Friday, June 24, 2011

A phone call and relationships

The phone rang and I rushed to pick it up.

“Hello” said the caller.

“Hey Sheetal, how are you? How was the reunion ? “


“Howz everyone?Radha,Sailu,Smita,Priya ,Sonali,Vijay,Rohan….?”I just spoke up as many names as I could remember of my batchmates in a breath.

Sheetal was among the few friends I was in touch with since I moved to US.She almost called me every week from India giving me all the updates she had from her so called”links”.

Sheetal had just returned from a reunion organized for my graduate class.

“Oh,everyone is doing great.
Radha still wears those old fashioned dresses.
Priya is good but you know what she has many problems with her inlaws.”

“I never knew she’s married?”

“Yup,she is. Actually her husband is wonderful.Highly qualified n all.Solid salary hogi re uski.They have a bunglow in Juhu.”

“Wow great. She was such a slow learner but she got lucky.”

“Yeah,but arey when she goes to her in-laws place na she has to wear ghunghat”

“Ok .“I didn't think much about it.Every home has a few rules.I knew Priya's mom she was quite orthodox,so I thought Priya must be ok with it.

“What ok? In this modern world who wears ghunghat."


“And Sonali got divorced.She has a 3 years old kid.Bacche ke liye adjust karna chahiye na.”

“hmm sad.”I was shocked but did not react much as I thought its not a good idea to share my feeling with Sheetal at this very moment.

And our converstion continued for a while.

Some friends got what they deserved while some didn't.

That night I was thinking about Sonali.” Bacche ke liye adjust karna chahiye na.”

Sheetal who thought wearing a ghunghat was a strict no-no ,thought Sonali should make a BIG compromise.

Sonali whom I had not meet for about 7 years ruled my mind for a couple of days.I spoke about her to my husband.

Some part of me had started hating her.

She was a mature girl. Always among brilliant students and a pretty good actress.She won the best actress award for all the dramas she acted in.I always felt the guy who will marry her will be lucky.

But maybe as days pass by things had changed.

That night mom called and thought I was sounding nervous.

I told her about Sheetal’s call.She never knew who Sonali was,so I had to explain her from start to finish and after 30 mins I hanged up.

Then the following week Sheetal called back and I said I was upset for Sonali.

She told me that she saw Sonali with another man last night.She was having dinner and seemed happy.

Maybe he’s just a friend I thought but I started hating her more.

I was then in India for a vacation.I gave a visit to mom’s place and then she took up Sonali’s topic and we had a long conversation. Mom gave me example of a few “K” and Saas bahu serials in which a few mad ladies took few silly decisions and ended their marriage .Grandma told me how my generation has changed compared to theirs and we don’t call and treat our husband pati parmeshwar.To be true my 4 hours visit to mom’s place was highly influenced by Sonali,a person no one except me had ever met.

On my way back ,I accidentally met Sonali. As soon as she saw me, she gave me a tight hug. Her touch said it all.She was sad. She told me she tried to save her marriage but could not. She was working for a MNC and had just return from a corporate dinner. I have to work hard and pretend to be happy at least for my kid.I could sense that.She told me how hard she had tried to convince her husband (even though he had an extramarital affair) not to go for divorce as she was worried what impact it would have on her little one.

She invited me at her home the very next day.She had a lovely son and she was an amazing mother.
Not for a moment did she show in front of her son that she was having a touch time.

I advised her to stay in touch and assured her that things will work out well.

She said with a smile and tears in her eyes, ”Very few people recognize my fate smile and you know I am a very good actress.”

That day passed by and I thought to myself how much I have hated her for past few days.

Just a phone call had changed my, my husband’s and my parent’s thoughts. I wondered “Do I have to make a phone to fix the matter up?”

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Eggless Strawberry Ice cream


2 cups fresh strawberry puree
3 tbsp +2 tbsp  sugar
14 oz can of condensed milk
8 oz tub of Any brand whipped topping such as CoolWhip
3 strawberries, finely chopped

What you need to do
  • In a glass bowl mix together strawberry puree,3tbsp sugar,condensed milk with a hand mixer for 3 mins on medium speed till well combined.
  • Fold in the whipped topping and beat with a hand mixer for 2 mins on low speed.
  • Don't overmix or else the whipped topping will fall flat.
  • Pour in a airtight container,place the lid and freeze it for atleat 5-6 hours.
  • In a small bowl, mix the chopped strawberries and 2 tbsp sugar and refrigerate for 2 hrs.
  • Remove the ice cream from the freezer 5 mins before it needs to be served.
  • For serving,scoop the icecream in a small glass bowl and drizzle the sugar strawberry mixture on the top.
  • Have a wonderful dessert.

  • You can add few chopped strawberry pieces in the ice cream itself.
  • I have tried mango ice cream with the same recipe,just replace strawberry puree with an 30 oz can of alphanso mango pulp available in indian grocery store.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tondli/tindora masala


1/2 lb tindora,ends snipped off and sliced into thin circles.
1 medium onion,finely chopped
1 small potato chopped into small cubes
1/2 tsp ginger,grated
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
few curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp hing/asafoetida
2 tbsp oil

What you need to do

  • Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan,when hot drop in the sliced tindora and stir fry for 3-4 mins on medium heat.Add 1/2 tsp each of salt and turmeric.Mix.
  • Cover and cook on low flame for 15 mins.Give them a couple of shakes so that they don't burn.
  • After 15 mins remove them in a plate and in the same pan heat the remaining oil,when hot add hing,mustard seeds.
  • When they splutter add curry leaves ,ginger and mix.
  • Add the onion and cook till they are pink.
  • Now drop in the potato,1/2 tsp  each of turmeric and salt.
  • Saute for couple of mins and cover and cook for 2 mins.
  • Add in the tindora ,coriander powder and chilli powder.Combine and cover and cook for 15 mins.
  • Check for spices and salt.
  • Serve hot with roti or rice.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eggless Marble Cake


Dry ingredients
2 cups All purpose flour
1 cup milk powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

What you need to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.Grease the cake pan with oil and dust it lightly with flour.
  • Mix and sieve the dry ingredients thrice.
  • Cream the oil and sugar till smooth.Add rest of the wet ingredients and combine.
  • Gentle fold in the flour a tbsp at a time into smooth batter.
  • Pour out a cup of this batter in a bowl add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and mix.
  • In the cake pan add a tbsp of white batter then a tbsp of cocoa batter and continue in similar manner until both batters are finished.With a knife make random zig-zag patters a couple of times.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 40 mins or until the toothpick comes out clean.

Tricolor cake : 
  • Just equally divide the batter in 3 bowls.
  • Add 1 1/2 tbsp of cocoa powder to one and 1/4 tsp of any food color of your choose to another.
  • Add a tbsp of batter from each bowl to the cake pan and bake
You can substitute oil with butter.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vaalachi (Dalimbi) usal


1 1/2 cup  sprouted vaal

1 medium potato,diced in 1" cubes

1 1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp jaggery

salt to taste

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp hing

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Here's what you need to do

  • Heat oil in a kadhi,when hot add hing ,mustard seeds and when they crackle add the potato and vaal,cover and cook for 5 mins.
  • Add 1 1/2 cup of boiling water,chilli powder,turmeric,jaggery,salt.
  • Cover and cook until the vaal are tender,about 15 mins.
  • Uncover and cook till water evaporates.
  • Transfer in a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.

Sprouting process
Soak 3/4 cup dry vaal in water for 10 -12 hours.Drain and wrapped them tighly in damp cloth and set aside for 18-24 hours.Transfer the sprouts in warm, water and set aside for 30 mins.With your thumb gently peel out the skin from the vaal.wash the vaal before use.

Green beans aloo


2 cups green beans,ends trimmed and chopped 3/4 cm long.

1 large potato,washed peeled and cubed

1 1/2  tsp chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2  tsp hing

2 tbsp oil

salt to taste

Here's what you need to do

  • In a heavy bottom pan,heat oil when hot add hing,mustard seeds and when they crackle add potato, beans,chilli powder and turmeric.
  • Saute for couple of mins.Cover and cook for 5 mins.
  • Add salt and garam masala saute and cooked covered until done.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sol kadhi

Sol kadhi is paired with a non veg meal in maharshtra and Goa especially when the meal comprises of fish.Sol kadhi is drank at the end of meal to aid digestion.


1 coconut grated

7-8 sol/kokum

8 cloves garlic

4-5 black peppers

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp cilantro,finely chopped

Here's what you need to do

  • Boil 2 cups of water.Add the kokum to it and set aside for 1 hour.
  • Grind coconut,black peppers,garlic with water and extract milk from it.Strain.
  • Fish the kokums out of the water and add the coconut milk to il.
  • Add salt and cilantro.

If you have access to canned coconut milk the recipe goes as below.

Boil 2 cups of water.Add the kokum to it and set aside for 1 hour.Fish the kokum out add canned coconut milk to it.Heat a saucepan,add a tsp ghee.When hot add jeera 1 tbsp minced garlic and a tsp chopped green chillis.Add this tempering to the kokum coconut milk mixture.Add salt and cilantro.

Golyachi aamti (Gram flour balls in gravy)

This is a typical Maharashtrian recipe with a concept of North Indian koftas but with just a touch of spice to enhance the gravy.


1 cup gram flour (besan)

1 medium red onion,finely chopped

2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 tsp salt or as per taste

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp oil

handful of chopped cilantro

tamarind extract from a lemon size tamarind bowl

Grind to paste

1 cup fresh/frozen coconut

3 garlic cloves,minced

1 tsp onion

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

Grind the above ingredients with little water to a smooth paste

Here's what you need to do

  • In a bowl mix together besan ,half of the chopped onion,1/2 tsp chilli powder,1/4 tsp turmeric,1/4 tsp salt,1/2 tsp sugar and 2 tbsp cilantro and with little water mix to form a stiff dough.
  • Grease your hand with little oil and make lemon size bolwls of this dough.
  • Heat oil in a kadhai,when hot add the onion and fry till translucent.
  • Add the ground paste,chilli powder and  turmeric.Saute this mixture for couple of minutes.
  • Now add salt sugar,tamarind juice and 2 cups of water.
  • Let the curry come to a rolling boil.At this stage add the besan balls.Simmer and let this mixture bowl for 5-7 minutes.Check for  spices and adjust the gravy consistency as needed.
  • Pour in a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.