World Palate Recipes: Alu Patal Bhaji (Colocassia Leaves Curry)Maharastrian style

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Colocassia is popularly known as Elephant ear plant, Taro, Arvi, Arbi, or Alu (in Marathi). It is a tropical herbaceous perennial. It is a gardener’s delight – needs rich fertile soil and plenty of water, it is used in landscaping too as well as the leaves, stem and roots are edible. The Romans used to cook it with celery and pork, the Sindhi community deep fry the boiled roots and use it in Sindhi curry. In India and the subcontinent various communities have their own versions of cooking and use. In Nagaland fish is steamed in the leaves, in Maharahstra and Gujrat the leaves are coated with spiced gram flour Besan to make delicious Patra. In Sri Lanka the boiled roots are made into chips or a fried curry with fish.

To learn more about the immense goodness in nutrition ( iron, folate, magnesium, vitamins) see here:  https://foodfacts.mercola.com/taro.html

With such a rich volume of nutrition in just the leaves, we decided to definitely grow this plant in our vegetable garden. Look at the pretty, large triangular leaves. Today, I share a traditional Maharashtrian recipe using the delicate greenish purple leaves. Isnt’ that a treat?

 

Alu Chi Patal Bhaji ( Colocassia leaf curry)

Ingredients:

6-8 leaves (preferably tender with stems)

half cup gram flour (Besan)

1 inch jaggery ( brown sugar)

1 spoon tamarind or tamarind paste (as desired)

salt and red chillies to taste

1/2 cup roasted peanuts (optional) or cashews(optional)

water as necessary

1-2 cups of buttermilk/lassi/ Aiir/ liquid yoghurt

1-3 tbsp. cooking oil

few seeds of mustard and jeera for the splutter

The tamarind juice helps negate the itchy feeling when consuming the leaves, this is due to the oxalate content in them.

Method:

Wash the leaves and stems – notice how the water runs off the surface. ( Spiritually it reminds me not to get entangled with our possessions…just let go of moods and anger). 

Cut the leaves finely, pare the stems gently to remove the tough,non-edible outer layer of stem. Chop finely, discard any tough bits.

Place all the above in a large pot of water (1-2 cups) and boil. Keep aside to cool, do not throw the nutritious water, use to adjust the curry consistency. Soak the tamarind and jaggery in little water to soften well.

In a large bottom pan /wok heat some oil and add seeds, red or green chilli, peanuts, asafoetida (hing), and let it splutter, lightly toss the oil mixture for even heat. Add the boiled leaves, coat them with gram flour (adjust required thickness), add salt to taste. Add tamarind and jaggery juice. Keep stirring the mixture as it begins to thicken. Add buttermilk and left over boiled water, adjust the thickness to a pouring curry consistency. DO NOT let the mixture boil – keep stirring. The tamarind juice helps negate the itchy feeling when consuming the leaves, this is due to the oxalate content in them.

Adjust the taste – a tangy, sweet, spicy, leafy taste. Serve warm with millet Roti, wheat roti or just plain rice.

No traditional Maharastrian wedding is complete without this delicately sour, sweet and nut filled nutritious curry! Yumm…i can remember my childhood as we sat down in a Pangat ( sitting cross legged on mats, laid in rows) waiting to be served the steaming hot rice and patal bhaji, along with other Maharastrian food like koshimbeer, batata bhaji, usaal and Shrikhand. Mouth watering colourful and aromatic food.

 

As they say in Marathi – ‘Savakash Jeva…Anna he poorna Brahman’ which translates as – Eat slowly, for food is revered as Poorna Brahman.

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2018) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer in Canada:Maple Syrup,Summer Fruit and Outdoor Kiosks

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It’s summer time in the Northern hemisphere. On our recent visit to far away Canada we filled our stomach with lush summer fruit: golden peaches with hints of red blush, tangy sweet strawberries and juice dripping plums. Slurp! slurp. Snow covered streets was a thing of the past season.

