Healthy and Tasty Khandavi

Its an amazing dish. Super easy to make and healthy too. Its almost no oil except for the small amount used for the ‘tadka’, which you can omit if you wish. But the tadka is like the feather in the cap so I would go for it, using very small quantity of vegetable oil or substitute it with a good quality olive pomace oil. Khandavi is an Indian Gujarati dish made with besan (chick pea flour) and curd. Both of these are very healthy ingredients. The best thing I like about it is that it can be made ahead for any small get together with a couple of friends and is best enjoyed at room temperature (Store in fridge if you intend to use it next day). Further it can serve as an anytime snack or food. Hey , it should be an ideal snack for the festival of ‘Holi’! O.K. so enough of talking for now. I’m sure you’re getting a wee bit impatient. Here goes the recipe:

Ingredients for Khandavi:
1 cup besan
1 cup curd
2 cups water
1 level tsp salt
1/4 level tsp turmeric
1 pinch asafoetida (hing) which is optional
Paste of 1/2 inch piece ginger and one large green chilli

Ingredients for tempering (tadka) and garnish:
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
10- 12 curry leaves
chopped coriander leaves
1 to 2 tbsp fresh grated coconut or paneer (optional)

Method:
Mix together all the ingredients for the khandvi into a smooth paste. There should be no lumps. Pour this mixture into a heavy bottom sauce pan or wok and cook stirring continuously on low to medium heat till the mixture thickens but is still spreadable. This should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Taste a little to check that the rawness of the besan is not there. Take about 2 ladle fulls of the batter and spread evenly into a thin layer (approximately 4 mm thick) onto the back of a large steel tray, or baking tray or even kitchen counter. You may need several plates depending on their size. Let cool for 5 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile prepare tempering by spluttering the mustard seeds in the hot oil. Add the roughly chopped curry leaves and switch off the gas. Now using knife cut the khandavi layer into equal sized strips (about 1and 1/2 inch width) and loosen the edge with knife. Roll starting from one end and arrange into serving dish. Garnish with the tadka and grated coconut or paneer (cottage cheese). I like to add a dash of red chilly powder too. Enjoy the healthy almost no oil and gluten free Khandvi.

Note: 1. In first attempt, usually the layers turn out a bit thick.
2. If curd is not sour,add 1 tbsp lemon juice, for better flavour.

Source: Healthy and Tasty Khandavi

Eden Project Cornwall,England: Beautiful Amalgamation of Art, Nature and Science

It’s not everyday that you get to visit a magical Global garden like the Eden Project in Cornwall, England (UK). So when I found myself finally standing on ‘Eden soil’ under one of the massive biomes that house the world’s largest rain-forest in captivity, along with other plant species from the Mediterranean,South Africa and California, I was nothing short of mesmerized. Never before had I witnessed a man made marvel nestled in a huge crater also with an outdoor garden spread over 30 acres. Recipient of the Best UK Leisure Attraction award continuously for 4 years (2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011) and the Silver Award for Best Leisure Attraction in 2016, the Eden Project is a must visit destination.  What makes the place even more interesting is the beautiful amalgamation of art, architecture, nature and science in one destination.

Eden Project, with view of biomes in backdrop
Eden Project, with view of biomes in backdrop

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Source: Eden Project Cornwall,England: Beautiful Amalgamation of Art, Nature and Science

Musings On Money- Do You wish For More?

At the breakfast table, my son reads out some recent news from his Iphone – “Just eight individuals, all men, own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, Oxfam said on Monday in a report…”Oh really? who are they? I ask goggle eyed unable to suppress my curiosity.”The eight individuals named in the report are Gates, Inditex founder Amancio Ortega, veteran investor Warren Buffett, Mexico’s Carlos Slim, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.” he continues to read.Astonishment apart this piece of news really set me thinking, entering into the age old debate (with my own inner self) on how much money is enough. There is always a  constant tug of war between our needs and wants. People often console themselves by saying that love is the utmost important factor in life and money ranks a poor fourth or fifth place maybe, if we were to do some rankings.  The Billy Graham quote we held as a gospel truth since childhood begins to rhyme in my head,When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.How true! But the desire to earn or possess more money is omnipresent for many of us poor mortals, isn’t it? And I’m not even talking about people below poverty line here. I’m thinking about ordinary middle/upper middle class folks. we always keep wishing for a better house, a better car, a raised social stature, all of which come at a price; that of being a rich person. But is having loads of money the real meaning of being rich? I get an answer from author Mitch Albom’s book Tuesdays with Morrie. “You don’t need the latest sports car, you don’t need the biggest house….. You know what really gives you satisfaction?What?Your time. Your concern.”

