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Ever since I got married, I have got exposed to a totally different category of answers to the question - "What causes me acidity?". Well, I have known to get into trouble because of certain foods and Sambaar is definitely one of them. A slice of bread on the other hand gives me instant relief if I have eaten anything spicy or sour and feeling uneasy...
But recently, a very kind and well-meaning hostess insisted that people get acidity because of bread and I would get relief if I had sambaar rice or rasam rice. Well, this isn't a first for me.

I find it very amusing because whenever I complain about acidity to any of my in-laws, they promptly blame my "North Indian" eating habits like bread, potatoes etc. And whenever I complain about it to my side of relatives, they promptly sympathize with me for having to eat rasam, sambaar etc which according to them, cause acidity instantly.

The fact is that I get acidity from many foods both North and South Indian. I also get it if I eat anything that has rich gravy or contains lot of oil or is hot n spicy. But wait! This latter set of qualities does not describe North Indian food completely. It is as naive as calling entire South Indian food HOT because you have tasted Andhra cuisine. This is also perhaps the message I want to send earnestly. There is much more to North Indian food than gravies. It has rich variety of leafy veggie preps and totally healthy legumes, pulses and salads.

Another of my favorite examples about contradiction in preception is about chapatis. We (my family) consider rice to be easily digestible and hence categorise it as light food, suitable to be taken at night. Whereas my in-laws feel rice is heavy on stomach and therefore prefer to eat chappatis at night. Isn't it amazing that people can have absolutely different views on the same substance's effect on the human body!

Prior to a trip to Kerela, I thought that South Indian food consisted only of dosa, idli and uttapam. And I have met South Indians who think that North Indian food consists of little else than paneer and potatoes :-) This reminds me of the blind men trying to define an elephant. But it becomes a problem when people start critisizing anything that is not connected to their way of eating. Well, it is great that people feel proud of their cuisine but its ridiculous to consider everything else inferior!
I think there is a need to widen our horizons, get more accommodative about other cuisines. We need to appreciate that our country is extremely rich in cuisines and they do suit the people brought up in the region they have originated in.

Another amusing aspect is the small window of vision. In the past, I have got remarks that I must be fond of eating spicy food as I am a Maharashtrian. They ignore a small detail that Kolhapur is not entire Maharashtra :-) I think we should realize that cuisines in our country change very fast and very dramatically with distance.

Nevertheless, it is very interesting to observe people's perceptions about "other" food. These perceptions, as in any other case, are an interesting result of their culture, their own habits, observations, environments they have been influenced by and what they have been hearing from their mothers over the years...
Update
Then there are people like Raman, who are pretty tolerant about food and other ways of life in general. In case you were wondering why I missed out quoting his opinion about food...well, 2 reasons as can be seen from my reply to his first comment :-)

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Who am I?

Today I got a beautiful birthday card from Mom (A little in advance coz I will be in Mumbai on my birthday). She had addressed it as "Mrs. Sawani RKVS Raman" which brought back the memory of this amusing incident.

It happened a few months ago, when we had gone to the district collectorate in Indore for obtaining our marriage certificate.

The officer sitting behind the registration desk asked what my name is after marriage. She got four answers, one each from
My dad: Sawani Iyer
My mom: Sawani RKVS Raman
My husband: Sawani Bade
Me: Sawani Raman

:D

Needless to say she was pretty confused...So we stuck to Sawani Bade because it was the most convenient option requiring minimal changes at other places like bank account, passport etc.

But even today, all the mails/greetings that I receive from my parents are addressed differently...depending upon who seals the envelope ;-)

However,  the question I asked in the subject of the post is not restricted to my name alone...Its an amusing identity crisis that I face many times while introducing myself.

A common exchange would be something like this:

xyz: Oh so you are a Tamil! (If I show any understanding of any Tamil being spoken around me!)
me: Nope. I am a Maharashtrian married to a Tamilian
xyz: Oh so your native place is in Maharashtra!
me: Nope. My native place is in Indore, MP.
xyz: Oh then how can you be a Maharashtrian if you are from MP?
me: My forefathers migrated from Maharashtra to MP
xyz: Oh I see...So were you born and brought up in Indore?
me: Nope...I was born in Indore but brought up in Bengal, Chattisgarh and MP coz my dad had transferable job.
xyz: Ohh! Very interesting! So were you working in Indore before coming to Bangalore?
me: I was working in Mumbai...
xyz: Aah..So see I was right! You are a Maharashtrian!!!!

I give up!

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Long time since...

I last posted a recipe on this blog...Well, a mail from Shikha has inspired me today to post this absolutely timeless classic of a recipe. And trust me its one of the fastest desserts that one can prepare!!


Caramel Pudding:

Ingredients
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1 egg,
2 slices of bread,
2 cups of milk,
3-4  tea spoons of sugar (Can add more as per taste)
1 small pinch cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 teaspoons sugar for caramelizing

Procedure
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1. Whisk the egg in a bowl and add milk to it. Powder the bread in a mixer and add it to the egg and milk mixture. Add sugar, cinnamon powder and vanilla essence.

2. Take a flat bottomed steel vessel that can be used in a pressure cooker. Put it on the gas burner directly and switch on the gas. Add 3 teaspoons of sugar and heat it till its nicely caramelized (brown in color) You will have to be a little careful at this step because over caramelizing will make the sugar bitter. So better to switch off the gas when the sugar syrup is only golden in color.

