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

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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

Daily Post Entry: Structure

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Here is my entry for this week’s Daily Post. To see more see the link below.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/structure/

Paani puri , is a favourite evening road side snack, almost all over India. Also known as Gol guppas or Puchka, it is made of wheat based puri or fried base then laced with a concoction of tangy, sweet, chilli chutneys upon boiled potato and sev.

However, the conical bamboo stand holding up the food set up is hardly noticed. Being light and convenient, the vendor carries it everyday from home to the roadside stall and setting up his business.

Notice the structure

Conical bamboo stand holding bags of pani puri

A Flower Colour Burst at Monda Market

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”Flowers always make people happier, cheerful and add

         colour to life. They are Nature’s medicine for the soul.”

Marigold flower – Orange blooms

There’s no other market in Hyderabad that stocks truckloads of flowers for sale, except Monda market. (I don’t mean the Lilies, Roses and cut stem flowers). This market caters to the very Indian at heart – flowers for garlands, hair decoration and puja offerings.

Opening at 6 am everyday of the year (no holidays!) it’s the premier, overflowing marketplace adjacent to the fruit and vegetable market. Every festive season flower stalls swell to meet the enormous demand. Prices soar almost double and so do the people’s voices.

We went shopping early at 7:00 am. Mounds of loose marigold flowers, rose petals, paan( betel leaf), toran(door decorations), hardy brown coconuts were all being organized onto the makeshift pedestal stalls. Shopkeepers were in a frenzy ahead of the busy Friday morning, unfolding the moist red cloth tied around baskets to keep everything fresh.

There I began taking photos as usual, or striking a quick chat in the midst of this shopping maze. THAT distraction was enough to misplace my bag full of mango leaves and other puja necessities! Phew!

Today, being a puja day during the month of Shravan, loose flowers  were selling at Rs. 80 -Rs. 100 per kilo prices, higher than usual of Rs.50 – 60. Marigold, Aster, Zinnia and rose petals are in high demand during this time used for making door decorations and elaborate wedding pandals as well as puja offering.

Here is our hero for the day- A  young and smart shopkeeper with experience from his childhood days made a has been beautiful toran for us from fresh palm leaves in a jiffy. Just snip the palm leaf with a sharp blade, a twist here – a turn there – and behold!

 

 

How about some flower garlands for your hair, Madam? said this shopkeeper and wanted me to take his photo as he held up the jasmine and rose malai. The contrast of colours of the tightly hand knotted flowers and the perfume of  jasmine…..ahhh! was a beautiful invitation whether to the Lord or to a young Romeo 🙂

Heading to the adjacent fruit market, we bought 5 types of fruit for the puja and some paan.

Till then, hoping you will visit a crowded flower market to brighten your day and mood. Share your mood with us as you smell the flowers, wherever.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scorching Summer, Date Palms, Al Ain market.

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                    Sunshine all the time,

                    Makes a desert. ( Arab Proverb).

Driving past the sand dunes from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain city, last month when temperature soared above 40 degrees, was certainly not the best time. With a visit to the date farms and Al Ain market on the list… we had to meet the harsh weather, just like the Bedouins!

The drive took less than two hours, past the sand dunes in differing hues. Near the Al Nahyan Jahili museum, is the lush green curated (UNESCO site) palm plantation. With over 1000 palms and 50 varieties grown here, it was a blessing to stand under the shade of the fronds. Braving the sun, we explored the different plantations on either side of the central passageway. The traditional falaj irrigation system provides the required amount of water released as needed.

Expressway fro, Abu Dhabi to Al Ain

What a treat and unique experience it was as we plucked fresh crunchy, semi-ripe dates! Hanging in clusters of 10-20 fruit, the sugary fruit quickly saturated us. There were plenty fallen on the soft sandy soil. Crunch, crunch, crunch……and finally a burp!

Crunchy, fresh dates – best eaten raw.

The local grocer market at nearby Mina centre, is just a drive round the corner. The low-rise building was almost hidden from view. Don’t expect an open air souk, with goats or camel standing there. For that, visit the Camel Souk.

