Story of grit and determination during lockdown! Never give up!!!

I am a big seafoodie. I find it very difficult to be away from seafood. I prefer fresh seafood, well that’s how I am wired. Lock down has played havoc with my seafood shopping, usually I like to go to the beach and get my quota of fresh catch from the boat.

At times I buy fish from a govt run fish stall based on the fresh fish availability and during lock down there is not much choice. Remember Chennai has an extended lockdown. Three days ago I discovered a govt run fish stall that was selling Fresh fish. I was so excited, but that did not last long, because that stall is 5 kms away from my house. Our lockdown rule, permits us to go and buy food or grocery within 2 kms radius of our residence. They sell fish only through their app and my location is not their service area.. Also they had a technical glitch! Second day, I called him again to check if there is any way he can help me out and deliver. I heard only NO. Third day, I called him again but the NO was in the same tone. My fighter instinct, especially when it comes for sea food, kicked in on that day. I located a friend of mine living closer to the stall and told her to buy the fish and keep it with her. Later I can Dunzo it. But, the app never worked for her so my shopping ended up in disappointment. You know I never give up for food. I called the person in charge, narrated my 3 day ordeal, convinced him that he has no choice but to help me buy fish. After some persuasion, he agreed to take the order over phone and accepted for GooglePay.
There comes my stock of fresh sear fish, crabs and more. My happiness knew no boundries when I saw the shining, fresh, blue sea crabs and the fresh sear fish. Believe me, it was worth all the trouble, when I saw them being cooked in my earthenware.

Are you a fighter or a loser? You don’t have to be aggressive but can be assertive! Find out various solutions to one goal. Few might work few might not, but never give up! We might lose few battles in life, but can win many more.

Life is all about not getting things easy, struggles are common, look at challenges as opportunity. Make your goals and determinations the focal point, chase them. Many of you see me post my food pictures, I don’t do it to show off. I love creating food, it’s my Passion, I want to encourage and motivate people who see my post to do something similar if they want to. I freely share recipes, I do not have secret ingredients or masalas. I believe that recipes are all over the internet, your hand and heart is special nobody can make a recipe like you can because your recipe comes from your hand and your heart. There can never be a comparison or competition for that.

My mom always use to say what is yours will always remain yours nobody can snatch it from you.💙

Bad relationships can be mended with love! How I worked on my relationship!

So here goes my story about bad relationship and how I mended it today with love and patience!

I got this beautiful used iron dosa pan from my husband’s cousin a few years back (8yrs if I am not wrong) from Calicut.  I loved the taste and the texture of the dosa I made using this pan. It would give me trouble in between but I use to use all the techniques I knew and I borrowed from veterans and my dosa’s would come out well again!

More than a year ago, it gave me a similar problem. I did not have much time in hand during morning breakfast since I had to finish morning chores and rush to office. I replaced it with a non-stick and went on with life. It remained there untouched for more than a year.

Yesterday I felt like eating the restaurant type dosa and my mouth watered when I thought about hot crisp dosa. I immediately soaked udad dal and rice ( I have not been using rice all this while, since I use Millets) but lockdown made me go back to something I love. When I woke up in the morning I knew that only my iron dosa pan could give me that crisp texture that I was yearning for. It was time to pull it out and shower all the love and attention that I had not given it for a while now. Would it work? but i really wanted it to work!

I washed the pan, looked at it with love, placed it on the gas stove and spoke to it for a while. I said sorry, with all the hustle and bustle in my life I forgot to appreciate you, when you seeked attention by not giving me the dosa the way I wanted it, I just discarded you for something fancy, easy and not that great for me. But I really love you and you know that very well. I am definitely going to love you unconditionally now on, I am going to say I love you even before I use you, I will wash and handle you with Love and above all I am going to be patient with you and not discard you! Saying this loudly as I rolled the dosa on my favourite pan. Also sent a few positive prayers, drizzled some home made desi ghee and kept looking at it with love to rise and not stick.

And vola, my pan responded back with all and more love that I could expect. It just gave me those lovely crispy dosa with the most amazing flavour that I have been craving and dreaming about since yesterday! All the love and prayers I showered came right back to me in the form of this dosa!

