You will need:

125g (1 small cup) Split Bengal Gram (Kadle bele/ channa dal) Make sure it is not toor dal

125g (1 small cup) Split Black Gram (Uddina bele / urad dal) it is actually white in colour

15 – 20 dried red chillies (increase or decrease according to your taste and the heat of the chilli is different for different chillies, so be careful)

12 g Tamarind

A pinch of Asafoetida (or more depending on how strong it is)

One half of a dried coconut (Kobri) you cannot use fresh coconut for this.

A bunch of Curry Leaves (depending on how much you like curry leaves, you can add more or less)

Salt according to taste

2 teaspoons sugar/ powdered jaggery

Very little oil to fry the curry leaves

You can also add other supposed to be good for you ingredients in your chatnipudi and you won’t even know they are there like,

  • Roasted flax seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Garlic
  • Dried Coriander Leaves


Step 1 Keep a big plate ready on your counter. Make sure it is completely dry.

Step 2 In a wok, (I used non-stick) add very little oil and put in the curry leaves. It is important to get the curry leaves crisp so they can easily be powdered. The amount of curry leaves you use decides the color and taste of your chatnipudi. If you put in more, the color will be green and the curry leaves will dominate the taste. I don’t prefer it this way but I made it like that because I had a lot of curry leaves and it is supposed to be good for you.

Step 3 Once the curry leaves are crispy, transfer them to the plate and in the same wok, dry roast Split Bengal Gram and Split Black Gram separately. Roast them until they turn slightly pink and not black.

Step 4 Roast the red chillies too and turn off the stove.

IMG_20170505_103343 (1)

Step 5   If you have cut your dried coconut into small pieces put them in the same wok with the stove turned off, the heat will be enough to make them a little soft so that they grind better. If you have grated your coconut then just put it in the wok so that they get mildly toasted.


Step 6 Put your cut pieces of dried coconut into a blender and make sure it is powdered properly. Keep this aside for now.

Step 7 In the same blender add the dals and chillies and grind coarsely. Put this mixture into the coconut powder and the curry leaves. Now add salt, sugar (I used jaggery), hing and tamarind.

Step 8 Then put everything together in the blender and blend away. I did this in two batches and then mixed it well. You can put everything in if your blender can handle it. I like my chatnipudi a little coarse, you can make it fine too.

Store your chatnipudi in a glass jar and it will easily last you up to a month.


Chatnipudi goes well with almost anything. Idli, dosa, bread, chapatti, and sometimes it is good to eat it out of the jar. Although I enjoy it with hot rice/millets the most. It is kind of like pickle but it doesn’t have too much of salt or oil. I can’t handle too much of spicy pickle so I alternate between chatnipudi and pickle. The best part is once you get the basic recipe right, you can customize it to your taste and it is vegan!


Baby and the Dog

“I am telling you, we are the same. We don’t judge, we give unconditional love, and some humans really can’t see any difference between their babies and us dogs.”

“What? That’s really hard to understand. You look completely different from me. How can we be the same?”

“Okay, let me ask you a few questions. How do you make the people around you happy?”

“Why should I make them happy? But I have noticed they get really happy when I smile or imitate their actions.”

“Same. I don’t know why my human gets all happy when I pretend to imitate his actions or smile.”

“That’s not very convincing.”

“Okay, tell me what you do when you are hungry?”

“I cry.”

“I howl”

“Ah. But still …”

“What do you do when you want to sleep?”

“I close my eyes but if I rub my eyes, my mother thinks I will sleep.”

“Same, if I sit near my human’s leg, he thinks I will sleep.I mean come on, wagging my tail- that’s involuntary. How can my human think I love him if I wag my tail?”

“See, all this is going nowhere and today I need to practice my all fours.”

“Let me tell you, humans are not like us. They like to mess up simple things. They love to create theories that prove nothing. They love to find meaningful reasons for meaningless things. They have parameters because they like putting everything and everyone in their judgement boxes. So, if I can dance, I am smart and if you can walk now you are smart. “

“That sounds really complex; I hope I don’t grow up to be a human.”

