Where are you Mumma?

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I was supposed to be ready when my most loved and favorite person left us this past Sunday. We all knew she had been bravely battling cancer for three years. Her health was declining in the past few months, so I was supposed to be ready to say goodbye. After all, she was in her late seventies and had other medical conditions. I am not a child or even a young adult. At my age, I was supposed to be ready. The family and I knew the end was coming, so I was supposed to be ready. cancer for three years. Her health was declining in the past few months, so I was supposed to be ready to say goodbye. After all, she was in her late seventies and had other medical conditions. I am not a child or even a young adult. At my age, I was supposed to be ready. The family and I knew the end was coming, so I was supposed to be ready.DSC09280

But I was not.

I’m not sure how to cope with the grief of forever physically losing Sudha Mehra, my mother, my best friend, and my favorite person in the world. I don’t know who to talk to for endless hours about everything under the sun. I don’t know who to tell about everything that I feel and do each day.

Even though we can’t see her anymore, I know that she is there with me, with all of us in our hearts. We were lucky to have such a great mother, and even luckier that we were able to spend so much time with her throughout her life and especially so much near the end.

Grief does not end. Rather, grief comes and goes. And then it comes again. The process does not have to be hurried. I will not let anyone belittle this loss, make me feel guilty for grieving deeply, or hurry me through my grief. I am entitled to feel all of grief’s intricacies and all of grief’s intensity. I want to take my time and live with her memories.

I want to remember her as the lively and loving person that she was and celebrate her life. There are so many memories of her that come to mind so it would be next to impossible for me to pick a favorite.

She was so keen to enjoy life to the fullest while keeping up with, and often exceeding, the pace at which the world was changing. She had the courage and desire to do things that even some youngsters have not done so far. A little motivation and encouragement got her to take computer lessons in a foreign land in a classroom setting, take swimming lessons at the age of 65, experience river rafting, try out a canopy walk at 200 feet above ground, enjoy dog sledding in minus 35 degrees temperature, and much more. She was one of the most tech savvy people at her age, well ahead of her time in many ways in using a smartphone, laptop and iPad. She played video games on a Game Boy almost a decade ago, and continued to maintain a profile on Facebook and Instagram as a way to keep busy and stay connected. The best way that I can think of paying a tribute to her is to post her memories each day on social networks for 77 days, one day for each year of her vibrant life.

The void created by her sudden death is still hard to grasp. She was someone that we took for granted would be around for much longer.
A vibrant soul, one who literally lit up the room whenever she entered. She was full of joy, right up until the end.

She thrived on social interactions. Her glow, her smile, her gentle touch made her friends easily and people didn’t forget her. All one had to do was start a conversation with her and she became friends with many a stranger in no time. Mumma was a popular lady and would welcome company with open arms.

Her knowledge of Hindi, the proverbs or muhavaras was simply exemplary and so impressive. She was always quick to pull one out of her memory at the right time and make the conversations even more interesting. It pains me to think that all of that is gone with her. I learnt so much from her about our family traditions, religious rituals, cooking Indian delicacies, crafts like knitting, embroidery, shuttlework (which is almost extinct now) and much more. I will miss those festival times when we would all sit together, chat endlessly and prepare sweets and savories.

Thank you mumma for everything you’ve given us and the warmth we shared during your precious time on earth.

Mumma, I know you would surely have found a way in the heavens to check your Facebook account, let me say to you- I don’t know how I will cope without you and will miss you more than words can say.

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Curried Potatoes from Old Delhi- दरीबे के आलू रस

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SERVES: 4-5

COOKING TIME: 10-15 Minutes

GLUTEN FREE- LOADED WITH POTASSIUM (more than a banana), VITAMIN C, B6 and IRON

QUICK TO MAKE

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Using Pressure Cooker will take 10-12 minutes whereas it will take 20-30 minutes in a regular pan. 

You save: 40% of fuel energy and 15 minutes of your precious time that is about 8 to 10% of the total time you spend in kitchen on an average(assuming you spend a total of 2-3 hours in a day in the kitchen).

INGREDIENTS:

1 teaspoon of oil
1 pinch of asafoetida powder
½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
2 tablespoons crushed fennel seed
4 teaspoons Methi chutney masala, if available or
(1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds and 2 whole red chilli)
2 small tomato chopped
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
4 palm sized potato chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 inch frozen crushed green chilli
1 teaspoon mango powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
Fresh or frozen coriander leaves

STEP 1. Put asafoetida powder, Cumin, fennel seed powder and all other seeds (if not using Methi chutney masala) in heated oil
STEP 2. Sauté for less than a minute, then add tomato and red chilli powder and cover the pan for 3-4 minutes till tomato become soft.
STEP 3. Add potatoes, salt, turmeric powder, frozen crushed green chilli and Methi chutney masala (if available)and enough water to submerge everything plus 2-3 inches, let the cooker give 2 whistles or leave the pressure cooker with whistle on for 10 minutes on fire)
STEP 4. Open cooker lid, add mango powder, garam masala and coriander leaves to garnish before you serve.

thumb_IMG_0280_1024HANDY TIPS:
1. Always wait for the steam in pressure cooker to release by itself. This is a safety precaution as well as retains all flavour of the food.
2. When done, before serving crush a few potatoes in the curry to thicken the density of the curry.

