It is always tricky to plan weekends here, thanks to the lovely British weather (by the way, I do like cold n grey weather!). The last weekend was thankfully sunny, though a little chill. That didn’t deter us from making a quick trip to see what the South Indian Melam (an initiative by ‘INDIA NOW’) was all about. Actually, blame the TV adverts for luring us to it! All those pictures of steaming hot dosais/vadai, and ofcourse the cultural events 🙂 (lest I sound too shallow ;-)) were so inviting!
We reached the Mela venue by around 2 pm, and had originally planned to leave in a couple of hours, but ended staying till the very last show, which was a completely dhamakedaar performance by Shiamak Davar‘s team in London. (Will come to that later, as one sentence in passing simply doesn’t do justice to the amazing performance that it was!)
We were greeted with a mellifluous rendition of ‘Vaishnava Janato‘. Sadly, there was no encore 🙂 The compère Ms.Ambika, conducted a lovely little music exercise with all the children. There must have been atleast 20-30 participants, who sang along to Sa-Re-Ga-Ma with gusto.
It was a delight to hear, and an eye-opener too, about an art that we must not let die, but instead try to pass on to the future generations.
There were more performances – vocal, Bharatnatyam, etc. (I can’t review those as I’m not much of an art connoisseur) and an impressive ‘Kalari Payattu‘ performance too, that the boys were particularly interested in!
There weren’t as many ‘stalls’ as one expected. However, there was a great little massage offered at very reasonable prices. Another hot-dog/fries/coffee booth, that served awesome french-fries at delightful prices 😉
The stall for the ‘Save the Tiger‘ campaign, in my opinion, could have benefited with more prominence. The Diabetes UK team was strategically placed a few stalls away from the one with the droolworthy hot South Indian food 🙂
State Bank of India who were one of the Sponsors, held an exciting Raffle contest, with the prize being an iPad!!! Sadly, the winner of the raffle wasn’t around. Sigh!!! I wish…er.. never mind!)
Needless to say, the ‘food’ staff, hosted by Turmeric Spice (I hope I got the name right!), saw an endless queue 🙂 And it was well worth the wait. We ordered hot dosais and simple yet delicious lemon rice!
As they say, the best things in life come to those who wait! The last event was a Bollywood dance performance. I wasn’t expecting much, and the delay was putting me off.
However, when the troupe finally arrived, they took us by storm!!! The Shiamak Davar team in London pulled off a spectacular performance, making even the audience dance to the tunes of Chikni Chameli and Chammak Challo!
The compère /host, Rohan, did an OUTSTANDING job of drawing the audience into the performance.
The audience learnt some easy steps, particularly some Shahrukh Khan motions, and the delightfully funny ‘nodding Indian head‘ 🙂 Team Shiamak had the entire audience spell-bound, and hungry for an encore (which again, they delivered beautifully).
We truly believed their quote – ‘Have Feet – Will Dance’. Add to that, they gave a gift voucher (‘free dance session’) for all the participants.
So, that was a truly scintillating finale to an exciting event.
Well done Team South Indian Melam 🙂 I think this was a good start, and do hope we see many more such events, that bring us closer to ‘home’ and help showcase our arts and culture.
There are lots of things different here in the UK as compared to India.
Like for example, many of us (Indian parents/grandparents) pride ourselves in saying our children are ‘Oh soooo naughtyyyy….’ whereas here ‘naughty’ indicates the kid is ‘bad’!
And when I say ‘tea’ I really mean the sweet, hot liquid with milk.. tea! Not the ‘London’ version of tea that means a nice evening snack (that tea is a part of!)
Or for example, ‘curry’, which to me, means vegetables, diced/chopped/etc, tempered with mustard seeds and seasoned with regular, mundane spices and not a thick gravy flavoured with cream or coconut milk! Which by the way, reminds me of what a local tour operator once said… ‘Britain’s favourite food isn’t Fish n Chips, but ‘Chicken Curry’!
So here is a dish, that we absolutely LOVE! With a Japanese/Chinese flavour, this is a one-course dish, scrumptious, filling, healthy (well, in part!) and absolutely droolicious.
Its actually a signature dish of Wagamama, called ‘Yasai Katsu Curry’ (Fried vegetables curry with rice). Obviously this is the ‘vegetarian’ version (actually, ‘eggetarian’ as you do need a little bit of egg to coat the veggies in). However, you could easily replace the veggies with slices of chicken and it would taste just as good (my non-vegetarian friends would claim it tastes even better!) The curry here refers to a Japanese style of curry. Wiki says it all!
First, let me post a picture.. to see if it tempts you!!
Ok, so I hope I have your very kind (stomach-growling) attention now!
