Standing in the queue

I paint my dreams auburn, when I know they’ll never come true, when I know they’ll be broken again.

Sometimes, I just feel life is about sailing by.

But if you live a slow death, yes, there can be such times, you need to look at the other side of life.

Look into the mirror, see those freckles and eye circles, the strands of white hair that act like a crown on your head, that chapped smile and hopeless eyes.

And force a smile. May be, just for one more instance, pray, saying that this time, God will paint your dream pink and make it true.

Morning mantra


In today’s day and age, we have access to huge streams of knowledge that pours in from all social media pages, mobile apps and informative websites. Still, it remains a challenge when it comes to eating healthy. Let’s accept it, implementing a nourishing diet on a daily basis can be daunting, and one might feel the urge to remove the packet of noodles or ready-to-eat food item so that you can bring some kind of food to the table on time. Distraction is easy, but remaining attentive can be tough. Have a mother at home who likes to feed you good food? In that case, I envy you. As I and my husband have to depend on each other for this.

So, recently, I have begun keeping my breakfast the healthiest meal of the day. It’s usually multigrain rotis (I mix around five to six flours like jowar, bajra, chana, makki and wheat flour) that we have with curd and pickle. Multigrain rotis are filled with fibre and can also help those who have constipation.

During our breakfast time, we also like to have a fruit or two like banana, kiwi, pomegranate or chikoo (in season now), and a handful of soaked nuts like walnuts, raisins, almonds and figs. We finish off our breakfast with a glass of milk.

When I’m too lazy to cook, we like to have a banana with milk as our mini morning meal. During summers, it can be a filling smoothie comprising soaked nuts, seeds, banana, peanut butter and cocoa powder.

Also, before stepping out for work, my husband grabs a spoonful of pumpkin or flax seeds. I keep munching on them and on some salted watermelon seeds (we call it coolie in our language) that my mum keeps sending me.

Some days, I like to make stuffed Parathas (options like grated cottage cheese with onions, boiled potato masala, cooked radish or cauliflower, or some boiled and mashed green peas) and serve it with fresh curd and a tsp of lemon pickle. On other days, it’s Poha, Upma or even Dalia.

Also, a bowl of fresh, homemade curd is a must for me! I like to have it plain. Curd has good bacteria, and it is good for your gut health as well. Also, if you’re recovering from an illness or feel low in energy, a glass of coconut water can help too. I had it this morning myself. Usually, I struggle to finish off my fruits in the morning, but then, I have them during the day.

Today, I had a few veggies in the fridge, like half tomato, a small piece of beetroot and carrot, and a bowl of frozen green peas. So, I thought, why not make some vegetable Dalia and use the leftover veggies that can go ignored soon? Frankly, it’s rarely that I make Dalia, but I keep reminding myself of the resolution I took up this year: finishing off what I have in my kitchen pantry. And a jar of Dalia was stuck in one of the shelves since ages. So, it will be best if I finish it soon.

My recipe of vegetable Dalia is inspired by Pramila’s Cook Book, a YouTube channel that I follow for Rajasthani recipes. Pramila, who seems to be based in Jodhpur, is too good, and she deserves more followers than she already has. Do check out her channel if you like Rajasthani cuisine. This is my version of the vegetable Dalia and you can give it a twist with whatever is available on hand.

Having said all this, there are days when we go off track and end up forgetting the nuts or a fruit. But we should keep striving for a healthy diet, as much as we can, right? What did you have for breakfast today?

Recipe: Vegetable Dalia


¾ cup – Dalia or broken wheat (Pramila suggested toasting dalia before soaking it for an hour)
veggies of your choice – I used chopped onions, finely chopped carrots, a handful of frozen peas, half a tomato and half beetroot.
curry leaves (optional)
salt to taste
spices (½ tsp each – turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli powder)
2 tbsp – split green mung dal (soaked for an hour)
a pinch of asafoetida
¼ tsp – cumin seeds
coriander leaves – for ganish
½ tsp – ginger (crushed)
1 green chilli (chopped)



1. In a cooker, heat some ghee. Add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. Let this crackle and give it a quick stir.
2. Next, add in the curry leaves, ginger, green chilli and onion. Give it a mix. After about a minute, add in the other veggies as well. Now, keep tossing it or stirring it every 20 seconds or so.
3. After about 2-3 minutes, add in the soaked Dalia (make sure you wash it thrice), split green dal, salt and spices. Give it a mix and keep roasting it for another minute.
4. Now, add in some water. I like to cover the Dalia so much so that I can see one and a half inch of water. Now, give it five to six whistles.

