Sunday, May 24, 2009

Recipe time(Ivy Gourd)

Well, I did not even used to go into kitchen when I was back in India. I never had to cook something. My mother used to serve me everything. You know mother is always mother.:-P
But things changed when I came to US. I had to start cooking which I was kind of scared. But you dont believe, I kind of became expert and have lot of interest in cooking now. I feel it as a stress buster sometimes.
My friends and rooommates say that I cook really tasty food whatever I try. With concentration I think its proved that we can make anything successful. Anyway let me not bore any more. I am here posting you the recipe of Tindora Fry(called as Dondakaya in Telugu language). Its a very special vegetable which grows in India only. Here it goes...

250 gms /1/4 kg Dondakayalu / Tondli / Ivy Gourds½ tsp mustard seeds
10-12 fresh curry leaves
pinch of turmeric pwd
salt to taste
1 ½ tbsp oil
1-2 tbsp roasted peanuts (garnish)
To be roasted in oil and ground to a coarse pwd:
few drops of oil
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
2 dry red chillis – remove stalk, tear into two and de-seed (adjust according to your spice level)
1 1/2 tbsp roasted peanuts

1. Wash the dondakayalu and nip the tip and tail ends. Slit each gherkin into two, length wise, as shown in the picture and slice them into thin long strips.

2. Heat a few drops of oil in a cooking vessel. Once the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium flame, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter and turn brown. Add urad(white lentils) and channa dal for crunchy taste. Add the red chillis and fry for a few seconds stirring continuosly. Turn off heat and cool. Once cool, add roasted peanuts to this roasted spice mix and grind to make a coarse pwd.

3. Add oil in the same pan and heat it till hot. Reduce to medium flame and add the mustard seeds, let them splutter. Add the curry leaves ,stir them till the aroma come out.

4. Immediately add the sliced dondakayalu and combine. Add salt and turmeric pwd and mix well. Saute on medium heat for 3-4 minutes , keep sauteing them so that it doesn’t burn. Now reduce to low flame and let it cook covered till soft, approx 12-15 minutes. Keep checking inbetween, sauteing them so that they dont burn. The sauteed dondakayalu lose moisture and begin to have a wrinkled appearance and turns to a deeper color.

5. Don’t overcook the dondakayalu, they should retain that, slight crunchy texture. Add the ground coarse pwd at this stage and combine well and let it cook, uncovered for another 2 minutes on medium heat. Turn off heat.

6. Finally adjust the salt and garnish with roasted peanuts. Serve hot with steamed rice, dal or sambar.

Let me know if this is helpful to anybody who tried this.:)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Laksha Gala Sankirthanarchana(100,000 People Choir Singing Praising Lord)

Amazing!!!. Imagine more than 100,000 people singing to praise the Lord for the good. Since I am in US, I am not lucky to participate in this event which happened in my city Hyderabad in India.

Coming to the news, TTD(Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams) an organization which takes care of affairs of Lord Venkateswara in temple town Tirumala. As you know this temple is believed to be the richest of all the temples in the world. Almost 100,000 people akes their visit to this place daily to gain blessings of the lord.

There was a telugu poet and lyricist called Annamayya in 15th century who was greatest devotee for Lord Venkateswara. He wrote around 32,000 sankeerthanas(holy songs) on the lord. We are lucky to obtain atleast 13,000 of them from the history. May 9th was his 601st birthday so based on that occassion, TTD has conducted a major programme where 100,000 people sang together some of the songs written by Annamayya for the Lord. This also went into Guinness Book of records breaking the German musical event happened in 1937.


I am lucky enough to have several co-incidental attachments with Annamayya. Our family is considered as the descendants of him. And the college where I have graduated is just next to his native place(Tallapaka). I have visited his place and temple also several times.

I am here taking a chance to salute this great poet and may all his poetic wonders will become inspiration to all generations. This should also help us to remember our tradition and culture.