Rava Idli And Chutney.

Yesterday morning when I was setting dahi (yogurt) as part of my daily routine, I discovered that we had too much of it in stock and decided to use up some of it for a dish for Sunday lunch.

What readily came to mind was Rava Idlis. Rava is semolina and idli is a steamed cake. And to accompany this stand alone dish as a dip,  I also got a traditional tomato/onion chutney made, These are the recipes for these two delicious dishes:

Ingredients needed

Rava (sooji/semolina)  ( I used roasted rava)
Salt as required
Coriander leaves
Cashew nuts
Carrot -1
For the seasoning

Asafoetida/hing – a pinch
Urad dal
Green chilli,
Ginger finely grated
Curry leaves


Chop carrots, ginger, green chilli and coriander leaves finely.

Heat ghee in a kadai /pan, add mustard seeds, when mustard splutters, add hing and urad dal.

When dal changes colour, add cashew nuts, ginger, green chilli and curry leaves .

Then add rava and roast the whole lot nicely for a few minutes. Take care not to burn.

Allow the whole mixture to cool a bit and then mix it all with the yogurt to make a fairly thick batter. Let the rava idli batter rest for 15-20 minutes .  Pour the batter on greased idli moulds and steam cook for 10 minutes.  I use a pointed skewer to check if the idlies are ready.  If you poke the idli and the skewer comes out easily without sticking, the idlis are ready, otherwise, steam for a bit longer.  Allow the steamed idlis to cool down a bit before removing them to transfer to a hot case casserole.

Tomato/Onion Chutney.

Ingredients needed

Red chillies
Coriander leaves

For the seasoning

Mustard seeds
Urad dal
Curry leaves


Chop onions and tomatoes into medium sized pieces.


Heat  oil in a pan, saute red chillies for a few seconds taking care not to burn and remove from the pan.

In the same pan, add onions and saute until onions turn transparent.

Then add tomatoes, coriander leaves and cook until tomatoes become slightly mushy. Do not cook fully as we will cook again after grinding the concoction.

Allow the mixture to cool. Once it cools, grind it along with red chillies and salt needed to a rough texture.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add urad dal and curry leaves.

When dal turns golden brown, add the ground chutney and cook until oil separates. Transfer to a container and allow to cool.

Note – You can prepare this and keep it in the refrigerator for 2 days. It will come handy during the morning hours. If you freeze it, you can keep it for more number of days.

rava idli

This is an idli steamer.


Books – II A Time To Kill.


Please read my earlier post on Books to get why I call this post Books II.

After reading Sycamore Row by Grisham, I got down to reading his book A Time To Kill. I finished reading it last night and I am very glad that I listened to my inner voice and did that.

My research tells me that A Time To Kill was Grisham’s very first book and no publisher would touch it. Deciding that a different approach to his story telling would be needed, he wrote The Firm and other court room drama books which kindled interest in all his books and so A Time To Kill too became a success.

This post is to convey my surprise that many publishers thought that this novel will not be a success and refused to print it. It has everything a story teller can convey. Shock, disgust, amazement, love, hate, suspense, bigotry, racism, parenting, skullduggery by the priests, grand standing, politics, and so on and so forth and Grisham enjoys writing about all these emotions in their rawest form. In fact, this book is far more readable than the sequel with Jake Brigance.

I have not read any of his other books, and once my to read list gets exhausted, as I write this, there are seven in the queue, I will return to John Grisham.

Needless to say, I am enjoying being back with fiction.


[rating=4]Queen Poster

Queen is a Hindi film which has been running in our theaters for the past three weeks to great box office success and has been receiving very good reviews. I was intrigued that a film with a relatively non star like actor in the lead and so heavily female oriented could be such a success and decided to go and see it. I was finally able to yesterday afternoon after many cancellations and I was glad that I made the effort. I had excellent company and the post movie sandwiches and coffee at Barista rounded up a nice afternoon off from my usual routine.

This is the first time I have seen Kangana Ranaut on screen.  She is a modern generation’s actress and not from my time.  And I am impressed. The film revolves around her and she has to portray a wide variety of emotions which she does with aplomb. Yes, the director has had a role to play but her innate talent comes through time and again.