Moral of the story in any relationship you have to give love, attention, patience, prayers, understanding and lot of time to each other, without which nothing works. Thanks to the lockdown, mended my relationship with my favourite Pan!

Achayathis a south Kerala homestyle food in Chennai!

What I like about this place! It has homestyle food from the southern part of Kerala specifically from Kottayam! The food is cooked by the achayathi / the lady of the house. The place is tastefully done with some simple eye catching wall painting and wooden benches!

The food was simple with a total homemade flavour from a mother’s kitchen! The meals was basic with avail, thoran, Sambar, rasam, moru, pickle, papadam and payasam. We ordered for mathi/ sardines, beef fry and Kappa biryani that was extra.

Vegetarian meals with mathi fry, Kappa biryani and beef fry ordered extra!
Kappa biryani
Beef fry
Mathi fry
Kizhi mutton biryani
Awesome flavour and fragrance! Kizhi biryani!
Beef kizhi biryani
And she is the Achayathi Anna!

The Original Bombay brassiere at Nungambakkam, Chennai.

This definitely gives me lot of happiness to see that Bombay brassiere is back in action at Nungambakkam and that too with the original tag. I always loved the location and ambience of this place, specially the outdoor seating! This is one of the few places in Chennai that serves food from all over India, traditional food with a modern twist!

We started our evening with Jaipur Gulabo. what attracted me to this drink was offcourse the name! But was amazed with its taste and presentation.

Jaipur Gulabo

The papad bowl was not only colourful but came with variety of papads and dips. My favourite being the salsa dip!

Papad bowl

The aam papad paneer was soft silky paneer costed in dry sweet mango sauce. It had a tangy and sweet flavour!

Aam papad paneer

Naga ghost pepper wings! Naga peppers are one of the spiciest and that is used to make this dish. The flavour is absolutely stunning if you are ready to handle the heat.

Naga ghost pepper wings!

The Calcutta club fish fry was the most amazing dish! The fish was fresh the kasundi sauce used was full of flavour and fried to perfect crispiness!

Calcutta club fish fry!

The chilli cheese kulcha was a very creative blend of chilli cheese and kulcha. Kulcha that usually comes as a bread with mains came with a twist like a appetizer! The cheese just oozed out with a bite.

Chilli cheese kulcha!

The Kashmiri naan kebab was a beauty of a dish. This can be had as an appetizer or a main, served with a walnut dip. It truly is a kashmiri beauty!

Kashmiri naan kebab!

The finale is always sweet and these desserts were indian, but exotic! Jalebi with rabri, amritsari kulfi and Anglo Indian bread pudding. Presentation was perfect, taste was absolutely stunning!

Jalebi with rabri!
Anglo Indian bread pudding!
Amritsari kulfi!

Koox the Roof top restaurant with the best view, ambience, spirits and food in Chennai! The city has some ubercool places!

When we had to decide a place for my 2020 birthday. We were very sure we wanted a place that was new, stylish, with a good view, good food and good spirits!

The place we chose to go!

Koox is located at the roof top of Novotel at chamiers! The ambience is chic, the view is breath taking, the weather was perfect. We had an excellent briefing from the staff who were taking our order, so we knew actually what we were getting on our plate.

The splendid view!

We started our evening with Goth Elixer. It is a charcoal induced tequila drink, one of my favourite. Looked dashing and had the right kick!

Goth Elixer

Will god save the Queen was a very indian flavoured drink with rose petals and had a royal after taste.

Will god save the Queen

The starters that accompanied our spirits blew our mind. I must say the ingredients, the flavours and the styling was par excellence! Freshness of the ingredients actually was very evident in everything we had. The pondicherry rock and roll prawns was made to perfection and the prawns still had the sea smell now that is how a dish should taste!

Pondicherry rock and roll prawns!

Koox crunch is Sushi that had a melting inside and crunchy outside. With sushi it is very important to have the best of fresh ingredients. A good sushi is all about fresh ingredients and this one sure was.

Koox crunch

The sushi tori cheddar was another of my personal favourite!

Sushi tori cheddar!