Pho, what?

IMG_2777 - Copy

These days it’s often that a YouTube chef inspires me to cook a new dish. And today, I’d like to talk about that one time when a YouTuber almost changed my life with her recipe upload. Sadia of Pick Up Limes inspires me to live healthy with her tips on minimalism, leading a stress-free life, and cooking healthy. It was one of her uploads that I couldn’t stop watching again and again.

Now, here was a dish, I never tasted before! I haven’t been to Vancouver, the place Sadia was talking about nor to any Vietnamese restaurant. But her video, which has a beautiful background song (Limes by Navina), inspired me to make Pho, a Vietnamese-style noodle soup. It almost touched my heart when she said, “I miss my Pho,” in the video. So, that’s how it all began.

Like most of the times, I showed the video to my husband, and asked his thoughts. He, like always, saw the video with a straight face and nodded his head. I asked him, “How would you like it if I make Pho for you?” to which he replied, “Let me watch some TV.” Does he even care? He only wants a plate of food on time. Seriously. Whether it is Khichdi or Pho. At least that much I could understand.

We have a gourmet store right opposite our society. So, one day, I said enough is enough to myself, made a list of its ingredients, and went there to shop. And I came back. The hoisin sauce, rice noodles, bouillon cubes, etc. are things that have never made to my kitchen before. So much for a bowl of noodle soup? I had to cancel my plan.

But it didn’t stop there. This time, I was on a plane, when I saw the already downloaded videos on YouTube. I saw the video over and over. The soup looks so beautiful, I muttered in my head. Forget it, I said to myself in the next minute.

After a few days, I saw the video again. This time, I only cared for the song. And kept repeating it. I did fall in love with the song. That’s about it.

Finally, after a month or two, I filled my wallet with enough cash and headed straight to the gourmet store with my jute bag. Picked up the rice noodles, the Sriracha sauce and all the exotic veggies and herbs. Didn’t buy the Tofu for I had cottage cheese at home. Overlooked my food bill. This much for a single meal? No, I didn’t let anything discourage me.

Well, the shopping itself made me hungry, but I ignored it.

I barged into the kitchen and collected different vessels. There were many steps involved! Made the base with roasting the onions and spices. Boiled the rice noodles way too much (we couldn’t even finish them; I could use less). Chopped the veggies and seasoned my soup. Boy! I was starving already!

I had already drained myself. Cooking something that’s out of my league does take time. What might be simple for you, might be difficult for me. I didn’t have the sprouts or the bouillon cubes but I managed somehow. And till the time I brought the noodle soup to the table, it was cold. Who likes cold soups?

When I tasted it, I realised there was hardly any salt in it. Rushed back to the kitchen. I couldn’t understand how to have the noodle soup with ease. It involved slurping, and a lot of it! I can’t tell you if I was comfortable eating it (or slurping it?). But, after having two bowls of it, and adding a bit of more chilli sauce every time, I was fine.

So, here are my lessons.

Never cook a new dish when you’re hungry. Taste the dish first at a restaurant to know the actual flavours (if you can). And give yourself time to adjust to the new taste when trying something for the first time. And, yes, don’t be afraid if you don’t have all the ingredients. You’re not going to cheat with the cuisine but giving it your own touch! Finally, practice can only make you perfect. Remember that.

From my experience, I can say that I’m going to make noodle soups more often. For next time, I have got some Japanese-style Soba noodles that are made with organic buckwheat flour. Again, Sadia inspired me for this one, too. Pho her, I will.

