Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Harvesting tomatoes that were never sown!

Around five years back, I suddenly planned a  face lift for our small garden area. After cleaning up the garden I bought a nice pot to be used as compost pit. We collected the vegetable and fruit waste in this pot and used it as manure. I used to throw the rotten tomatoes as well.

In our new duplex home we made planters on the compound wall and the parapet wall. My hubby mixed soil with the compost we had collected over the years  and planted some rose cuttings. After around two weeks the planters were filled with tomato plants. We re potted them and have harvested over 100 tomatoes till now. Another hundred can be plucked in a week:).

Thakkali Koottu (Tomato koottu )

Cooking with home grown vegetables is very satisfying and you know there are no artificial fertilizers or pesticides. The aroma of freshly plucked vegetables is heavenly.


  • Raw tomatoes – 6 to 8
  • Moong dal – 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

For the paste

  • Grated coconut – 1 tbs
  • Coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Channa dal – 1 tsp
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Red-chili –  1 no
  • Oil – 1 tsp

For  the seasoning

  • Ghee – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 5 nos
  • Red chilli – 1 no


  1. Slice the tomatoes into long pieces.Place in a MW safe bowl and mix with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. MW high for 5 minutes
  2. Pressure cook the moong dal with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder.
  3. Roast the ingredients for the paste except coconut in 1 tsp oil, add coconut and grind to a smooth paste.
  4. Add cooked moong dal, ground paste and salt to the tomatoes and mix well.Add a little water to get Koottu consistency.
  5. Mw high for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  6. Cut the red chili into small pieces.
  7. Heat 1 tsp ghee and add the mustard seeds and red chili; when the mustard crackles add the curry leaves. Add  the seasoning to the koottu.

Serve as a side dish for rotis,phulkas or rice.


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A Prayer for Beloved Mumbai

There’s no recipe that I am sharing today – only my anger and grief – over the mindless terror and terrible happenings in the beloved city of Mumbai. Almost twenty four hours since terror hit the city claiming innocent lives, the war on the city with ‘an infectious spirit’ continues.  

Our prayers are with those who have lost their lives to this mindless violence, those who are victims to the conditions and continue to be trapped inside the hotels and their families. We pray that the city is able to tide over this crisis; is able to rest after and not erupt in flames becoming slave to narrow political agendas and is able to channel their resilience and anger into a movement that promotes greater safety and peace.

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I haven’t met my namesake – Lakshmi – but have heard quite a bit about her from Valli. Lakshmi is 28 years old with an adorable son and a school going daughter. She’s had a difficult life so far – suffering from coronary heart ailment, Lakshmi takes care of kids inspite of deteriorating health with almost no support from her husband.  She is currently dependant on her parents.  She has 5-6 months of life left in her in her current condition – assuming she continues to respond well to the high dosage of medicines she is under.

All doctors consulted so far have recommended an operation as soon as possible.  Unfortunately there are two problems that are delaying the operation –  the cost of the operation and the obstacles in access to free health care.

The costs of operation and sustenance works to 5-6 lakhs ($15000) – a daunting figure for Lakshmi’s family who are economically disadvantaged.  

The State General Hospital in Chennai which is well known for its Cardio Vascular department has a long list of people in queue for the operation. Lakshmi is way down that list that it might very well be 4 months before her turn materializes. I believe that although right to health is proclaimed loudly in a million mandated documents around the world – access to health care is universally difficult and often leaves little to individual choice.

Lakshmi’s mother works in Valli’s household. Valli is one of those rare food bloggers who post with an undiminished enthusiasm everyday.

Valli’s has decided to go ahead and raise funds online. The last date set to raise funds is the 15th of September.  We request our readers to contribute towards a life for Lakshmi.  

You can donate via Paypal. To Donate Click Here or access The Chip in widget at Valli’s blog in her sidebar.  After you get the confirmation mail from paypal, forward the same to Valli at lakshmi.fundraising@gmail.com.

If you’d like to send a Demand Draft send a mail to Valli at lakshmi.fundraising@gmail.com for the details.

Looking forward to your support.

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Srirama navami – 30th April

Tamizh Varuda Pirappu –14th April

Chithra pournami – 6th May

Aadi Pandigai – 16th July

Aadi Velli Kizhamai – 20th,27th  July,3rd and 10th August

Andal Thiruaadipuram- 23rd July

Pathinettam Perukku-2nd August

Avani Avittam/ Upakarma-1st August

Janmashtami/Gokulashtami-9th August

Vinayaka Chaturthi/Ganesh Chaturthi-19th September

Varalakshmi Viratham-27th July

Kovil Kannapiran Srijayanthi-8th September (For Iyengars)