“I hope so too.” Said the dog and opened its eyes to see his human saying “That’s so clever, you put the right thing in the right box.” to his baby.

Vegan Carrot Open Toast


You will need

2 medium sized grated Carrots

1 small Onion finely diced

1 Green Chilli slit (more if you prefer more heat)

½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder

½ teaspoon Jeera Powder

½ -1 teaspoon Garam Masala

1 tablespoon oil of your choice

Coriander and curry leaves finely chopped (optional)

Salt to taste

Bread slices of your choice


Step 1 : In a wok, put a tablespoon of oil and wait for the oil to heat.

Step 2: Add the green chili, curry leaves and onions to the oil and let the onions cook for a while. Add the turmeric powder and salt at this stage.

Step 3: Add the grated carrots and let the carrots cook through. If necessary add a little water.

Step 4: Once the carrots are almost cooked, add jeera powder, garam masala and coriander leaves. Wait till the carrots are completely cooked and switch off the stove.


Step 5: Put your bread on a pan and let it roast on both sides.

Step 6: On the bread spread your carrot filling and enjoy.

I try to keep this simple and don’t add too many masalas, sometimes I even skip garam masala and jeera powder. You can add finely diced capsicum to this too. I haven’t tried other vegetables but you can experiment. This is a good breakfast option and an excellent tea time snack.


Black Coffee and Burnt Fingers

Sometimes, (only strictly sometimes) my inner society conforming wife or the wife whose purpose is only to cook and feed her husband comes to surface. It is almost as rare as using your phone for talking. It was evening and I promptly asked my husband if he wanted something to drink.  He told me he wanted black coffee and I was in the mood for some turmeric milk.

I wondered why our tastes are so different and I realized that I have been wondering about this wonder from the time we got married. A few seconds passed and now I was thinking – what makes people kill? Are aliens controlling us? Do celebrities really have the time to tweet? Will I get confused if I read two books at a time?

Somehow amidst all the thoughts I managed to pour water into a vessel and turn the stove on. I also assembled all the ingredients for my turmeric milk – soya milk, turmeric powder, vanilla essence and date paste. I poured some coffee decoction into a mug and put some sugar and tried to melt the sugar in the decoction with a spoon.

I was stirring and thinking may be if I tried two different genres I wouldn’t get confused. I put the spoon in the sink and switched off the stove and thought if monkeys think that we have failed them. Now a lot of time had passed and the water had got really hot and all I had to do was pour it into the mug and start on my turmeric milk.

I, of course did that except that I felt that my thumb and index finger in my right hand burning and my left hand was involuntarily doing the action a tong does but without the tong, trying to tell me that I had forgotten to use the tongs because I somehow forgot that once you heat water the vessel also becomes hot.

In spite of the wound, I realized the signal my left hand was trying to convey or my brain or maybe the late realizing fairy who guards people who have late realizations. I found the tongs and poured the water in to the mug. My inner channelized wife refused to give up and I carried the mug with my left hand and gave the mug to my husband who didn’t realize what happened and obviously I didn’t tell him what happened in an attempt to see if he notices and hello, who wants to miss an opportunity to get something that you can use it for a later argument. It is like finding money in your old stuff when you least expect it.  Minutes passed and he still didn’t get it, so I sat in front of him and kept looking at my burnt fingers while he enjoyed his black coffee.

Minutes later,

“How can you burn your index finger and thumb, that too in that angle?”

“Because I forgot that when you heat water, even the vessel becomes hot.”

“What? Why?”

“Because from an evolutionary standpoint, I think that the monkeys think we have failed them.”

“You burnt your fingers or your brain?”

“That’s why you noticed that something is wrong after 10 minutes and even now you don’t want to do anything about it.”

“Let me get you Burnol.”

