June 03, 2009

Beloved Bengaluru & Mysuru, cooking Rainbow Red Chard and a long Summer break!

Hello everybody, hope life and warm Summer has been great to all of you so far.
Well....for me it was wonderful. I had been in India, to super HOT, humid Summery Bangalore and Mysore to be precise for few weeks and now back home to reality ie dog tired after 19hrs of flying, sniffling with cold and exhaustion, not wanting to start cooking and cleaning again. But I did come back to my beautifully flourished veggie patch, my little "happy to see you" family with not so clean kitchen at home. Although I enjoyed visiting India fully, I am so very glad to be back in clean, cooler and less populated America! :D

Kids have coped well while I was in India. My husband worked, came home as usual and took kids out on weekends as I hear from my kids. Thank God for Trisha, she has been a great "little mommy" to her brother while I was gone! Apparently my son almost had set my brand new kitchen on fire trying to warm a canned food with the lid on in the Microwave! :P

Visiting India, family and friends after many many years (almost 18tyrs!), I had an eye opening experience about life there. Mostly good things with most beautiful visual treats, whether they are clothes, Temples, Artifacts or food and some facts really makes me sad like how kids are pushed relentlessly by most parents there to achieve academically whether kids are capable or not, along with a ridiculous amount of school and college fees as "donation", shocking to hear first hand of blatantly asking us for bribe by most officials without a trace of shame for even a small thing they do which is supposed to be their regular work and not to mention the smells (good and bad!), shoulder rubbing mass of (mostly smiling!) crowd everywhere, deafening noise of honking vehicles every second, death defying traffic and pollution you can almost touch!! I am sure I have partial black lungs now! HeHe!!

I bought back a lot of Indian style "Kurtis" for us, some gold and brought back some of my wedding jewelry and Sarees too which were sitting in India for years. Of course, bought loads of Kannada cookbooks and books written by author BeeChi! Also enjoyed meeting my 6yr old nephew whom I hadn't met before, my beautiful SIL and of course my parents, few aunts and my only brother.

Anyway, now that I am trying to recover slowly from exhaustion, Flu and Allergy, we have a fully engaging Summer this year. Starting with both Kids' graduation in June, a Hawaii vacation in July, a college orientation and daughter's's move to college dorm in August, we are very busy this Summer. I will not be able to blog surf or blog until Fall. I will see you all again soon, starting with my 2009 Summer garden post.

Here are few photos from Bangalore and Mysore:(Click on all the images to enlarge)

Food I ate!! Yes, I need to walk and lose lot of lbs too this Summer! :D
I met Latha of "The YUM Blog" there. She has been a wonderful friend, cooked lunch for me, took me around to meet her friends near her home and took me around to show me places there as well. She has a beautiful house, filled with antique "Thippalai" and "Jhola" etc., loved them all. The first photo you see in the collage is her lunch for me the first day I met her of Adai, Avial, Payasam etc on a solid silver plate!! She also made her popular Rava Idli platter and Pani Puri next time but I was so eager to eat, forgot to take pics! :D
I also talked to Lakshmi, Latha's daughter and SRA on the phone as well, met my college friends and sampled some of the south and North Indian food in B'lore and Mysore.
We sampled Jolada rotti oota, Holige oota, Masale dose in "Nalapaka", "Janata", "Adyar Ananda Bhavan", "Halli Mane", "MTR", "Iravata", chaats at "Thindi Beedi" in V.V.Puram, Gobi and babycorn Manchurian, Gulkan Kulfi and "Siddhartha" in Mysore, Maddur vades, Bisibele Bhath, Poori Saagu, MTR Rava Idli and many many more. I don't like to eat sweets much, didn't sample those really but I gifted many boxes of sweets to friends and family including that delicious Mysore Pak.

Here are some beautiful images which represents Bangalore and Mysore. Temples, Palaces, Veg market, Flower market, colorful powders, Bangles and exotic fruits and artifacts!

I do have more than 250 photos but tried to post some of them just to show you. That was a great trip to India all in all and hope I can make it there in about 4yrs again when my son starts college and stay longer than few weeks! :)

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My veggie garden has grown so much in just few weeks I had been gone!
I had spread some Rainbow Red chard seeds before I left US and now they are grown like a jungle! You can see the Red chard leaves on your left corner on the bottom of the photo.
As soon as I came back home, I ran to the backyard, took this photo and then cooked a simple but tasty dal with a whole bunch of red chard and chana dal, a Red Chard stir fry, right after 2-3 days of sleeping at odd hrs to catch up the time difference betn India and US!

Red Chard dal, Red Chard stir fry, Eggplant Pachadi/Bajji and Rice rottis:
I am sending this platter to Indosungod's event "The Chard Challenge-Calling all Gardeners". Thanks for hosting Indo, enjoy! :)
Well.. it doesn't take much work or preparation to grow Swiss Chard or Rainbow Chard in your backyard at all. All you need is a well prepared pot or ground with loose soil with Miracle grow or good fertilizer added and Chard seeds to sprinkle. Water occasionally and there you have it! They grow profusely, just snip only the leaves as you need them, don't pull the whole plant. They grow very well with minimal effort, very nutritious and beautiful to look at too.

To make Swiss Rainbow Chard dal:

1. Wash and then chop a big bunch of Red chard with it's softer stems roughly. If you are not using a pressure cooker, you could precook 1/2 cup Chana dal in the Microwave with 2-3 cups of water until soft but not mashed to paste. Keep aside.
2. Heat 1 tsp ghee and 2 tsp oil in a pressure pan or cooker or a pan. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2 tsp cumin seeds, let it splutter. Add and fry 1 small onion, chopped, 1 garlic, chopped.
3. Add Chana dal if you are using a pressure cooker, stir, add chopped chard and 2-3 cups of water. Cover and pressure cook this on medium heat just until 1-2 whistles.
If you are using regular pan, add cooked Chana dal and Chard, cover and cook until greens are soft and not much water left.
4. Add enough salt, Chilli powder, 1 tbsp Coriander powder, 1/4 tsp Tamarind paste or 1 tomato and let it cook for 5 mins on medium heat.
5. Serve with Parathas, rotis or Bhakri.

Swiss Chard stir-fry:
1. Chop Chard roughly and keep aside.
2. Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan, add 1 tsp each Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds, 2 tsp Urad dal, 2 dry red chillies, until they splutter.
3. Add 1/2 cup onion, 1 garlic, fry until reddish. Add chopped greens, stir once and add 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until they are wilted and soft. Open the lid, simmer until just a little water left in the bottom.
4. Add enough salt, mix. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice to serve as a side dish or light lunch.

Recipe for Eggplant Bajji or Pachadi and to make Akki rottis are here in this post.

Thanks to all of you who awarded me and tagged me for MeMe(I have stopped doing MeMes long back, but thanks for tagging!), I will slowly add you to my sidebar when I can. Right now, I have to rest and be ready for graduations this month.

That is all from me until Fall, see you all soon. Have a wonderful Summer, enjoy blogging! :)