Before I very generously share this magic recipe with you, let me give you an estimate of how much time this dish takes, to make. Er.. around an hour (more, if you make all the ingredients from scratch, and less, if you decide to play smart like I did, and buy some of it from the store).
The trick, really, is to get all the ingredients ready before-hand, and then the actually cooking/serving is actually quite quick.
I can guarantee you, the effort is really worth it, considering this is a one-pot meal, that your folks are going to LOVE!
So, for the ingredients.
We actually have FOUR sets of components here.
1) For the main Yasai Katsu:
(a) Vegetables like Brinjal (aubergine), Butternut squash and Sweet potato work best. Just slice them. This really depends on how you want your veggies. Wagamama serves thick slices, whereas I like em thin 😉 so I sliced a brinjal into 0.5 thickness.
(b) Half a cup of ordinary white flour with a pinch of salt
(c) Two full cups of a mixture of crumbs (Bread crumbs and plain salt crackers (I used Melba Toasts) ground into fine crumbs, to add a crisp texture to the veggies)
(d) One egg, beaten lightly.
You could add your choice of spices to any of these, really. I just added some salt to the flour, and some more salt, coriander powder and tumeric powder (Tee hee… an Indian cook after all!) to the bread crumbs mixture. But make it the way you like it. If you like your food spicy, then go for it!
2) The side: Now you could serve either crunchy vegetables or a side salad. I chose the veggies, simple because I had no salad at home 😉 Take your pick of colourful capsicum(peppers), baby-corn, mange-tout… vegetables that will suit a quick stir-fry.
3) White rice. You could either use plain ponni rice/sona masoori rice or basmati rice. It tastes good either way. Wagamama serves this dish with some yummy sticky white rice, that I have NO clue how to make. So I faithfully stuck to our aromatic basmati 🙂
4) And lastly, the curry sauce. Now, Google says it is to be prepared this way.
Onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder – Fry it all, simmer with a little water for about 15 mins, cool it, and grind it with a little more water. Simmer again for about 15 mins.
Now, how do you cook this delicious meal? Really , truly simple!
Step 1: Cook your rice. I washed 1 cup of basmati rice, added 2 cups of water to it, and chucked the bowl into the microwave, first for 10 mins, then a quick stir, and another 7 minutes.
Step 2: Now, while your rice is getting cooked, take a couple of minutes to grind the bread and the crackers together to get a fine bread-crumbs mixture. Beat an egg, and keep it aside. Keep the flour ready. Start heating up the oil. Don’t slice your brinjal until it is time to fry them.
Step 3: Get your curry sauce organized. I’ll be honest. I didn’t make the curry sauce myself. Just bought a pack of ‘curry sauce powder’ from the supermarket and added it to boiling water. Voila!! A nice, thick, sticky curry sauce.
Step 4: Roughly chop your side vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Heat one teaspoon of mild/medium olive oil (for health reasons… well, don’t ask me why I insist on olive oil, when the bleddy veggies are going to be deep-fried!!), and throw the veggies in. Stir-fry on high heat for about 3 mins and take them off the pan. Puhlees, for heaven’s sake, don’t cook them soggy!
Also, if you have a couple of minutes to spare, do peel a carrot, and slice slivers of it, for garnishing. It adds that ‘special’ touch, you see 😉
Step 5: OK, now for the frying bit. By this time, you should have your rice, your curry and your side salad/veggies READY. So take those slices of brinjal (if you are using sweet potato/squash, please cook them in boiling water before frying them), coat them lightly in flour, dip them in the egg, and load them with the crumbs. Once you have about 3-4 ready, slide them gently into the hot oil. You know how to fry, don’t you? Just ensure it does not get burnt! And, drain excess oil onto tissue paper.
Step 6: Pile your plate and serve Hot Hot Hot!!!! Invert a cup of rice, arrange the fried veggies, add some side veggies, ladle the curry sauce, and garnish with carrot!! And.. Bon Apetit!!!
Ok, if you are one of those few people who re-read the title just now, for your kind information, it is ‘bIts, bObs and sexy legs’. Perverts… 🙄
I miss blogging! I miss reading posts by my blog-buddies, I miss commenting, I miss replying to the very kind comments on my own blog! 24-hours a day is simply not enough! There is so much to do, so much to not do… and hardly any time to write. So here are a few bits and bobs….
1) Just read this yesterday: ‘It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place‘. How very true. You simply have to run faster than ever before, just to remain in the same place. I thought this was by Kotler, however, Wiki told me otherwise. To read the source of this brilliant line, do click this link.
2) We were browsing the ‘Father’s Day‘ Cards at Tesco today, and the young security boy commented about how ‘people are marketing every single thing!‘ and how ‘there is a day for every thing and every one’. I agreed , nodding wisely, until he blurted, ‘There’s a fathers day, a mother’s day… at this rate, they will introduce a Child’s day!‘ I guess this boy hadn’t heard of ‘Children’s Day’ 😆 😆 😆
3) On sexy legs… (Ah…. finally!)