The airy covered and ventilated market area is quite large with shops on either side and a large central corridor for easy flow of customers and goods. The vendors are locals, immigrants settled here from coastal India, Philippine, neighbouring Oman and Sudan, but no Emirati shopkeepers. A friendly Emirati, clad in his traditional long white Kandoura, helped me choose the most succulent dates and nudged me into buying 5 kilo! ‘They are good, good…season fresh now’ he said.

There were plenty of stalls selling dry fish and sea food like cuttlefish, fish ball cakes, dry sea weed, fish crackers… produce brought in from coastal Oman and Kerala in India. These are a sought after delicacy among the Emirati population, who otherwise prefer camel meat and poultry.

Delicate woven straw baskets, aluminium trays filled with season’s dry dates like Barhi, Niloufer and local Al Ain specialties were aplenty. Most vendors were Keralites who had settled here many years ago, working on farms owned by locals.

I struck a good bargain, as a fellow Indian and offered AED 13 Dirham per kilo. These dates he explained ‘were season’s fresh, not dipped in any sugar syrup and unprocessed. And no packaging too’. He offered me 3-4 different varieties of dates to taste. There… I was burping again!

It was time to refresh with some cool Labaan, a popular yoghurt drink with enough salts and dairy to refresh you on a hot day. Small air-conditioned shops nearby catered to needs of the shopkeepers and buyers. Fresh vegetables like lettuce, mint, coriander, green leafy vegetables and bananas, melons and papaya – mostly grown in nearby greenhouse farms made their way to this market. The refrigerator kiosk was filled with dairy products.

Carrying plastic bags filled with fresh dates for friends and family, it was time to bid goodbye to the city market. We left richer – with bag loads of fruit and a deeper knowledge of the summer conditions that ripen the fruit. Locals briefed us about the nutritional content and importance of providing sustenance to those tired, weary desert Bedouins. No wonder then Mother Maryam was advised to ”shake that palm towards you, and the dates will fall and feed you” as mentioned in the Holy book.

 

Have you been to a date plantation ? Share your experience. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crochet: Importance of Practice

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While chatting with a story-teller friend last week we discussed how we kept repeating and …getting better. She at story telling and me at crochet. I moaned ‘I just work on Granny squares time and again!’ She chirped ‘ I tell a few (same) stories to the children, again and again’. We both smiled!

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes it perfect.’

Vince Lombardi.

  • As a beginner to crochet you will wonder where to start, what to practice upon. When a friend introduced me to the yarn and needle, we both began on mastering the chain stitch and double crochet(dc). Recently, two new friends came along and gifting them small colourful  yarn bundles to work upon was the best way to learn and practice crochet, in the midst of chai cups:)
  • Begin with small projects. Mastering the basic Granny squares works for me. As you master the yarn tension, keep count of the chains or trebles, learn to turn your work every new row, learn to measure, and of course find your mistakes – rip it – re-do. It’s all about practice. The process sure can be very demanding, at times frustrating, but surely satisfying!
  • Adding colour and variety keeps interest flowing. Who says you need to be a Granny to do crochet? Well, search the You Tube or crochet books and you’ll find a dozen different patterns to do a basic square to practice upon. (I know only 3 patterns).

Multi colour granny squares

crochet squares- solid granny pattern

  • Step up, move on. Once you’ve mastered a certain stitch or pattern, it’s time to add a bit of challenge to your work. According to Jean Piaget, a child psychologist, children (we) go through four stages of cognitive development. Thus, as we see and experience, learn the basic schema (a pattern), new experiences or knowledge presented modifies or adapts our learning to reach next level.
  • From small to big is the next stage. Practice old and new stitches. Create something more meaningful. Time to turn those squares or hexagons into dish cloths, Afghans, baby blankets,bags and more.
  • Granny square blanket

     

    Granny square bag

    Courtesy: Internet
    Granny Square Vest

    Do share your experiences on practice. What are you working on at present? How does practice benefit or irritate you? 