London, Ontario

An easy walk down Talbot street, at corner of King street, London Ontario, was the iconic Covent market. Established in 1845,the brown stone building is a popular landmark. It’s large clock dial at the entrance, high ceiling and noveau glass panes make the architecture of this two storey building. The ground floor is home to local vendors, some who are here for more than 20 years, everyday! From gourmet cheese from south Ontario, fresh seasonal groceries, award-winning meat cuts to locally prepared breads and pastries, the market hall caters to all. Come summer, there’s even a special weekend outdoor market in addition to indoor stalls. ‘Want a special Maple syrup, Canadás very own?’ inquired a vendor, noticing my touristy attire and inquisitiveness. The early Aboriginal settlers taught the arriving Europeans (Canadians) to harvest maple sap from the trees, boil it in clay pots and use syrup to lace sweet treats.

‘Coffee and raisin bread?’ asked my friend. we quickly opted for the outdoor wooden benches at the street level, rather than the quietude of the first floor indoor coffee shop. ‘Just like other Canadians…soak up the sun, while it lasts, listen to the summer time live music bands playing in the background’ I chirped with a smile.

Courtesy: Coventmarket.com/outdoors

Montreal: Marche BonSecours

The old city cobbled walk was picturesque and informative, magnificent stone buildings dotting both sides of the street. On Rue St. Paul Est (yes, official language is French, in this Provence) the Marche BonSecours stood majestically. We stood in awe at this architectural grandeur!

The building almost occupied the entire street, perfectly symmetrical on each side of its imaginative central line.The six Roman columns make an imposing front central facade above which a triangular plaque bears the name of the market. We soon learned about the Palladian style architecture (perfect building symmetry, perspective in all round view and values) brought here by British architect William Footner. He copied from Roman and Greek styles so true to the time period. The central dome and rotunda was so high…almost touching the clear blue sky!

A very popular market in the 1800’s, it served local and regional population with produce coming from far away. After being shut down as a market in 1964, it served as Government office. In recent times, the large central hall and majestic first floor rooms and corridor are often rented out for community projects, marriage functions and exhibitions. It’s no longer functions as a produce market.

To cater to the summer tourists and locals (schools close for summer holidays) nearby streets stretched out with a variety of stalls. Souvenirs, exotic sugarcane juice, rows of Maple syrup, locally painted canvas Art, handcrafted jewellery, candy floss and ice cream treats, straw bags, handcrafted dolls…the street market was brimming had a very vibrant mood!

Ottawa

Very near the Parliament buildings and historical buildings in Ottawa is popular, bustling ByWard marketplace. With over 400 unique shops that fill this area, there is something for everyone! There is NEVER a dull moment here, come winter or summer. If not to shop, at least we can capture a memento photo at the iconic signpost, I thought.

The red stone buildings here have much history. In the yesteryear they were private residences of many officials and merchants. Today they have become business houses: shops, cafes, restaurants, bakeries and garden equipment markets. By the day the place attracts many a home maker, casual tourist, office goer looking for quick bite.

But as the sun sets …the sidewalk cafe, restaurants and beer shops attract another set of consumers! At times though…. sadly the street is strewn by glass bottles thrown by drunk people, it’s a place for small time robbery and fights too.

 

‘Don’t forget the maple syrup bottles,there is a special kiosk here’ called out a vendor. I noticed the ‘fleur’ blue and white flag, indicating the flag of the region.

My friend pointed out to some fresh strawberries and Rhubarb. Those reddish-purple stalks were unique, I thought. We picked up a bunch to make rhubarb compote. Then move on to sweet treat and cross cultural friendship hugs. The Óbama cookies reminded us of cross border friendship:) For the sugar treat  the big French Bakery was a perfect place.

It was time to head home, taking back memories and photographs of the city markets. It was time to ponder about  culture, food and seasons in lands far beyond. It was time to value what we have in hand and what we get…beyond.