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Source: Musings On Money- Do You wish For More?

Open Door To Happiness: The Nature Connect

George Santayana, the Spanish -american philosopher, poet and novelist had rightly said- ‘The earth has its music for those who will listen’. We are all so caught up in our everyday mundane activities or work schedules that we often fail to notice the the abundant beauty of nature which surrounds us. Rather than popping pills for hypertension, break free from the vicious clutches of house chores for an hour or at least a few minutes everyday and choose a path that leads to peace and joy. All you need to do is take the first step. Be determined and step out and take a walk in a beautiful park or lake side. Listen to the earth’s melodious music and be healed and addicted to the soothing goodness for life. Well, I did just that yesterday and went for a long walk to the beautiful Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh (India). I was rewarded with clean fresh air, a spring in my step and some beautiful sunset pictures. This coming new year if you have to make a resolution, open the door to happiness- by embracing nature. Click on the following link to see those beautiful pictures.

Source: Open Door To Happiness: The Nature Connect

Open Door To Happiness: The Nature Connect

George Santayana, the Spanish -american philosopher, poet and novelist had rightly said- ‘The earth has its music for those who will listen’.

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We are all so caught up in our everyday mundane activities or work schedules that we often fail to notice the the abundant beauty of nature which surrounds us. Rather than popping pills for hypertension, break free from the vicious clutches of house chores for an hour or at least a few minutes everyday and choose a path that leads to peace and joy. All you need to do is take the first step. Be determined and step out and take a walk in a beautiful park or lake side. Listen to the earth’s melodious music and be healed and addicted to the soothing goodness for life. Well, I did just that yesterday and went for a long walk to the beautiful Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh (India). I was rewarded with clean fresh air, a spring in my step and some beautiful sunset pictures. This coming new year if you have to make a resolution, open the door to happiness- by embracing nature.

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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

These pictures were clicked with an Iphone 7, and they came  out so good that no filter has been used.

George Santayana quote picture source: Buzzfeed.com

Faces (A Tanka Poem)

There are faces

And there are masks that people wear

Being politically correct

Happy faces, sad faces, pretentious faces

Hiding true self to inner confines.

(A tanka consists of 5 lines and 31 syllables.

Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables

Line 2 – 7 syllables

Line 3 – 5 syllables

Line 4 – 7 syllables

Line 5 – 7 syllables)

Cover picture source:Typorama

100th Post & 7 Best Reasons to Celebrate!!

Yes dear readers, followers and friends, this is my hundredth post on this blog. I just kept on writing and suddenly realized that today my post is going to be the 100th! Its in deed a time to celebrate and to thank you all for the love and support. There are actually a hundred reasons to celebrate, but I limit myself to listing the 7 best reasons and revel in being a part of the great Blogging Community. These are the reasons that contributed in my personal growth as a writer and also as a human being. Here they go-