So ladies, the money you kept somewhere will find you when you need it, so take the time to invest if you know what I mean. 😉




Shavige Bath – My Nemesis

First, I felt being lifted by someone (probably my husband), I was carried away to some strange place. After that, I came back to my own bed, my husband turned into a black thing, it was hovering around my head, definitely not a fairy, and then, there were these words and sentences which made no sense, swirling around in my brain and the black thing which resembled some kind of an animal was stealing those sentences from my brain with Harry Potter’s wand.  I opened my mouth to shout but there wasn’t any sound. I was sure all this was not happening to me for real when the ghost told me, “You cannot cook Shavige Bath!”

I drifted back to sleep and in the morning, I texted my husband, “Someone has done black magic on me. How can the ghost know about my inability to cook Shavige Bath? Unless ghosts and fairies are friends, where do they live, by the way?” In response, all I got was, “HMMM”. My husband has developed immunity towards my cooking and the bizarre ways my brain functions.

This happened many days after the day I decided I will never cook Shavige Bath again. I was in one of those rare forms in cooking only comparable to Virat Kohli’s batting form. I began to follow cookery shows, jot down recipes and even manage the groceries! And in one such show, I saw that when you use only half a green chilli, you need to put the exposed part in a bowl of salt – that will keep it from going bad.

I obviously took this too far; I had got a few green chillies from the store. Some of them were a little off in the ends; I cut all of them in half and put them in a bowl of salt. I kept them for days, every day I would look at them be so happy at the way I am learning, growing, experimenting, and cooking!

In all the happiness that was bursting, I decided I have to make shavige bath. I cut those chillies and while cutting them, I touched my left cheek and didn’t realize it for a while. I went on with sautéing the onions and chillies when my cheek started to burn a lot, I washed my face and came back. The burning didn’t stop! Absent minded, and in a lot of pain, I put the same salt that the chillies were in and I did put more than I usually did. I somehow managed to put the shavige in and it cooked pretty well.

My cheek started burning more. I served some shavige bath and started eating it. The salt in the chillies had intensified so much that it had made the shavige hot and too salty.  There was so much of salt and it was so hot that now my cheeks and my mouth burned!

I immediately did what a sane person would do. Stop eating and call Mom. She told me to put ice on my cheek. Ah, ice. What a relief it was! That’s when I took the oath of “No Going near Shavige Bath”. Now, I don’t even maintain direct eye contact with a Shavige packet. Wait, that squirrel on the packet was the GHOST!



That Stupid Knife!

My cousins were visiting me and I had gone through everything (that is nothing, really) that I cook decently in my head. And I did that while doing the dishes and  also cut my finger while cleaning the knife. That seemed to trigger a wicked corner of my brain that I didn’t know existed. I thought blood flow to the neurons activated the brain, in my case, it was blood loss. What if I asked my husband to come up with a list? Now, that was one of my smartest moves ever. If he comes up with a list, it solves my problem, if he doesn’t I get to argue and fight. This could quite definitely be the definition of a win –win situation.

“What happened?”

“I cut my finger, while cleaning that stupid knife. Now, tell me the top three things I cook. Start from the third one. I like drama.”

“What? How is that even possible? You can cut yourself while washing the knife? It happens while chopping but…”

“Now, will you tell me the list or not?”

My brain with activated wicked centres was beaming with so many possibilities as to where this conversation can go that I completely forgot about the cut in my index finger.

“ 3. Noodles, 2. Raw Banana fry and 1. “

Oh dear God, he was actually going to give me a list? What is happening in the world? Was it good husband week, no day, or something?  Come on, good husband week? That will not happen anywhere, even on Facebook. Equipped with the list, I decided I need to cook something I have never cooked before.  I could feel wickedness transforming into dumbness. How? Hey, the blood loss had stopped.  Also, somehow I felt confident to conquer new lands since my husband had a list. I decided to do a trail run in the evening for Bisibelebath and hesarbele payasa (Kheer made from split green lentils).