Au revoir…till we meet again.

World Palate Recipes: Raw Papaya Avial (Kerala Style)

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Our small patch of vegetable garden is blooming, thanks to much planning and effort of hubby dear. This morning’s bounty was: purple brinjals(aubergines), fresh green mint and some gourds. Indeed it is so gratifying and therapeutic, as we work in the garden. A very relaxing, yet rewarding exercise!

My friend from Kerala ( southern India) visited me recently, and admired the papaya tree. ‘Wow, can you give me one green papaya, please? I’ll cook you a delicious Kerala curry.’ Smiles exchanged, papaya given!

 

Raw papaya is often used in Kerala cuisine, not so much in other parts of India though. But in North India it does find its way into chutneys and masala parathas. It’s relatively bland flavour makes it versatile to combine with other vegetables like potato, carrot, peas, beans, bottle gourd, chow-chow etc.

Being a powerhouse of enzymes it has many benefits from cleansing the internal system, to making face mask and to providing papain for good digestion. No wonder it’s very sought after for medical and skin care products. (I rub the ripe papaya skin on my face and hands, for a cleansing effect, then wash after 10 minutes:)

https://food.ndtv.com/health/4-remarkable-raw-papaya-benefits-from-internal-cleansing-to-glowing-skin-1679908

Raw Papaya Avial (curry with coconut paste). Serves 5-8.

Ingredients:

1 raw papaya( with a slight yellow tinge)

1 raw plantain / banana

2-3 drumsticks ( not chicken, but a long green slender vegetable)

1/2 coconut grated

1/2 inch ginger

2 tsps cumin seeds lightly roasted

2 -3 tsps Coconut oil for cooking /or other oil

2 sprigs of Curry leaves

4-6 green chillies

1-2 red chillies (for garnish)

1 cup thick yoghurt

salt to taste

Method:

Wash well and peel all the vegetables. Cut them into 1 inch squares or lengthwise as prefered. Put a large pot with 2-4 cups of water to boil, place vegetables in it, add some salt and cook till almost tender ( 15- 20 mins. approx.)

Till then, make a paste of grated coconut either in blender or traditional method of using stone mortar. ( this is a wonderful arm exercise, but needs rigour and skill to keep pushing the coconut to the centre, as it tends to spill on sides). Crush and paste the roasted cumin seeds- a burst of aroma fills the kitchen! Make a paste of ginger and chillies, add salt while crushing.

Check the boiling vegetables, reduce heat!

Now add the ground paste and coconut to the vegetables, lightly stir. Adjust salt and chilli as required.

In an iron pan / or non stick wok pour oil and heat. When warm, add a few cumin seeds, tear and add curry leaves and 1-2 red chillies. As this splutters, pour on top of boiled vegetable mix. Reserve some for garnish.

Now take off the heat, add and stir thick yoghurt with care. Mix gently. Heat for 5 minutes. Its’s ready for serving with a bowl of steaming rice.

To serve, take some Avial / curry place it in serving bowl. Garnish with spluttered oil, cumin, red chilli mix. Enjoy the meal.

What have you planted in your garden? How do you enjoy the flowers or vegetables?

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2018) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

 

 

Crochet :Versatile, Easy Granny Squares

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Ever wondered why those crochet squares are so-called? Granny squares is something of the 1970’s. It is a crochet square worked from the centre outwards, in multiple rows and well-formed corners. A ‘solid’ granny square will have a dense stitch done in single colour, where multiple colours will add variety, colour and pattern to the simple solid granny square. Because they are portable, simple and a great way to re-use yarn, it’s so Granny!

The Woman’s Day Book of Granny Squares (Fawcett, 1975), is a collection of granny-based designs and notes (checkout on Google).

Solid Granny square

Here are my recent granny square projects using new yarn.

