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.

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Recipe: Masala chawal

Ingredients

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

Method

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!

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