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Fine Art Fair

Each year the local Fine Art fair happens around this time, just before Fall sets in. This afternoon the weather was beautiful, almost felt like the middle of summer, everyone and their pet was walking  in the  Fine Art Fair.

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stirringmyspicysoul.com

 

A wide variety of high caliber art and craft items are displayed along the picturesque Riverwalk.It’s a joy to visit if you are a lover of arts and crafts, like I am, there are so many talented artisans exhibiting their brilliant art for the public, always always a treat to the eyes and soul.

The thing that amazes me most each year is the various mediums out there that these artists use in creating these art forms, a lot of talent and thought goes into their work, sharing some of my favorites here, for you  all to see and enjoy, take as you may🙂

The one thing that has amazed me ever since I saw it for the first time is the gourd art, the amount of patience that goes into drying the gourd in barns over a year after de-pulping the insides and then creating master pieces like these are just too beautiful to comprehend!

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Nest baskets are another thing that caught my attention, the beautiful blend of colors in creating these nest baskets showed the artists passion for creating amazing art forms, using different medias.

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This was an exhibit, I heard the artist say loudly to someone, as I walked past her stall, “The Irish in me can’t stop doing these !”

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The softness of blending colors with a paint brush where one color merged into another so beautifully , it was difficult to tell, where one started and the other ended.

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Leaf  Art : the colors and the hue of the falling leaves this season…

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If you love creating beautiful pieces of art with your own hands , be it a painting or a small craft , then this Art fair is certainly for you🙂 Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

A walk to remember…..

“and the sun took a step back,

the leaves lulled themselves to sleep

and Autumn was awakened ”

~Raquel Franco

 

Autumn tip toes in  ever so gently, all you can do sometimes ,is stop still and take in all its glory…….and so I did, during my evening walk today. Nature, is painting the landscape in the most beautiful of Fall colors, one berry at a time.

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Come join me, this Fall during our Nature walks, coz’ Autumn paints in colors that summer has never seen.

Mangalorean Fish Curry

The Korean Market always has a fresh supply of fish and a large variety of seafood , each time I stop by on my way back from work.There is always something interesting in the market be it among the veggies or fruits they have in there or their Korean cooking utensils.Enjoy, walking through the aisles slowly looking at different things on sale, till I reach the seafood section of the store.

Some of my finds, this time in the market were…..

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Packs of ‘Bunapi’ Organic mushrooms… whoever saw such tiny cute mushrooms on sale ?

Then came another new discovery, Purple Potatoes, though I have read about them, this is the first time I chanced to see them🙂

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Then , there were these red bananas, think I have seen a different version of them in South India, they were used to make a sweet dish called Halwa🙂

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A little further down the aisle in the cooking utensils section, there were varied rice cookers, noodle  and dumpling steamers, yet my eye caught this earthenware pot with a lid, I had long wanted an earthenware pot to make my fish curry in, coz the taste certainly is flavorful when made in an earthenware, this one though was much smaller , perhaps to serve soups  I thought and headed towards the sea food section at last.

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Rows and rows of fresh and frozen sea food lined the aisles, lobsters, crabs, sea fish and farm raised one alike. I stood there and gazed for a long time, somehow the Golden Pompano , looked like a good catch, so bought it and got it cleaned by the kind Korean guy who cleans it up for you and headed home, spicy  traditional fish curry in mind.

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This weekend has been amazingly slow with good weather and sorting out closets, getting ready for the Fall/Winter season, needless to say getting a lot of work done also leaves one hungry…..Golden Pompano to the rescue, made it the traditional way, added coconut milk for good measure, now all that is left is a good siesta after an yummilicious lunch. How is Sunday treating you so far ??

The recipe for making this yummy traditional Mangalorean Fish curry follows….

Ingredients :

For seasoning :

  • 1 tablespoon  Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig of Curry leaves
  • 1 Onion, finely cut
  • a pinch of ajwain seeds and methi seeds, ground in a pestle
  • 2 pound of  golden Pompano fish
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chilies, slit lengthwise

To be ground

    • 10 byadgi chillies,
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds,
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon methi seeds fried in a teaspoon of oil and ground to a paste)

     

  • 1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Onion,chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 tin of coconut milk

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 Method :

  1. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed vessel on medium heat and add mustard seeds to it. When they start spluttering add curry leaves to it.
  2. Now add the crushed garlic, along with green chillies. Stir till the raw smell disappears
  3. Now add  the onions and fry them till they are translucent. Add ground ajwain and methi seeds and mix well.
  4. Now add the coconut to the above and gently roast it, when it starts turning brown add the chili powder and turmeric powder
  5. Grind the onions,coconut,salt,turmeric and chili powder along with a little water . Add the tamarind paste ,to the above mix and blend all of them together into a fine paste.
  6. Now add the ground paste to the  seasoned mix along with 1 cup of water and coconut milk  to make it into a curry like consistency.

