Events Awards Interview

Arusuvai Friendship Chain; Another Season, The Celebration Begins

10:07 AM

Before I start this post let me say Sorry to Bharathy as I could not keep up with my promises. She is a wonderful person which explains why she is still bearing with me when I single handedly delayed this whole post. This year has been very eventful for me and by that I mean everything went wrong. some incidents happened and is still happening to us that almost knocked us off, scared us to death and made us sick and tired. almost everything was on stake but then by God's grace we are safe and with his blessings fighting each and everyday. I don't want to talk about it much but things were and are not on my side so sorry for my delay but still I wanted to give it my best shot as this topic is very close to my heart.

It was the beginning of this year when I contacted Bharathy about the Arusuvai Friendship chain. before I tell about this friendship let me first tell you something that i never have revealed so far. my reason to enter the blogosphere. after my marriage I came to Bangalore, almost to an empty house. in this process of making a home for ourselves I started enjoying my role as a homemaker. I started experimenting with different cuisine and that was the time when I was introduced to food blogging. I found those recipes more trust they are tried, tasted and real with a concern for family's health. I almost started spending my weekday afternoons browsing various blogs. on one such lazy afternoon I stumbled upon a blog where the blogger talked about this beautiful online friendship between food bloggers. I was touched with this and thought to myself that it must have been an awesome feeling to be a part of this community that shares almost everything, from recipes to feelings to ingredients. I might sound funny here but think of a channel where you have never met the other person but can open up your heart to ask for their opinion almost on everything...for me that was amazing and soon it intrigued me to be a part of this wonderful community with my little culinary knowledge. but by the time I was well aware of the various things going on in the community The Arusuvai chain was no where to be seen. so I contacted Bharathy to know the status and to start another season of this amazing friendship called Arusuvai.

The Inside Story:
Arusuvai Friendship chain is an online effort to touch the hearts of food bloggers across the world with a mystery ingredient and a promise of friendship. this was started in 2007 by Mrs. Latha Narasimhan of the 'Yum blog'.it was inspired by the Amish Friendship chain in the US which led her to think to start something similar to identify and unite Indian food bloggers too. in the beginning it worked as a chain by sending along a surprise ingredient to a friend to prepare something tasty with it, share the recipe and then passing on another mystery element to more people to continue the chain. Lathamma started the process by sending Bharathy and Renuka some mystery ingredient. she aptly named it Arusuvai which means " six tastes (aru=six, suvai=taste) in Tamizh and is used to refer for Tasty preparation with six tastes – inippu/ thithippu (sweet), orappu/ karam (hot), kassappu (bitter) , pulippu (sour), uppu(salt), tuvarpu (tastes that one gets in raw leaves). Her talented daughter Lakshmi came up with these beautiful logos for the event.

Later the format changed a little as Bharathy said, "Lakshmi and Lathamma were on a break. However, initially the chain went well with the predominant bloggers who knew one another. One more month to go and there was scarcity of recipients as many of the bloggers confronted with the same problem- who to send next??" 

So Bharathy and Srivalli started co-ordinating the whole process of identifying and listing interested bloggers and planning the donors and recipients. Finally they came up with a huge number of 50 food bloggers from all over India interested to start a new friendship with the help of Arusuvai. It was a daunting task which these two girls did with great enthusiasm and sincerity. you must read about their experience HERE and HERE.

Lets Join Hands:
Now cut to present time where I have got the green signal to again give it a fresh start but I with my problems delayed it so much. but as they say it's always better late than never so here I am, feeling extremely privileged and honored to announce another season of Arusuvai chain. so what are you waiting for friends? come along and be a part of this most cherished online friendship. I already have got my mystery package from Bhagrathy (recipe coming in next post) and trust me buddies cooking with an mystery ingredients is more fun and exciting than you think.

now to the rules. the basic rule of the game goes like:

1. Bharathy has started the chain by sending me the secret ingredient. I will pass on the chain by sending mystery packages to 2 bloggers. They in turn will do the same to others, this way the chain will continue till we exhaust the list of all interested bloggers.

2. Now, the person who receives the package cooks something tasty with this and 
a. post recipe with a picture
b. the Recipe headline must include the name of Arusuvai. 
c. the post must include the Donor's name and the link of his/her blog
d. the links of the announcement posts (THIS ONE and BHARATHY'S and SRIVALLI's)
e. the links of the beginning posts of Bharathy, Srivalli and Lathamma
with the Arusuvai logo

(to get more idea of how it works you can click on any name on this round up.

3. If you don't blog, do share the recipe with the friend who gave it to you or post it as a guest post on someone you know who blogs.

4. bloggers and interested friends living outside India could also participate if you have an Indian address where we can send the package.

To start with I would volunteer to co ordinate the whole process and Bharathy has also confirmed to help by spreading the word. so please friends come forward and leave a comment with your name and email id at the end of this post or HERE or HERE. I will contact you within 48 hours. Please leave a comment within the next 3 weeks that is by 20th December'2010,  anytime you want but be quick to experience the fun at the earliest.  if you have any more questions please leave a comment or mail me at

So don't wait much girls, come lets have fun together with what we enjoy most...our passion for cooking!!!

Hope to see you all in the chain soon.