I actually went to the gym last month. Twice so far! And I actually enjoyed it. Now having sweated out for two hours (one hour each session), I instantly felt ‘fitter’ than ever before.
So, there is this pedestrian crossing that I have to cross every day, to drop the Brat off at school. There is a glass wall on the opposite side of the road.
Now, the Brat and I were standing on this side of the road, waiting for the traffic signal to change, so we could cross over to the other side. And voila!! In the glass wall, I saw the most amazing reflection of my legs. Looking lean and long in those dark blue denim jeans. I was amazed at the results of my two hours of gym-ing. I gazed at the reflection for a couple of seconds, sighing, wondering why I didn’t begin exercising earlier. And then – guess what happened next….
And then.. the pair of legs turned around and started to walk away!!! 🙄
Despite my average levels of sanity, I could not – for the life of me – figure out (pun unintended) how my sexy legs could do that … Until I realised those belonged to someone else. .. to a real girl who was actually standing behind the glass wall and whose upper half was hidden by a board that contained the tube map 😦
🙄 🙄 😆 😆
It was all I could do, to stop myself from clicking a picture. Saks would have done a great job, but hey, I am not her.
On that note, where the hell is she????? And that reminds me, where the hell is every one else? Where are Vimmu, Solilo, Indyeah? Where are Pixie, Swar, Mon and Uma? And why are Hitchy and Brat not commenting in their usual style? I miss all of you people.
(I also miss all those whose names I have forgotten remembered but just not written down ;-))
Itna sannata kyun hai bhai???
(4) P.S: I watched ‘Ready‘ yesterday. Total time-pass!! The first half of the movie was funny and had quite a few laughs, and great catchy numbers. The second half was entirely boring. So any of you planning to watch it, have fun 🙂 My Brat cannot stop singing Dhinka Chika and trying to copy Sallu’s moves 😉
PS 1: My dearest and most adorable non-Chennai friends – Please oh puhleez don’t call this DO-SA. It is a DosaI 🙂 🙂 🙂
One of my best friends back in college used to say ‘DosA and Sambhurr’. Had she not been so dear to me, I could have killed her Every time she massacred the word DosaI by calling it a DosA. Its like me saying ‘Barota’ instead of ‘Parantha’ 😛
If you are wondering about how silly the title is, wait until you see the pictures. They are self-explanatory 🙂
I received an email from dear Swaram, about recipe exchange. The crux was that it should be a simple and easy-to-make recipe. And this is what I ingeniously came up with:
1- Take any left-over steamed or cooked veggies from the previous day, or the day-before 😉 as long as there is no mould/fungus on it, that should be fine 😈 To this, add, a pinch of Salt, Turmeric, Jeera Powder, Aamchur, Pepper powder (I use this instead of Chilli powder, so that even Kids can eat it. Psst: By kids I mean moi 😉 I hate spice ;-)), Ginger-garlic paste.
2- Now mash it up really well, or even better, just quick grind it in the mixie without any water. You should end up with an AWFUL looking gooey paste.
Btw, I used a little bowl of freshly steamed Beans, Carrot and Peas and another little cup of left-over aloo-gobi sabzi. No, I didn’t mix the two, now even I cannot stand such a disgusting concoction 😉 I made two different types of parathas 🙂
3- Take a small lemon-sized ball of dough, and divide it into two. Roll it out into little circles. Drop a lump of the awful mixture into one circle, place the other circle on top, and press the edges together to seal them. Now roll them out into a big paratha, but don’t let the goo get out through the edges.
4- Cook this on a hot Tava, and remember, wherever the goo has indeed squeezed itself out, just add a few drops of ghee and let it roast.
Trust me on this folks, the left-over-mixed-veggies-parathas taste AWESOME. Needless to say, they are extremely nutritious too.
Try it out for yourself…
(P.S: Warned you in the beginning : These look awful, but taste awesome. Do try!!)
I was wondering if my Friday Feast posts were turning boring, when Deeps said she was actually looking forward to it!!! So I plunged into writing this post, on a Tuesday, and scheduling it to be published on Friday (Whoa @ my commitment to blogging, no?).
This Friday, I have not one, but Two Feasts for you!
1- ONE-POT STIR-FRY MEAL
As always, a quick n easy one-pot meal idea : Stir-fry noodles/rice
Utterly simple – Roughly chop up loads of veggies – Spring onions, onions, baby corn, carrot, capsicum (all colours), cabbage, mange tout, beans – toss them into a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Stir-fry them on high heat, for about 2-3 minutes, until they get slightly brown, but not fully cooked. Do remember to keep the veggies crunchy.
