Anandam Anandam Anandame

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  • Hindi translation for the sanskrit word Anandam is  ānandama आनन्द.
  • In English, there is no equivalent word which can really convey this emotional experience.
  • It can be termed as a combination of euphoria (A feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness) and extreme bliss or complete satisfaction.
  • The other word for this in Tamil is Nimmathi.
  • A person was handicapped. He didn’t have a leg. God appeared before him and asked ” What do you need ?”. He said without thinking ” Legs”. God granted his wish.
  • Then, he was a very happy person all the time running and jumping. Suddenly, he  became serious and started to think – that he should not be a lazy anymore and he should be active – so, he started studying well and eventually got a very nice job.
  • God appeared before him and again asked ” what do you need? “. He said ” God – I am very happy now and I think I need a family. I need to marry a girl”.
  • God granted his wish.
  • He found a beautiful, tall, slim, educated, home-loving girl. He was very happy.
  • Unfortunately, they didn’t have any children.
  • Again God appeared and asked  ” what do you need? “. He said ” A child”.
  • God granted his wish.
  • He was very happy with the child and family. After 2 years, they found that the kid was deaf and dumb.
  • Again God appeared and asked ” what do you need? “. He said ” A healthy child and not handicapped”.
  • God granted his wish.
  • The child started to talk and hear.
  • What is that we understand from this story?  What is that he should have actually asked god?
  • He should have asked Nimmathi / complete satisfaction.
  • Till the time he had the satisfaction – his mind was not agitated. When it is lost – he was agitated.
  • In turn, he thought a leg will give Nimmathi, education and job will give Nimmathi, marriage will give Nimmathi, kids will give Nimmathi, position, status and recognition will give Nimmathi.
  • But, unfortunately we imagined that these things will give Nimmathi and after sometime we realised – it is not true.
  • Do you remember the first sight of your beloved. What was the feeling? Anandam. Never bothered about the mother’s shouting even though you were in hours over phone. Nothing in the world could bother you because you had the Anandam inside you.
  • No one can disturb this anandam and nothing can give this anandam. We imagine that there is anandam in something and when it was not found – our mind got disturbed and blamed something or the other.
  • Where is this anandam coming from?
  • From  our mind or heart?
  • Where is this mind?
  • In our knees/ elbows / head / brain?
  • Where is this thought of I am (EGO) – coming from?
  • I am sad, I am Satisfied, I am hurt etc.
  • Can we enquire? This method of enquiring about one thing rather than thinking about waves of things is called dhayana.
  • We cannot stop the mind from thinking. We can divert the thinking to something unknown. If we do this kind of analytical thinking of enquiry is called meditation or dhayana.
  • In this process, we will be able to find out that –  this anandam is actually within us and we are looking for it somewhere outside. No other object can give this satisfaction.
  • Some people will read this and just accept it and feel fully convinced and start the process just now.
  • Such people have the unique quality called shraddha. Accepting the truth without any doubt or analysis.
  • Second category of people, they are not disputing it but are unable to do the dhayana because the mind is going into the outside world a lot. They believe this theory and they are willing to do anything to train them for this.
  • So, their question will be – I am unable to do this : so what should I do ?
  • This is an experience – it cannot be thought. It needs to be felt. So, vedas suggest to hear certain mantras, songs and be with people who have nimmathi in them. By doing these activities – we get the inner Nimmathi. Suddenly, sometime during this experience the mind will pay attention to the source. This is called the Atman or Soul. Because it was calm and peaceful experience the mind will search for it again and again. As mind likes Nimmathi.
  • All of us have experienced it little bit. But, we never paid attention to it because we imagined that this Nimmathi was from the external object say icecream, kids, friends, movie etc.
  • We keep repeating those activities which give us this Nimmathi thinking that – activity or object is giving the satisfaction.
  • We get it for few times and later we realise that it does not give the permanent satisfaction. We change the activity and the object.
  • We see our friends or known person are having that Nimmathi. We feel jealous and start to imagine – that person is happy because of a car, house, kids, position, recognition etc.
