Vegetarian Concoctions

September 13, 2007


Filed under: General — Hema @ 4:06 pm

Tretha yugam
Kumbakarna – the sleeping giant. He slept six months of an year and the other six months were spent eating. He was in the middle of his sleeping schedule when war broke out. Ravana tried various tactics to wake him up. Thousands of soldiers yelled and screamed, nothing happened. They sounded drums close to his ears, nothing happened. They splashed water and poked him with huge needles, still no movement! Finally they brought in gallons of food and the divine smell was too irresistable to pass off by the oldest foodie known.

Vegetarian Concoctions – the sleeping blog. This blog space has been following the footsteps of the great giant. It dishes out some recipes sporadically and then goes into deep slumber for weeks together. JFIs come and go, nothing happens here. Blog anniversary comes and goes, still nothing happens. A good friend gives it a gentle nudge (too gentle I think…give it one tight KICK!) to no avail. But, the tantalizing aroma of Karnataka cuisine is every foodie’s hope……




May 10, 2007

My Little one turned 2!!!

Filed under: Birthday, General — Hema @ 11:23 am

It is hard to believe the fragile little life that needed support to hold up its head two years back has actual conversations with me now with her head held high. Before I know it she will be ready to take on the world.



February 8, 2007

5 things the world doesnt know about me!

Filed under: General, Meme — Hema @ 11:52 am

was tagged by Coffee of My Khazana. Thanks coffee!

1. Let me start with something my blogger friends don’t know about me. I am an Environmental engineer approaching the big 3-0. Yeah, that feels old. Crossing 25 did’nt feel that bad. From, a career oriented graduate in search of a challenging job 5 years back, I have now transformed into a wife and a mom, whose priorities have changed for good. I still work and sure I love my job, but more so because it is not challenging and allows me to spare the time I need for my family.

2. I hate football. Yes! I cant stand the game and can’t get myself to watch it. Americans give me wierd looks and/or are offended when I tell them this and I can very well understand their sentiments. Football to Americans, is like cricket to Indians.  It runs in their blood! I would hate it if anyone speaks ill of cricket. Sadly though, I just find the game too rough for my likings. I am sure a lot of you may be shaking your head in disgust right now, but if it makes you feel any better – I hate rugby too 😀

3. I have rotten molars. Yeah,  I never brushed ‘twice a day’ as a kid, how much ever my mother begged and pleaded and then my teeth bore the brunt of eating all those chocolates  at bedtime. 2 root canals and 4 fillings at age 15! The good part is,  I can now show my daughter what could happen to her teeth if she didn’t take care of them well.

4. I love gazing at stars on a clear night. I feel, there is nothing more breathtaking than the beauty of the black sky sprinkled with glittering stars. Oh! how I miss our terrace back home.

5. I hate snakes and I hate driving at night. What’s the connection? I often have this thought – What do I do,  if I find a snake in my car while driving on a freeway at night? It gives me the creeps. Dont laugh now, give me a solution to the problem! I have not been able to come up with one yet. Keep in mind, I will not be in my right senses at that time.

Now, that was fun. Not sure who has already been tagged and who hasn’t. So, here are a few names I picked just because I see they do not have anything written up yet. Play it if you want to, Prema, Priya, Mythili, Archana and Archana!

February 1, 2007

Ever wondered?

Filed under: General, Space — Hema @ 4:42 pm

Have you ever wondered how a launch would look from realms beyond the earth?  I got these snaps as attachments in an email. Just thought I could share them with you. Here’s something that you don’t see every day…….


Space Station happened to be passing by when the Shuttle ‘Atlantis’  launched. The launch, as seen from the International Space Station (09/09/06).


Is it not beautiful?

January 12, 2007

My Booty!

Filed under: Appliances, Cookbooks, General — Hema @ 1:48 pm

Anyone who goes back to India for a vacation, shops like he/she has never shopped before. Yes, when I say he/she, I do mean he too. My ‘he’ has a policy though. If you buy something you throw something out of the house. And I? I happen to be an antique collector:)) This time, I had promised him I would buy just what I needed and nothing more and I quite kept my promise. After all, the airlines decided to reduce the baggage weight allowance and I didnt want to leave anything that I bought. Also, he happens to be the packer (I suck at it), so nothing can be sneaked in without his notice.