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7.When the curry starts  boiling add the cut fish gently one by one, add salt to taste, cover with a lid and allow to cook for 10- 12 minutes. Do not stir, since you do not want to break the tender pieces of Fish into smaller bits, instead gently swing the vessel to and fro with both your hands so the curry mixes well with the fish pieces.

8. Remove from stove top and serve hot with rice, chapati or idli’s/ Indian rice dumplings.

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Another version of the traditional Mangalorean  Fish curry is found here in my earlier posts,https://stirringmyspicysoul.com/2014/01/28/fish-curry-mangalorean-style/

 

 

Snap Beans Poriyal

It’s getting a lot cooler in the morning,the transition period when Summer turns to Fall is always beautiful. A little bit of drizzle, a nip in the air…..all showing signs of Fall arriving.

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The landscape is turning color too and that’s when I want to add a little more green into the food I cook, it will be a while now since we see green again.

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The aisles in the Fresh market still had an abundance of the late summer crops,an array of colors bright, the snap beans looked so fresh and tender, I had to add them to my groceries, along with spinach and the rest of the greens.

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This morning it was drizzling and the ache in me to have something spicy seemed to kick in, almost around the same time every year. When the weather  starts getting cooler, the salads and smoothies go out, the need for something warm and spicy comes calling…..so here is my Snap Beans ‘Poriyal’/Stir fry , a simple and easy recipe to kick of the season for many more spicy foods to roll in.

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“The magic lies in  slicing the snap beans evenly to make it look presentable, only then would the one who eats  it, relish it” said a neighbor aunt, when I was a kid, I can almost see her bent over her cutting board, with her arthritic hands, yet how delicious the food she cooked ! You are never alone in the kitchen, you always are surrounded by giants who nurtured that passion in you to cook by their delicious yet simple food.Nostalgia and good food always starts with the Fall season for me….

Ingredients :

For seasoning :

Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp

Urad  dhal – 1 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp

For the Poriyal /Stir Fry

Snap Beans- a bag full

Onion- 1 big

Garlic – 3-4 cloves

Cayenne Pepper powder- 1/2 tsp

Garam masala Powder- 1/4 tsp

Salt – to taste

Coconut Flakes- 1 tbsp ( optional, I did not add)

 

Method :

  1. Warm oil in a wok, to this add the Urad dhal, mustard and cumin seeds and do the seasoning.
  2. To this add the crushed garlic cloves and wait for the aroma to fill in the kitchen.
  3. Now add the finely sliced onions and saute them till light brown.
  4. To this add the fine and evenly sliced snap beans, after you have cleaned it off dirt.
  5. Next add the cayenne pepper powder , salt and the garam masala powder to the above & stir them well together so they coat the snap beans.
  6. Cover with lid, occasionally stirring, there is no need to add any water since the beans cook in their own steam.
  7. Remove from oven top after a few minutes, serve hot with rice and rasam or even curd/yogurt rice….a yummy light lunch, yet satisfying  your urge for spicy food.Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Sweet and Savory Kozhukattai/Modaks

Ganesh Chaturthi or “Vinayak Chaturthi” is one of the major traditional festivals celebrated in india. It is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada, starting on the Shukla Chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period), which falls around the end of the monsoon season.

Ganesha the most beloved cheerful deity is worshipped with great pomp and show, on this day.He is worshipped first before starting new venture in life,since he is considered the remover of all obstacles.He is known to have a sweet tooth and is an ardent foodie, so the devotees celebrate his birth by making his favorite dishes, among which the Kozhukattai or Modak tops the list. Being an Elephant headed God, makes him a lover of rice balls, coconut and jaggery (cane sugar), so most of the dishes prepared on this day have these ingredients in one form or another.

May his grace fill our homes and hearts each day to keep us safe, healthy, peaceful , happy and prosperous today and in the days and years to come !

