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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas | Book #4 of Ramayana- The Game of Life Series


Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas | Book #4 of Ramayana - The Game of Life Series

Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas is the fourth book of the Ramayana –The Game of Life Book Series. Since I have read the first 3 books of the series; I was elated when I got the opportunity to read this one. Stand Strong is a modern retelling of the Kishkindha Kand of Valmiki Ramayana - it tells us all about the events occurring in the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha. Like the previous books, this book too doesn’t just narrate the stories from Ramayana but also imparts insightful life lessons to the readers. The book is motivational, enlightening, and encouraging, all in the same breath.

The story tells us in detail how Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, how Rama decides to help Sugriva in dealing with his brother, the impudent monkey king Vali and how the vanara sena unite to help Rama in His mission of finding Sita. There are so many stories and anecdotes interspersed along the main storyline, each of them adding to the beauty of the prose and enhancing the reader’s experience with new perspective and learning. The main strength of the book is its narration - it is lucidly written with a simple yet vivid description of the incidences happening in the Kishkindha kingdom all of which ultimately culminate towards the invasion of Lanka – the grand kingdom ruled by the demon king Ravana.

As I keep saying in all the reviews of the previous books of this series, the author has given due attention to all the characters in the epic. They are intricately sketched – each having their space and chance to shine and grab the reader’s attention.

The tagline of the book says – keeping faith and conquering fear. That is also the lesson the author is trying to convey through the book. It was fear which made Sugriva feel weak and insecure - although he was not as feeble as he had started to think he was. Fear is debilitating, it clouds our thoughts and cuts our wings. Fear is the factor that limits us to make the most of our potential. If we learn to conquer our fear, we will realize that fear blows our tiny problems out of proportions and make it look huge. We will be free to chase our dreams in the truest sense, only when we keep faith and conquer fear.

It is a great book for anyone who is interested in Ramayana or in Indian mythological reads. This book also offers insights into the game that is life – so if you are looking for an inspirational read, it will make a great fit.

You can buy the book here:



I will like to end my review of this book by quoting some pearls of pearls of wisdom from the book here:

- Intelligence is about having the clarity to identify where the problem lies.

- When love leads to respect, it is called admiration. When respect leads to love, it is called inspiration.

- Excess fear leads to rebellion. Excess indulgence leads to disease. Excess comfort leads to lethargy. Excess power leads to arrogance. Excess of anything, however good it may seem, only tugs one towards the bad.

- Sometimes perception appears larger than reality. Many problems in life when perceived with fear result in pain, but when perceived with clarity, the result is freedom.

- The defining characteristic of inner stability is the ability to focus in the face of calamity.

I received a free copy of the book from the author in lieu of an honest review.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Bombay Masala Sandwich Recipe | How to make Bombay Masala Sandwich


Bombay Masala Sandwich is a very popular roadside snack from the city of Mumbai. Between two grilled bread slices smeared with a generous amount of green chutney and butter is a spicy potato mixture topped with onion and tomato slices and grated cheese. The roadside vendors are very generous when it comes to filling it and topping it with cheese. I, however, exercise caution when I make it at home. However, if you like it cheesy you can be as generous as you like!

It is best to have this sandwich when it is freshly made - crisp and hot, along with a cup of masala chai.

Here in Pune, I have been to a very popular roadside joint somewhere in F.C.Road which sells a variety of sandwiches - the most popular among them being Bombay Masala Sandwich and Chocolate Sandwich. Every evening and especially on weekends one can see a huge crowd queueing up there to get a sandwich to munch on. Well, these days I can't imagine going there tagging Baby M with me. So, I end up making it at home.


Looking for more street food options, check out the recipe for


Let's check how I make Bombay Masala Sandwich at home. Off to the recipe now:



Bombay Masala Sandwich

Ingredients:
8 slices of whole-wheat Bread

For the filling:
2 medium potato, boiled, peeled and mashed
¼ cup green peas
1 green chilli, minced
½ tsp cumin seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
½ tsp garam masala
Handful of chopped coriander leaves

To assemble
Thin tomato slices
Thin onion slices
Chaat masala to sprinkle
2 cubes Amul cheese
4 tbsp green chutney
Butter to brush the bread slices

Method:

1. Heat a pan and add oil. Add cumin seeds and curry leaves and let them splutter for a few seconds

2. Add the mashed potato, peas, salt and red chili powder and mix well. Cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add garam masala and the chopped coriander leaves and mix again. Take it off heat and let it cool a bit.

4. On one side of each bread slice smear the green chutney. On half of the slices spread the prepared potato mixture in a thin layer. Spread a layer of tomato slices and onion slices. Sprinkle some chaat masala and spread a layer of grated cheese.

