That time of the year

I have got a girlish pink blanket covered on my mattress. There’s a small kaam-chalau (workable) heater that is on in my room. It’s a cold, cold day, dear readers. The husband says it must be snowing somewhere in the north. But, hey! I made some gajar ka halwa (caramelised carrot pudding) two days back. What better way to beat the chill! You can find its recipe in one of my old posts. We just reheat it and eat it to our heart’s content. Also, roasted groundnuts are something that we’ve been munching on these days.

I’m feeling a bit lost today. Being a freelance writer since a year, it’s made it tough for me to say yes to a full-time job. Just the thought of a mundane, clock-wise work routine is giving me blues, but, really, I think I need a time-table of that sort. If only I could fly away from this city. That way, I could indulge in some performing arts and music classes of my choice. But till the time I’m here (which, to me, looks like forever) in Gurgaon, I need to sort things out. I’ve been yearning to learn Hindustani music, as I immensely miss my music sessions. I want to join a dance class as well. Can’t zero in on one though. Which takes me to another thread of thoughts.

I believe 2017 would be a slow start for me. I’m looking for a weekend getaway break already to recharge myself. What’s special is that finally, I’ve started drawing with water colours and sketch pens and enjoying journaling and hand-lettering. It’s something I have been wanting to do for the longest time. Art calms my anxious mind. I’m usually hyper excited about each thing in life, and it’s important to slow down my thought process that seems to run on a treadmill, nonstop. I got a Christmas card from a celebrated illustrator, Alicia Souza, whom I had interviewed a few months back. The envelop of her card was beautifully decorated, and I was inspired to post some New Year cards to my loved ones. It was truly a fun-filled activity, posting the letters with 5 rupee stamps and random drawings. If given a choice, I’d communicate through only letters. It gives you time to think before writing, and reads as a composed piece unlike text messages. So, yes. These letters and some cards that I made for my students are the highlight of my New Year festivities.

I’ve been meaning to share a leftover recipe with you guys. Actually, I always end up cooking rice a bit extra. And I’m left with a question of what to do with it the next morning. But, then, this recipe of masala rice comes up like a saviour. And, you can also pack it as a lunch item.


Recipe: Masala chawal


leftover rice
1 roughly-sliced onion
1 chopped green chilli
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste
curry and coriander leaves
1 teaspoon grated ginger
oil for tempering


1. Heat some oil in a kadai (deep pan). Add curry leaves, cumin seeds, grated ginger, mustard seeds and chopped chilli. Stir it a bit.
2. Add turmeric and red chilli powder. Give it a good mix. Next, add the onion, followed by salt. You want to keep the onion crisp, so we’ll just cook it for a bit, without making it brown.
3. Throw in the rice. If it’s tight, break it with your fingers and then dump it in the kadai. Now mix it nicely with the onion masala. Add the coriander leaves and lemon juice. Mix it one last time and switch off the flame.

Hope you have a wonderful time this weekend! Happy New Year, dear readers! Life can be tough, believe me. I have had my taste of it. But what I’m trying to learn is that if I stay mindful and be grateful for all that I have with me, things can lighten up with ease. So, don’t let any negativity bog you down and let those curves on your face go broad as you smile. Much love!

Raw beauty


On one of my trips to a street grocery shop, I spotted some greens and jumped with joy! A childhood memory struck me. “These are the exact greens that mum used to temper with coal!” I thought to myself, as if I had found gold under a mud pile.

While going back home, I called mum. “Mummy, I found those greens!” She, being my mother, knew too many greens. What is it, she asked, and gave me a few options. Beans? Garlic leaves? Spring onions? “What did you find?” she finally questioned again. “Mummy. You used to mix onions and cumin seeds in it, with some smoke that you got from the ghee-tempered coal,” I answered. I was losing my mind. “Oh! Mogri?” she beamed and started laughing. And I broadly smiled! Yes. Yes. Yes.

