Thank you!!

Wow! 20,000 Hits!!

  

Just a quickie call! Popping my head in to say a huge heartfelt thanks to all of you for keeping my blog alive and running.

Special thanks to the special people who are the WP family blogger buddies who always drop by to shower their love and presence by commenting and liking my blog posts. You guys amaze me you’re just as crazy as I am I guess lol!😘😘😘

Also thanks to the new visitors all coming through from Instagram.👍🏼

Please continue to shower your presence so I can remain motivated to write more.

ALL OF YOU TOTALLY ROCK!!! (and yes I’m yelling hehe😬)

Aloo Methi Tarkari – Potatoes And Fenugreek Leaves Curry

Today’s story inspiration came into my crazy head at the spur of the moment. This is what happens when your child is safely tucked into bed and you get the rest of the evening to do exactly as you please even if you so desire to rain dance in your birthday suit. Ooooh! yeah this is my time…my time to do something as crazy as this story about Barbie. 

Recently I’ve been quite active on social media such as Facebook and Instagram although a newbie on Insta so don’t forget to follow me on https://instagram.com/feedingthesonis. Social networking is also just one of the ways to keep myself from going insane with my chronic pains. One needs to vent somewhere.

So anyway to the point..there I was planning my little munchkins birthday party and sending invites to a group of friends via FB messenger (how time’s have changed). A friend asked if it was going to be a Bollywood theme like the previous year and I told him that wasn’t going to be the case this year. He was hugely relieved he wouldn’t be coerced into wearing a saree and the poor guy doesn’t even lean that way the slightest bit..hmmmm unless he leads a secretive double life which I’m not aware of.😁

The topic that was discussed between us friends started from sarees to pole dancing to accidental undraping of it on the kids jumping castle. A nice clean topic turns into a trashy excerpt of an erotic novel. They say great minds think alike..that’s the case with my group of friends. And as always I get accused of being the instigator. These special few are fondly nick named FWFB or Friends With Fringe Benefits. We are all current or ex Finance colleagues who are as crazy as I am. The conversations over lunches, coffees and dinners all begin with intense subjects and end up going a totally different direction and that too without any influence of the alcoholic kind. The company itself is quite intoxicating I tells ya!

After we wrapped up our conversation with our lol’s, ooh’s, umm’s and aah’s I decided to grab myself some dessert from the kitchen. On my way there (it’s a bit of a walk you see) my glance fell on my daughter’s Barbie doll which was lying face down on the dining table. Her hair was dishevelled and saree slightly loosened at the hips. Of course that very moment my crazy brain felt a sudden gush of rush and flashbacked to a tragic Bollywood movie scene thus the birth of this outrageous short story. Some of you may find it humourous some might think I should be locked up with the keys thrown out into the sea….either way hope you enjoy it. 

So here is todays special short film in stills.

FWFB – Friends With Fringe Benefits presents BARBIE GOES TO BOLLYWOOD!

Cast – Barbie, Ken, Ramesh Babu aka Rocco.

Special Appearance – Trees, Flowers, Birds, Bees, 

Supporting Cast – Chotu and the Rain. 

Meet our Bollywood Indian Barbie the super gorgeous main character of this film. 

 The true desi gurl! Isn’t she a beauty?

  Scene 1 – Barbie’s in the kitchen bored with having to cook aloo methi for dinner. She stirs the pot and sighs…wishing to have a home of her own and cooking for her hero Ken after marriage.


 
Scene 2 – Barbie gets a phone call from Ken pleading with her to meet him the following day at Lover’s Point so they can elope together. She enthusiastically starts to pack her 12 suitcases with her outfits and jewelleries. She is feeling a bit excited yet apprehensive fearing her parents reaction on finding out about her escapade. Barbie spends the entire night tossing and turning in bed as she imagines being in the arms of her love for eternity. 

 
Scene 3 – Barbie is anxiously waiting at Lover’s Point for Ken as she watches the birds and the bees buzz by. Nature seems like the most beautiful thing in the world to her as she starts humming her favourite Bollywood romance song. 