Girl’s handbag

Begin with the magic circle and work 5-6 rows of double crochet to make the classic pattern. In each corner chain – work 3 double crochet, 2 chains, 3 double crochet. This will give the corner a good finish. Add an all round double crochet border stitch to complete and make a neat square. Make another similar square for the other side of bag.

Now join both squares at one end using a single crochet stitch. Measure a soft fabric, choose a matching colour or make it contrasting bright. Lay flat, measure adding extra 1 inch all round for hem. Cut, fold hem inwards and sew fabric to the inner side of crochet square, using a big eye needle and thread.

Now turn the square ‘right side on right side’ and using needle and yarn sew the other 2 sides of square, leaving one side open for top end. (There are many You tube videos that explain this in detail.) Add tassels or beads on a string as embellishments.

To make the handle – make a chain stitch as long or short as you wish for the size, then crochet 2 rows of double crochet into each. Finish off by sewing both ends to the top edges of the handbag.

A crochet dress

This dress will fit a 2-year-old girl. It is slightly modified from a pattern I saw on Etsy. Remember that thickness of yarn, needle size, hand tension, pattern – are variants to the outcome.

I used multicoloured blue /green yarn (2 balls), yellow and turtle green.

I made a two varieties of Granny squares : Classic granny square and mitered patterns with blue and yellow.

Join the required number of squares by sewing together or using single crochet and make 2-3 rows lengthwise. Measure a sample skirt for desired width and length. When using different colours and patterns, first lay them out as desired, change positions as preferred, then join one by one to make a horizontal row. Add another 1-2 horizontal rows as required. Make similar for back part of skirt.

 

To begin the body, single crochet into each chain on the top end of skirt. Next 1-2 rows you may need to decrease stitches to get a narrow waist.

I experimented with few rows of basket weave stitch and double crochet to produce a designed effect. Continue working upwards till you reach arm hole.

Find the centre of the body (front and back). Mark with a pin.  Now mark for arm hole on sides of body, counting exact same number of stitches.

Crochet double crochet bands of desired width as shoulder straps and attach to body part, taking cue from the marking of arm hole and centre. You may need a bit of adjustment here.

To finish the skirt end – I did 3-4 rows of simple double crochet using body and skirt colours. This is the time you may wish to try learning an edging, picot or lace design.

http://aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com/2013/10/book-reviews-crochet-titles/

For the girly effect: beads, satin or glazed ribbon, lace, crochet flower brooch will all add that extra sparkle and ‘oooooh’ effect. I kept my dress simple, due time restraints.

Do share photos of your work if you make a granny square dress. Good luck to creativity! 

 

 

 

Festival Market:The Spot Festival, Sydney

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Festival Market:The Spot Festival, Sydney

Remember the nostalgic moments of countryside folk markets popular for food and street plays? Remember as a child you almost got lost in the crowds while buying an ice cream? Remember tapping to the live band and sharing some laughs with school friends at summer festival markets?

Well, recently Randwick, Sydney had it all at their popular festival market.

At the end of the summer (in the southern hemisphere in March) this event takes place annually. Randwick is a suburb in Sydney. It suddenly becomes a great cultural melting pot during this event. ‘The Spot Festival’ proudly attracts not just the local Aussies( as they are called locally), but Greeks, French, Indian, Sri Lankan, Eastern Europeans and Lebanese that make up part of Sydney’s cultural melange. It’s amazing and interesting to hear so many dialects just on one street in Sydney’s suburb!

Music, entertainment, food and craft stalls. The festival market has it all – Enjoy the outdoors in summer, as long as it lasts.

The Spot Festival Market, Sydney

Perouse street, a short walk down the main street of Randwick begins pulling in crowds from 11 am. The dress sense is casual and summery: T shirts, shorts, flowing skirts, a sun hat and eye shades and sandals or flip-flops. ‘The Spot’ building and adjoining restaurants and cafes become a convenient meeting place where a cacophony of voices rise with the growing crowd.

