Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tasty Combo(Potato Fry + Tomato Rasam)

      Though I am into blogging world long back ago I feel this post kind of special in terms of appetite world as this is my first post relating to cooking. Apart from Blogging, Cricket, Movies even Cooking is also my cup of tea. I want to start my cooking carnival with one of my fev Aloo fry and Tomato Rasam. Whenever my mother used to serve  this combo with hot rice, I used to felt heavenly because of aromatic exposure of rasam and tasting buds which delights me.

About my cooking History
          Before going into cooking recipe let me give a short brief about how I included cooking as integral part of my life. During childhood days and Engineering days if I feel bored I used to help my mother in Kitchen like cutting vegetables, grinding the stuff necessary for particular recipe and that's how I used to observe how she used to cook different items in her own style. Apart from that I used to watch my fev Chef Sanjeev Kapoor's Khana Khazana. 

         My experiments on part time cooking started on my friends during bachelors days. After coming to US it has became full time where  I leant most of the recipes from my family(Mother and Sister), Sanjeev Kapoor, online cooking friends(Mostly my online sister Sailus food,GayatriVantillu and and finally my friends.

                                                           Myself Busy in Chopping

Aloo Fry(Potato Fry) Ingredients
Medium sized Potatoes 5-6 ( Boil  and cut into medium sized cubes)
2 Tb Spoon Oil
1 Onion (Sliced )
1/2 Cumin Seeds, 1/2 Mustard Seeds
2 Tb Spoon Urad Dal
5 Green Chillies(Slit)
8-10 Curry Leaves
1 Tb Spoon Coriander Powder
1/2  Tb Spoon Turmeric Powder
Salt to Taste
Coriander Leaves(Chopped)
Gram Flour/Besan (Optional)

Method of Preparation
In a large Pan, heat oil. When the pan gets heated add cumin and mustard seeds. Once they splutter add Chillies, Urad dal and curry leaves (stir for 3-4 secs). Add onions and salt. Once onions become golden brown add turmeric and finally add Potatoes. Mix well all the ingredients so that all gets combined for a fine taste. Fry the potatoes well till it turns into brown. Finally garnish with chopped coriander.

N.B - We can do Aloo fry eaither with or without gram flour. I followed my mother's recipe so I used gram flour in my recipe. For that initially roast the gram flour in different pan. After the roasting process, add the flour before potatoes are added in above process(So that the flour gets connected well with the oil and make sure there will not be kind of lumps).

Tomato Rasam
Rasam can be prepared in different styles. Everybody has their own style of making with variations in ingredients and method of cooking. From my side before preparing Rasam, I followed the method prepared by Gayitri Garu. The rasam which we are going to prepare gives a unique flavor(having the taste of pepper, Tomato and Tamarind).
So whatever the ingredients and method I am producing here are relatively same as GayitriVantillu recipe . Here is the video of that recipe @ Gayatrivantillu Tomato Rasam recipe.

5 cups of Water
Salt to taste , 1/2 tsp Sugar
Rasam Powder(Home made Rasam powder or we can get in Super Markets)

Rasam Powder Ingredients
1and1/2 Tb spoon Coriander Seeds, 2 Tb spoon of Pepper Corns, 1 Tb spoon Cumin Seeds, 1/2 Red Gram, 1/2 Channa Dal, Pinch of Fenugreek seeds(Methi)
Roast all the above ingredients and grind for a fine rasam powder 

3 Large Tomatoes (Slice one tomato into small parts and micro oven for 1:30 mins),Once done mash well and keep aside. Cut the remaining tomatoes into large cubes and keep aside
1-2 Tb spoon Tamarind Paste( For tamarind paste, soak the tamarind in water and microwave for 30 secs and keep aside. Then extract the pulp to get the thick paste)
Coriander Powder, Turmeric Powder
Corriander Leaves(Chopped)

For Seasoning(Tadka)
1 Tb spoon Ghee
1/2 Tb spoon Cumin Seeds , 1/2 Tb spoon Mustard Seeds
8-10 Curry Leaves
2 Red Chillies
Asafoetida (Hing)
3-4 Garlic(Peel and Mash)

Method of Preparation
In a large bowl add water along with sugar and salt. Boil the water very well. When you see kind of bubbles add turemric powder and Rasam powder.Then add tomatoes(micro-ovened) and Tamarind paste. Finally add remaining chopped tomatoes in the hot boiling rasam.

In the meanwhile grind the pepper corns into fine powder. Add the grinded pepper powder in the rasam and keep the plate covered over the bowl and remain to boil for 3-4 mins( The reason for placing a plate on top is that the aroma of pepper will not come outside and all the pepper will be blended well to rasam).

Finally its our task to do seasoning
Take small pan, Heat ghee and add mustard, cumin seeds and then red chillies and curry leaves. Stir for 3-4 secs. Finally add hing(Asofetida) to the above and stir again for 3-4 secs.(make sure all the seasoned ingredients will not burnt). Add the tadka to the rasam and garnish with coriander leaves. The yummy rasam will be ready by then. Serve hot with rice. As we are adding pepper powder in the rasam, this recipe acts as a curing recipe for the people who are suffering from cold.

Finally to say the output of whole process went pretty well. At least I can say that my friends who ate these items are survived...:) :)Hope my cooking process  made you delightful and mouthwatering.  So why delay ..? Act fast and get into kitchen to prepare the stuff...:) :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple@California

When I was asked by my friend whether I could come to Hanuman Temple which is located in Gilroy, CA . I was bit surprised to know that we have Hanuman  Temple located in Bay Area.  The reason for this surprise is that though I stayed for longer period in Bay Area, I didn't know about this wonderful place.