I was shocked that I hadn’t tried bisibelebath before. It is like an upgraded, cooler version of sambhar rice. Also, it is the easiest thing you can whip up when you want a hearty meal with minimal effort.  Also, you have an excuse to eat something crunchy (mostly deep fried) with it.

I put chopped vegetables, rice, and yellow lentils (toor dal) in a pressure cooker.  For the payasa, I made a paste with roasted khus khus, cashew nuts, and coconut. I was running a little low on hesarbele. I thought I will keep some for the main event and tipped in half of it into a pan and started dry roasting it. While I was roasting, I could hear, feel, and see a few things crisping up – little crispy, pink things amidst the yellow lentils. They were actually worms which were eating away the lentils that I obviously didn’t notice. Shit had to go wrong sometime or the other.

I threw the lentils away and saw that the remaining had a few worms left. I thought of dropping the payasa idea but I didn’t know what to do with the paste I made. My husband is a non vegetarian, I thought.  So, I rinsed the remaining lentils with water many times to make sure there weren’t any worms left and began dry roasting them again. By that time, the cooker had whistled and cooled down.

I put bisibelebath powder, salt, tamarind water to the lentil-veggie-rice mix. I took out the one packet of milk I had to put in the payasa and cut it. And it happened again. Milk in a TETRAPACK had curdled/gone very bad. Either I am nuts to make this shit up or I am nuts that these things keep happening to me.  There went another batch of lentils to the bin and the whole payasa idea out of my brain forever. I was frustrated at this point and over worked the bisibelebath with a lot of anger.  I turned off the stove. Screw cooking, I am doing the dishes.


Half an hour later,

Husband’s Verdict

“I am never doing the dishes  again nor will I cook.”

“Why? What happened?”

“The bisibelebath is a mess with broken rice, the payasa never happened and, and there is so much of blood.”

“Did you cut your finger again? How is that even possible?”

“That knife, that stupid knife. It is trying to kill me.”

Dear God, what did I marry into?!

Mental notes

Neurons, blood flow, blood loss? What, you are a doctor now?

Drama isn’t going anywhere from your life.

Can’t remember the top dish of the list? Don’t, Don’t share this link with husband.

No, don’t ask him what No.1 was.

No, the brain doesn’t work like you imagine it.

No, no one reads your blog.

God! I should stop this mental notes thing.

Keep band aids handy.





Simple Agi – Dal


When to Make?

When you are fed up of your own cooking or you have been eating out a lot and need something comforting and light.

Serves 2 hungry people and 3 mildly hungry people

If you follow my method in which prep time and cook time intertwine, you should be able to do it in 20 minutes.


½ cup Whole Green Gram (Moong Dal)

½ cup Split Yellow Moong Dal

Pinch of Turmeric powder

1 ½ tbsp Oil

½ tsp Mustard seeds

½ tsp Cumin seeds

1 small cinnamon stick (or a pinch of cinnamon powder)

2 teaspoon Ginger thinly sliced

1 Green Chilly roughly chopped

1 medium sized Onion roughly chopped

Coriander powder

Red Chilli powder

Cumin powder

Garam Masala



Step 1:

In a pressure cooker, add sufficient water and switch on the stove. Measure and wash the dals. Add a few drops of oil and a pinch of turmeric powder and the washed dals to the boiling water. Close the lid of the pressure cooker.


In a pressure cooker, add water and the dals and switch on the stove. Close the lid of the cooker.

Even though one is tempted to follow the second method, I think the first one leads to better results in the end.

Step 2

While the dal is cooking, roughly chop the onions and the green chilly. (Do not slit the chilly) Also thinly slice the onion.

Step 3

By this time, your cooker should be whistling away. Switch off the stove ( I wait for two whistles) and clear your counter top of onion peels, ginger skin, etc.