 

How do I manage excess cooked food? Freeze or not?

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Freezing food is a good way to have meals on the go! Whether it be leftovers or extra big batches made for future consumption, it is important to know how to store different foods. Here are some steps to make sure that frozen/refrigerated food is safe to eat and the taste is well preserved for your next meal:

      1. Freeze any fresh cooked food only once it cools down and reaches room temperature. You can quicken the cooling process by placing food in a shallow container on a cooling rack to allow air to circulate all around the container. Limiting the depth of food in containers to 2 inches or less leads to quick cooling.
      2. You can refrigerate practically any recipe of fresh cooked food if you are not going to use it for the next 2-3 days. If you plan to use the cooked food within this time, it is perfectly safe to keep it in fridge, it does not need to take up freezer space!
      3. thumb_IMG_0290_1024Store/freeze excess cooked food in small differently sized containers or freezer bags (not storage bags) so that you only reheat/thaw the amount needed for that meal. thumb_IMG_0105_1024

If using freezer bags try to flattened the food into a thin layer. A lumpy or rounded shape takes longer to thaw through to the middle.
Flat packages are also better for stacking in your freezer.

4. If you had to freeze a large container but want to eat a part of it at a time, be careful when refreezing partly thawed food. The thawed food can be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals. Try to reduce the time between thawing and refreezing to ensure that the food to be refrozen does not thaw completely.

Also check- How best to thaw frozen food? and Facts to know with freezing and thawing cooked food.

Tested home remedy to fade scars

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ubtanSome scars that result from measles or severe acne can be with you for life. I recall an easy home remedy that I tried and found very useful in my University days after I had an encounter with measles. For this scrub that takes away the scars and marks all you need is:

  1. 1/4 cup of rice, soaked overnight in water
  2. 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder (optional)
  3. milk-30 ml.

 

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Coarsely grind rice in a grinder
  2. Add turmeric powder and milk
  3. Scrub affected area gently in circular motion for 3-4 minutes.
  4. You may want to spread the mix on all of your face and neck and leave it on for 5-10 minutes to get your skin glowing in addition to fading the scars you are working on.

Adding turmeric powder will bring glow to your skin. Turmeric is an antiseptic and is highly recommended all skin types to cure skin problems like acne, burn marks, psoriasis and much more. Its anti-inflammatory powers are used to reduce the signs of ageing, exfoliate dead skin, clear the skin and ease eczema.

Invigorating Lamb-नशीली गोश्त करी

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SERVES: 4

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Using Pressure Cooker for this recipe will take 10-15 minutes for the meat to cook whereas it will take 30-45 minutes in a regular pan. 

This recipe saves you : more than 70% of fuel energy and 30 minutes of your precious time that is about 16 to 20% of the total time you spend in kitchen on an average (assuming you spend a total of 2-3 hours in a day in the kitchen)

Allows you to explore your creative side. For vegetarian options, substitute lamb with baby potatoes, baby pumpkins, cottage cheese or other veggies.

TOTAL COOKING TIME: 25-30 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon oil
1 daal chini (cinnamon stick)
1 chakraphool (star anise)
1 brown elaichi (cardamom)
2 green elaichi (cardamom)
50 grams of khus khus (poppy seeds)
2 tez patta (bay leaf)
6 palm sized pureed or finely chopped onion
2 medium sized pureed tomatoes
1 inch frozen ginger
2 inch frozen garlic
2 teaspoons meat masala/ curry powder
1 kilo lamb shoulder cut to small pieces
1 teaspoon red chilli (if you like it hot)
1 inch frozen green chilli or 2 fresh green chilies
1 teaspoon garam masala (All spice)
2 teaspoons salt

STEP 1. Put daal chini (cinnamon), chakraphool (star anise), elaichi (cardamoms) and tez patta (bay leaf) in heated oil, after 30 seconds to a minute add pre sautéed onion and poppy seeds or if using freshly chopped onion, sauté until onion are light brown.
STEP 2. Add lamb and meat masala , Stir for 2-3 minutes, add frozen ginger, frozen garlic, green chilli, salt and red chilli powder .
STEP 3. Sauté for 5-7 minutes and then add pureed tomato, and stir it well, add half a glass of water before you close the lid of the pressure cooker.
STEP 4. Cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes (or for three whistles) in pressure cooker or for 30-45 minutes in pan with lid on and add garam masala before serving.

HANDY TIPS:lambcurry

  1. You can replace lamb with pork, chicken, beef and baby potatoes or vegetables for vegetarian option.
  2.  Always wait for the steam in pressure cooker to release by itself. This is a safety precaution as well as retains all flavour of the food.
  3. Add a few drops of Kewra essence (a floral essence) to get that unique rich muglai flavour.