There are some food memories that are etched in your mind forever. Mogri or radish pods hold the same for me. As a child, it fascinated me how my mum used the smokiness of the charcoal and basically created magic with some roughly chopped onions and fresh radish pods. Eating it as a side dish gave me a rustic, homely feeling. Reliving a memory is incredible.

These radish pods, however, are not available the entire year. It’s a seasonal veggie. So, dear readers. Don’t ignore them the next time you go to your street grocery shop. For you’re not going to find this treasure in those high-end gourmet stores of yours.

Make some mogri as a side dish or salad with your rice/roti and dal/kadi. Believe you me, you’ll thank God for all the winter goodness and delight you’ve stumbled upon.

By the way, dear readers, I’m listening to some Kishore Kumar songs today. The peace one gets from his voice and tunes cannot be explained. Background score, presently: Khilte hain gul yahan, khil ke bikharne do.

How are you enjoying your winters?

Recipe: Chamkyodi Mogri or Charcoal-tempered Radish Pods


Chopped mogri or radish pods (pick the tiny ones; they taste even better)
Chopped onions
A medium-sized coal chunk
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds


Chop the veggies. Make sure you wash the mogri well. Now, heat some ghee in a kadai. Once hot, throw in the cumin seeds and after a few seconds, add in the veggies. Add salt and chilli powder and stir the veggies for 30 seconds and transfer it to a deep bowl. Next up, you have to burn a piece of charcoal on the stove. Once it starts to become gray, you know it’s ready. Put it in a tiny bowl, and place it in between the veggies in the deep bowl. Now add a teaspoon of ghee onto the hot charcoal and close the lid, quickly, so that the smoke doesn’t escape.

Finding faith


It was 3AM, when I was entering the holy setting of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Morning prayers were being sung in a low, soft tone that touched the core of my heart. I took a few steps around the temple with my cold feet, as I was trying to absorb the spiritual vibes slowly. I paid my tribute inside the temple and just when I stepped out, I felt like sitting for some more time.


I was going through a personal loss. Something I didn’t experience up until then. What could I have done wrong? How could I save it from happening? Questions poured in my mind, as if I was conversing with The Almighty. Whatever has happened cannot be relived. Whatever that has been lost cannot be regained. I certainly knew the facts, but my heart kept asking why. And, I couldn’t control my tears.


Finding faith. For a die-hard dreamer like me, losing hope from life was a big thing. From moving to Gurgaon (away from my family) to losing a part of me, made me erase all the hope at that time. But I didn’t give up. My eyes were looking for hope. And I could see it. I could see hope when the aged lady was drinking her morning tea. I could see hope when an old man was sweeping the floor at a corner. I could sense hope when people softly asked me to get aside and give them the way for them to walk. That’s the magic of this place. As I folded my hands before the temple, I only wished to understand His ways better and trust Him. I took a deep breath and started walking away.

Amritsar surprised me in one more way. It offered me soulful food. Before coming to this city, frankly, I thought, what special would the streets had for me? I was wrong, and how! A simple dish like paneer paratha and raita at Bharawan da Dhaba felt heavenly in taste. It was winters, and it was even more better in the cold season. The langar at the temple was simple and lacked no flavour. I specially loved the tea that was available at one of the corners.

My husband’s love for sweets went wild when he had Gurdas Ram’s jalebis. No wonder he kept coming back to the shop to enjoy his plate of hot jalebis. Yes, all in one day.


The next crisp morning, we excitedly left to have our breakfast at Kanha Sweets. We were accompanied by an enthusiast couple, who were foodies like us. That doubled the fun altogether. The wait outside Kanha was a sweet one, as I couldn’t help but enjoy the sight of super hot puris fried in a large kadai. My thali that mainly comprised puri, chola, and sweet aloo ki sabzi was to die for, dear readers.


Our trip was incomplete without a visit to the Sarhad restuarant. The Lahori chai, Peshawari naan, and paneer curry blew our minds, and we call it one of our best restaurant moments. And the Kulfa that we had at A-One Kulfa for dessert was our best street food moment.


Which is why, while coming back to Delhi, I felt content having found a pocketful of faith. Something that I took with me from the beautiful city of Amritsar.