I told him, we need a mixie – a good one that can grind well with less water. My chutneys, thugayals and vadais dont look the way they are supposed to. They just turn out watery and shapeless due to the extra water that goes into the grinding process.

Yes, lets buy one. I hope it is not too huge.

Well, the one I have in mind has 3 jars and a juicer.

Wow, that might just take up one whole luggage. Why do you need a juicer? Even if you do,we get good ones there.

(Pop came the answer…I had rehersed this before!). We need to start introducing healthy juices to our daughter. Besides, this whole thing comes for the cost of one juicer you would get back there.

That did it and I am now a proud owner of this Preeti mixie. Love it!


My second precious booty…a brand new eeya chombu! I have never possessed one of my own. Amma got it for me and boy! is it heavy. Now, the rasams are just top-class. What a difference the new metal has made!


We went to landmark at Chennai, a brilliant book and music store. Bought a bunch of books for my kitchen reading as well.


(Notice the healthy juices by Tarla Dalal)

January 3, 2007

Happy 2007!

Filed under: General — Hema @ 1:12 pm

A very happy new year to all! May this year bring with it loads of mouthwatering recipes and many new food-bloggers, just so that we can rule the blogging world:))

We had a wonderful vacation and needless to say it is frustating to get back to work and worse still, send the little one to daycare. We are still trying to settle down. A brief streak of illness..cough..cough..has slowed us down. Not that I havent been cooking, I just havent been taking pictures to prove my words. Hence, dear friends, I will be back after a few more days of hibernation.

November 9, 2006

Mera Des Mujhe Pukare (My country calls me)

Filed under: General — Hema @ 4:39 pm


I will get back to blogging two functions, few temple visits, few more social visits and a lot more shopping trips later…….and of course after all that yummm food too.  Yessss…am heading to our des next week for a whole month! Loads of shopping and packing is gulping down my blogging time right now. I will definitely be visiting your blogs from India…after all, I have to introduce all my wonderful new friends to my family. See you all later.

October 26, 2006

Diwali treats Part II


Mixture: This was the most time consuming. It has 7 parts to it: oomapodi, boondi, maida biscuits, aval, curry leaves, peanuts and seasoning

1. Oomapodi
besan 1 cup
salt to taste
oomam (ajwain) – 1 1/2 tsp
turmeric – 1 pinch
oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients to make a soft dough. Transfer it to the achchhu and fry in batches

2. Boondi:
Besan – 1 cup
salt to taste
chilli pwd – 2 tsp
turmeric – a  pinch
hing – a pinch
Soda-bi-carb – a pinch
Make a batter using water with the above ingredients. You can use a boondi karandi (a big flat ladel with holes) or a plate/colander if you dont have one. th eholes should be about 2-3 mm in diameter. Hold it over the hot oil and pour a spoonful of batter on it. Now spread the batter on the karandi as if making a dosa and the drops that fall down should fry up into nice round boondis. For checking the consistancy, test fry with little batter first. If the boondis turn out pear shaped, then more water needs to be added and if they are too big and stuck together, you may need to add more besan. Trial and error is the way to go

3. Maida biscuit:
I am not sure if it has any other name, but that’s what we call this at our place. This is the best part of mixture in my opinion
Maida – 1 cup
rice pwd – 2 tbsp
salt – to taste
Oil for frying
Make a soft dough with the roti dough consistency and roll it out to the thickness of a thin roti. You do not have to be precise about the shape here. Use a knife or a pizza cutter and cut out diamond shapes. Deep fry the biscuits and make sure they are crisp before removing them from the oil
Deep fry (4) 2 cups of Poha, (5)1/2 cup of curry leaves and (6) 1 cup peanuts. Crumble the oomapodi and add together items 1 through 6.  Heat up 1 tbsp oil. Mix salt, chilli pwd and hing on a plate and pour the hot oil over it. Now, add this to the mixture and season it uniformly.
Thattai: I was not around whan MIL made these, but got the recipe from her.

Rice pwd – 1 cup
Udad pwd – 1 tbsp
Chilli pwd – 2 tsp
Til – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Butter – ¼ cup
Mix the Rice and Udad pwd. Add softened butter and mix it well with you hands till you get a crumbly mix. Add the chilli pwd, til and salt and make a soft dough with water. Heat up the oil for frying and make small flat discs with the dough. The best way to do it is to use a thick plastic sheet or cloth. Deep fry in batches of 5-6 and store in an airtight container.


Gulab jamun – used the GITS mix

Ribbon pakoda: My achchhu did not have the perfect ribbon making option, so I decided to go with a plain, thin slot.
Besan – 1 cup
Rice pwd – 1 tbsp
turmeric – 1/4 tsp
chilli pwd – 1 tbsp
salt to taste
Oil to fry
Make a dough with all the above ingredients using water. Transfer to achchhu and deep fry


Rice Flour – 1 cup
Udad flour – 1/2 cup
Jeera – 2 tsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Hing – 1/4 tsp
Oil for frying
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Heat up the ghee and add it to the flour and mix it up with your hands. Add enough water to make a soft dough. The consistancy: should be tight enough to retain a depression made with your fingers and soft enough to let the dough pass easily through the achchhu (I will post a picture for those of you who do not know what it is – its like a pasta press). Transfer the dought the achchhu. Heat up oil and fry up the thenguzhal in batches till done.

Gajar Halwa:
Carnation condensed milk (or any other brand) – 1 can
Carrots – 1 lb 
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Cardamom pwd – 1 tsp
Almonds, raisins, cashews – 2 tbsp each or according to taste
Grate the carrots using a medium sized grater. In a pressure cooker (or any thick bottomed skillet), add a tablespoon of ghee or butter. Put in the condensed milk and grated carrots. And stir it till all the water content evaporates. This may take about an hour. Keep stirring it so that it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom. Once done, heat up some ghee in a small pan. Add sliced almonds, raisins and halved cashews. Fry them for a bit till the raisins puff up and the nuts turn a little brown. Put it into the halva. Add cardamom pwd to the halva and stir it up well. Though I have never tried, my guess is this should work well in a microwave as well. It will take a lot less time. Just make sure you use a big glass container

and, last but not the least! My latest creation for my little one for Diwali….


October 13, 2006

Preps for Diwali

Filed under: General — Hema @ 11:06 am

A week’s left and preparations have begun. I have a visit pending to the indian store – besan, udad flour, moong flour…the list is long. A visit to the normal grocery store, fire-works purchase, some new clothes to be bought – there’s lots going on in my mind lately.  My in-laws are visiting and I have made my MIL promise me that she would be steering clear of the stove and I would be handling anything that needs to be done on the stovetop. Of course, the recipes come from the wise and experienced.  You have no idea what it took to get these words out of her – ‘A great achievement’, – my husband says. We have heard from my MIL that her dear husband is a good cook as well, though we have never had the opportunity to taste his creations. Hence, this year my FIL has promised to unveil his recipe for Badam halva. I have offered to be his assistant for the task he undertakes after about 30 years! I have been keeping pretty busy at work and at home. Hence, after a short silence, I will be back with a bang on Diwali day. Till then folks, have fun shopping and preparing for the festival of lights!

October 4, 2006

Texan Beauty!

Filed under: General — Hema @ 3:57 pm

What starts with a B and is a native Texan?

Bush, yes. But, we are not talking about people here. Let me reframe my question.

What starts with a B, is beautiful and is a native Texan?

The State flower of Texas – BLUE BONNETS! (Scientific name: Lupinus texensis)


Photo courtesy:


This is my entry to the Flower Fest – The A – Z of Flowers hosted by Manisha.  I am a day late and I hope my entry can squeeze into the final round-up.Blue bonnets start blooming in early spring and blankets of these wild flowers can be seen throughout central and south Texas from late March to early May. It is named for its blue color and the resemblence of its petals to a woman’s sunbonnet (worn as head coverings during the 18th century). They typically grow about 1 feet tall.



Seen below are pictures taken by a fellow-student Tim,  at the Pickle research campus at Austin,TX in spring 2003. Come March-April and there is a rage of colours all around the campus – blues, reds, yellows – a magnificent treat for the eyes!!!



Photos courtesy: Tim Whiteaker

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