5. Cover it with another bread slice with the green chutney side down. Repeat the same with the rest of the slices.

6. On the outer sides of the prepared sandwich, apply butter generously and grill them in a preheated sandwich maker till they are crisp and golden lines form on the outer side. 



This post is a part of the Blogging Marathon under the theme 'Make Street Food at Home'.

BMLogo

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#83

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Jhaal Muri | How to Make Jhaal Muri from scratch | Street Food Recipes

Jhaal Muri

Jhaal Muri is another popular street food from the state of Bengal. It is a light snack and is quite healthy too. ‘Jhaal’ in Bengali means ‘spicy’ and ‘muri is puffed rice – and it translates to spicy puffed rice. In the streets of Kolkata, the street vendors prepare them instantly and serve them in newspaper cones. With chopped onion, tomato, boiled potatoes, peanuts, sev bhujia, mustard oil and a blend of spices, it is a delightful snack to munch on. Using mustard oil is a must, as it imparts the dish its characteristic taste. While it might look somewhat similar to Bhel Puri, it’s taste is altogether different.

In all the years I have lived in Pune, I have realized that Pune doesn’t have a true winter. Here we have slightly chilly mornings and evenings, but the afternoons are pretty hot. Compared to the winters I have seen growing up in Assam and Rajasthan, winters here are actually nothing. However, the weather in Pune today is cold and chilly, thanks to the cyclone Ockhi which is influencing the weather in the south and west of India to a large extent, and will continue to do the same for a couple of more days. So, today it made perfect sense to indulge in an afternoon cup of tea and I enjoyed it with a paper cone full of jhaal muri.

Looking for more street food options, check out the recipe for

onion bhaji.

Let's learn how to make jhaal muri from scratch now

Ingredients:

4 cups puffed rice
1 medium onion chopped
1 large potato, boiled and diced
1 small tomato, deseeded chopped
1 tsp minced green chilli
4 tbsp roasted peanuts
¼ cup bhujia sev
2 tablespoons mustard oil
A dash of lemon juice
1 tbsp jhaal muri masala
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped


For jhaal muri masala:
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp black salt
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp chaat masala


Method:

1.      Mix all the ingredients listed for the jhaal muri masala and store in an airtight container. Use as needed.
2.      Add mustard oil and prepared jhaal muri masala in a large bowl. Add puffed rice, chopped onion, tomato, potato, green chillies, peanuts, coriander leaves, bhujia sev, and toss to mix well. Check the seasoning and adjust as needed.
3.      Right before serving add a dash of lemon juice and toss again to mix well. Serve immediately with a cup of tea.


Note:

1.      This snack must be made right before serving, else the puffed rice will become soggy. If making for a get-together you can do the prep work before hand and mix it when you are ready to serve.

This post is a part of the Blogging Marathon under the theme 'Make Street Food at Home'.

BMLogo 
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#83

Monday, December 4, 2017

Ghugni Chaat | How to Make Ghugni from Scratch | Recipe




Ghugni Chaat

Ghugni Chaat is one of the most loved street foods from the lanes of Kolkata. And contrary to the popular belief about street foods, it is quite a healthy protein packed dish to indulge in. Try any area in Kolkata that is famous for its street food, you are bound to find a conspicuous vendor selling Ghugni.

In simple words, ghugni is a spicy curry made from dried white peas (that has been soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight) topped with chopped onions, tamarind chutney, a handful of coriander leaves and a specially roasted masala. Ghugni is to Kolkata what chole chaat is to Delhi. It is one of those dishes I make when I am running out of veggies in my pantry. With just a few ingredients, you can have a hearty and tummy satisfying meal.

When I was in school, there was a vendor who could come to our school park to sell ghugni during lunch breaks. From what I remember, there used to be a huge crowd surrounding his cart – all enjoying a plate of hot ghugni chaat. Back then I was quite averse to street foods since I was not sure what kind of hygiene standards they maintained. So, I never bought a plate of ghugni from him. Although today I enjoy having street food from street vendors, I am still very choosy. Well, that’s just me. These days whenever I crave street food, I end up making it at home.

Looking for more street food options, check out the recipe for


How to make ghugni chaat from scratch:

Ingredients:
1 cup dried yellow peas
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp ginger-chilli paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp cumin powder
2 medium tomatoes blanched and pureed.
1 large boiled potato, boiled, peeled, and mashed roughly.
A pinch of hing
1 tbsp oil
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste

To serve:
Chopped onion
Chopped fresh coriander
Lemon slices
Specially roasted masala (bhaja masala)

In order to prepare the roasted masala, take 2 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp coriander seeds and 2 whole red chillies. Dry roast it in a pan over medium heat till they change colour. Grind it into a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar. Add 1 tsp of black salt and mix. Store it in an airtight container and use as needed.