For details see here  http://www.randwick.nsw.gov.au/community/whats-on/the-spot-festival/about-the-spot-festival

The market boasted a wide array of local craft. Home made scented candles, jars and bottles of fruit jam and tomato pickle, exotic fragrant soaps – all made by women entrepreneurs. The packaging, hygiene and display were excellent, perfect for gifting a hamper or present! Other stalls had paintings, caricatures, French linen and Indian block print summer wear.

Exotic scented candles

Exotic things don’t come cheap. And cheap things don’t smell or taste so good! Go shop local ware.

A stage was set up at the end of one street. Jazz Blues, popular beats, Karaoke and stage plays kept the crowds entertained.

The opposite end of the street was a ‘children’s zone.’

Photo courtesy: easternsuburbsmums.com

Gleeful children enjoyed face painting, chasing rainbow soap bubbles, lifting Helium balloons into the air and licking candy, slushes and Ice creams. Loud, happy laughter filled the air, and colourful festoons hung above from the trees and shop terraces. However, for a little quiet time (if baby or pregnant mummy wanted a rest on a hot day!) there was a nappy changing room and a mobile ‘Library on Wheels’ filled with big bright children’s books.

Wait…don’t miss out on the food! That’s half the reason to be here. Fancy a burger and chips or Mexican burrito and salsa? The Turkish Gozleme (spinach and cheese pancake), Lebanese bread, South Asian sugarcane juice and Indian /Sri Lankan chicken rice and Naan stood up for the competition too.

A fun day full of vibrant atmosphere and colour. A day to tickle the palate with variety of cuisines. A day to enjoy a temperate summer. A day to meet up with friends and family for free live music and dance. Or, a day to sip an Expresso or Latte in the nearby cafes and write about the crowds.

Next year, BE THERE! The Spot Festival, Sydney 2019.

 

Crochet:Learning a New Stitch

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Repeating any action is always easy, learning something new is a challenge. To keep the brain healthy and active it’s important to keep learning new.  ‘In learning, there is growth.’ Information and knowledge is changing and increasing everyday and the brain must be stimulated. Whether we read a book, learn new strategies for managing our expenses, experiment painting or learn to cycle away…its all about being mentally active and alert. Besides, doesn’t it boost your self-esteem?

So what am I starting on as my first stitch for the New Year? The shell stitch or fan stitch. It’s so aptly named as it fans out, thus  It increases body volume. If you want a bit of  dainty or delicate touch to your piece then this is the stitch. It can be used for the entire body of the work or as a dainty border for a blanket, scarf or table-cloth. See here

Shell scallop edging for crochet blanket

A shell stitch is formed by inserting about 3-5 double crochet or treble crochet into one chain of the foundation chain, then working on the above rows. Thus it looks narrow at the bottom and spreads out like a fan or shell at the top end. There are a variety of shell stitches like lace, crazy, reverse. It’s a good idea to work on a small sampler first to accommodate trials and errors 🙂 Believe me, it saves time later, and you have neater work!

The pattern I’m working on requires 9 dc into one chain, the shell fans out almost 180 degrees. Since it fans out, it is essential to leave out the next couple of chains(refer to required pattern) else you will land up with many more chains on the next row.

Here are some sites I browsed. Thanks to all those wonderful crocheters who share their knowledge with all of us. Due credits!

http://www.bellacoco You Tube tutorial/shell stitch

https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2016/03/crochet-shell-stitch/

https://persialou.com/2016/09/how-to-crochet-the-shell-stitch.html

https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-crochet-shell-stitch-979103

What are you going to make with this stitch? Do leave your comments /photos to share with others.

World Palate Recipes:Til Gul Laadoo(Sesame and Jaggery Balls)

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It’s the Indian festival of Makar Sankranti from 13- 15 January. As the Sun God begins its movement northwards away from the southern hemisphere, it brings in warmth.