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

Big Thank You to my Reader’s

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       Yippee…I’ve just published my 120th blog post.

 

Numbers do not mean anything, they say.

All the same without an audience, me an amateur writer would have nothing more motivating than you. The blog began 3 years ago as a ‘time filler and learning to use the computer meaningfully.’ Somehow along the way, curious friends and bloggers began reading and following 🙂 Thank you to each on of you!

 

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Book Lover’s Paradise: Koti Book Market

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Book Lover’s Paradise: Koti Book Market

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.   

Charles William Eliot

 

Have you every visited a heritage family home? Faded plastered walls, hanging chandeliers, wooden round tables and above all… smelled the lingering musty, rich smell of books and papers?

Those were the days… without the digital screens:Television, iPads, Tabs, and Kindle.

Those were the days… when reading and reading aloud was encouraged during family meal times and on cold winter nights. Reading not only stimulates the brain, but promotes conversation.

Those were the days… when birthday and anniversary presents came in the form of books – just black and white print.

My Sunday morning turned special, as I took my helper to buy books for her new college term. We took a long ride by bus to Koti, across the Musi river in Hyderabad. ‘Aunty, please’ she reminded ”Don’t start taking photos, else the shopkeepers will stare, or may raise book price’ and I smiled.

What a visual treat stretched out on the street off the bus depot! Being a Sunday less traffic means more road space. Books, books everywhere. Universal Book Centre, RajKamal Books, NeelKamal Book Centre and Famous Book shop and others have stood the test of time here. College students come flocking to Koti at the start of the start of new term. The shops dizzying, neat vertical rows of curricular books, was indeed promising.

Rows of shops selling academic and fiction books

Kothi, in Hindi and Urdu means house. During the Nizam era the area housed concubines and other women folk attending to the royal family. Kothi has some famous buildings that house long-standing educational institutes. The splendid architectural Women’s college and nearby Osmania University caters to medical, nursing and Arts courses. Nearby the Gandhi Gyan Kendra , a good place for Yoga courses is a 40 year-long establishment. Thus the business of selling academic books in Koti has been thriving for many decades, changing to the needs of the day.

Medicine, Astrology, Science, Grammar, Spoken English books as well as guides for competitive exams such as TOEFL, CAT, EAMCET are most sought after. Ruled notebooks, account ledgers, drawing books, stationary items are also sold at competitive price. Ever bought notebooks by weight? Come here, there’s no haggling. At a fixed price of Rs. 100/ per kilo for notebooks of A4 size we bought 3 kilos plus course books for Rs. 430/ at a discounted government rate for the CEC curriculum ( Civics, Economics, Commerce). Heavy! heavy I cried.

Second hand books on sale

Further on, the dirty dilapidated subway near Andhra bank is not the best place for a Sunday visual treat! Yet, deep under, on dark descending steps multitude of book sellers cater to second-hand academic books. Best buys for needy college students as they get a loan period and discounts at Rs. 150 – 300.

Such a heartwarming sight! Few college girls were deeply engrossed into comparing syllabus books at these second-hand shops. The thirst for  education, the need for term books and being pocket wise was obvious.Well done!

Second hand book market, Kothi.

Further under the canopy of trees, spread out on large plastic sheets fiction books,classics and children’s story books covered entire stretch of the pavement. Hemingway, Stephen King, Eliot,Tagore, Salman Rushie and new Indian authors like Chetan Bhagat, Jhumpa Lahiri. Ah! what a spread! Though a serious buyer or collector may frown upon the small print, brown pages, authenticity of editing and grammatical errors, the competitive price at Rs. 300-350 seemed like a bargain for just quick lazy reads. Take it or leave it, no haggling.

Arms heavy with carrying the buy of the day, it was time to head home. Popular street book markets are found in most cities. In my college days I often went to Flora Fountain, Mumbai to buy classics or second-hand books. Maybe, I should turn the clock and revisit.

Have you been to a street book market in your city? How was it different?