Step 4

In a kadai, add oil. Switch on the stove and add mustard seeds. Once it starts spluttering, add cumin seeds. Now, add the cinnamon stick (if using), green chilli and the chopped ginger. Give it a good stir and add the chopped onions. Add a little salt as well. Close the lid of the kadai and let the onions cook.

Step 5

While the onions are cooking, get all your powders on to the counter and if you are fancying rice with dal, now is the perfect time to make some rice. If you have already made rice, or you are just interested in making dal, use this time to clear your counter top and cleaning your knife and chopping board.

Step 6

To the cooked onions, add coriander powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, and garam masala . ( You can skip the coriander powder and jeera powder. Will have a different taste though) If you feel, the whole thing is dry, add a little water.

Step 7

While waiting for the masals to induce themselves in the onions, you might want to keep everything you took out to their places. Once the masalas have cooked through, check for seasoning and add salt as required. Then, add the cooked dals and check for taste again. Let it simmer for a while. But, should not take too much of time, because the dals are already cooked. Switch off the stove and give you counter a wipe down.



The thing about this combination of dals is, the hesarbele (yellow lentis) would be totally mushy hesarkaalu (green lentils) would still have some bite, thus giving you the best of both worlds.

Can add chopped coriander leaves in the end.

Can add curry leaves to the tempering.

Can add chopped tomatoes after adding onions

Tastes great with curd rice.

Anything  deep fried will go amazingly with this.


Game Review – Blossom Blast Saga

Cost: Free

Genre: Arcade, Logic

Platform I played on: Android (on one plus two)


  • Excellent Graphics/visuals
  • Easy game play
  • The flowers are very pleasing to the eye


  • Some of the levels can be crazy hard and frustrating
  • Can be addictive and cause you to buy stuff
  • Is kind of girly


  • Use the game as a distraction and don’t get addicted to it
  • Enjoy watching the blooming flowers
  • Always focus on getting the super bloom
  • The placement of the super bloom is also important
  • Thinking out your moves helps


Easy game play but the levels get tougher as you go on.

Is it worth your time?

Yes. (Keeping in mind that you don’t end up going crazy about it and start to purchase lives)



Movie Review – The Lunchbox

Left Me Hungry for More

‘I think you forget things when you don’t have anyone to tell them to’ this single line is enough to feel your heart sink and set The Lunch Box apart from other movies.  It does not compromise on anything – be it the attention to details, quality, identifiable characters, slow pace, social commentary or the lack luster sets.


All the elements of the formula of a hit Bollywood movie are thrown into the dustbin. There are no cheesy one liners, item numbers, 5 songs, unwanted attention to star actors, one expression actresses, semi naked hot bodies, or one dimensional characters.


What we have in the lunchbox is fantastic portrayal of characters you might just know, meticulous attention to detail, wit intelligently woven to the screenplay, and a haunting melancholy. The underlying theme of the movie is loneliness’, monotony and an inherent desire to find someone, that someone who will listen to what you have to say, appreciate you, or even just eat the food you prepare.


lla is an unkempt, notice her undone eyebrows in every scene, ignored, house wife whose sole intention is to get some attention from her husband. She is helped by her friendly neighbor to prepare a tasty meal to impress her husband. But, the lunchbox is delivered to  Sajan Fernandis, a widower, who is about to retire from a job he has been in for 35 years. What develops through notes in the lunch boxes is a unique and complex relationship and this forms the crux of the story.


30 minutes into the movie, I saw three girls leave an already empty hall. Can’t blame them because, the movie is not everyone’s dabba. The pace and the recurring shots might get on to some people’s nerves. It defies entertainment which is often defined as escapism. The movie can get so real, sometimes, that you might want to escape from it.


Sajan’s wrinkles, aging eyes, undertone frustration, spectacles and its golden case, his markers, half spoken words or train, auto, and bus rides he takes. Everything either breaks your heart or forces you to connect with him.


Same goes with Ila. Her helplessness, her want of appreciation, her vulnerability or her guilty pressure of exchanging notes with a stranger. She does everything with ease and poise like any other house wife.