 
Scene 4 – Barbie drifts into her thoughts and next thing you know she’s in a barnyard. Enters rain…pouring down on her drenching her saree which now clings onto her figure defining her curves. Suddenly her pallu drops (the top bit that sits oh her shoulder) and she begins to heave her bosoms (you would think she’s having an asthma attack) then instead of a line dancing number she breaks into a bollywood item number song 🎶Kaate nahi kat teh yeh din yeh raat…kehni thi tumse joh dil ki baat..loh aaj main kehti huuuuu…uuuuu…I love youuuuuuu🎶 (Hinglish – unable to spend my day and night even if I want to…want to tell you my heart talk…today I tell youuuuu…uuuuuu…I love youuuuuuu!). 

 
Scene 5 – Hours tick by Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! Ken doesn’t turn up so she returns home devastated. Days turn into weeks and Barbie is still pining for her lover Ken (violin music softly playing in the background which makes your eyes well up with tears not in empathy for Barbie’s situation but because of the darn tune🎼). 

 
Scene 6 – Breaking news!!!! Chotu the Maali Ramu Kaka’s son (gardener’s son) is seen running to and breaking the news to Barbie. “Didi! didi! Ken bhaiyya Rajdhani express doh chalees ki train pakad kar Mumbai chale gaye…ab wohh kabhi wapas nahi aenge…usko uska sachcha pyar Ramesh Babu (Rocco) mil gaya“. (Hinglish – “sister sister Ken brother caught 2:40 Rajdhani Express train to Mumbai and is gone…now he will never return…he has found his true love in Ramesh Babu aka Rocco”).

Barbie begins to cry uncontrollably (🎼violin music playing even louder now).

The movie ends with Ken exchanging garlands and bharring (filling) Ramesh Babu’s maang (hair parting). Ken recites the wedding vows “ek chutki sindoor ki keemat tum kya jano Ramesh babu” (Hinglish – “one pinch vermillions value what you know of Ramesh babu?”).

Enters Salman Khan who cameos away on his bike with Barbie with the promise of making her a big star in the Mumbai film industry.

Happy ending..everybody’s looking for a happy ending!

Remember… it’s a FWFB – Friends With Fringe Benefits production.

Ingredients

1 Small Bunch Fresh Methi Leaves

3 Small To Medium Sized Potatoes

1 Onion

1/4 Tspn Tumeric/Haldi

1/4 Tspn Red Chilli Powder (optional)

1-2 Green Chillies

1 Tspn Cumin/Jeera Seeds

1/4 Tspn Aesofedita

1-2 Small Garlic

1-2 Tbspn Ghee/Oil (preferably ghee)


Method
• Wash and clean methi leaves and chop very coarsely.
• Cube potatoes into thin-medium thickness.
• Heat up ghee or oil in pan and add Asoefedita/Hing followed by Cumin/Jeera. Allow it to lightly brown.
• Now add garlic, onions and chillies. sauté until lightly browned then add Turmeric/Haldi. 
• Throw in the potatoes and lower the heat. Cover and cook until half done. Spoon break test required at this stage. 
• Finally add the methi leaves and cook until potatoes are mushy soft. 

This dish is best served with Roti/Chapati/Phulke. 

 

Steamed Tofu In Ginger Curry Leaves – Guest Post By Reader Sohamrita Minie Saran

My special guest today is all the way from USA. She is Sohamrita Minie Saran. How do I know her? Well I first noticed Sohamrita on Facebook. Yep! would you believe I have met some really wonderful people on Facebook with whom I now share very close friendships with. Sohamrita had “liked” a pic on my profile of my daughter Mishka and of course me and my curiosity led me to her profile. That’s when I learnt that she was actually one of my sister-in-law Shalini’s friend. 

As I was going through her profile I was falling in love. Then as I was scrolling down further I began to drool. By the time I was finished with Sohamrita’s profile I was not only hungry but in love…hungrily in love!. I fell head over heels in love with her amazing and absolutely gorgeous artwork and drooling over the images of her creative Vegan cuisines. I knew instantly I wanted to feature her on my blog. It’s an absolute honour that Sohamrita accepted my offer to do this post for me. 

 

Sohamrita Minie Saran

 

Sohamrita please share with my readers something about yourself. 

Thank you Sanjana for your heartfelt introduction and welcoming me to your blog world. I am filled with gratitude for your friendship.

I was born in New DelhiIndia, 35 years ago. I lived in India for 30 years before moving to US after my marriage. I did my post graduation in Business management and enjoyed a rewarding career span of 7 years in Corporate Human Resources before I relocated to US.  