  • We feel all the negative emotions for them. We will think that their situation of life is better. We envy their situation of life and give excuses as to why we could not achieve that. We will start to work hard / aggressively to achieve this. Suppose, we got that car or house or kid or position or recognition. We will still feel incomplete. Again search for Nimmathi in something else.
  • Example : You see a person in a very high position and earning in tons. If you ask that person ” How are you? “. He will say that he is fine. BUTTTTTTTT you see I didn’t get the promotion or I am not recognised etc. He is not happy with his achievement he is looking for something else.
  • In some time in our life, we will have some experience which will tell us – all the things are impermanent and nothing can give this permanent Nimmathi that we are looking for.
  • This experience need not happen after a great tragedy. Don’t spend your life waiting for this tragedy. Buddha, saw old, sick and dead body and started to wonder where is this permanent Nimmathi. So, even a small incident in life can make you think. May be you are not at all a sensitive person – you take things lightly but still some incident will make you wonder or may be someone else experience will make you think. I don’t know how – but for sure all of us will go through this phase of experience sometime during this life or in the next lives.
  • At that stage, we search for it inside.
  • Till then, what do we do?
  • This was the question asked by the people to the Rishis.
  • They said, spend your time in activities which will give you the Nimmathi.
  • After, analysing they found everything in the world which gives happiness also gives sorrow. This is nature.
  • So, they spent years in dhayana – asking what is this permanent Nimmadhi / Anandam. They never gave up till then.
  • Can all of us  leave  the duties and do the dhayana all the time.
  • Krishna explains to Arjuna – This is not possible by every one. We have certain inherent tendencies (namely vasanas). This decides our character. For the right character the GOD has given us the right stage (situation) and we are expected to act. We cannot act well if we change the situation. Let us play the given role. But, with the attitude that I am doing these kharma (jobs ) because I have some Vasanas which needs to be burnt. Only by playing this character in this situation and performing this kharma (duty) – I can burn the vasanas. As the vasanas become less the thoughts are less. Mind is not agitated it is focused. A non agitated mind can capture the Nimmathi faster.
  • So, we need to do the jobs assigned to us. Even if I say – stop all the work and do dhayana. You go and try – you cannot ;  till the vasanas are burnt.
  • So, why Should I do the dhayana now ?  Let me do the duties and burn the vasanas and later, I  will do the dhayana. Life has so far taken me in  the right direction and it will guide me. I don’t have to take any efforts.
  • Very very right attitude. But, doing these duties alone will not burn the vasanas. Doing the duties with the attitude of I am doing will make us collect more vasanas.
  • We need to do the duty with the thought that I am performing it for Nimmathi. I am not performing for money, position, recognition, situation etc.
  • By doing the duty incidentally you might get these (money, recognition, position) – that does not matter.
  • Many people could not do this – so, they came and asked the Rishis. We need to do the duties and we are getting caught in the worldly passion and in others words and opinions.
  • What do we do? How do we spend the time?
  • They gave an object called GOD. As the common man knows from his imagination that only objects give happiness.
  • They said – this is that which gives Nimmathi and gave a form to it.
  • Our thoughts produce the vasanas and we do actions as per the vasanas. If we keep thinking about the Nimmathi we will get it.
  • So, they started telling people see there is Nimmathi in everything, everywhere provided you see it inside.
  • People did their duties as these duties gave Nimmathi and all the time prayed to the object called GOD for Nimmathi.
  • Some people believe in this concept of Nimmathi  – as no one can deny it and all of us have the experience – but, don’t believe in idol worship.
  • Such people can do their duties. But, how long can they do their duties – what will they do during the rest of the day. If they can find any activity which will not create more vasana and can give the Nimmathi – they are free to do that.
  • Many could not find any activity like that. They again and again got involved in the wordly passion and the mind was thinking again and again about the certain incidents or words which hurt their EGO.