This is the first festival of the year and is celebrated all over India for abundance and health. India being an agrarian country festivals evolve around crops, harvesting and the farm animals. The paddy having been harvested and sold, brings in cash and joyfulness.The farming community celebrates Sankranti or Pongal for three days preparing feasts for family and friends, praying to Mother Earth and decorating and feeding the cattle.

Paddy field after harvest

Pongal o Pongal‘ – as they traditionally say in South India. A rice and milk kheer (pudding) sweetened with sugar cane juice is made in a clay pot. The milk is allowed to overflow signifying abundance.

Credit: Internet / dgreetings.com

In Maharashtra cane sugar is the main cash crop. Jaggery/gul and granulated sugar is made from the juice. Fresh jaggery (chikki gul), a golden orange -brown solid is abundantly sold during this season. Today, I have specially made Til Gul, a traditional Maharashtrian recipe for my ‘virtual’ community. The ingredients are proper to boost health and provide warmth to the body during the winter.

‘Til gul ghaya, god bola’ …Take sesame and jaggery sweets and speak sweet words.

Til Gul – sesame and jaggery balls

Ingredients

1 cup sesame seeds/ Til roasted

1/2 cup peanuts roasted / coarse grind

10 – 15 raisins (optional)

1 cup chikki gul / a jaggery with lighter hue if available

1 tsp. ghee /clarified butter

1/2 cup grated dry coconut or desiccated coconut (optional)

1/2 cup roasted gram dal (optional)

 

Method

Warm a non stick wok /deep pan on the stove, add the ghee. As it melts add the jaggery and keep stirring continuously. To test if liquid is ready for setting: Take a drop and plunge in to some water – it should make a blob. ( This is the test, needs practice).

Meanwhile prepare the dry ingredients in a large plate and keep handy.

As the jaggery begins boiling, add the dry ingredients one by one, as much as the semi liquid can take. DO NOT pour all at once! Keep stirring to mix evenly. Switch off /on heat, if necessary. As the mixture begins to thicken and leave the sides of the wok it ready to be removed from heat.

Dip your hands in cool water or pat them with ghee /oil and take small portions of (hot) mixture and roll quickly into balls, of required size. ( makes 25 small ones).

Else …grease a flat plate or tray. Pour the mixture evenly and pat. Let it rest and cool. Cut into squares and serve, or keep in airtight box.

Til Gul ghaya, god bola’….and share with friends and family.

Til Gul – sesame and jaggery balls

 

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

New Year, New Growth

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My first blog of 2018 is an entry on ‘growth‘ by Daily Post challenge. Here’s wishing all my readers a Happy New Year!

A year of growth in strength:physical, mental and spiritual.

In growth there is positive energy.

In growth there is a change.

In growth there is a new beginning.

Here is the link: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/challenge

‘Growth is the only evidence of life.’ John Henry Newman.

Our apartment window sill is home to two warm pigeon eggs. It’s exciting to see them grow and be incubated.Though pigeons are a nuisance, to see the eggs hatch will be interesting.

‘All the flowers of tomorrow, are in the seeds of today’. 

Chinese proverb

Our kitchen garden gives us plenty of exciting opportunities to witness growth. As a new leaf sprouts, we await the flowers. As the flowers bloom, we await the bees. As the bee arrives we await pollination. Growth and change. Soon the flowers will turn into seeds ( pods of broad beans in the photo).

How do you plan to grow this year? What new beginnings are you undertaking? 

Dated: 23/1/2018

Fellow bloggers and friends requested for a more recent ‘growth’ photo of the hatched eggs. Here it is…..still growing. I decided to add it to this same post.

hatched chick

older chick

Kaleidoscope 2017: Photo Quiz

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The year 2017 that was….

It’s almost year end! Everyone of us has had their share of keeping the resolutions, bonding with family and friends, reaching out to community, travel, shopping and other needs of life. Some fun, some tough. Only moments that have challenged our strength, patience and sanity test us longer.