Bread Paratha etc

Gobi Paratha (Spiced Cauliflower Stuffed Indian Flatbread)

8:04 PM

My life seems to be in a jeopardy these days. one after another problems are just keeping on coming like heavy weight punches...whack, whack, whack. once we think that we are going to be stable and plan to arrrange life with a positive note there comes another blow. I dont know if its only me or it happens to all of you, but it seems like a big black cloud is covering our lives. you might think this is another post to announce one more break but no...a big BOLD NO...this time I choose to be brave, I choose to face everything that tries to diminish my spirit. am going to fight and I am going to face whatever comes our way. With my undivided faith in God I leave everything to him and I will do what he chose me be true to myself and to others surrounding me. Here comes another boquet of thanks for my blogger friends. if you are a blogger or a blog reader you would never know what it means to have prayers from online buddies untill you need it. in distress faith and prayers are the weapons that makes you couragious. so thanks friends for all your a lovely blogger buddy mentions blogging gives us time and space to be oueself and to channel out tensions. I cling to this window of mine to be a part of all your lives...There is no way I can thank you enough and ask you to be with me...the way you always do. Just a small note of thanks to have received all your support.

In between all these miseries  my Laptop also decided to leave me which explains my absence from the blogosphere...yesterday got a new one and here I am connecting to you once again. 

Now back to todays recipe. 

On a day to day basis I prefer to cook healthy (like all of you) and with a crazy-haywired schedule like the last few days i mostly resort to one dish meals. Hubby doesnt like to eat rice for dinner so often I make stuffed paratha. some good fat parathas and a yogurt dip (raita) and you are all set to rock the dinner. better if you make some more to have leftover for next day's breakfast. my kitchen often sees many experiments in this regard. Though we love stuffed parathas but when it comes to Bengali parathas...those refined flour tringle piece of flatbread dipped in ghee gets a stern thumb down from both of us. we much prefer their Punjabi counterparts made with wholewheat flour and stuffed with the goodness of vegetables. by 'healthy' I mean thats how I make my parathas. My best friend who is married to a Punjabi family once told that her in laws dining tables always have a big slab of butter in the center and they simply love to generously slather their parathas with it.but if you read my recipe carefully you will see no use of ghee(clarified butter) and very little oil. 

Though these days all veggies are available the year around but it wasnt the case when we were growing up. we had to wait for winter to taste those fresh peas, cauliflowers or tomatoes. come winter Maa would deny to cook if her fridge was not well stocked with ruby red tomatoes, jade green peas or freshest coriander leaves.and if you go by taste you will also agree that these veggies taste much better in season. now when i run my own household in a big city where everything is available if you have money still I crave those freshest of ingredients, nothing can beat the tender every winter I love to go to my local wholesale market (Madiwala) to indulge in winter veggie basket. the fresh small new cauliflowers, ripe plum tomatoes, fresh baby carrots or green spinach. last weekend we bought a pair of very cute looking new cauliflowers and made our all time favourite  gobi paratha with it. with my black and deker chopper it hardly takes any time to bring hot warming meal to the table. 
Here is how I made it

Gobi Paratha
(Makes 5 parathas)

for the stuffing:
grated Cauliflowers: 11/2 cups (please see the note below)
Onion: 1; small
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tsp
finely chopped coriander leaves: 1 tbsp
coriander powder: 1 tsp
cumin seeds:; 1/2 tsp
green chilly: 1
chat masala: 1 tsp
oil: 2 tsp

for the dough:
whole wheat flour: 2 cups
ajwain: 1/3 tsp
oil: 2 tsp
warm water

oil: approx. 1/2 tsp for frying each parathas

First take the flour in a big bowl and mix the ajwain and salt. pour the oil in the middle. mix and then knead with warm water to make a soft but firm dough. knead for 2-3 minutes. cover and let it rest for min 15 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and chopped green chillies. once it splutter add the finely chopped onion. fry for a couple of minutes and then add the ginger-garlic paste. fry on low till oil separates. mix in the coriander powder and turmeric. mix.

Add the grated cauliflower, salt and little bit of red chili powder. mix and cover. it will leave water and will be cooked in that juice itself. so cook on low by stirring in between.

Once they turn dry add the chopped coriander leaves, chat masala  and check the seasoning. take off from heat and let it cool.

Knead the dough again and divide it in 5 balls.

By pressing in the center to make a bowl like shape. place a big amount of stuffing in the center. bring the sides at the middle and cover the stuffing.

Press and make it flat. dip in flour and keep covered. do the same for the rest.

Now roll the balls with dry flour to get thick round breads. 

First roast the breads on a dry tawa till brown spots appear. smear the sides with little oil and fry till cooked through center. (for a pictorial of how to make stuffed paratha please see THIS).

Keep aside. Repeat for the other four and keep covered.

serve hot with some yogurt raita.

At late afternoon we enjoyed ours with cucumber-onion raita and home made sweet-n-sour mango pickle.

A Homemaker's Note:
The most important aspect of making this dish is grating the cauliflower florets really fine, almost like coarse breadcrumbs. this is very important as a coarse and lumpy stuffing wiill result in breaking of the parathas at the time of rolling. so do your best if you need soft parathas.

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Nolen Gurer Payes (Rice Pudding with Date PAlm Jaggery)

11:38 AM

Thanks friends for all your nice comments. Slowly but surely we are coming out of the distress. Now all we want is to move on and get back to life. As they say each cloud has a silver lining this incident too have made us atrong and matured. Has taught us that life doesn’t quite run the way you want but some unnecessary hurdles come along…we have to keep our eyes open to see them and face them bravely.

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