So the only option was to do pooja and spend the time. This activity calmed the mind and  at the same time didn’t produce more vasanas.

  • Rishis suggested – Do your duty – just because we need Nimmathi. At the same time, continue this dhayana (where is this Nimmathi in me). During the rest of the day do activities like Nama Japa ( repeating the names of the GOD say Rama, Narayana, OM, OM Namah Shivaye etc). If we repeat these words the mind will feel bored and will become weak and will pay attention inside. People who are thinking all the time or dreamers cannot sleep as the mind does not withdraw. Even such people if they do Nama Japa – their mind will become calm and they will go to sleep.
  • In the initial stage of meditation, we will sleep well. As the mind is not given any thoughts – the next thing it knows is sleep.
  • Rishis suggested –  just spend your day in temples (as many people with Nimmathi will come there and there vibes might create the experience), instead of doing the worldly activities which is going to give more vasanas – people did their basic duties slowly and elaborately. That is why – those days women did all the household work themselves slowly and they never had any ambition. They very well know – even if they have an ambition and achieve it – they will not get the permanent Nimmathi.
  • The next question is –  all the people will become lazy.
  • There is a great difference between lazy without any goal in life and people not having ambition because they have a goal called Nimmathi.
  • Aggressiveness will make a person do lots of work ; just to prove himself –  this is very different from sincerity / vairagya – which will make a person do the job with beauty.
  • Men just did their job for running the family. Not great ambition to aspire anything. But, they did the job for Nimmathi and verywell understood that this Nimmthi is making them do the job finely and beautifully.
  • So, they said – GOD makes me do the job and I am doing – the EGO vanished. This Nimmathi makes us do the job Beautifully and not ambition. We the EGO cannot do anything very beautifully without this Nimmathi.
  • What we experience in life is just a very very  little of the entire Nimmathi – what if we realise the fullness of Nimmathi.
  • What we do? What situation we are in – does not matter. We all have this Nimmathi in us. We do all the self fish actions because we think we get happiness by doing these. If we all have this common goal Nimmathi – we will all be united. By the outer appearance all of us can never become similar and our vasanas are different but our goal is the same which is  Nimmathi.
  • If we have this goal we will not hurt others or envy others or win over others or prove to others. We are doing our duties as given to us. All of us are in search of this Nimmathi / Anandam.
  • Do the job as a duty just to run a life.
  • Spend a lot of time in Nama japa (this will calm the mind).
  • Spend time in Dhayana.
  • Spend some time in Pooja or visiting temple – not for doing business with GOD – give me this ; inturn – I will give you that. Just to spend the time peacefully – so that you can get the Nimmathi and also there is no other job we could think off which does not create more vasanas and calm, the mind. The nimmathi is already is us – if we calm the mind we can focus on it. Otherwise, we are distracted by the noise of the mind (all the time blabbering).
  • Socialise with people – talk about this anandam – spend time in hearing gita – hearing lectures on this truth – meet people with the same goal.
  • If we train the mind to think less it will turn from the outside world to inside.
  • From this month Adi – pooja season has started. Please, spend sometime doing these poojas rather than engaging in worldly passions. See the change in you – Aggressiveness will change to sincerity.
  • A small story……
  • A person was fishing. He had a small stick with a thread and was sitting and fishing slowly. He got 6 fishes. He sold 4 and bought rice and roasted the remaining 2 fishes. Ate a meal. There was a mango fallen under a tree. He picked it up and ate it and was lying down under a tree.
  • A foreigner was watching this person for few days and came to him and asked – you don’t have any ambition in life. I am seeing daily – you are catching 6 fishes. See the river –  there are 100’s and 1000’s of fishes. Why don’t you catch – till you become tired. The man asked – what will I do with so many fishes ? The foreigner said, sell them and save the money. You can buy a net and catch 50 and 100’s of fishes. He again said – what will I do with so many fishes? The foreigner said, sell and save money to buy a boat. The man said – what will I do with it. The foreigner said – see in the river bank there are 100’s of fishes and inside the river there will be thousands – you can catch all of them with the boat. You will buy a house and you will get a wife. You will have kids and grand children. The man asked then… The foreigner said – then, you will be contended and will lie down with Nimmathi. The man said – already I was doing that.
  • Fear for future kills our Nimmathi.
  • Don’t think anything just do the duty and spend some time in activities which can calm the mind and will not drag you to more vasanas.
  • If by chance, the reader is not convinced of this article. Just don’t waste your time debating. Continue with your work. One day, there will be a situation in life which might give some stress  – at that time you will not fall into addictions and will definitively think of this article as you know there is an another alternative to calm the mind. You know where the Nimmathis is. May be this is not the right time to start the search – you will come back later.
  • If you don’t believe in poojas and prayer – just be in company of people with Nimmathi. It is a spark – Only from a spark we can light a lamp.
  • Listen to the lectures of Nochur. You will have the experience of Nimmathi and may be your mind will pay attention to it.
  • This article is the outcome of the lectures of Nochur. Please hear the original version. Whether you like it or not does not matter. How many movies we watch – which we just didn’t like. Just hear once. It will for sure be of some use to you one day.
  • Also watch hear this song – Anandam Anandam Anandame – this song is about the happiness (Anandam) a mother gets after the wedding of her daughter / son.
  • Lets us all be united with this common goal of Paramanandam.