‘ There is not much growth when the road is smooth. We only grow when we face challenges that strengthen us from within and out.’

Anonymous.

As a year-end post, here is a quiz for you. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading up and enjoying the photo stories all along. Here’s a quiz.

How well do you remember year 2017 photos?

Your prize:  A small crochet item for the first person to have correct answers posted in the comments box below.

  1.   Which city is famous for this fruit? What sweet is the city famous for?

2.

Where did I capture this notebook seller? What items are sold in this market?

3.

What is the plant that is used to make this decorative item. What is the decoration called?

4.

Kitchen gardening is our latest hobby. Which vegetable did I grow and make this curry? In which countries does it grow?

5.

Yummmm…A ‘chatpata‘ snack invariably sold on Indian …….? What does the word ‘chatpata’ mean?

6.

It’s heart warming when friends cook and share their recipes. What is this preparation? When is it specially prepared?

7.

These flowers are used to make orange dye. Name the flower and the blog post that describes this.

Easy? Hope you hear your answers soon. What would you like me to add in my posts next year?

        Wish you all a happy and  

      successfull New Year 2018.

Stay strong, stay calm…be happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Vegetables at the Street Market

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Yet another street market? What’s different, you may ask. With a discerning eye and a storyteller’s mind let me weave the picture.

Off the main road in Karkhana, Hyderabad I spotted this weekly street market, just by chance. It was Wednesday evening. Gradually the vendors had begun spreading their jute bags to carpet their predetermined area. In the backdrop brightly painted two-storied buildings in blue, deep yellow, bright green and pink brought added colour to the place. Winding steps cluttered with potted plants, open terraces with hanging cloth blankets or bontalu detailed the residential character of the street.

A push cart laden with colourful glass bangles vied for attention. Glistening in the evening sun red, blue, deep green, gold, yellow, grey and pink bangles were tied in clusters. Even the young peddler, with  mobile in hand, sported an equally colourful shirt!

Ahead, Nagamani Amma a bit amused watched me patiently. Would I be interested in buying brinjal, beans or okra instead? Bending to pick up some winter beans I noticed her wrists sporting a dozen green bangles. She was a picture perfect! Red saree, a nose ring, large bindi on her forehead and bangles on her wrists. Traditional simplicity!

Winter brings in its bounty of seasonal vegetables – Indian broad beans (chikudkaya), cabbage, cauliflower, radish. Fresh green bunches coriander, mint and spinach – everyone’s delight! I couldn’t wait to go home and add fresh chopped coriander to my dal.

Ahh….what aroma.

No market scene is complete without carts, vendors, carry boys, busy women with cloth bags or baskets (plastic is forbidden), pop corn or fruit stalls and loaders scuffling between the crowds.

If a street has a spirit, no matter how narrow it is, we can breathe comfortably over there.”
― Mehmet Murat

In that narrow, crowded street, life went on as usual. Children rushing out of their homes to play, women squatting on their doorsteps after a long day, chatting merrily with neighbours, yet others collecting clothes from the terrace ahead of dusk. Was the market like an ongoing weekly movie? Was it a nuisance as crowds gathered and leftover garbage littered the area? Or was it easy shopping at the doorstep?

Weekly markets or grower’s market are a common sight in many countries. Each has a distinct style and produce sale. What is your experience and where?

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer.

 

 

 

World Palate Recipes: Snake Gourd Vegetable (Potlakaya Poriyal)

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It’s been an exciting learning curve in our newly planted kitchen garden. The sun’s direction, weather changes, water supply and fertility of soil were our primary challenges. Then came the deciding factor of choosing plants and their positioning.

As the Bhindi (okra) and potlakaya (snake gourd) began thriving, we (first timers) counted each new leaf and pod:) The potlakaya creeper is a fast growing plant and soon climbed up the prepared trellis and gave small white flowers in abundance. ‘Look! let’s count the potlakaya hanging underneath’ I later muttered to hubby. We even tied a string and stone to each so it would grow long and straight…haha!