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Our Ganesha at home is sweetly fed with his favorite Kozhukattai, both sweet and savory, the recipe follows :

For the  Kozhukattai/Modaks
    • 1 cup rice flour
    • 2 tbsp maida (optional)
    • 1 3/4 cup water
    • 2 tsp oil
    • Salt to season
For Savory Kozhukattai/Modaks
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1 green chili (can be substituted with paprika or black pepper)
    • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro (coriander)
    • 1/8 cup coconut
    • 1/4 cup green peas
    • Salt to taste
For sweet Kozhukattai/Modaks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup khoya /milk solids (or condensed milk / milk powder)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 2 cardamoms deseeded and powder
  • 1-2 tbsp walnuts/cashewnuts

Directions

  1. Sift the flour to make sure there are no lumps. Set aside.
  2. Boil water in a pan. Add the oil and salt to it.
  3. Now add the flour into the pan. Do not mix, do not try to distribute. Just add the flour in a pile and let it cook on medium heat for 5-7 min.
  4. Turn off the heat of the boiling water-flour mixture. Now, mix the flour, stirring it well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Let it cool for about 5 min.
  6.  Knead the dough well, making sure it is safe to handle while it is still warm.
  7. Grease your palms with a drop of oil. Make small marbles with the dough.
  8. Steam the marbles with in a vegetable steamer or idli stand for 10 min.

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  1. For the Savory Sundal,
  2. Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. Once they begin to crackle, add the green peas.
  3. Meanwhile, blend together the coconut, green chili, salt and cilantro and set aside.
  4. When the peas turn soft, add the blended coconut-cilantro mixture.
  5. Add the half the steamed flour marbles and saute for about 5 min. It is now ready to serve as a snack or side

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  1. For the Sweet Payasam,
  2. Start heating the milk on medium with constant stirring.
  3. Once the milk begins to boil, add the khoya, sugar, powdered cardamom and the saffron and boil for another 5 min until all the components merge to a smooth mixture.
  4. Add the steamed marbles and boil it for 5-7 min or until the milk thickens to a desired consistency.
  5. Let it cool. Garnish with walnuts/Cashewnuts roasted in a little ghee and serve.

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Happy Ganesh Chaturthi !

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A mouthful of Poha and Eternal Friendship

Sitting under the dim lights in the railway station, we would devour the ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ comics, without missing a word, until our train screeched to a stop in front of us.Hurriedly we would climb the steps, find our seat  and once agin dive nose deep into our comics….precious memories, packed in picture books, how much of our lives they shaped and continue to influence ,to this day.So if anyone asks you not to read so many books, ask them to go fly a kite, they have no idea what they missed!

One such favorite book of mine among the Amar Chitra Katha’s, was the story of Sudama and Krishna.Do you remember the cover picture  on that book ?….still sealed in my memory like I read it yesterday, Krishna washing the feet of his dear friend, Sudama, who he is seeing after ages, since being in school together. If you look at the picture carefully, you would spot a little bundle of ‘something ‘ in a cloth bag of sorts hidden at the edge of Sudama’s shawl. Hats off the editors of these Amar Chitra Katha’s, the pictures looked so real,  the emotions of the characters spoke through these pictures……in this picture, you can read Sudama’s embarrassment to share his humble gift, to a Prince who has everything, yet the tug of love he felt for a dear friend he knew so well, overtook the emotion of the shame of “not having enough”. The big hearted nature of Krishna, the Lord himself who knew all that  had happened to his dear friend, yet never ever  made him feel any lesser of a human being ,than the one he had known since school days…….

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…….now that to me, is nobility ! They went to school together as kids,their backgrounds different, yet their friendship deep, never based on materialistic values…how rare it is these days ! It is important to share these stories that have stood the test of time, because of the meaning they hold, the values, the depth.

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We learnt from them, we grew because of them, the deep morals they inculcated in the ever fertile mind of a young child…..stories that every child needs to be exposed to , to grow into a mature and well balanced adult, who is wise enough to know the difference.

For those of you, who are new to the story of the friendship between Sudama and Krishna, here it goes……Having gone to school together, as children….

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….the time had come for them to go their separate ways, after attaining all the education they needed to in the ashram, they parted  with a heavy heart promising to stay in touch….

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……and just like you and me, life took over, each had their own responsibilities, families to take care of , duties to perform ….. the days became weeks, weeks to months, months to years…. a lot of time had gone past, yet when they spoke about their childhood memories to their life partners, they spoke with great fondness, so each was aware of the other’s existence ,having never really met in person. Sudama fell through difficult times, in spite of his hard work and was faced with the financial challenge of providing for his family. On one such occasion, his wife gently prodded him to seek the help of his childhood friend, Krishna, whom he spoke so fondly about all the time. They came from different back grounds.

Krishna, was the Prince of Mathura and was well placed materialistically while Sudama, was less fortunate . Sudama felt reluctant to seek his friend for help, since he valued his friendship more than any materialistic gain, and had his pride too. Yet these were trying times, no doubt.