Vegetable Kurma

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The most popular South Indian restaurant all over the world is Saravana Bhavan. This recipe is a replica of Saravana Bhavan Vegetable Kurma.

This recipe was given by my childhood friend Ramya L.B. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe.

Ingredients :

Vegetables of your choice – I have used cabbage, carrot and beans. Can use peas. I don’t like potato in vegetable kurma as it takes all the flavour.

Onion – 2 nos.

Tomato – 1 no

Garlic – 2 pods.

Ginger small piece.

Green chilli – 2 nos.

Lemon – 1 no

Oil – 4 to 5 tbsp

Bay leaf – 1 no for seasoning.

Dry masalas :

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Red chilli Powder – 1 to 1 1/2 tsp.

Coriander powder – 3 tbsp

Salt – 2 tsp.

For gravy :

Grind these,

Coconut – 1/2 cup (100 ml cup)

Roasted chana / Pottukadalai – 2 tbsp

Cashew – 4 nos.

Saunf / sombhu – 1 tbsp

Method :

  • Soak the cashew and cook it with some water. Always use cashew in subzi’s after soaking and cooking. This will remove the bitterness and will be very sweet.
  • Oil.
  • Add bayleaf and green chilli.
  • Roast the green chilli well.
  • Add garlic and ginger.
  • Roast garlic till just about to brown and not brown.
  • Add onions – fry well with little salt.
  • Add chopped tomatoes.
  • Cook well.
  • Add the vegetables – fry well and add water (1/4 cup). cover it and cook it.
  • At this stage can cook in pressure cooker. This recipe comes well only if we use good amount of oil. Even if you are using a cooker – please use good amount of oil. Otherwise, it will be like boiled vegetables. We need roasted and cooked vegetables for this recipe.
  • If you cover and cook without cooker – it will take about 1/2 and hour for the amount of vegetables I have used. It will have better flavour. No need to attend it. Because of oil and water – it will not stick to the bottom. Use a kadai with heavy bottom and be careless.
  • Once, 80 % cooked add the dry masalas (turmeric, dhaniya powder, red chilli powder and salt).
  • Mix and cover and cook till the vegetables are completely cooked.
  • If you observe, till now it is like any North Indian subzi, say, oil. instead of jeera – it is bayleaf, green chilli, onion, ginger garlic, tomato, vegetables and dry masala.
  • If you want this to become a North Indian gravy subzi what will you do? Add milk cream, garam masala powder and coriander leaves.
  • But, now it is a south Indian gravy subzi so the milk cream is replaced with coconut, roasted chana and cashew paste. Instead of garam masala powder we have used whole garam masala with saunf ( this is very important – please don’t omit it). Instead of coriander leaves use curry leaves.
  • That’s  all.
  • Add  the grounded coconut paste and curry leaves.
  • Adjust the gravy by adding some water.
  • Allow it to cook till a nice boil.
  • Add lemon juice ( important).

Note :

  • There are many people who use curd instead of lemon. I recommend lemon.
  • Grind saunf along with coconut. I forgot to add it while grinding – so I have added it separately in the pictures.
  • Use generous oil in this recipe.
  • You can make this recipe without onion and garlic. But, I felt it is perfect only with onion and garlic.
  • If you want this kurma really white omit tomatoes and turmeric. Even that tastes very good.

Idli

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Idli – How many recipes? how many tricks ?