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

 

 

 

Food and Markets during Festive Season of Ramzan

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To all my Muslim friends, readers and followers of this blog

    Ramzan Kareem or Ramadan Mubarak 

At the end of a month-long period of fasting(Sawm), Muslims all over the world celebrate Ramzan (or Ramadhan). In Arabic, the word Ramzan means dryness or scorching heat…referring to the stomach dryness during fasting.

Decorative lamps, table ware, flower bouquets, gifts articles, glittery slippers, sandals and purses, lace and zari trimmed dresses as well as special food treats are packed into every inch of space in shopping malls, markets and restaurants to usher in the festivity. Mounds of thin, crispy noodles or seviyaan sit in circles in sweet shops, Dates filled with pistachio or almonds grace dry fruit stores in the Gulf region and Haleem, a local Hyderabadi dish prepared with pounded wheat, meat and lentils is extremely popular.

Faux zari borders, lace and gotta patti

Here are some photos sent by friends as they get busy in the malls or their homes preparing for the celebration.

Shopping mall decorated for Ramadan

 

Fasting ends after the evening Asar prayers, and the first food to be partaken is the succulent, nutrient Dates. Here is last year’s post on Dates.

At this time of the year, Date Palm fronds are filled with reddish raw fruit, that soon turns golden-yellow in the summer heat. In Hyderabad, as people throng to city mosques for evening prayers,street carts filled with Date fruit and sliced mangoes, papaya and watermelon are sold.

Ripened Berhi dates

After the fast…then feast, then shop or visit friends and relatives to exchange gifts. My Lebanese friend, an excellent cook sends me some virtual treats 🙂  Kunafeh is a rich luxurious dairy dessert popular in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and the neighbouring countries. Filled with ricotta cheese and decorated with crusty shredded khadaif noodles, Kunafeh is laced with plenty of sugar syrup and rose water….yumm..melting in the mouth!

Dessert -Kunafeh

Helwat (Halwa) El Jabeen

Another friend from the Gulf region sends photos of her family reunion feast. They have been busy preparing sev ke ladoos (vermicelli coated mawa or cheese balls), almond filled Dates and a plate of Kharak laced with mawa, pistachios and almonds and popular Sheer Khurma. Nutritious, healthy and filling desserts! Thanks Nisrin…I wish I could come home to wish you all and enjoy the feast.

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Enjoy the food feasts, shopping and visits to family and friends this festive season. It’s a shame I’m not courageous to visit the famous Begum Baazar market in Hyderabad, where Ramzan charity markets are set up. The surging crowds are a bit daunting now.

Till then…Ramzan Kareem.

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

‘Tis the Summer Season. ‘Tis the Mango Season

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Never mind the scorching heat, power trips, dry skin and irritable eyes during summer. The one thing that blesses us is the season’s fruit. Delicious, aromatic mangoes!

Young and old, healthy and sick, rich Nawabs and roadside labourers,all lovingly eye the abundant springing  blossoms of the mango tree. Amidst the dark green foliage the koel or cuckoo bird sings melodiously. The intense heat of summer is conducive for ripening the fruit. From raw green to mellow yellow to a golden-yellow, mangoes hang down weighing the branch.

Though mangoes are cultivated in Brazil, Australia, Philipines and Thailand, the Indian mango reigns supreme for its taste and aroma.The Mughal emperor Akbar was so fond of mangoes, he planted 100,000 trees in Darbhanga, Bihar. Mangoes were traded between erstwhile Nawab families or given as bountiful presents during ceremonies. Emperor Aurangzeb, was also fond of mangoes. The Maratha kings presented him a large fruit container. The story describes how clever Sivaji Maharaj, his arch rival, outwitted the emperor and entered his palace to surprise his enemy, just by hiding his small stature between that aroma filled container!