Over past 5 years my interests diversified to Arts, writing, sufi poetry, dance, volunteerism as I rebirthed into a new form of life, of living in Devotion and loving surrender.

Let’s start with your paintings. So how long has it been since you first began painting?

began to paint in 2012. I am self taught and I paint as and when the spirit moves me. I am not a professional artist. Each of my paintings is an offering to the Great spirit who is absolute and most wonderful.

Please tell us about the inspiration behind your paintings and how it all came about?

I was always drawn to visual and performing Arts. I feel when one creates a piece of art either by way of cooking, singing, dancing or painting… one is in state of Grace. Grace surrounds us when we flow in blissful stream of self expression and state of receptivity which are also strong feminine qualities and so very harmonizing.

Painting to me is like stepping into a state of wholeness where I experience ‘Being’ more than ‘doing’. In this state I feel more receptive, attentive and awareI also find it very persistent in my experience that when I simply allow inspiration to flow through without determining much of its form, the outcome far exceeds my expectations of myself

I paint more in my ‘devotee‘ flow state, it is uplifting, feeds the longing of my soul at many levels and shapes my art. also find myself in this state of Grace when I dance .

I noticed your artwork signifies The Lord Krishna, Radha and Meera. Tell us about your love for Lord Krishna and your paintings in depth.

This journey of experiencing devotion and attraction for RadheKrishna has been the most elevating and potent influence I have felt in my life. I do believe Krishna’ through His unlimited potencies and inconceivable ways controls access to Him and reveals himself very selectively to the ones who deeply yearn for a relationship with Creatorin form of Krishna. A relationship beyond conventional affection for God/source /creator . I was always drawn to Divinity but some years back my life had been effected innumerous categories beyond my grasp and control. In those moments was when I first began to feel a  painful longing for knowing my creator and knowing His plans for meWhat did this Being desire of me? I wished to enter into a more meaningful conscious relationship with God. During that phase I was also training in Hypnosis Therapy and Advanced Reiki, my interest was also getting drawn to reading Vedic scriptures and books on transcendental science. Chanting, meditating, journaling and choosing solitude was a big chunk of what used to flow into my days.

During this time, my friendship with a very special friend ‘Soma Devo’ who is a  shamanic healer and someone who has endured much of his life in extreme conditions and in advanced surrenderstarted to grow stronger . I turned to him with meaningful questions and through the revelations in our discussions I came to recognize KrishnaGradually, I was received in the understanding that ‘Krishna’ was that Infinite being whom I had been aching and yearning to feel communion with. Soma, was the greatest ever influence over me that strengthened God consciousness and a strong faith flow in me.

Longing is both a call and path we must take. Once the longing for God is awakened in our heart, we can neither escape nor betray. I started  to feel a yearning to offer myself up to Him in every moment of my day. I would meditate on Him while I would brush my teeth or make my bed. I would go about doing everything in my house like I was doing for Krishna. From food offerings to folding clothes the thousandth time. I fell in Love with Him more and more each passing day. The more I offered the more He drew my heart and attraction to Him. Painting, is just a small component of my offering. I see Krishna in all details within everything I experience including sorrow and pain. I witness Him in the form my life is shaping day to day Krishna to me is not just as a worshipable Deity. To me Krishna is beyond just feeling awe and Reverence for. To me He embodies the power of Divine attraction. He is most wonderful,  intimate companion to me. Meditating on Krishna’s form, beauty and opulence’s is distracting beyond point of addiction. 

And, where there is Krishna, there is Radhe– His Feminine Shakti, His eternal consort who loves Krishna so deeply to a point of losing all self consciousness. When I meditate on Radha, I can feel her presence and admiration for her. I always invite Her to flow through me into everything I do as an offering to Krishna. One cannot develop communion with Krishna without mercy of Radharani. Radha’s ultimate gift is the experience of our love filling everyone that comes in our association, including the plants, the broken potholes on road ..everything. So much so that the Earth itself feels like an extension of one’s Divine Beloved. I feel erotically infused with Devotion to Radhe Krishna . This is my most valid state when I feel embraced by love and union. If I am tuned out, I suffer internally. Its a way of life, moment to moment that completely engages all my senses. I  paint for Krishna, I dance for Him, I cook for Him and I experience Him in the most mundanenest of chores and demands of everyday life.
 
So when I am in the mood to paint, I simply offer an intention to paint for RadheKrishna, asking for their Grace and auspicious energy to flow into the painting.

 

Radhe – Yogini Of Love

 

Do you make an income out of your artwork?

My friend Soma Devo,  inspired and encouraged me to consider ‘gifting’ my paintings as a way ofoffering to RadheKrishna . He is an incredible Artist himself, and has created exceptionally stunning paintings in his devotee flow . My husband is a great support to me. He pushes and encourages me to paint and explore all my creative callings.

recognize that I give my work to Krishna and not really the recipient. So, I have gifted some of my paintings and remaining are some incomplete work I am working on slowly. I do intend to hold an exhibition in near future . I wish to place the monetary returns in hands of Krishna. This is the first lesson I learned from Soma on Faith flow. In faith flow, there is no planning on returns. With Trust there is not just material returns but spiritual ones as faith feeds the relationship with GodThis makes ‘giving’ more of a spiritual joy experience rather than monetary one. 


Can you tell us a bit about one of your favourite paintings?

I give each painting my all. I feel very centered in them as my love for Krsna has profound impact on my experience of painting. I feel the paintings I have gifted so far have all been very special. The First one that I painted for a friend was on  a theme Krishna playing flute’. To date that is the most most special paintingWhen I have my friends who receive the paintings, I feel I have gifted them something more special than just a painting! I feel in this way Krishna is also giving me service by way of sharing Him with others and in this way I feel I am with Him in all ways. Every painting I paint feeds my devotion and that is a gift to life.

Now let’s move onto food. Please tell us how you became a Vegan? Was it by choice or by birth?

My vegan journey started in 2013. I was as is withdrawing from meat. I had stopped smoking and I felt a strong desire to quit drinking wine. I was naturally feeling inclined to realign my life with main focus on what I was eating

One day I happened  to watch Earthlings, a detailed documentary on untold suffering from brutal exploitation and killings of animal species for milk, meat  food, leather and vanity purposes. That was a wake up call for me. Food since than is not just something with a nutritional value but a significant spiritual significance. I feel as long as I consumed meat and products, I willfully denied the torture and suffering innocent, defenseless animals had to endure in the process. To me that felt like living in a very restricted and disconnected reality. 

A lot has changed and realigned in my being since I turned vegan.

How did you feel when I approached you with the offer of a guest post on my blog?

I was taken by surprise. Thank you for this beautiful gestureBut, must give all credits to my Mom when it comes to cooking. She is an incredible woman of strength and Patience. She is an absolute Goddess when it comes to cooking and serving her family! Much of my inspiration and love for cooking I take from her. 

Have you ever read any of the posts on my blog? If you have whats your opinion about my stories and in particular the vegetarian Fijian recipes?

When I visited your blog, I felt the warmth of your love for family, cooking and life as I read the blog chronicles. I particularly liked the street food pani poori post. It brought back my memories of being in India. Your style of writing is very personal and one takes an instant interest in all the excitement filled moments that feature in each story. You set the mood for chai and having conversation with a friend.

What benefits have you found from your Vegan diet? 

I feel more aligned with reality, beauty, grace and I have understood the true meaning of Compassion.  I do not see any value in classifying animals as cute or edible. They are all innocent and sentient beings carrying in them their own intrinsic value. They are here for their own purpose, to enjoy their own existence. We as Humans need to respect and protect that. Only can then, we can hope for peace on this planet.

Animal Farming is the number one cause of World Hunger, Violence, green gas emission, pollution of rivers, destruction of Biodiversity and ecology imbalance on earth, apart from Dietary related ill effects on health. There has been enough studies and reports by WFO and other official resources that point out strong evidences to prove how lethal animal farming and animal food is at all levels.  

The biggest benefit, I feel after turning vegan is contentment and joy of simplicity.

What advice do you have for my readers if they decide to transition to a Vegan diet and lifestyle? How easy or difficult is the process? 

Please remind yourself each day that the Nature offers us (unless we are living on a far deserted island with absolutely no source of plant food) with abundance of plant based, healthy, environmentally friendly alternatives to violent and ecologically devastating food and lifestyle choices. Please choose compassion every day, every moment. Start with small incremental changes in your diet everyday that meets your nutritional requirement and remind yourself of the reason why you are making the change. 

As a suggestion, start with quitting meat, slowly onto quitting cheese and other dairy products and finally replacing the milk in your cup of coffee with delicious almond /coconut /soy / hemp milk or any other source of nut milk available in your local store. I don’t consider it my right to control what one is eating but I think considering ‘whom’ we are eating as a collective society is a bigger issue in the interest of all beings on planet.

And finally what recipe did you choose to share with my readers today and why? 

This recipe is my husband’s favourite that we always cook this one together – Steamed tofu in ginger curry leaves.
  


Ingredients

A pack of tofu (Organic , GMO free), cut into large cubes
1 large onion (roughly chopped)
2 medium sized tomato (roughly chopped)
1 cup green peas 
freshly ground 3 large spoons of ginger- garlic
handful of fresh curry leaves 
thai green chillies


Seasoning

1/2 tspn of mustard seeds
1/2 tspn of coriander seeds
1/2 tspn of cumin seeds
2-3 cloves
2-3 green cardamom 
1 three inch cinnamon stick
8-10 curry leaves 
ginger juliennes 
chopped cilantro 


Spice Mix A

Mix together (for curry )
tspn paprika
tspn turmeric powder
1 tspn coriander powder
1 tspn cumin powder
1 tspn dried fenugreek leaves 
½ tspn of black pepper
kosher salt


Spice Mix B 

Mix together (for tofu)
tspn of dried Chives or fresh
handful of Dill leaves
zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt

Method

Heat 1 tbspn of coconut oil in a pan. When the oil heats up, add curry leaves,  add turmeric powder. Add onions. Add salt, keep stirring on medium low for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic ginger paste. Add coriander and cumin powder. Keep stirring and cook till onions begin to turn brown. Add chopped tomatoes. Add spice mix for curry. Cover and cook for roughly 8 minutes, stirring occasionally….adding little water if the mixture becomes too dry.

Turn off the flame when cooked and keep the pan partially covered allowing the mixture too cool. In the meantime, steam the tofu cubes with spice mix B (reserved for tufu) sprinkled over the cubes. Steam for about 5 minutes or till soft to desired consistency. Grind the curry paste in a blender. 

In the same pan, add a tspn or two coconut oilWhen oil heats up add mustard seeds. Let them sputter, add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, add cinnamon, cloves and green cardamom. Add a handful more of curry leaves. Add ground curry paste from the blender, add water (for desired curry consistency), bring to boil. Drop the steamed  tofu cubes and cook together for another 2-3 minutes. Garnish w ginger juliennes, cilantro and half lemon juice .

Serve hot over a bed of jasmine rice. 

 

Lauki/Ghiya Tarkari (Bottle Gourd Curry)

🎉Happy New Year 2015 Everyone!🎉

Bit late I know..but better late than never right? Actually I almost decided to give up and not return to the world of blogging! All the travelling I did over the holiday period took it’s toll on my health. Chronic pain is like a dreaded curse! You can only pretend so much that you’re absolutely fine when you’re clearly not. If it wasn’t for you all..my humble readers/followers out there I wouldn’t have felt motivated enough to blog again. Thanks for your messages and emails and the kick on my butt..I really needed that!! So here I am back and hoping I can last a little longer in here.

Hope you all had a great Xmas and new year break. I, for one had a fantastic holiday break with my family and relos back in India. Surprisingly my daughter Mishka had an absolute blast and even enjoyed the extensive travelling by planes, trains and automobiles. Food, of course was on the top of my list amongst shopping, manicures, pedicures, heavenly massages and more heavenly massages. I ate like I will never eat again!! I now have to wait a few more long months until I get to savour authentic Desi khana (local food) again. Honestly speaking guys..towards the end of my trip I started missing my less or zero masala Fiji chow. With the amount of fresh matar (pea) curries I was consuming daily I swear I could’ve made a trip to Mars and back…wheeeeee!!! 🚀 but..I will happily do it all over again!!!

Today’s recipe is for Lauki aka Ghiya aka Bottle Gourd. This recipe is not atypical of how many of us Fiji Indians cook this particular dish back home. Mine actually has a slight variation to the ingredients for added flavour enhancement. My recipe today, as you know is vegetarian but my story has an itsy-bitsy non-veg touch to it so minors refrain from reading because you’re just not going to find any spiders going up anyones spout (um..this is not sounding how I wanted it to). This event is based on a true story and the characters could possibly resemble your neighbour!!!

Hanging Body Parts oops! i mean Bottle Gourds.

IMG_2691-0Image credit – Bottle Gourds via photopin (license)

Before I move onto to today’s story and recipe I would like to briefly mention a very special person..a blogger pal who is an absolute inspiration to me. I admire her will to live life to the fullest in every way she can. She is truly amazing and such a gem of a person. I learn from her and her beautiful thoughts. She is Stephanae McCoy a Fashion blogger who blogs at Bold Blind Beauty. Please do check out Stephanae and her blog when you get a chance. I’m sure you will love her and her blog as much as I do.

Moving along…..

Have you ever had a slip of the tongue in the middle of a conversation? Well what do you know..a kind of funny but embarassing thing happened to me recently. It’s something I do a lot but this time I was at the receiving end.

I was involved in a very serious and intense conversation with a male acquaintance (let’s just call him Bob the builder shall we..although Peter the plumber will do me fine too 😉). The topic took a turn to spinal surgeries. Bob and I have had similar back problems so I was trying to get some info off him. He was trying his best to explain to me in simple medical terms about his complicated back issues and of the time he thought he almost didn’t make it.

This was part of the conversation that took place between us. Him, in his best Aussie Italiano accent plus the use of profanities especially the “F” word in every sentence (Dana – this ones for you girl lol) and me in my confused accent.

Him – “You see my limp?

Me – “Ummm…(my one track mind reading into things I shouldn’t)..err..ohhhhh..yes yes (nodding my head indian style) I just only noticed it today.”

Him – “It’s because I was f***** stupid and didn’t rest after my surgery!

Me – “OMG! Really? Aww..why didn’t you though?

Him – “Well you know what it’s like when you have kids and you have no choice but to work and earn and all that crap?

Me – “Ah!..yes of course..that’s sad to hear.

Him – “You know I actually ended up in emergency at the f***** hospital because the disc in my spine had shifted..and there’s a word for it c-something…c..cu..cun….

Me – (Panic stricken hoping its not the word I think he is about to say).

Him – “Oh man!! What’s that f***** word? Ah yes!! it’s called calcified. You know I was in that bad of a shape. If I would’ve been a little bit late things could’ve been so much worse.

Me – “Oh gosh! 😱tch! tch! tch! (feeling remorseful and shocked!) aww you poor thing! (holding back the urge to console him).

Him – “This f***** problem with my spinal disc almost cost me my livelihood. The day I ended up in emergency I thought I was a goner (tone getting louder as the story reaches it’s climax) Oh man I’m telling ya my d**k” had become so hard!!! It was bloody painful I tell ya!! I just can’t explain!!!

Dead silence….🙊

Me – (After a few seconds silence which felt like hours)…Hahahahah ehehehe good one Bob!! (both turning red like an organic over ripe tomato).

Well yes, it was a “I wish the earth would open and swallow us up” moment. I don’t know who was more embarassed me or him!!

Luckily I’m blessed with a great sense of humour and the conversation just continued like nothing “Tom, Dick & Harry” like had happened. I was giggling so hard (from inside of course and trust me that’s one difficult task). Now I feel I will never able to look the acquaintance in his eyes ever again! 👀

There was no stopping my mind from then onwards. How would you have handled this situation? Do share your “clean” thoughts.😉

Ingredients

1 Large Lauki/Ghiya/Bottle Gourd

1-2 Tbspn Yoghurt 

1/4 Tspn Haldi/Tumeric

1/4 Tspn Garam Masala

1-2 Green Chillies

1 Medium Sized Onion

1 Tbspn Ginger & Garlic Paste

6-10 Curry Leaves

2-3 Tbspn Oil

Pinch Of Hing/Asaofedita

Tiny Pinch of Sarso/Mustard, Jeera/Cumin & Methi/Fenugreek Seeds

Salt To Taste

Method

• Peel the Lauki and remove the seedy flesh from inside (optional since some people love the fleshy part as well). Cut into small to medium pieces.
• Chop onions finely.

• Add a little water(room temperature) into the yoghurt, whisk and set aside for later.

• Pour and heat oil in a pan and add Hing followed by Sarso, Jeera and Methi.

• Once the Sarso seed starts to pop throw in the finely chopped onions along with Ginger/Garlic paste and brown lightly.