The relationship of an employee with his replacement is so well done that you end up giggling at the actuality of it all. Aslam Shaeik is a man who will go to any extent to get his work done. How many of us can actually deny of knowing people like him? His ‘Hello Sir’ and ‘I love this’ manages to bring a smile every time.


The Lunch box is like a good book, it needs time to  grow on you. But it pains my hands and heart to write the next few lines. For me, the movie didn’t work because of one primary reason – Closure. A lot is left to the imagination of the viewer. When the movie was over, a guy behind me said ‘Arre, kitna time waste ho gaya yaar, dekthe rahe aur kuch hua nahi.”


May be a few years ago, I wouldn’t have agreed with that guy but now I do. A story teller’s responsibility is to tell a story completely. I did feel a little cheated. Since, food is a central character in the movie; I will explain my point of view with an example.


Imagine you are a chocolate lover. You always crave for a gooey in the middle, super moist chocolate cake with chocolate sauce dripping all over it. Now, God grants your wish, the cake of your dreams is right in front of you. You admire its beauty for a good 2 hours. Then you are tempted with a piece, you are even allowed to slice it, you take it in your hand but just when you are about to eat it, someone snatches it away.


You are so disappointed that you don’t even want to lick what is left with your fingers. And that’s exactly how I feel but that should not stop you from watching the movie.

Movie Review – Piku

The Grumpy Old Man

“When they reach 60, something happens to them ya!” my friend told me. How many of us can vouch for knowing a man who is old, unreasonable, stubborn, and delusional? I guess, all of us. But after watching Piku, I can say that, now I at least have an understanding of why they are like that.


What’s beautiful about the movie is its simplicity. I can probably sum up the story in a line or two. But that doesn’t take away from it in anyway. And the one of the biggest victories of Piku is that makes you feel for all the three central characters. You understand their vulnerabilities, insecurities, and eventually as to why they behave in a certain way. You somehow get them.


And what’s more fascinating is that you get perspective. To achieve that, not in one frame, does the film seem preachy. Bhaskor, written and acted brilliantly, is that grumpy old man I am referring to. But you never can possibly dislike him. Even when he introduces his daughter to be a non virgin to a prospective groom. And that’s what stuns me about this movie.


Why do I just understand him from frame one? Is it because I know people like him and can relate? No, I understand him because of Piku. She is not the television bahu type who cannot do anything wrong and inherently has respect for her elders. Nor is the type who will just leave their parents and have a life of their own. Most often, we are only shown these two extremes. What works here is Piku is somewhere in the middle, like most of us are.

Piku knows that her father is difficult. She knows she is tolerating him. But she also is guilty. She knows the inevitable is going to happen. But, in the constant grind of life she forgets it. And when something happens to him, she is upset and almost instantly soft on him. That makes her real and relatable.


And there is Rana, an outsider who almost forces himself to go a road trip with the father daughter duo. Aren’t we all like him? Sometimes, we know the consequences of a decision we take. We are fully aware of what’s going to happen. But we still make that decision, sometimes, just for the fun of it. Or maybe to see if it doesn’t turn out the way we imagined it to be.


Rana is quite simply the perfect outsider. He has thousand problems of his own. He doesn’t probably know how to solve them. But he just understands Piku. He tries to make her life easier. He takes charge when it’s necessary. Sometimes, we are so much better solving other people’s problems. Aren’t we?


Also, I like the subtlety of Rana and Piku’s relationship. How they know they need each other but never confess it. How there is no romance per say but still there is lot of understanding and respect.


But nothing can possibly prepare you for the toilet humour in it. It’s very gross at some places. It may put off some people. I personally didn’t like it either. I was wondering if the writers could come up with something else, would it have been the same movie? I am sure it would have been, because the soul of this movie lies in its characters.


Overall, Piku is like a good book. You can savor and ponder about it even after watching it and it never will leave you.