Guilt Free, Gluten free, no carb Pizza

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GLUTEN FREE, NO CARBS 

QUICK TO MAKE

Why this recipe? 

A similar conventional recipe for a home made flour based pizza base would take considerable time for yeast to work its way. Nutritional benefits of cauliflower and goodness of eggs adds to the dietary value of the pizza base. 

Vegan Option (no eggs, no dairy, no sugar)

For the vegan option replace eggs with chia/flax seeds and almond meal mixed with water. (see recipe below) 

How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

This recipe requires minimum cooking time, you save fuel energy and your precious time. You can also make 2-3 pizza bases with the same oven baking time and save them for future use.

SERVES- 2-3
COOKING TIME
15 minutes for no flour pizza base
20-30 minutes for vegan pizza base
8-10 minutes for pizza toppings

Flour free Pizza (with eggs)

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium sized cauliflower (400 grams)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Red chilli flakes (optional)
1 table spoon dill weed or oregano(optional)
Pizza toppings and cheese to taste

guilt free pizzaSTEPS:
1. Chop/grind cauliflower and squeeze all water out of it.
2. Beat eggs and add all ingredients to it (squeezed cauliflower, salt, chilli flakes and oregano).
3. Spread/pat down the mixture on parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes at 400F or until the base turns lightly brown. It usually take 10 minutes.
4. Add toppings and cheese to the pizza to your taste and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

For Vegan Option:

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium sized cauliflower (400 grams)
3 tablespoons of ground chia or flax seeds
1/2 cup of almond meal
3 to 6 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Red chilli flakes (optional)
1 table spoon dill weed or oregano (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Pizza toppings to taste

Preparation For Vegan pizza base:

Mix ground chia or flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and leave for 10 minutes for the mixture to look like thick vegan egg

STEPS:
1. Chop/grind cauliflower and squeeze all water out of it.
2. Add all other ingredients squeezed cauliflower that is chia mix, almond meal, salt, chilli flakes and oregano). You may need to add more water for the mixture to be able to spread like dough, but add as little to make the crust crispy.
3. Spread by patting the mixture on parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes at 400F or until the base is lightly brown.
4. Add toppings to the pizza to your taste and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

HANDY TIPS:
1. Spread or spray some olive oil on the pizza just before putting it in the oven. This will make it more crisp and yummy.
2. You can make more than one pizza base as per your choice of thickness of the base and save them when they cool down. Wrap the base in a cling wrap and freeze for future use.

Chickpea Fish or Eggplant with Oats -अमृतसरी मच्छी या बैगुन और ज्वार का पोहा

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GLUTEN FREE

QUICK TO MAKE

Why this recipe? 

A similar conventional fried fish recipe would take considerable oil and time to deep fry the fish. Nutritional benefits of chickpea flour and goodness of veggies in the oats as a side, add to the dietary value and palate. 

How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

This recipe needs only 10 minutes of cooking time, you save fuel energy and your precious time.

SERVES: 3-4
COOKING TIME: 8-10 Minutes
PREPARATION: 10 minutes (Marination)

INGREDIENTS:

For Main Recipe
400 grams fish (or Zucchini/Eggplant for vegetarian option)
1 teaspoon of oil
50 grams frozen or fresh ginger
50 grams of fresh or frozen crushed garlic
cut coriander leaves
2 chopped fresh or frozen green chillies
2 pinches of orange food colour
1 tea spoon of salt
100 grams of chickpea flour

For SIDE
200 grams of rolled oats
2 teaspoon of oil
1/2 cup frozen green chickpeas or peas
1/2 cup of frozen sweet corn
3-4 nuggets of frozen spinach
10-15 craisins
10-15 pieces of pecans
3/4 glass of water

STEPS -Main recipe:
STEP 1. Mix all ingredients except oil and chickpea flour and marinade fish or Zucchini/eggplant pieces with it, leave it for 10 minutes.
STEP 2. Add chickpea flour and oil and smear all pieces well with the flour. before putting them on a non-stick heated pan. Leave it with lid covered on high flame for 2-3 minutes and turn it over once before it is ready (will be a total of 5-6 minutes).
STEP 3. Put all pieces on a non-stick heated pan. Leave it with lid covered on high flame for 2-3 minutes and turn it over once before it is ready (will be a total of 5-6 minutes).

IMG_1154STEPS for side :
STEP 1.
In another pan sauté rolled oats in heated oil for 3 to 4 minutes.
STEP 2. 
Add all ingredients including water. Let it simmer with lid closed for 3-5 minutes.
STEP 3.  
Serve fish with oats.  You can add all spice to oats before serving.

HANDY TIPS:
1. Cooking on high flame with lid covered will leave the fish/zucchini/eggplant juicy and tender while the chickpea flour will make it crisp from outside.
2. Be creative and replace fish/zucchini/eggplant and or marination herbs with your choice of flavour/aroma.