So one day, after much reluctance Sudama, heads to Mathura to seek out his friend for help.He takes a humble gift of ‘beaten rice/Poha/ Bajeel” tied in  a cloth at the edge of his shawl & covers it , as he enters the palace grounds.Krishna runs up to the gates to meet him, receives him at the palace by washing his feet ( “Atithi Devo Bhava”/treat your guest like God , a tradition followed in  the Hindu culture ) and is so excited to meet him, they share pleasantries after having met after so many years , it is then that Sudama is overwhelmed with embarrassment about his humble gift and hides it even further into his shawl….. Krishna , being the mischievous one forever, spots the little cloth bag, pulls it out, opens it to find his favorite food “Poha” and starts eating it immediately, thanking Sudama profusely for remembering his favorite snack….seeing him relish it with childlike innocence relieves Sudama of his embarrassment, and they go back to being the same old friends they had been at school, quickly making Sudama forget the reason why he came to visit Krishna for. A few days later, Sudama takes leave of Krishna, after letting his  dear friend know how much he enjoyed seeing him after so long, and continues on his long journey home. On the way he  remembers that he had completely forgotten to ask Krishna for help, now what would he tell his wife and starving children, he thinks as he walks along the path towards home. When he nears home, where once stood his humble hut, stood a palatial building, confused if he missed the way, he starts heading out when his wife & children dressed in lovely clothes run towards him from the mansion to greet him. It was then that Sudama understands the love of his friend, Krishna…..all he did was take him a mouthful of Poha, yet how much the Lord had blessed  him with.

Moral of the story : The Almighty knows what you need and will deliver at the right time, meanwhile have  faith that he will never let you down.

This evenings “Poha” or “Aval Pidi Kolakattai ” is a tribute to this beautiful friendship, celebrating the love of friends and the Lord’s magnanimous nature.

Happy Janmashtami, to each one of you. May the Almighty’s grace always shower on us.

Aval Pidi Kolakattai :

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Ingredients :

  •  Aval /Poha or  Beaten Rice flakes – 2 cups
  •  Water – 3 cups    
  • Dessicated Coconut- 4 tbsp
  •  Green chillies – 6-8( sliced fine)
  •  Ginger – 1′ (sliced fine)
  •  Curry Leaves- a few
  •  Coconut Oil- 2-3 tbsp
  •  Mustard seeds- 1tbsp
  •  Uradh dhal- 1tbsp
  • Asafoetida- a pinch
  • Salt to taste                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Method:

Method:

1.Heat oil in a thick bottomed vessel, to this add the mustard, uradh dhal when oil gets warm, a pinch of asofoetida & curry leaves.

2.Now pour the water in and allow it to boil, by covering it with a lid.

3. Meanwhile use a blender to powder the Aval/Poha/Beaten rice  coarsely.Set aside.

4. Once the water begins to boil, add the coarsely powdered Aval into the water& keep stirring till the water evaporates and the paste gets thicker.Once, the water is completely evaporated , move the  Aval mix away from the stove and allow it to cool slightly.

5. Now make elongated balls ‘Pidi” with your fingers, while the mix is still warm & place it in a steamer for 5 minutes. Take it out, serve hot with any chutney.

Yummy quick  evening snack to offer the deity, as ‘neivedyam’ /offerings and relish with all at home, as well.

Another way to prepare Aval /Poha or Bajeel  is in my previous post , you can find here:https://stirringmyspicysoul.com/2013/01/21/kanda-poha-beaten-rice-with-potato-onion/

Notes: Krishna’s favorite food is anything done with Aval/ Poha/ Bajeel/Beaten rice. This morning it was raining  here, so our Krishna gets to have some spicy Kozhukattai’s, for Janmashtami🙂

Summer Sunsets

This evening parked in front of the store, I saw the golden fingers of the sun rays lighting up the space , casting golden orbs all around.Spell bound, I gazed at the beauty of it all, each day the Almighty colors the Universe for us, never once the same …..

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Heading back home, I passed by the lake, the sunlight played on the gentle waters, the giant orb still visible around the setting sun….

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Reluctant to drive past, I pulled over and stopped  by the lake, it was then that she  glowed  majestically…… a little fish, perhaps as curious as me peeked from the surface of the lake, sending ripples all along and she colored each one of them for us…..Amazing Grace, is all that came to my mind as I stood there silently taking in all that beauty, letting it soak my being.Sweet summer, stay a little longer, won’t you ?

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