I would want to take a break..but I was getting signs to slow down ..after a lot of mulling around, I took the step (which many people around me told was drastic, what would I do after that…etc etc..you know the routine!!) …..even I did give a thought to what my future plans would be….I didn’t want to not work forever….

Surprisingly, as soon as I took the step, there was a feeling of liberation….(not that I hated my job…I actually loved it!!)…the feeling of being in control of myself…all my time at my own disposal to do whatever I pleased…..spent the first couple of days just enjoying not working and luckily post that I started getting freelance work…

I am able to do so much more now – take lessons, participate and be selected as a Safe Food Ambassador (SFA) for Tetra Pak, take part in a dance performance at my son’s annual day function, take off and watch an impromptu movie with him and his friends, an impromptu trip out of Mumbai…and planning so much more…

I am so glad to have taken the decision when I did….there is so much more to life than just work…and definitely this decision wouldn’t have been easy without the unconditional support from my husband (who by the way said that I would get bored a week into my break….not sure if that was true…didn’t get the chance to validate that hypothesis ;))

Its so much fun to be able to follow your passion and do what you wish to do….its not always about the money!! This new journey as an SFA has been enriching – meeting new, like minded people, learning from each other, motivating each other and being able to do much more than what we normally do….enjoying it completely!!

Wake up….enjoy this time before it runs out!!

Cheers to life!!!

The Jungle Book

image

We were very excitedly waiting for The Jungle Book movie to release…and luckily it released today, on my husband’s birthday…so we saw the 1st show at 9 am…English 3D
What an awesome movie….brilliant animation and lip syncing of the animals…and Mowgli has done such a great job ☺☺
Its definitely worth watching with the kids…the interlaced humor adds a beauty to the script. But as in the comic I was expecting the cute girl at the end leading Mowgli to the man village which finally wasnt depicted

But nevertheless definitely watch it in the theatres in 3D.
Now to watch the Hindi 3D version ☺☺

Children – the future keepers of food!

With the prevalence of adulteration and doubts raised on the safety of food we consume, we always seem to talk only to the women of the household regarding the same. We somehow seem to ignore the growing battalion of the future – The kids!!

Today’s kids are proactive, open to new knowledge and are greatly aware of happenings in their surroundings

Lets empower our children to join this cause on food safety thereby ensuring we leave behind a world of aware individuals who know how to fight against adulteration and ensure only safe food is consumed

The following steps can be taken on a daily basis to explain to our kids the problems of consuming unsafe/adulterated food and measures to counteract the same:

1. Explain to them the impact of consuming unsafe/adulterated foods

2. Take them to the market when shopping for fruits, vegetables and other foods and explain how to seek out safe food – quality of vegetables, no          shine on apples, etc

3. Explain how to read the food labels of packaged foods

4. Explain why we should avoid consuming fruit juices etc. from roadside stalls

5. Teach them how to detect adulteration in foods – conduct small easy experiments and show them – the steps are very easily available on the               Internet

6. Explain the importance of consuming correctly packaged food and indicators of the same

Lets raise this Food Safety Army and safeguard their future 🙂

Do let me know your suggestions on other ways in which we can inculcate this habit in our children…