Over to the kitchen- with the garden fresh gourd  in hand.

padval, chirchinda. It grows best in warm climate and sandy, loamy soil with a bit of compost. It is high in fiber and has much water, so it’s low in calories. It has Vitamin A, B and C and is used in medicinal properties like treating dandruff and diabetes. The pith and seeds are discarded after slicing.

A variety of recipes can be made from this vegetable. One can just temper /fry it for a curry, boil it and add some yoghurt for a raita or make stuffed curry. What’s your preferred recipe? From which region?

(Potlakaya Poriyal) or Snake gourd Vegetable

Ingredients

2 snake gourds medium length

1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (or dry roasted, if not available)

Tempering:

1/2 spoon urad dal + chana dal mixture

1 sprig of curry leaf

1 spoon mustard seeds

1 spoon turmeric powder or haldi

1-2 dry red chillies

(optional – green chilli and ginger paste as required)

Traditional Spice box or Masala Dabba

Method

1-2 snake gourds, choose tender ones. Slit lengthwise and de seed, removing all the pith. Wash and sprinkle some salt, let it rest. Discard the water.

In a wok/ kadhai add 2 spoons of oil. Once warm, sprinkle the lentil mixture, mustard seeds and dry red chilli. Add a sprig of curry leaf or kadipatta. Let this tadka or tempering crackle, take care this does not burn.

Add the gourd pieces and stir cook. Add a bit of water to cook if required else cover the kadhai with a some water on the lid. Stir as required and vegetable cooks quickly. Add the fresh grated coconut, adjust the salt.

I avoid adding any ginger / garlic to these garden fresh vegetables to keep their inherent taste. Suit yourself. Garnish with kadipatta or curry leaves. Serve with rice or roti.

 

A very quick and easy preparation, and light on the stomach. Enjoy!

What’s growing in your garden?

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

World Palate Recipes: Dry Fruits Barfi (Noughat)

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Once again it’s the festival of lights – Deepavali. All over India homes, shops and streets are decked in bright colour, tinkling lights, and garlands of marigold flowers. The festival celebrates ‘light over darkness’ and rejuvenating ourselves with knowledge. People lit diya or mud lamps in their homes and offices, symbolically to spread light.

Rangoli floor design

Indulgence in sweets mithai comes only naturally as friends and family  visit each other exchanging traditional home made sweets like Ladoo, Karanji, Doodh pak, Kalakand, Gulab Jamun. In recent times, fusion food followers are making fresh efforts to introduce new ingredients and recipes. Rose water, figs, khoya and baadam, chocolate, avocado and variety of nuts give a twist to the traditional recipes.

Here is a quick, easy and nutritious recipe using dry fruits.

Dry fruit Barfi

Ingredients

30 gms of each – almonds, figs, dates, pistachio, cashew nut ..and any other nut you may wish to introduce

20 gms roasted sesame seeds

10 gms poppy seeds or khus khus

2 spoons ghee or clarified butter

2 spoons wheat flour (optional)

Method

Finely chop the figs, dates and lightly soak them in very few drops of water for about 5-10 mins.

Coarse grind almonds, pistachio, cashew nuts and roasted sesame seeds – all separately! Keep aside in small separate portions.

Put a large pan on the burner to warm, add ghee and stir as it melts. Add the flour and roast till it gives aroma. Add in the dry fruits and nut mixture. Keep aside some pistachio powder and khus khus for garnish. Stir the mixture till all is well coated and mixed. Remove from burner and roll into cylindrical shape tightly. Tie a plastic wrap or aluminium foil and refrigerate.

Once cooled, remove from wrap. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Roll the edges with khus khus. Decorate on plate. (Optional – coat with silver edible foil if you wish, adds a festive touch).

Happy Deepavali. Enjoy the treats with your dear ones.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer