Thursday, February 25, 2016

Avial, My style

Avial is a vegetable stew in raw coconut and curd gravy. I love Avial because it is mild, full of flavor and has assorted vegetables. 
Hubby made a big bowl of curd last night. Well, how do we use it before it starts to get sour? Brilliant idea, Make Avial. I then rummaged / foraged in the fridges and came up with a not so traditional mix of veggies. This my style of Avial, so they are all welcome. Hey, I am in luck! Found a quarter of a small coconut in the deep freeze, left over from last week. 
There were different recipes on the internet for avial. I went with ingredients and the result is as follows: 

Ingredients:
Curd - 1 cup
Coconut - 2 tbs.
Dry red chillies - 2 nos.
Curry leaves - 6 - 8 nos.
Cumin and Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp each
Oil for garnishing - 2 tbs.
Green chillies - 2 nos. small
Salt - to taste
Rice flour - 1 tbs.

Assorted veggies:
Drumsticks - 1 nos. cut into 2.5" pieces
Potatoes - 2 nos.
carrots - 2 nos.
French beans - 20 nos.

You can also add yam, raw plantain etc. Since I didnot have them, I did without.

Method:
Cut the vegetables lengthwise. In a thick bottomed dish, pour enough water to cover the vegetables, adding half a tea spoon of salt: cook until water comes to a is boil and the veggies are cooked but still retain their shape. Drain the water and keep the vegetable stock aside for the gravy.
Grate coconut and grind it along with chopped green chillies.
Mix it to the cooked vegetables. The coconut gets cooked partially in the heat.
Stir the rice flour in the vegetable stock and bring it to a boil. It begins to thicken. Take it off the stove and mix to the cooked vegetables. Let it rest for a few minutes or until the mixture is cooled down. 
Whisk the curd for a smooth paste and stir it into the curry. Adjust the thickness of the curry by adding some water to get the desired consistency.
Heat oil in a frying pan and add cumin and mustard seeds, when they begin to splutter, add curry leaves and red chillies. Pour this over the curry. 
Avial is ready to eat!
Mine came out very tasty. Try it and tell me what you think of it.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Radish and Ginger chutney

There was fresh ginger at home. Wanted to make ginger chutney. But I was not in the mood for a strong ginger flavour. So, to tone it down, I thought of using raw coconut. Then I found this radish waiting to be consumed. it too joined the list. Here is a radish, ginger and raw coconut chutney. it is spicy (thanks to ginger and radish) and quirky!

Ingredients:
Radish - 1 no.
ginger - 1" pieces 2 nos.
Raw coconut - 1 cup grated or 1/2 cup pieces
Green chillies - 3 nos. small 
red chillies - 2 nos.
Tamarind - a few flakes
Coriander - a small bunch
Curry leaves - 2 twigs
Cumin and Mustard seeds - 1 tsp each
salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tbsp.

Method:
Clean and cut radish into small pieces. Grate or cut coconut into small pieces. Clean and soak tamarind in half cup of water. Chop ginger finely.
Heat 1 tbs of oil in a pan. Add cumin and mustard seeds when the oil is hot. When they start to splutter, add ginger pieces. Fry for a few min. and drain the fried stuff into a mixer chutney jar. Add salt to it and grind to a powder. Now add coconut to it and grind.
Add soaked tamarind and grind until all the ingredients are mashed to a smooth paste. If needed, pour the tamarind soaked water to loosen the mixture.
In the same pan in the remaining oil, add radish pieces. and fry until they are almost cooked. Add the fried radish to the jar and also the finely chopped coriander. Run the mixer for half a minute or until some of the radish remains coarse. 
Take the chutney into a bowl. Heat remaining oil and fry remaining cumin and mustard, dry red chillies, curry leaves and pour it over the chutney.
The ingredients are an odd combination, but the chutney came out quite tasty and quirky!
You can eat it with rice or roti.

Recycled vest into a tote bag

I am very impressed with all the recycle ideas I see on the internet. I do a fair amount sewing, but not much refashion or recycling of old or used stuff. Lately I have been taking a stern look at my wardrobe and several items did not make the cut, so had to be relegated either to be given away or refashion them.
This was one vest I used to wear a lot at home during winters. Ever since I moved to Goa, there is no winter and definitely no need for the extra layer. So it was hanging in the wardrobe for some time now, thinking when i need it, it will come useful. The other day, I decided the time has come for it to be discarded. I love the embroidery on the front and bright coloured flowers. I wanted to try my hand at recycling it and quickly turned it into a tote bag. 

 

All I did was to measure the length of the bag and cut out the rest from the top. Double folded it half inch and stitched the raw edges.
Attached the front flaps together.
Stitched up the bottom. Sides are already joined.
Closed the armhole opening part way, and left the rest open.
The bag is ready. It needed handles. I had this orange cotton material cut up from another tunic. Folder and stitched them to form belts. Attached them to the bag equidistant from the center.
I am quite happy with the end result. Looks pretty and very useful. Plastic has its uses, but I try to avoid using plastic / polythene bags as much as possible.

Trek to Savari Waterfalls

 The trek to Savari waterfalls has the best scenic beauty.The landscape is rustic and enchanting; especially the sunlight through the foliage; The movement of water through the rocks; the brown, black and beige coloured dry leaves on the forest floor; the same coloured leaves in the crystal clear water, the trees which are 100s of feet tall trying touch the sky or wanting the sun?; the fallen trees on the ground, in the river, on the rocks, oftentimes on other trees, as if cradled in the laps for ever (?), suspended in pace and time; There was a tree in particular, which grew upto 60'-70' in height, abruptly bent at 60 degrees, and grew another 30', and went over another tree, and kept growing tall / long(?), entwined with another tree, mind you, all this at an angle or horizontally, and passed another 20'-30' and got tangled up among other trees. The last we could see, it crossed diagonally across the river below. We could not trace its journey beyong this point. God knows where all it went! First time for me to see a tree which behaved like a giant creeper! The tree must have been easily 300'.  

It was a perfect trek, as far as I am concerned; the location of Savari waterfalls (in Rivona), was far enough to get away from the city, sumptuous breakfast in the midst of Mr. Patil's spice farm, Great weather, neither hot not humid, with a slight cool breeze in the forest, terrific group of trekkers for company, thick jungles, irrigation canals, paddy fields, bright sunlight, mountains and valleys covered with vegetation, the black rocks in the river bed, finally the very high waterfalls, the backwaters of Salaulim dam, a great picnic lunch by none other than Mr. Patil and his team, and many more attractions.
Most of trek was connected to the water in one form or other. Initially it was walking along or on the embankment of a irrigation channel, a few times crossing it, and then along the Savari river (?) and crossing it several times. there was not much water in the river as most of it was diverted to irrigation for the fields; second half of the trek was in the river basin. May be you are conjuring images of sand covered river bed and knee deep in water? no, this river bed was different; it was completely strewn with black Basalt rocks the size of a 3' - 5' in diameter; sometimes going round them, other times climbing them. if you are not sure footed, it is a bit risky. 
The sumptuous breakfast of Dosas, spicy tomato chutney, pea curry, and Raagi floor cakes and hot tea! Have you ever seen a lone leaf jetting out of a cut-off banana stump? 
walking beside a fresh water irrigation canal
The twisted trees, what a spectacle!
Check dam diverting water for irrigation to fields
Forest department collecting Rs.20 from trekkers for carrying cameras. phone cameras are exempt!
crisscrossing through Goa / Karnataka border
I love the roots of the trees which grow horizontally and form natural steps (for people) and stop the soil erosion during monsoons!
Natural beauty
whereever you turn!
Ideal surroundings for wildlife photographer!
Could not stop screaming due to ihe ice cold water from the waterfall
Part of Netravali wildlife sanctuary
The back waters and the verdant meadows of Salaulim dam reservoir idyllic surroundings for both cattle and humans for their midday meals!