 (You can slowly master the art of caramelizing sugar to perfection ;-)

3. Tilt the steel vessel in all directions so that the caramel is nicely distributed in the vessel.

4. Pour the egg and bread mixture over this caramel and steam it in the cooker for 12 mins.

For serving:
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Cool the pudding till at room temperature n then place it in the refrigerator. Before serving, turn the vessel upside down in a plate (Like you would for taking out a cake)
The caramel top will be a nice contrast to the pale color of the pudding. Cut into pieces and serve!

****** You can add nuts to the sugar while you caramelize it adding an interesting touch to the pudding!

Make it, eat it and let me know!!

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Sirf Cricket...Baaki all bakwaas!

I was quite amused yesterday while watching the crowd reactions when the Rajasthan Royals won against Kings XI Punjab. It was not an isolated incident though...Similar crowd reactions were seen in Kolkatta, Mumbai and Bangalore as well! The histrionic crowd made me wonder the real reason for all the hoopla...I could think of a few which are as follows:



1. The section of the crowd which is seen on the huge screen on the ground is just too excited to come on TV and hence all the commotion which the viewers think is the general mood of the crowd.

2. Then the names of the teams might have evoked a lot of emotion as well. I am saying "Names of teams" because I find hardly anything apart from the name of the team that the crowds can relate with...I mean how many of the four players from Rajasthan zone did the crowd know to bring about that support for the RR team!
Does this also indicate that we Indians are such emotional fools that anything carrying the tag line Punjab/Kolkatta/Bangalore/Chennai becomes a manifestation of our identity/self respect as a regional group! Funny to see the crowd cheering for Andrew Symonds when a few months ago India might have been the last place he would have wanted to play in.

3. The crowd was cheering every sixer, four and wicket taken irrespective of the team scoring it actually. They were objectively enjoying cricket and thrilled every time the ball crossed the boundary without bothering which team the batsman belonged to.

The third reason makes a whole lot of sense at least from my own experience in watching those matches. I realized that I was not attached to any particular team at all and ended up appreciating any team/player that played good cricket. Many of us won't really be attached to any team in particular (unless you are a die hard SRK fan and anything belonging to SRK stirs you or Preity Zinta's for that matter). The reason as I mentioned is no real regional connection in the team (Dhoni being the captain of Chennai team!!).

So I think I will stick to the third reason although it is quite contrary to the mass Indian psychology. Moreover, this objective viewing of cricket is new for us because in international cricket we don't need to ask whom do we clap for or get nervous for...We are with the Men In Blue no matter what...
So may be IPL is giving a new meaning all together to watching cricket...We appreciate a wicket irrespective of whether Shane Warne or Ishant Sharma take it! I think the English County cricket watchers can easily relate with this given the plethora of international players joining one or the other county team.

I wonder how many will agree with this analysis...nevertheless I did try hard to get attached with atleast one of the teams of cities like Bangalore where I currently live or Mumbai the city I love or Kolkatta where I lived as a kid...But in vain...So I have decided "Sirf Cricket...Baki all bakwas" as my motto while watching IPL for the next 40 days!

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Collector's wife!

When Raman showed me an invitation card for a function with him mentioned as a chief guest at a national level science exhibition in Salem, I suddenly remembered an amusing wish I had once.

Sometime during my primary school days, I guess when I was in the third or fourth standard, I remember being selected as the student who would give flowers to the Collector's (District Magistrate) wife to welcome her during our annual day celebration. Needless to say, I was very excited at the idea. So on the day of the function, I welcomed the lady with a nice bouquet of flowers only to realize that it was a great job to become the Collector's wife!

I remember getting impressed by the elegantly dressed lady with her shades on...I thought wow! How cool it was..To be the wife of such a person! All that one has to do is dress up elegantly in crisp saris and move around in chauffeur driven "laal batti waali gaadi"! Additionally, also get welcomed at schools and other places as the chief guest!

So for the next few days, whenever anybody would ask me what I wanted to become when I grow up, I would promptly reply "Collector's wife"!

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QUIET and QUITE are different!!!

Have they stopped teaching the difference between these two words in school or what!!

People don't even bother to pronounce them differently! Errr...I think its too much to expect if they don't even know that these are two different words...

QUITE

is different from

QUIET


Whew!!

Recipe time!!

A really simple n tasty mushroom soup:

Take some button mushrooms (about 100 gms for 3 servings) and slice them. Take a few garlic cloves and and chop them finely. Now you have two options to take from here.

Option one:

Heat a little butter in a pan. Saute the chopped garlic and a little Ajwain(Owaa - its optional) n add mushrooms to it. Add water according to your requirement of quantity. Then add salt, pepper and some soya sauce to it. You can also add some fresh coriander to enhance the flavor tremendously. Boil it for sometime and taste if everything is fine. For serving the soup, you can optionally add a little cream to the soup and serve. Cream gives a fantastic body to the soup and tastes awesome!! So I would insist that you try it with cream ;-)

Option two:

Add all the ingredients mentioned above in a vessel and bring to a good boil. Basically avoid the sauteing part. This option saves time when u are using a microwave.

Enjoy!!

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Prabhu aaji gamala..mani to hasla...

Kaku aaji gamala...

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Connect and share!

Look at the spectrum of tools available today to share/connect to people on the web!

Starting from all those blogging sites to Orkut, LinkedIn, FaceBook, del.icio.us, Furl, Digg, Yahoo! My Web etc etc. I am sure to have missed quite a few more.

C'mon! Can you think of any such nice idea? Well, some people with good money would be interested in hearing from you! Read this