Roasted eggplant is a dish that one would love even if you are not a eggplant fan. I had two people who do not touch eggplant fall in love with it.

Roasted eggplant !

After a starter break it was time to get high on our spirits again! What followed next were beauties! The bubble wap is such a beautiful delicate drink, the way it looked is the way it tasted!

Bubble wap!

White nature had a pure taste as per the name, looks and taste both stole my heart!

White Nature!

Donatello is for people who do not like their cocktail too sweet! The refreshing drink made us want for more.

Donatello!

With the yellow tail carpaccio we were back to some eating. The yellow tail fish is a soft silky fish that just melts in the mouth. This raw fish tasted nothing less than magic, it just melted in my mouth!

Yellow tail carpaccio!

The lamb chops were tender and cooked to perfection!

Grilled lamb chops!

The grilled prawns is a perfect starter for the mind-blowing cocktails!

Grilled jumbo prawns!

Tuna tataki is a simple japanese dish that combines delicate seared tuna in Citrus soya sauce! The marriage of subtle flavour took this dish to another level.

Tuna tataki!

Koox has all the ingredients for a great place for chennaites! The F and B manager Krish and the GM Supreet are on a mission and guess we have to keep our eyes and ears open to many exciting times ahead with them!

When Bengali food comes to Namma Chennai!!!

The fresh new renovated Bayleaf! Chennai has quite a few Bengali food places. This one is special for many reasons, one being that it has been around for more than 21years. They have been dishing out homestyle bengali food for chennaites with the best from the cuisines of Bengali food. The place is now renovated and looks brand new. Above all I got to visit the kitchen that was absolutely clean! The new young entrepreneur Abhyuday has taken all efforts to take the legacy forward from his parents. He sure is taking care to see that Chennai is not missing out on good Bengali food.

Apart from their regular menu there is a kebab festival on till the 5th of January. kebabs when made by experienced hands has a different flavour that is hard to explain, all the kebabs had their own distinct flavours. BBQ mango chicken kebab was definitely distinct and had its own flavour. A must try! The galouti was extremely tender, the tulsi jhingra and sunehri jhingra had the right flavour, the tulsi flavour was fresh. The Gilafi mutton sheek looked and tasted yum! The mutton barra (mutton chops) were high on flavour and tender to eat. Peshawari Brocolli was a good inclusion for a little of vegetables. Fish is always special for the Bengali’s betki kobiraji – sea bass covered in egg and deep-fried. Bayleaf is known for it’s rolls and we had to have it! Lasuni murg roll without egg was the best!

The main course for vegeterian and non vegetarians are equally good chor chori a medley of sweet and bitter vegetables like brinjal, pumpkin, drumsticks and ridge gourd and potato is used as a neutralizer. The non vegetarian main course offcourse was my favourite with betki / seabass mustard curry, koshar mangsho, steamed Gobind bogh rice and the daab chingri.

What is a Bengali meal with out a Mishti doi finale!

With a renovated place and updated menu it sure is a place to.visit.

#joyofgivingcareerawareness 2019

#joyofgivingcareerawareness 2019

Joy of giving is also called as Daan utsav which literally means “charity” why do we have to give charity and make people depend on us?

This is the thought that inspired me to initiate #joyofgivingcareerawareness

So what do we do? We impart career awareness and opportunities to 100’s of 12th standard girl children of presidency girl school, this is a corporation/ government school that is now a model school. We take people from the industry to talk to these children, who get to hear and see professionals who really work there. We DON’T give them endless lectures on career guidance or counselling we walk them the path.

After the success of the initiative that we started last year, we boldly took up the initiative this year too. We were glad our list only increased this year with more and more Givers came forward to impart their strengths and capabilities!

Day 1:

First event:

We had prince of Arcot Asif Ali who also is a quiz master volunteered and came to the corporation school to conduct motivational talk and a quiz for the 12th graders. It was an eye opener for us and the teachers that the children had some much knowledge all bundled in their brains but never used. My heartfelt gratitude to Asif Ali for giving his support and time for this initiative!

Second event:

Children in corporation schools know about only a hand few careers! They did not know that they could make a career for themselves by studying Accupresssure/ accupunture. We had a very dynamic lady Amudha who practices accupresssure. We could see their jaw drop when Amudha spoke about no medicine, no surgery only pulse correction. This was another successful event where children waited after the workshop to end to check their pulse. My sincere thanks to Amudha for coming and giving the children an insight to a new career.

Day 2:

First event:Journalism / media

Daniel from indian express was graceful enough to accept our invitation to give these children a know how about how really news is reported and reached to the people. It was indeed an eye opener to them as to how the news is identified, reported, captured and made available for public.

We had a few Children who said they wanted to take journalism as a career after this workshop. Thank you Daniel for spending your valuable time with these children.

Second event : Software company

Team coda was at the school with knowledge, goodies and snacks to be imparted.

The first thing that we removed from the children’s mind was that one does not have to study engineering to work in a software company. They took sometime to digest that fact.

Team coda spoke about the various opportunities that are available in a software company. How each member had their own story, none of them had a easy way up. Few of them from the team have themselves studied in corporation schools and faced as much difficulty in climbing up the corporate ladder.

It was an amazing experience with loads of laughter and learning! My gratitude to the entire team and to the person who was not around yet kept motivating the team from US my dear friend Sharan Gurunathan.

Day 3:

First event: self defence by S-KAPE

If you prevent you will not need to protect!!! So this session was totally about preventing and protecting oneself from the unknown. In this big bad world you never know who will attack you from were and for what! Being alert and always aware was the biggest take away from this session, specially for these young 12th graders.

Team S-KAPE showed a few videos of how crime can happen and then demonstrated how we could avoid it or fight it if required.

I personally loved the pin and stay calm techniques that were so simple yet so effective. The girls looked more confident and prepared to face their surroundings after this session.

My sincere gratitude and thanks to my dear friend Zhayynn and his team!

Second event : sound and visual engineering

Now this was completely a new word for these children because they knew no engineering beyond software/ mechanical/electrical!!!

And when all the celebrity names came rolling out like Simbu, GV Prakash and Shruti Hassan their excitement had no boundaries.

Team AAT college took the children through the path of digital movie making, sound engineering and many more related careers. They were kind enough to extend their invitation for children to visit their school with their parents to understand more about what they do.

Another career added to their list of choices!

Thank you team Aiis under the leadership of Rathish for giving the children this wonderful insight to know and learn about another unique career choice!

Third event: chef

My season of #joyofgivingcareerawareness would be incomplete without this one! How to be a chef!

Young dynamic and out of box thinker the young chef Payal kept the children interested with a interactive session of cooking basic dishes with minimal ingredients, while she took them across her life and struggle of studying hotel management and being a chef!

Nothing comes easy but when your determination is strong and you dream big everything is possible.

Day 4

Full day field trip at Sheraton grand resort and spa, Mahabalipuram!

When i discussed this initiative with Maneesh at Sheraton he was very excited to help us and got all the details from us to get the approval for the event. The management o Sheraton did not even blink an eyelid before they said yes to us, they were extremely supportive. We met the team the following weekend and that’s it, we all git rolling, excited and started planning the D-Day.

15th October will definitely be a very memorable day to all these 12th graders. I must say the workshop at Sheraton resorts was handled extremely professional by all the employees of the resort. They treated the children with so much love and care. Every workshop was handled with finesse.

We started the morning with career guidance and hands on exposure to baking and bed making. The children were than taken for a facility tour to show them how each department functions. After which it was biryani time. After lunch with headed for a group picture and sea view from the lawn!

My heartfelt gratitude to Maneesh, Anitha, sachin, Arun, vinod, Mr. Malik and the entire team. Sorry if I have missed any names. But i must say you guys rocked!

There are many people we my husband Harsharaj and I need to thank. So here goes the list:

Nidhya my dear friend who has converted this corporation school to a model school.

The children and their parents for staying back after school and willing to take the knowledge we impart to them. Without their acceptance we could never do this initiative.

The teachers of the school who stay back and support us in all possible ways.