I still remember my initial days of making the idili. I was never getting a fermented batter and in turn a soft idli. Blamed the climate in Delhi, found fault in the quality of urad dal / rice, doubted the efficiency of the grinder etc. One fine morning, my husband shouted saying ” see what has happened”. When I entered the kitchen – the idli batter – I kept on the kitchen top was over fermented and the batter was over flowing all over the kitchen platform. I felt so happy – even my batter fermented well. Frankly, this is one of the most happiest moment in my life. I felt so satisfied.

I use idli rice (boiled idli rice) – 4 cups.

Urad dal (Split) – 1 cup.

Methi seeds – 2 tsp

Salt – 2 tsp

For one cup of urad dal  – I use 3 cups of water for soaking and grinding.

For one cup of rice – I use 1 cup of water for soaking. But, while grinding I use only 1/2 cup of water. Later after grinding I use another half cup.

Water is very important for fermenting.

How long should we soak ?

If we soak for 3 to 5 hours and then grind the batter. It will take 8 to 12 hours for fermenting. In Delhi  – it takes 12 hours.

So normally, in the various recipes – people have suggested to soak the rice and the dal overnight. In that case, It ferments faster say within 5 to 6 hours or in some recipes they have suggested to add cooked rice. Even this helps in fermenting faster.

But, if you have some old people at home they will not recommend these shortcuts methods for the simple reason – the idli made with the rice and dal soaked for a longer time has some sour taste and if we add cooked rice – the shelf life of the rice is only 10 to 12 hours. So it actually starts to rotten. As per Ayurveda, we need to eat fresh food because the food will be in our system for the next 10 to 12 hours. Till then it should not start to rotten.

These above methods are definitively convenient. Use it for convenience.

But, the best method is to soak for 3 to 5 hours.

The grinder is also very important. I have uploaded my grinder picture. Previously, I had a different grinder and the experience was not upto the mark. This grinder is very efficient. If you are intending to buy one – I recommend this.

Use more rice – we normally see recipes were the ratio of dal to rice is 1 : 2 or 1: 3 but I am using 1 : 4. My grinder is very efficient in grinding the urad dal. If your grinder is not efficient reduce the rice to 3 1/2 cups.

Using more rice will give a nice texture to the idili and the idli will also get cooked faster.

If we ferment the batter in a stainless steel vessel  – it ferments faster when compared to a plastic container. Even if you feel comfortable with the plastic container for storage – ferment in a stainless steel vessel and then store it in the plastic container. Plastic does not have pores.

If you make a very thick batter – it will take a long time to ferment. Please use the water measurements mentioned.

Always add all the required water before fermenting. After fermenting don’t add water.

While making the idli – scoop the batter without mixing it. Use half the quantity of the batter in the container for idli and the bottom portion for dosa as it will have more rice. Rice is heavier than dal. So, it settles at the bottom.

I feel idli is softer when made in a idli vessel than in a cooker. It works well even in an electric cooker. If you are buying –  please invest in a idli vessel. The steam has to release – for a softer idli.

First, cook the idli in medium flame – till the vapour starts to come out through the lid. Then, keep it in the lowest flame for 7 to 8 minutes. Your idli should be cooked. If it is taking more time to cook the reason is – it has more urad dal.

The quality of rice and urad is not so excellent in Delhi still Iam using 4 : 1.

Cooking the idli with a cloth on the idli mould will give a better texture and you can remove the idli hotter. But, maintaining the cloth is a job. If you can – go head.

If you are pouring directly on the idli mould just wash the plates with running water and drain it and add the idlies they will come out well. You can also apply some oil on the moulds. After cooking, remove and keep it for 3 minutes. Allow it to cool and then take a spoon or knife and scoop it. In south, they have a special spoon for scooping the idli.

In colder climates, ferment the batter inside the oven with the light on.

Follow the same method – for few times. With experience – it will come out well.

Medu Vada / Vadai

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Medu Vadai or Ulundu vadai

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Idli and vada

Ingredients :

Urad dal – 300 gms ( I got 27 vadas with 300 gms – so with 100 gms (1/2 cup ) we will get 9 vadas (Approx)).

Salt – 3/4 tsp for 100 gms of urad dal (i.e 1/2 cup).

Also add green chilli – 4 to 5 nos, ginger – small piece, black pepper – 10 nos, hing – 5 pinches and curry leaves. Be generous with the masalas – it will give a nice taste to the vadas.

Oil for frying.

Method :

  • Soak for 1 hour and drain for 1 hour. This is the minimum time required to soak – can soak upto 3 hours.
  • Grind in the small jar of mixie. (Can use a wet grinder).
  • Grind in small batches with the masala without adding any water.
  • Grinding will take about 25 minutes to 30 minutes. Have patience and be prepared to spend this time. Don’t be in a hurry and grind it in the large jar. Without water it will get struck. Use the small jar. Small jars are meant for dry grinding.This effort will be worth – when you eat the vadas.
  • Once grinded. Add few drops of water and keep beating. This will take another 10 to 15 minutes.
  • When you add a dollop of batter in a cup of water – it should float. The batter will look white after beating and not pale white.
  • Add 2 tsp of rice flour. This gives a very nice crisp to the vadas – please don’t omit this. Somepeople add 2 tsp of raw rice while grinding with urad dal. I feel only the rice flour gives good results.
  • Use the hands for making the shape of the vada. If the batter is perfectly made – making the vada shape is a childs job and it will not soak oil.
  • Dip the hands in water – take a ball of batter. Make a hole with the thump and slowly drop it in oil.
  • The oil should be hot. If you add a dollop of batter – it should come up readily.
  • Cook the vadas in lower flame. Once cooked, then keep it in the medium flame to get the nice brown colour.

Note :

  • We need to grind the vadas without adding water. But, while beating add water. Exact measurement of water is 8 tbsp for one cup of urad dal. Only by adding water – it will become fluffy. If we add this while grinding the vadas – the effect is not similar. we can also add the water and use the pulse mode in the mixie for fluffing the vadas.
  • Suppose, you try to beat without adding water. The batter will not become fluffy and will not float on water. The vada will be heavy and not light.
  • By adding rice flour – it gives a crisp coating for the vada and it will be like restaurant vadas. If you have urad dal powder – even add that one tablespoon. The effect will be very crispy. Because these flours form a layer – they will stay crispy longer. They will not become soft and soggy.
  • We can also add some vegetables like onion, cabbage or spinach. Add the vegetables just before making it.

Avakkai Mango Pickle

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I visited my sister house –  she made Avakai at home. She and her MIL are very fond of making pickles.

She described – how she went to the market ? how she selected the mangoes ? What brand of redchilly powder they buy? How she washed the mangoes and selected the best pieces? etc etc.

Her MIL with so much love and interest opened the big bharani (Special container / jar  for pickles) and gave me a bottle of pickle. Frankly, at that time, my conception about pickle was – it is unhealthy and that was a time – actually I stopped eating pickles. She gave with so much love – I could not resist and took it.

Came home and our family was enjoying it.

Then, within few months – In my local Bhogal market – I saw Avakai mango being sold. A fellow was sitting and cutting the mangoes.

I was so thrilled to see that. So many years, I have been visiting the market regularly – but never noticed these mango fellows. I quickly bought a kilo of mangoes. Made him chop and tasted a piece. I ensured that it was sour like the way my sister described. I felt so happy. Frankly, In Delhi, it is not like Andra where we have so many varieties of mangoes. Only 2 varieties, still – I tasted and confirmed.

I brought it with so much of happiness, I washed them and dried them. My son helped me in removing the plastic layer in the seeds of the mango and discarding the bad ones.

At that time, there was no internet and  I never asked anyone  for the recipe. Just took some mustard, methi, redchilli powder and salt. Quickly made the pickle with the description given by my sister.

I was mixing it everyday with so much love and satisfaction. In 20 days , it was ready. I brought the few pieces of mango in a cup to the dining table. I served one piece of mango each. It was so tasty. Do you know from where the taste came from?

My neighbour came home and she saw my pickle and tasted it. The very next day she bought some mangoes and made pickle. My maid saw this and she made pickle at home.

This love is a virus. I got it from my sister and passed it on to others. Cooking is the best way to transfer love. The divine taste comes with love.

Pickles get spoiled if not made with love.

If you just make it as a duty. It is a cumbersome process. If the family is involved in making it – it tastes divine. How can this pickle with so much love can cause any trouble to the body.

Buy tons of bottle of pickles from the store. You might like the taste and want to eat more but if we make it with love – even one piece is very satisfactory.

I saw a small cartoon with my son. In that, Bheem was very hungry – all the gods tried to feed him with food. He was not at all satisfied – all the gods went to bramha for a solution. He said – just get a spoon of kheer from kunthi (the mother of bheem) – he will be satisfied. The gods went and fed him a spoon of kheer made by his mother. Bheem ate it and said – he was full. All the gods were surprised and asked – how is this possible? Then, bramha explanined – any amount of food cannot satisfy the hunger – if it does not have the wonderful element called love.

Best mango for pickle is the most sour ones. They need to be small and very firm.

Get it chopped from the shop keeper.

Wash it and dry it.

Masalas are :

For one kilo of mango. Buy one kilo and cut them it into pieces. Don’t cut and measure one kilo 🙂

Mustard – 100 gms ( 1/2 cup). (Avakai mango is a Andra pradesh pickle. The word avakai is an amalgamation of two words namely-“avaalu” meaning mustard and “kai” meaning raw vegetable pieces. Here, it refers to the mangoes. So, mustard is the most important ingredient for Avakai.)

Red chilli powder – 100 gms (1/2 cup) . (In Avakai – turmeric is not used. So, we need to use the red chilli powder which is really red in colour.)

Methi – 2 tbsp.

Salt – 100 gms (1/2 cup).

Oil – 200 gms ( 2 cups)  (In pickles, the oil is used raw – so there is no cholesterol. We can use any oil which can be consumed raw say, sesame seed oil, Groundnut oil, Olive oil or mustard oil. Andra people use groundnut oil for pickles, In Tamilnadu – they use sesame seed oil, In the north, they use mustard oil. Olive oil tastes wonderful with Avakai.)

Can use white chole and garlic in the pickle (this is optional). Use one or two hand full each.

Traditionally, all the masalas are sun dried to increase the shelf life. Now, we can roast it little bit in the dry kadai. Just for few seconds the colour of mustard and methi should not change.

Powder the mustard in the mixie (once cooled). I have added methi seed (whole) – no need to powder this.

How to make it?

Very very simple just mix every thing (mustard powder, methi seeds, salt, red chilli powder, chole / garlic and mangoes. Pour the oil. )

Keep mixing every day for 20 days. The pickle will ferment and it will be ready. In porcelain / Peengaan vessels – the pickle ferments faster. The traditional porcelain vessel for pickles is called Bharani. Use a porcelain vessel and make the pickle in that and once fermented – store it in glass bottles. Porcelain vessels are the best even for storing pickles – as they have some natural pores – which allow the pickles to breathe.

Traditional Therattipal (Pal Kova / Peda)

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Traditional Therattipal

This is most simplest sweet as far as the ingredients are concerned. Just 2 ingredients Full cream Milk and sugar.

Milk –  1/2 litre and sugar ( 4 tbsp to 6 tbsp depending on your taste. For less sweetness use 4 tbsp, for medium sweetness 5 tbsp and for more sweetness 6 tbsp).

By looking at the simplicity of the ingredients, I was tempted to make this sweet many times. But, once it was like srivalliputur therattipal (just white and only milk flavour). Sometimes, Rajamundry’s milk cake and so on.

Srivilliputhur Palgova – This is white in colour. It does not taste like the traditional peach colour therattipal. It is also very tasty with full of milk flavour like the peda.

First lets see the method.

  • The method is simple.
  • Keep cooking the milk till it condenses.
  • And then add sugar. That’s all.

But the complication arises – how to condense the milk and when to add sugar?

A heavy kadai is a must. Use only half litre of milk at one time. First boil the milk. Then, start cooking in a kadai in high flame  – never in the low flame. Keep stirring for 15 minutes and your condensed milk is ready (without any malai). First, stir slowly – as it gets thicker – stir faster. It should not get burnt at the bottom. If you stop stirring inbetween malai will come and the texture will be spoiled. Stir continuously.