Method:

1.       Wash the dried yellow peas and soak them in fresh water for 6 hours or overnight.
2.       In order to cook the peas, add the drained yellow peas to a pressure cooker and water such that the peas are covered in water. Add ½ tsp salt and cook it on high until one whistle. Wait till the pressure is released and open the cooker.
3.       Heat a Kadhai, add oil and when it is heated add hing and cumin seeds. Will the cumin seeds splutter, add ginger-chilli paste, garlic paste and stir. After a few seconds add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Cook till the onions are translucent. It will take about 3-4 minutes.
4.       Now add the tomato puree and stir. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder and stir again. Cook till the tomato puree leaves oil in the sides.
5.       Now add the cooked peas and mashed potato. Give it a good stir. Check the spices. Add more if necessary. Bring it to a boil and then cover and lower the heat. Cook for about 5 minutes. When done turn off the heat.
6.       To serve, add the ghugni to a deep plate. Top it with a dash of lemon juice, tamarind chutney, chopped onion, chopped coriander, and the specially prepared roasted spice mix. Serve it hot.


This post is a part of the Blogging Marathon under the theme 'Make Street Food at Home'.

BMLogo 
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#83

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Anything But Books Tag


Long ago I had been tagged by my blogger friend Tarang for this interesting tag post – Anything But Books.  For reasons unknown, I have taken almost an eternity to answer it. I took a blogging break in September when I went on my annual holidays to my mom’s place. After coming back, blogging has somehow taken a back seat and that is evident from the sparse posts I have done in the past 2 months.

Anyways coming back to this tag post, there are some interesting questions that are not related to book in this tag and the tagged person has to answer it and pass it on to other bloggers. Let’s start now.

Name a cartoon(s) that you love.

As a kid, I loved watching Mowgli (Jungle Books), Duck Tales, and Tom & Jerry. I am somehow glad that in our times we didn’t have YouTube and had to wait almost a week to watch our favourite cartoons. That taught us to be patient and to value our precious Sunday TV hours.

What is your favourite song right now?

I am still a big fan of songs from the old B&W Hindi movies. I remember their lyrics too. Unfortunately, I am not very mindful when listening to songs these days – I can’t even recall the lyrics if you ask me. Generally, these days I listen to songs on Radio sometimes and I love the songs by Arijit Singh. But, no favourite song in particular.

What could you do for hours (that isn’t reading)?

Spending time on Pinterest and fantasizing about cooking flawlessly decorated cakes and exotic dishes. However, I seldom get enough time to do that. Maybe someday!

What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I have nothing very surprising to share. But, there is something I like to do that I have seen not many people like to do – if my mood is set (of course not every day) I can spend hours in cleaning and organizing my kitchen and home. Yeah!

What is your favourite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about (this can do with books, I guess)?

I didn’t get this question. If it means what I want to learn - well there are a ton of things. I want to learn how to swim (Yes, I can't swim - maybe I will learn with Baby M), I want to learn to apply makeup (I am too bad at it and usually don't bother about it ) and many more things (the list would be too long if I went on writing).

What is something unusual you know how to do?

I thought really hard, but I don’t think I have any such special talent.

Name something you’ve made in the last year (and show us, if you can).

I think I can mention about some new dishes I have learnt to cook. Check out my Vegetable Biryani, Beets Brownie, and Tortilla Chips from scratch.

What is your most recent personal project?

I am working on my second blog. It is still in a work-in-progress phase and will most likely go live from January next year. Apart from food, I will be writing about a number other things that interest me.

Tell us something you think about often (maybe while staring out of windows).

I think my mind wanders easily when I am staring out of the window. Often the thoughts vary drastically – like sometimes I might be thinking about what to cook, and somedays I might be pondering over the philosophical nuances of life.

Give us something that’s your favourite, but make it something oddly specific, not like your favourite food, but like your favourite food when you’ve been studying for hours and forgot to eat. Or, you know, something like that.

Studying for hours and forgot to eat! Yes, that has happened to me in the past. But, I can’t think of any food item I would crave then. But, here is one thing oddly specific – when I am watching a movie in a movie theatre I want caramel popcorn. If that’s not available, I would rather not binge on anything else.

I would like to pass on this tag to a blogger I recently discovered through Twitter – Anagha. If you happen to read this post, do check her blog too.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!



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