On a festive note -Hindu homes, puja altars and door entrances are decorated with the foliage. The fruit along with fragrant flowers is offered at temples. It is given to pregnant women for a healthy and sweet nutrition and delivery.

http://www.yogapoint.com/inspiring_stories/Mango_tree.htm

This summer I made endless visits to the market and newly set up organic shops to buy a variety of fruit. Childhood memories of climbing up mango trees or pelting it with stones to drop raw fruit came fresh to mind as my friend showed photos of the tree in the backyard and the multitude of black ants creeping along the trunk. Mangoes, mangoes everywhere.

I leave you with a few photographs taken at various regional markets.

Haapus or Alphonso Mango from coastal Maharashtra ( and Mumbai)

Alphonso Mango

The Alphonso Mango is often called Áam ka Raja’ or King of mangoes. Broad top tapering to a rounded end, a smooth skin and richly aromatic is the Haapus. The sweet fleshy pulp is perfect for eating on its own or add it to desserts like shrikhand to make aamrakhand. Locally grown near Ratnagiri, the mango has become widely cultivated for export all over the world.

Dussheri – from north India

Smaller in size this mango grows all over North India. As it ripens late in June and July, it extends a ‘bonus eating season.’ It’s sweet hairy pulp oozes out when softly pressed, loosening the pulp from skin. A children’s delight -this mango brings fun to the dining table as children dribble the juicy pulp and colour their mouths orange in a competitive and fun eating time, all between laughter and giggles.

Banganapalli or Safeda. – from Central India, Andhra and Karnataka

 

A large and oval-shaped mango. It often weighs up to 200 grams each. The pale yellow skin is not as thick as the Alphonso. The centre seed is large and the pulp is fleshy. Slicing it neatly is the best way to serve this very popular variety. Chill it, serve it…eat it!

Totapuri – from Andhra, Gujarat and Karnataka

You probably guessed right. The name ‘tota’ is Hindi for Parrot. The mango has a slightly pointed tip like the beak of the parrot. This variety is best for salads and pickles, not so sweet to bite into.

Rasalu or Ras Bahar from Andhra and Karnataka

Greenish yellow skin with a peck of orange at the top end this mango feels soft when ripe. Best eaten by fidgety fingers that deftly press the fruit to release the pulp. Hmm…smack your lips and enjoy the sweetness.

For a more elegant serve – press out the pulp, add a dash of cold milk, a pinch of salt to balance the taste. Serve refrigerated. Serve with hot poori (Indian fried bread).

Rasalu Mango and fruit pulp

For a recipe of raw mango see here.

Isn’t your mouth watering to buy your favourite mango variety? Don’t forget to send some to your friend (or arch-enemy:) and bring out the smiles.

What is your favourite variety ? Where is it grown?

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

 

 

 

 

 

Postcards from Nagpur: City Market and a Town Market

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I take you through a photo journey of two markets, one in the city and other in a small town. One in Nagpur city, other on its outskirts on the highway in Kanhan. One brings out quiet, authoritative mood, the  other a lively, colourful ambience. Oranges, the winter’s bounty was  abundant in both, yet the city market stocked the round, unblemished oranges neatly piled high. In the street, roadside stalls, pushers and peddlars made brisk business.

Situated in central India, Nagpur is not only the winter capital of the state of Maharashtra but also the orange capital of India. It has the right winter temperatures, light rainfall and proper soil to grow this fruit. Famed for its juicy, thin skinned, sweet oranges this home grown mandarin fruit finds its way to local markets as well as the international stalls. Haldiram’s, a popular food enterprise has specially made an ‘Orange Barfi’ a boiled milk and sugar syrup based sweet dedicated to this city!

Photo courtesy: http://fnw.com/everestorangebarfi

Behind the Nagpur railway station stretches the fruit market. Logistic proximity to the trains that criss cross entire India, with Nagpur as its route centre makes this site more convenient than SitaBuldi market, which caters more to clothing and cotton products.

In the winter season when fruit is bountiful, the best crop is often sent to overseas markets or other parts of India. Sadly, the inferior quality often finds its way to the streets and push carts in Nagpur city, lament the locals. Prices range from Rupees 120 -180 per dozen, and are in fact nothing cheaper than other city price.