 Image Source - Pauline

     One more phenomenon about this place is that this temple is running mostly by foreigners. The reason behind this is that they all are disciples of Baba Hari Das.Let me make you all to explore this  self divining , serenity of senses and blissful place through my experience .


Video Source Youtube@Chum 94555 user

A little about Guru Hari Das                                                                                                                          Baba HariDas is a muted monk from Kumaan region of Northern India. He has not spoken since 1952 and transforms his communication by writing in a small white board.

The history starts about 30 years back from now . The Mount  Madonna Center is a private residential and conference centre  founded by students of Baba Haridas in 1978.

The temple was founded in 2003, when  Guru Das swamiji was shown the Hanuman Murthi  by his disciples which was shipped from  India in 2001 , Babaji wrote on his board "It needs Temple" and that's how Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple was founded in 2003 which was running by the disciples of Baba Hari Das.
My Experience
            The place is located in Mount Madonna centre, Watsonville which is about 14-15 miles from Gilroy. Once we  entered  the zigzag road path  we could see the exemplary scenic  beautification of landscape. As  we entered the entrance of Temple premises We were welcomed by warm Namaste from foreigner. Helped us in terms of parking and temple details.

                                                    Devotees during Yagna Process
 Image Source @ Temple website

           Pure bliss and euphoria is what I felt when I saw the temple. The beautification sculptures of different idols, environment ,  rocky hills, ringing bells  made me for a while that I am in India. Apart from Indian priests even I saw foreigner priests conducting pujas and offerings(prasad) to Anjaneya.

Other Places visited
1.Went to Anjaneya's world cafe -  Had samosas, masala chai , coconut water  to satisfy my ravenous stomach.
2.Ocean View Gifts and Book store - Brought  music CD's(one is temple made Devotional CD, the blissful music from David Newman and  Hand band(Kind of hobby and love to wear hand bands).

3.Visited the community building - Took darshan of Baba Hari Das(Guru will be available for drashan every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday's in Community Building) 
4. The lion Fountain - The elegant rocky water fountain where I experienced the tranquility of devotion and soothing sounds of flowing water

Traffic  Directions
For the newbie's there will be slight confusion if  followed through  GPS . A detailed info is given by Temple community for  driving directions.

In a nutshell my heart filled with pure bliss sensed with serenity. I recommend everybody to do  visit who are not aware of this wonderful place. Finally I thank Rupesh Shiramalla for recommending and arranging a plan to visit this place. Namaste..:)  

For more details about the temple

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blank Pages

This post is regarding the blog a ton contest for Blank Pages. I couldn't make for the contest because by the time I finished my story and due to some other work the deadline crossed. But as for my self satisfaction I don't want to kill this story. So just want to complete the story and publish for the fellow readers..:) :)

It's early in the morning
I am busy in getting ready to go to college. Face pe cheshma..wore kurtha on my blue jeans. My ears are sensing M.S Subbhalaksmi song's in radio. My nose was sensing the aroma of flavors from Kitchen because of my Mother preparing food for me. As I came outside my room, I quickly finished my breakfast, wore my kollhapuri cheppal and started my way to head college.

Mother: Beta Abhinav..Don't forget to bring Vegetables while coming.
Abhinav: Yes Amma..Will bring.I remembered...You especially need Fresh palak and don't want me to bring potatoes. You already told me this for 10 times.

I started walking on the road where before approaching the college I remembered I need to take a note book from stationary. I purchased a book which I needed for my subject History. This subject is like encyclopedia I purchased  couple of note books 2 weeks ago..but all where finished like the way script writers use for their purpose.

Once I returned to my class room area I tend to see the beautiful, the charming , The divine beauty, the angel petite lady(Oh I am describing with lot of  angelic synonyms..let me hold on..ok enough now).I came to know that she is the new girl joined in our college who is our junior. Once I entered in the class room where our professor Mr Hitler (we portray his name as he is so strict and no body can dominate his commanding modes of history and  vociferous voice) . 

Like most of the dudes who experienced or experiencing even my body was in class but my mind was somewhere else. From the history love stories like Quli Qutab Shah & Bhagmati love,ShahJahan & Mumtaz ishq I put all my words and thoughts in that blank pages. Within a week I designed and framed that book with words coming from my heart than my mind. 

After 3 days I started my walk in campus to meet Arpitha. 
With stammering voice ..hello this is Abhinav
Arpitha : Ohh Hii sir , this is Arpitha . I Came to know form seniors that you are Mr. Distance( As I used to be away from gals , my friends put me a tag as Mr.distance)
How come you are talking daringly with me sir ...
Me : I don't know..
The next day when I am doing my regular rounds(To meet Arpitha to present the Book) like the way  head or principal does in school)

Arpitha : Oh Distance sir..What made your presence here.
Abhinav: I am here to give something..(As I about to give the book)...Suddenly a fellow historian friend arrived in middle of our conversation and proposed her. I was in shock.
But was not in shock. She showed anger on him.

I could see a dynamic voice and the Jhansi Lakshmi Bhai kind of Arpita where she started screaming and shouting on fellow historian when he proposed her. She is kind of giving dhamki to that poor guy. Once she finished her shouting class, the poolan devi kind of Arpitha asked me again.

You were in middle of something. What do you want to give me.
Though the blank pages in my new book are filled with my heartitude words and poetic phrases for her, My mind was blank at that time.
Abhinav: You forgot your pen yesterday. Here it is.  Bye
I silently started to walk back to my house.
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