Writers cafe for sponsoring the snacks for the day 1 and also for the bus that will take these 100 children to Mahabalipuram for a field trip. Thank you Mr Mahadevan and Tarun Mahadevan for always supporting me in most of my initiatives!

Shafee and lini for giving us 100 boxes of breakfast for the Sheraton field trip. Rennee thank you for the yummy cookies!

All the individuals and corporates who supported us by imparting knowledge to the children and giving them #joyofcareerawareness which they could have never got from anywhere!

Shri bala for being an inspiration and feeding the children sundal and Pongal!

If I have missed out on anybody sorry was not intentional!

Bean to Bar chocolate with Indian flavours!

How about some pure chocolate with no compound and Indian flavours!Arun Vishwanath from Coimbatore has won the chocolate award 2018.We visited his cafe infusion at Coimbatore that had all these lovely flavours most of them indian.The chocolate brand is called Chitram and it’s named after his mother who was a integral part of his business till a year ago before she passed away.Arun is a young entrepreneur with so much zeal in him. He has graduated from Cornell University. But his roots, sense of taste and Flavours remains Indian.In a country were we have grown knowing only “Cadbury’s” as chocolate it’s a tough one to crack. It is more about creating awareness on what chocolate really means and when people say chocolate is good for health which chocolate do they really mean.Only when you really start understanding what real chocolate is and know the real flavour of pure chocolate will you start appreciating these chocolates.I was amazed to see so many flavours and the indian flavours stole my heart.My favorites were the moringa, beetroot halwa, rose saffron and mango lassi for sure.The other varieties that are available and a must try are the vegan Pina colada, molagapodi with coconut sugar and 70% dark chocolate what do you think,?At infusion that is the brand of the cafe which has these chocolates. You can sip the most awesome hot chocolate at infusion. I had the Mexican hot chocolate with cocoa nib cookies, one of the best I have had till date. Pure, hot and yummy!If you really love your family and friends you would only gift them pure happiness!Time of the year for giveaways!Both the brand’s Chitram and infusion are listed in Instagram and Facebook.You may contact me for more information.

Chettiyar veedu Homestyle Chettinad food in Chennai.

Chettinad food is pretty common in Chennai. sadly we have very few places that serve authentic Chettinad food.

Glad to visit this place where i got to have authentic homestyle Chettinad food.

We started our lunch with a welcome drink that is so typical south indian ” panakam”

The vegetarian starter had
Pallakai/ jackfruit urundai

They serve vegetarian meals on the banana leaf in the afternoons and the non vegetarian sides can be ordered extra.

The vegetarian meal is priced at RS.250. what you can find on your leaf:

Dosai
Varamalagai chutney
Pudina chutney
Kadamba chutney
White rice
Dhal / ghee / podi
Curd / pickle / papad
Poondu kulambu
Kathiraka malagu masala
Vazhapoo poriyal
Mango pachadi
Rasam

The non- vegetarian dishes you could order extra;

Nathu kozhi kulambu Nathu kozhi milagu masala
Vanjuram varuval
Kalangan varuval
Eral masala
Nandu masala
Meen kulambu
Mutta masala

The finale is always sweet and they serve different sweet every day. We got to have the lipsmacking beetroot halwa!

And where is this place:

Next to ethiraj college, above writers cafe

Egmore, Chennai.

Bamboo shoot, hog plum and green gram Curry!

This one is my mother’s special and I dedicate this to my mom and all moyar relative’s of mine.

Ingredients:

1small piece of bamboo shoot clean and sliced.

1cup sprouted green gram

2 hog plum

1 cup grated coconut

1 tbsp corriander powder

1tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp turemric powder

4 flakes garlic

1/2 tsp Cummin / jeera

1 small onion

Salt to taste

Curry leaves to garnish

Method:

Cook the green gram and Bamboo shoot in 1 cup of water and turmeric till the green gram is soft. Please note bamboo shoot will not become soft, it will remain crispy.

Except the curry leaves grind all the other ingredients to a fine paste.

When the green gram is soft add the ground paste, salt and bring to boil. Switch the fire off and garnish with curry leaves.

The curry has a very distinct flavour of bamboo shoot and I totally love it.

Curry goes well with rice, dosa, bread or roti.