• Now add the Haldi, Garam Masala with the curry leaves and give it a quick stir.

• Add the diced Lauki pieces into the pan along with a 1/4 cup water and cook in low heat settings until done. It’s a bit similar to cooking potatoes so a spoon break test is required to check the texture. It should break away easily when fully cooked. Don’t forget to add a little water into it if it starts to get too dry.

• Once it’s cooked turn the stove off and allow it to cool a little before adding the whisked yoghurt and giving it a good stir.

This dish is best served with Roti/Chapati.

IMG_2689

Baingan Aur Pyaz Raita (Seasoned Yoghurt With Eggplant And Onion)

Todays recipe for Raita is inspired by my sister Annu’s version of Eggplant Raita. I’m not sure if my version exists out there but I like to think it doesn’t and that I created it. I love onions cooked and raw or in any which way so I decided to give it my twist and add that into my Raita. I absolutely loved it!!! Do give it a try and see if you like it too. It’s simple, it’s easy and a unique take on your usual Raitas.

Well as you all know by now my post won’t be complete without my totally unrelated to food prattling. Let me tell you a bit about my adventure in my favourite travel destination Thailand. You see I was always apprehensive about travelling to Thailand only because I had so eagerly watched a movie called “Shocking Asia” many years ago. It left a jaw dropping, eye popping, thought provoking effect on me. Well in fact I was amusingly traumatised. So here’s a little snippet of my very first trip there. Mind you my trip there wasn’t an option it just so happened that the cheapest route to India was via Thailand so off we went.

When I first landed in Bangkok my first impression was wow! I’m in a clean version of India..oh wait or is it Middle East? Umm why do I feel like I’m still in Australia. Yep! that was my reaction. I somehow felt I hadn’t left Sydney at all..Liverpool to be precise. Now if you’re a fellow Aussie and been to the wonderful western suburbs of Liverpool you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

I just love the country for the warmth of the Thai people and the multiculturalism however I was still a bit wary. I had read and been warned so much about the things of the weird kind happening there that I jumped everytime someone said “Sawadee Kha” (hello) feeling they all had an ulterior motive. Although in Hindi Swad similar sounding to sawadee is tasty and Kha means eat…hmmm what shall we make of this then? I leave it to your imaginative minds.😉

You know when tourists visit Australia for the first time they are almost always on a lookout for Kangaroos and Koalas in our cities, airports, parks but mainly at the beach hoping to see them in their speedos, wearing an Akubra hat, enjoying a BBQ and skulling some schooners (just kidding!). Well what do you know..when sightseeing in Bangkok I was on a lookout too. I had my eyes on full sos scanning alert for “ladyboys”. They are so called gorgeous males adorned as divas and pretty much well tucked “down under”. I remember getting Thai massage services in my hotel room (such luxury) and being super paranoid that my masseuse was a ladyboy. Now it’s not that I had a problem with it..I just didnt want “her” to envy my jalti jawani (burning) beauty that’s all.

I looked at everyone in a suspicious manner so much so that I feared my DH will be lured by gorgeous Thai women to the region of “Thai-Sutra”. They would entice him by saying “sawadee krab (you might just end up catching it if you ain’t playing safe) come she teacha you ping pong..she maker you happy“. But in reality what I found was that almost everyone (except the dodgy few) were pretty cool there and having a ball and letting their hairs and what not down. We also bumped into a few fellas from back home who had several Thai beauties hanging off their arms..”lucky buggers!!”(DH’s words not mine). What does this say about our men? Well drink yer beers, enjoy yer barbie..just make sure you can spot the difference mate! Can’t wait for my next trip!

Ingredients
1 Medium Sizes Eggplant (I used the thicker dark purple variety)
1 Large Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1&1/2 Cup Yoghurt
Oil for Shallow Frying
Salt To Taste

Method
• Wash,dry and slice eggplant into medium to thin half moon shapes.
• Slice onion into ring shapes.
• Crush the garlic and add into the bowl of whisked yoghurt with salt.
• Now heat some oil into a non-stick frypan and shallow fry the eggplant pieces until lightly browned and drain into absorbent paper.
• Repeat the same with the onion rings.
• Add the onion rings and fried eggplant pieces into the yoghurt and stir. Serve with Roti or Chawal.

This dish is best served with Biryani and Pulao or anything else you fancy.

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