The story is very believable if a bit incredible in the youth hostel scenes where a girl is asked to share a room with three males. Other than that one aberration, the story line, the development of the theme and the conclusion are all highly professional and very appealing. For my readers from overseas, the story may be a bit unusual as the girl’s background is rather unlike what girls in the West experience. If that can be attributed to cultural differences, the movie is very worthwhile seeing.

I would rate the film[rating=4] because the sound is just too jarring.  Whether it is just the theater’s sound system or the movie’s inherent recording, if that could be softened, the experience would have merited a five star.

I would certainly see other movies with Kangana.

My Favourite Poem.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where six of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic was chosen by Delirious who however has dropped out of the LBC posting. The five other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, gaelikaa, Maxi, Paul, Shackman, and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

~ Kahlil Gibran.



My nephew Jai had posted a clip from Amadeus on his facebook page to illustrate his revisiting Amadeus.  That got me intrigued as I did not know that Jai was interested in Mozart at all and decided to revisit Amadeus myself. It however took this article in yesterday’s Times Of India to get me to do something about it. The title for the article in the print version was “The Age Of Mediocrity.” While the article talks about the Indian condition, I would not be surprised if most of my overseas readers will agree that this could be a problem in their countries as well. One of the scenes that one can never forget in the film is the last one where Antonio Salieri in a wheel chair and in the assylum for the insane keeps blessing all the inmates for being mediocre.

Amadeus came to Mumbai in the late eighties when my late wife and I went to see it in a theater.  It was not a commercial success in India for obvious reasons but it was a topic of conversation in all social gatherings while the movie ran in Mumbai.  The discussions would be more on the story line and the psychological byplays rather than on the music and the opera shows in it.

Fully knowing that the movie would run to almost three hours, I sat through it last evening and needless to say, it was an exhilarating experience with the new speaker system installed just last week enhancing the listening experience.

For those interested in learning something about Mozart, his music and his rival besides court intrigues and politics which seem as relevant as today’s situation if it had to occur now, I would recommend with a [rating=5] revisiting the film in DVD or Bluray.


Last week there was a time when I was feeling a bit low and not willing to go out. My friend Ramesh invited me to join him for some vada sambar in a very nice restaurant in our neighbourhood but I just could not get up enough enthusiasm for the escapade and he went alone. The invitation however reminded me that I had not cooked either a medu vada or a masala vada at home for over seven years. There is a vendor who comes everyday with idlies and vadas from who I had been buying these delicacies on and off, particularly when my father was alive. I had stopped that too in an effort to cut down on fried food!

I decided to cook the masala vada the next day and soaked the dal early in the morning on Sunday. Between Manjiree who was at home it being a Sunday, and me, we cooked up a storm and we came up with this.
The vadais are stored in a keep warm casserole.

This brought to mind many other dishes that I used to cook. I have more or less stopped now for quite some time because I find other things to do and find less time to cook. Or at least that is the excuse I give myself.

My interest in cooking started when I was posted in Mumbai in the mid eighties when a lot of my friends from Hyderabad who were working in the Middle East used to pass through our home as transit point while on their way out to or in from the Middle East. These were all men who used to cook for themselves and while staying at home would insist on cooking for us. When I saw that these hard core macho men who otherwise would not go any where near their kitchens at home in Hyderabad had become such good cooks, I tried my hand under their guidance and got hooked. From that time onwards, I used to meet chefs in restaurants and ask them for recipes for dishes that I had liked cooked by them and I still have a lot of those typed and filed neatly.

I used to take pride in cooking and would tease ladies that the world’s best chefs are men and even in India, no woman can cook as well as our traditional samayalkaran (Tamil for male cook) or maharaj (Hindi for male cook) of for that matter all those great cooks in our dhabas throughout the country. I never had to compete with any one to establish my credentials but the satisfaction of seeing people appreciate and eat what I had cooked was enough motivation to keep me going.

With this new beginning perhaps I will go back again to cooking! If I do, I shall post photographs and recipes.