Scribbles and a bowl of Rasam


At this point in life, I want to do everything that can help me keep wise. You know, when you see that there’s a clash of thoughts; and notice that you’ve grown up with a few vices that you will not change in life, whatsoever. And the actual fight will be to stick with your beliefs, let go of any kind of stupidity/negativity around you and still breathe.

I want to let go of the small failures. Want to let go of all the negativity that kills the peace of my mind and keep breathing. You know, when your hands are empty, no success that you can measure and celebrate, just a human being who loves you to death, you really shouldn’t beat yourself up. Easier said than done? Well, here I am in front of you, trying to look up to the shining stars, the blooming flower, the chirping bird on the naked tree, and the laughing street kid–just to keep my hopes safe in my pocket.

Anyhow. For now, just eat Rasam. I make it once in every 10 days or so. For me, a hot bowl of Rasam is a powerful superfood in itself. The citric and warm taste of Rasam hits all the right notes in my mind, and I love how it heals my dull mood.

Jyoti, a cousin of mine, makes a simple tomato Rasam that I absolutely love! Shamelessly, I have asked Jyoti its recipe quite a few times as I tend to lose it again and again. Some time back, though, after searching almost all my digital files, I found an old note of (a screenshot, basically) Jyoti’s recipe of Rasam.

I put on the heat of my stove with a shy smile ’cause I found the recipe. Took out all the ingredients with utter joy–tamarind, black pepper, tomato–because I found the recipe. Made my Rasam boil nicely and saw the dried red chillies dancing on its surface; yes, I found the recipe. Served a big bowl with my ever so humble Rasam. Oh, boy! I found the recipe!

Ajju, my husband, loves Rasam too. We were surprised to see its benefits on Google, thanks to tamarind water, garlic, black pepper and tomato juice. Have it after a tiring day, and see how it heals you. And, here’s what I learnt after having my bowl of Rasam the other day.

Look at the bigger picture. Avoid stressing your mind with repeated thoughts. Create something with your hands. Seek life with a burning, curious mind. Wasting your precious moments with wasted thoughts is ultimately a waste. Go, take a walk, free away those shackles of your heart and think about good food. What’s the next dish would you like to create to please your soul? What about me? I might try some Vietnamese noodle soup!

Recipe: Rasam


2 tsp each: black pepper, cumin seeds, Tuvar dal
Curry and coriander leaves
Dried red chilli – 2 to 4 (round ones, preferably)
½ tsp – turmeric powder
Salt to taste
½ tsp – coriander powder
½ tsp – red chilli powder
A pinch of asafoetida
6 to 9 cloves of garlic, roughly halved
2 large tomatoes
Dried tamarind
A pinch of black sesame seeds


All right. So, don’t be intimidated by this recipe. It’s fairly simple; only needs practice.

1. Take a medium-sized piece of dry tamarind into a small vessel of hot water. Soak it for 15 minutes. Or you can also give this one boil. Keep aside.
2. Chop two large tomatoes and grind it into a paste. Not a fine paste, though. Strain this mixture, so that you get a fine texture and no seeds.
3. Strain the soaked tamarind into a bowl, and add in the tomato juice to it as well.
4. Heat a pan, and in it, roast the cumin seeds, black pepper and Tuvar dal. Lightly roast it and remove it into a plate to cool it down. Grind it into a powder.
5. Take a kadai, and add a tbsp of oil. I use peanut or coconut oil. Once hot, add in the curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric, sesame seeds, whole garlic or roughly crushed garlic and dried red chilli. Give this a stir, and add in the liquid (tamarind water and tomato juice).
6. Add in the spices, the powder you made with the three ingredients, and salt to taste. Next up, add in 4 cups of water. And let this boil for some time.
7. Throw in some fresh coriander leaves and serve it with hot rice.

Note: There are many versions of Rasam; and some like to throw in a small piece of jaggery into it for some sweetness. According to my notes, Jyoti didn’t talk about it. And now I’m too embarrassed to confirm it with her over the phone. Happy cooking!