  1. A Lesson in Being Persistent: In my first few posts when I had just started blogging I had expressed my joy and excitement for becoming a part of the blogging community. Someone commented that it was very easy for the initial excitement to wear off and he hoped that this did not happen to me. I agreed with him as blogging is actually a labour of love and back breaking (and neck breaking) at times. I took that comment really seriously, tried to remain as persistent as possible to continue to follow my blogging dream. So here I am with my hundredth ( 100th) post! img_5612
  2. A Global Platform: There have been times when due to travelling, problematic internet connectivity or other reasons I neglected my blog for certain periods of time. My ranking may have gone down a bit during those times but the imprint of my thoughts through my articles and posts was now a permanent part of the internet and blogging firmament. My blog ‘riturang’ continued to get views from far off places and as many as at least 76 different countries. To be able to get a global platform for sharing your thoughts is indeed laudable.
  3. Outlet for self Expression: Ever since I started my blog, there just has been no looking back. I have become a happier and more contented person. My lap top is my best companion and my fingers itch to type. There is never a dull moment, as my mind is always working and observing. Earlier I used to scribble my thoughts down on paper ( do that even now sometimes), but now I straight away type on the keyboard with confidence. The best thing about my blog is that all my work is saved and organised at one place,offering me easy access to it as and when I need. I no longer need to save pieces of fading paper and its goodbye to bulky diaries. ca31dffe51fadb735ff85dedc2e92f60
  4. Closer to Becoming a Better Writer: One of the first advice pieces one gives to becoming a better writer is to write more. To get into the writing habit, as this eventually improves the writing style , vocabulary and grammar. The more you write the more you wish to learn. The universe then listens and helps you to imbibe all that you wish for and takes you closer to your goals. The various writing prompts and participation in writing challenges like NaBloPoMo polish one’s writing further.
  5. Becoming More Knowledgeable: This is one great perk of good  writing! In order to write an article or story on your travels or any other topic, one needs a certain amount of research for the piece to be authentic and true. I always research and clarify any doubts I may have before posting my article. As I mentioned earlier, I have also consciously become more observant of the happenings around me. I have also become a better listener, because as they say, everyone has a great story inside them. My fellow bloggers too have also contributed immensely to my knowledge. I remain engrossed and hooked to the writings posted by them for hours learning about various cultures, cuisines and getting an insight into opinions from all over the world.
  6. Developing the Reading Habit: I must thank my desire to write and to blog for developing the reading habit. Actually read I always did, but what blogging did was to push me toward quality reading. Now I read the best books across various genre and really enjoy being surrounded by books. Never a dull day or moment for me as books are my best friends.img_5611
  7. The Colours of the Rainbow: My 7th best reason to celebrate! Over the past 2 years I have written blog posts on various topics akin to the lively colours of the rainbow. I have written on travel, food, blogging, nature and book reviews. I was grateful for my family and talked about relationships and found a suitable audience for some heartfelt poetry. I became interested in photography and used my own pictures as far as possible. Feeling grateful for all these rewards! Cheers!

That Mysterious Little Door

I was walking on the side- walk briskly and excitedly. A wee bit anxious too, because I really, really did not want to miss this event and was really looking forward to it. As such what options I had now with me where limited. So I did not really want to loose what little available option I had. In spite of walking fast I was annoyingly trailing behind my family members as they all ran towards the the Royal York Crescent in the the fascinating city of Bristol. So it came really as a surprise to find that at one particular point my feet began to drag and started to become a little heavy. No, it was not fatigue, as we had driven down the road all over the Blackboy Hill, down to the Whiteladies road and finally parked the car in a residential area where we had found the parking with a bit of difficulty as it was jam packed almost every where. So there was no fatigue, yet my feet dragged as if they were pulled by some magnetic force.

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Royal York Crescent, Bristol England

Finally I paused, not by choice but almost forced to pause; and found myself standing in front of a small knob-less mahogany wooden door. It stood isolated and embedded in a slate colored stone wall. The door was small and old but exuded a lot of personality. It had a strange magnetic power and was inviting. Hesitatingly I took in the cow webs settled along the hinges and the missing doorknob. Apparently the door had not been opened for years, and I’m a curious cat. I put one foot forward and there was a rustle and a crackling sound as I stepped on the rubble of dry rust leaves and twigs embracing the entrance. I shivered with the sudden sound but notwithstanding edged closer. And then there was a heavy hand on my shoulder! Thud! With a strong jerk I shrugged my shoulders impulsively and almost screamed before looking into the amused and rather puzzled face of my husband. ” What do you think you’re doing? Trying to enter that door without permission would be called trespassing, don’t you know that? You should in fact be extra careful, considering that you are a tourist here”

I was still trying to regain my senses, when he slowly led me away from that door.”Darling if you walk at this speed you are sure going to miss that Balloon Festival you have have been looking forward to all this time. As such we are already late”. (continued)

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Famous Balloon Festival, Bristol
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Balloon festival, Bristol as seen from Royal Crescent

 

“Hmm”, I murmured weakly and followed him meekly. Should I, should I not, my mind debated with my heart. One last glance, just once I thought and turned my head to look back at the door one last time and gauge what treasures (or horrors) it held. But I saw nothing, as we had left it far behind. For an instant I felt like going back to check on that door, but then I had second thoughts. I definitely was a tourist there and ought to behave properly.

The mystery haunts me even today, long after I have returned from my trip. Maybe I lost my chance of an entry into Alice’s Wonderland or a garden of enchantment or contrarily was saved from the mistake of opening a Pandora’s box (door in this case). The mystery  continues…in my mind…

Have you ever felt anything similar. What do you think was behind that door?

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Mystery Door

 

 

Image Credits: Cover image (Mystery Door)- Clicked by author (Ritu Nanda)
Royal York Crescent image – Google images
Balloon festival – http://www.bristol.ac.uk/city/festivals.html
Balloons in flight – Clicked by author (Ritu Nanda)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colours of Life