In contrast, here is a street market in the small town of Kanhan.

This industrial town takes its name from the river Kanhan that flows  through. Kanhan lies on the state highway route from Nagpur to Pench Tiger Reserve. Every weekday the market sets up in different sub areas, thus known by names of the week ‘Som bazzar, Mangal bazaar etc, Wasn’t I lucky to be at the right place at right time!

Street stalls, cycle peddlars, kiosks and push carts all made for a dramatic and hectic scene. Mounds of green peas, white cauliflower buds tight in their green flowery stalks, clusters of neatly arranged ginger and garlic pods sat on jute mats on the street.

In the midst of it all, the mild winter sun made a peep in and out of the clouds.

In and out wandered women in traditional border Nagpuri sarees and bright synthetic modern sarees. Old locals clad in dhoti or shirt and trousers haggled over prices to seek the best bargains.

As my camera took the better of me, passers by looked strangely..’click, click, click.’ Just one more, one more. Finally, a young vendor posed long enough for me, and I snapped up four kilo pea pods in return. Phew! what a task lay ahead to shell the pods for those little, crunchy, sweet peas on my train journey home! 🙂

For a spicy Nagpur style peas snack click here

Peas vendor

Nagpur ….I loved all the fresh vegetables and cotton dress materials much more..than I did your oranges. Didn’t get time to taste that ever so popular Barfi too. So next year, juicy, sweet Nagpur oranges will be bought fresh..right in my city!

Have you ever been to Nagpur? What did you see or buy?

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

Crochet: Baby Items

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What’s on my hook? Recently I’ve been doing simple, small crochet projects for babies. Left over yarn scraps and a ball of baby soft wool both came in handy. Here’s what I learned.

Baby Girl Crochet Dress

  1. Browse and research well on You Tube, Etsy, Ravelry, CrochetCrowd on FB and other sites for patterns.
  2. Do a proper read through to understand/grasp.
  3. As a beginner, choose something simple and easy to finish within a time frame.
  4. If trying out a new stitch, make a small tester sample. What lessons did you learn about the hook size, yarn tension, suitability of colour, yarn and pattern for that particular piece?
  5. Adjust and apply this knowledge.
  6. Take a T shirt or dress of the required size, or visit a children’s shop for accurate measuring. Some sites offer details of size, some are dodgy.

This dress is worked top – down. Begin at neckline with 55 chains (or as required) and work a single crochet into each for a firm neckline. Add next 3-4 rows of dc.

crochet-baby-dress

Pattern from WoolyWondersCrochet.

A good idea is to watch the tutorial video few times, if you are a beginner, to understand the process. Choosing pastel or soft colours, soft wool is advisable.

Crochet Baby Dress

Crochet Unisex Vest

Baby soft acrylic or cashmere wool is great for this project. Decide the size ( a plus ) is always better. You want the piece worn for couple of years at least. The reward for your time, skill and patience!

I made up this pattern ‘on the go’ to practice a variety of stitches, see the outcome of design and texture and become a sampler vest.  Finished size measures 9 and 1/2 inches across and 13 inches height.

Basket weave stitch and double crochet

Row 1: Slip knot and chain to make size of 9 and 1/2 inches across.

Row 2: Add 3-4 rows of single crochet in each chain stitch, this serves as a  border.

Row 3 – 12: Basket weave stitch till the required height is reached. Chain 2, at end of each row and turn. Measure and adjust using sample shirt.

Row 13: Slip stitch into first 3-4 stitches, this makes sleeve indent. Then dc all the way across. Last 3-4 stitches slip stitch for sleeve indent.

Add more rows, measure height and make neckline. Add dc to both sides to make straps, add buttonhole by making 2-3 chain stitch /loop.

2 sides of crochet vest

There are many YouTube crochet vest sites for detailed patterns.

Best of luck! Do add a photo of your work.

Please do not link or copy this site. Please contact me for using any photos or material. I devote much patience and time for making this blog and I’m happy to share it.

Do share your work with me too.

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