How to stir ? not round and round. Just use a flat spatulla and stir – front and back.

Flat Spatulla – if possible use the one with a long handle (so that your hands does not get the heat)

Watch this video of condensing one batch of half a litre milk. My kids captured this video. This video is posted to give an overall feel.

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Click here to watch the video – Traditional Therattipal video.

  • When the milk is condensed, do the second batch of 1/2 ltr. We can do this for the decided quantity of milk – say 1 ltr or 4 ltrs etc.
  • Once, you finish all the condensation of the milk.
  • Add the sugar for 1/2 ltr of condensed milk i.e 4 to 6 tbsp depending on your taste.
  • Add one batch of condensed milk. Just mix it. Once mixed, remove and allow it to cool
  • If we stop at this stage it will taste like srivilliputhur Palkova.
  • This is the stage for making peda. For peda, add green cardamon and make the shapes.

This is kesar peda i.e saffron is added. Pic courtesy : Google

This is simple peda with green cardamon and decorated with nuts. Pic courtesy : google.

  •   The rest of the batches add the sugar and keep cooking.
  • The sugar will melt and will become watery.
  • Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes depending on the quantity. It will start to thicken.
  • Always cook in low flame after adding the sugar.
  • To this mixture add the first batch just mixed with sugar (i.e the peda form or srivilliputhur form).
  • Transfer it to an another container. Don’t leave it in the kadai and cover it.
  • Why are we mixing?
  • I have tried this so many times – it is very difficult to remove the traditional therattipal at the right stage. In this way, if by chance we have cooked little excess – it will be offset by mixing the less cooked batch.
  • Mix and cover it and keep it. Use a lid with holes or cover it with some opening i.e don’t cover it – tight leave some space for the air flow.
  • Keep this undisturbed for 8 to 10 hours.
  • It will take so much time to set. No temptations – just forget it for the next 8 hours.
  • Open it, you will see the magic. The colour will be changed – the texture will be perfect.
  • This is the traditional Therattipal.

We can pack it like the Aavin Palkova (Aavin is the popular milk diary in chennai).

See this picture – how this blogger has packed it. A very neat presentation – by wrapping in butter paper. pic courtesy : http://www.amuthiskitchen.com/

Note :

  • If by chance. you have cooked it for a long time after adding the sugar. Then, you can make pieces like burfi and call it the Rajamundry milk cake 🙂 . No effort will go waste.
  • If you follow this method of keeping some less cooked kova and mixing it with the more cooked kova. You will for sure not go wrong.
  • This is no great effort. Normally, people say palkova takes 5 tp 6 hours etc. See if you do it in 1/2 ltr batches – you will take only 15 minutes for each batch. You can take  break between batches. Enjoy and put in your love  – leave the rest to the God – the magic will happen and you will get the divine taste.
  • The thickened / condensed milk without sugar is called koya / khoya / khoa / Mawa.
  • In traditional therattipal – no flavouring like cardamon or saffron is added.

 

Aloo chat or Indian French Fries.

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Aloo Chat / Potato Chat

This is my families favourite snack. I call it the Indian french fries and serve it to my kids.

A very tasty snack. This is very popular in Delhi.

I saw this recipe in Food Food Tv.

Ingredients :

Potato / Aloo – 6 nos.

Oil for frying  – 6 tbsp

Chat masala.

For Sweet Chutney :

Brown sugar – 100 gms (can use normal sugar)

Water- 200 ml.

Red chilli powder – 1tsp.

Amchur powder – 1 tsp.

Salt – 1/2 tsp.

Black Salt – 1/2 tsp.

Dried Ginger or Saunth or Sukku powder – 1/2 tsp

Method :

  • Chop the potatoes in cubes.
  • Fry them in oil.
  • Once cooled, press it and flatten it.
  • Fry it again – till crispy.
  • Mix it with sweet chutney.
  • Sprinkle Chat masala.

For Sweet Chutney :

  • Boil brown sugar with water for 8 minutes.
  • Add the masalas and again boil for 5 minutes or boil till the consistency of the chutney is reached.