Puratasi Sanikizhamai – 22nd, 29th September and 6th and 13th October

Navarathri Pujai Arambam-16th October

Saraswathi Puja ( Mahanavami)-October 23rd

Vijaya Dasami (Aayuda Puja) -October 24th

Deepavali (Naraka Chaturdasi) -November 13th

Thiru Karthigai-13thDecember

Boghi Pandigai -13th January 2013

Pongal/Sankaranthi-14th January 2013

Mattu Pongal-15th January 2013

Karadaiyan Nonbu-13th March 2013

Tamizh Puthandu-14th April 2013

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Happy 1st anniversary to the yum blog

The main ingredient in any food is love! That is why home cooked food is always much more delicious than outside food! 🙂 And that is why men think their mother and wife are the best cooks in the world!!And that’s why we think our grandma and amma are the best cooks! 🙂

My appa always used to complain that we always reserved the best dinner sets for some special guests! I always make sure that I use the best serving bowls and dinner sets when he visits me! 🙂

My amma knew the favourite dish of everyone in the family . She always made sure that she prepares it for us when we visit her.

After amma passed away many of our friends and relatives who could not personally visit us spoke over phone. One Mr. Prabhu, a family friend spoke about amma for almost 1 hour. During one of his visits to our home he had observed how amma served water for the family and visitors!

Amma always tied a pure white cloth to the tap in the kitchen. This was to avoid mud and any other dirt. She filled this water in huge vessels, boiled and cooled the water. The boiled water was again filtered using a water filter as there was no other water purifier available those days. She then filled this water in bottles and kept them to cool in the fridge. All this may sound simple. Serving water this way for a family of nine, with hordes of visitors, in a hot city like chennai  is’nt simple at all! May be she spent 2 hours every day just to serve pure water for the family! I am really amazed that our friend Prabhu observed  and remembered amma for this!

Better late than never! He He…..

Our first post in the blog was on 28th June 2007. Every recipe I have published are what I have learnt from my mother. All the recipes have been tried and tested umpteen times before they are posted. With 227 posts and 4.2 lakh hits ( that is on our blog anniversary) the support we have received has been overwhelming! We have more than 200 non bloggers commenting on the blog or mailing us! Many people land here looking for festival recipes.  I have already published the dates for various festivals this year on the side bar and promise to add more recipes as the festivals approach.

My favourite way to pass time is to just get forget myself seeing natures beauty! These days I spend atleast 1/2 hour every morning gathering and stringing Pavazhamalligai!


Pavazhamalligai string

Thank you, dear readers, for your support!

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The Perfect Weekend

I want to post, I want to sound massively lazy and relaxed. I ate a lot of food this weekend, more than usual. 

After all it was celebration time, Amma’s grown older by a year, she’s become less “roundy dums” and I haven’t grown old for her at all.  It was the laziest weekend I have had in what seems like years.

Time was of least significance. Even if the clock staring at my face belonged to my grandfather who liked speed and continous work!! The clock reminded me more strongly of the days he’d spend his afternoons slouching in his Easy chair; the days when I’d routinely remove the wooden stick that held the cloth of the Easy chair together and throw it carelessly in an unknown place for him to find later.

The secret Mr. S was at Nagarhole, a wildlife sanctuary near Mysore. I stayed back at home in Bangalore.

Amma first showed off all the house cleaning that she’s been obsessively up to – starting with the garden.  She showed her beautiful earthen compost pot.

She majorly showed off her newest acquisitions – a rustic looking mini treasure chest and two tables with brass work on top. I got to keep a pair 🙂

It was Amma’s birthday, I’d taken some carrot cake for my brother and brownies for her. She made my favourites – Kalkandu Pongal, Vethal Kozhambu and Colourful Baked Rice. Appa made the world’s best Puli Upma. Nowhere in the world will you get Puli Upma the way Appa makes it – its unique and a result of his many scientific expeditions in the kitchen. You’ll consider the crunchiness of Granola passable if you have this Puli Upma and I am not at all exaggerating.

I slept for hours like a baby. I ate, slept, got more tired and slept more. While Amma kept talking continously.

We went shopping and made a lot of people who owned crockery shops richer by a few significant bucks. I finally found Ramekins at Jamal’s in Bangalore that I’ve been dying to acquire ever since I saw Suganya’s Individual Chocolate Cakes. They will arrive in Chennai with my mom in August.

I made some Focaccia using one of my favourite recipes from Delicious Days for Amma, Appa and my brother (secret Mr. R).

I went to visit my in laws, ate a lot more food – Jangiri, Bhajji, the world’s softest chapatis and delicious cauliflower curry.  I took some brownies and carrot cake for my niece (secret Ms. S) and nephew (secret Mr. N).

My niece and I played hide and seek. We read a book where a Monkey called Bubbles finds a red ball that’s not his. Then he finds the original owner, a cat called Sparks, and returns it.  I read a book of Adventure Stories for 5 year olds. It was a fascinating book with imaginative stories.

My niece also educated me on how crying was “not so much better” but still she had to cry and cry and cry.  She displayed her increasingly complex vocabulary and wanted to be patted on her back for her “attitude”.  

I had a mini adventure on the way to the station with loud heavy rain, traffic jams and roads clogged with rain water.

How was your weekend?

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