Now add in some salt to taste. I don’t usually add Ajinomoto as I cannot serve that to my little brat. If you like, you could add in a tablespoon of soy sauce and vinegar. Or a ready-made packet of Knorr hakka noodles masala (which tastes quite good!).
Finally, throw in the cooked rice or noodles (as you like), toss briskly, without mashing either the rice or the veggies. Basically, you are doing a stir-fry and not cooking food.
For the more enthusiastic folks around, a side-dish (cauliflower manchurian or paneer manchurian and the likes!) could be made as well. I usually just stock up on the Knorr Manchurian or Knorr Schezwan packets, and use them sparingly on my feeling-lazy-days!
They are extremely simply and taste divine. Just follow the instructions on the pack and its really easy to make the side-dish. Otherwise, ofcourse, you can do it from scratch, and there are loads of recipies on the internet, that I don’t want to bore you with now!!
Personally, I am very happy with this one-pot meal. Its simple, easy to make, tasty and well, let’s face it -what could be healthier than vegetables?
2- THOMAS DOSAI!!!!
The second Feast for today, is specially meant for your Kiddies and Kiddos: A yummy dosai in the shape of a Thomas train (with wheels!), decorated with cooked potato and spinach 🙂
My mum used to make dosais in the shape of Ducks and Houses when we were young!
The important thing to remember while making dosai in different shapes, is the temperature of your tava. Heat your dosai tava slightly, not too hot (otherwise the batter will become clumpy), and not too cool either (as then, the batter will not cook!!).
When the tava is warm, ladle the batter onto it. First draw a circle, and then a little rectangle adjoining it. Lastly, spoon a tiny bit on the top to make a funnel! Don’t forget the wheels!!! Cook little circles of batter, and just arrange them under the train before you serve.
You can top this with any veggies to make a face. The possibilities are quite endless, really! I am quite sure your child will wolf this down in no time 🙂
This one is for mommies and daddies of children who happen to be fussy eaters 🙂 A lunch-box idea that is really and truly easy peasy for the parent, and even easier for your child!
(Apologies for the poor picture quality).
1- Roughly chop veggies like baby corn, carrot, beans, capsicum (green, red, orange and yellow – really just any colour available), cabbage and a little onion if you please. Stir-fry these for about 5 mins in a teaspoon of oil, add a pinch of salt. Add some cooked white rice (basmati makes a great combination).
2- Complement the rice with a few cherry tomatoes and fruits like apple, grapes or peeled orange.
Voila! Your child has a lovely balanced meal!! And the chances are pretty good, that he/she will gobble this up without making a fuss. Mine did 🙂
Happy weekend, girls and boys 🙂 and uncles and aunties 🙂
(a) Chapati dough (b) Beat together: 1 egg, a pinch of salt (add pepper, if you like), some chopped coriander
Step 1– Roll dough into circle, spread few drops of oil, fold into half, spread another drop of oil, fold again to make it a triangle. Roll out into a bigger triangle, taking care to not smash the layers into each other 😉
Step 2– Pop this onto the Tava (griddle/pan), cook for a few seconds on one side, turn over the chapati and cook for a few more seconds on the other side. Don’t let it turn brown, just cook it very very little, so that the layers are ready to peel away from each other.
Step 3– Take the semi-cooked chapati off the Tava, and gently peel the layers, without tearing them apart! Use a spoon (not a knife, please)
Step 4– Now place the chapati back onto the tava, and spoon half the egg mixture into the triangle. The cheeky mixture will try to leak (outside the chapati), but ‘you’ can be smarter and do a little acrobatics with the Tava. Tilt it a little, to help the mixture run back inside the chapati. Yeah yeah, you can also cheat a little, and scrape any mixture off the tava and spoon it right back into the chapati!
Step 5– Give this a couple of minutes to cook well on both sides, and ensure the egg is also fully cooked inside! The chapati turns into a yummy filling paratha.
Step 6- Actually, there’s no step 6. All you have to do, is E.A.T 🙂 You could dip this in ketchup or a salsa dip to make it tastier. The only real drawback is, you have got to eat this hot, not cold.
EDITED TO ADD:-
I guess the shape and technique seem a little daunting. It really is quite easy, once you practise making the parathas a couple of times. For those who don’t wish to try, there is a really easy way.
Roll the dough into a regular chapati, make it really thin though.
Cook the chapati slightly on one side, then turn to the other. Turn back the slightly cooked side now, and spoon in the egg mixture. Now fold the chapati from both sides, and also slightly seal the top and bottom so that the egg remains inside.
Leave this to cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes until the egg is fully cooked. You could turn this over and let it cook for a minute longer.