Friday, September 17, 2010
My father for all his Intelligence,Sophistication and Stature was just an overgrown baby at heart----the escapades he led us into had poor Mummy in a bind!!!It was as if she had to scold 4 children instead of just us 3 girls!!During Summers Daddy'd come home by 1 p.m.---and after Lunch, he'd snooze a little.By Tea time all four of us would be bored---and we'd suggest washing Daddy's hair or giving him a pedicure---which would perk all four of us up---and put Mummy in a funk!!
In the first option our father was balding----and there wasn't all that much hair left on his scalp to wash but he was game to let us play with whatever precious little hair he had!!He'd lie on the Divan in the Guest Room with his head stuck out over the edge----and we'd swathe his torso with Towels.Then from the attached Bathroom we'd carry in a Plastic Basin and 3-4 buckets of Water---filled to the brim and sloshing away!!The Floor would turn slippery and wet---Mummy'd be standing in the door glaring at us---absolutely fuming!!!We'd pour mugfuls of Water over his hair to wet it and the next step would be shampooing and scrubbing the hair---each one of us would spend 15-20 minutes just playing with poor Daddy's hair---turn by turn---but the Sport that he was---there was nary a complaint---not even a peep!!Today I realise how stiff his neck must have felt---but those days it was just plain fun and hilarious to boot!!!Finally we'd rinse it all off---then each one would take turns drying it out---jerking his head this way and that---for gentle we were not!!The last step was to comb it out and style it----and then show him the Mirror---just to gain his approval!!That evening he'd boast to anybody who was willing to listen---about how his three darling daughters had really given him such a lovely Hair treatment and Massage!!The Pedicure was worse---this was because we'd boil the Water and add very little cold water to it---but the heat never bothered him---he'd just sit back and relax---like a huge Teddy Bear in a pair of shorts---with his legs stretched out in the hot soapy Water!!We'd brush,poke and pull at his Feet and Nails but he never complained----it was the Creamy Massage at the end that he loved the most----and Mummy could never figure out how and why he endured this painful torture!!!The only thing he drew a line at was Nail Paint--that was a definite no-no!!!
Those days we'd get tall,strapping and handsome Peddlers coming down from Afghanistan and Kashmir to sell their Wares--- their fair skins,aquiline profiles and light eyes and hair spoke of their ancient Greek heritage!!They'd carry Dry Fruits and Saffron---Almonds,Pistachioes,Walnuts and Dried Apricots.They'd also carry beautiful Shawls---very large,thick ,soft and warm---made of "Shahtoosh" and "Pashmina" Wool as well as exquisitely hand embroidered Silk Material and Saries---there was a veritable Treasure Trove in the dirty white bundles they carried on their backs!!Mummy'd pick out the Stuff she wanted---Dry Fruits,Saffron,Shawls and Cloth and then the haggling would begin in earnest----it was an awesome sight!!Mummy arguing in mixed Hindi/Urdu while they used a broken Pashtu mixed Urdu----their accents too were so exotic and fascinating to our ears---lilting cadences of rising and falling musical notes!!All 3 of us would squat down there---for they'd stuff our fists full of the Goodies---"Bacchhaa hai Ammi---khaana do!!" (They're just Children Mother--let them eat)they'd exclaim with twinkling eyes and affectionate smiles.After the bargain had been struck and these Peddlers paid,Mummy'd get busy in trying to hide the Goodies in various nooks and crannies in the Store Room,Kitchen and Pantry---away from our greedy hands and hungry eyes----hoping to make the precious Stock last for 2-3 months at the very least!!!We'd then lie in wait for her Kitty Party day---she'd be away for 3-4 hours then---Daddy'd come home early and then we would start the real activity---each one of us would start hunting for the Dry Fruits in different directions---opening and closing various Porcelain Jars and Brass Pots----and when we'd find them---the feast would begin---by the time Mummy came back her precious hoard would be sorely reduced to less than half the original quantity!!!
Today I look back on these memories with greater sympathy towards poor Mummy's plight---I can understand her problems and tribulations---I too have brought up two equally devilish daughters and am still bringing up their Father---who is a totally spoilt Brat---but unfortunately too angular to be a cute,cuddly Teddy Bear!!!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I was a dreamy child---living with my head among the Clouds---reared on a steady diet of Enid Blyton----whom I still read by the way---the concept of Fairies,Brownies,Goblins,Elves,Pixies and Imps fascinated me.In mid 1960 we shifted to Sector 7 A----a bigger house and a huge Garden----filled with wonderful shady Trees----a new vista opened up for me---looking for a 4 Leaf Clover and Leprechauns in the patch that grew in a shady spot in the bottom of the Garden!!!Mummy was pregnant with Ritu---Mikki was a delicate child thanks to having been born a blue baby---the focus had shifted and I was pretty much left to my own devices.The new Garden was rambling and large---filled with Fruit Trees and Flowering Shrubs.There was also a sturdy "Neem"(Margosa) Tree----with artfully handy branches---I spent the entire Summer of 1960 cradled in it's arms----this Tree became my favourite perch---many are the happy afternoons that I spent there--both Summer and Winter reading tons of Books up in it's arms swaying with the Breezes---right till 1970 when I got married.
There were three School Friends near by ---Gouri next door,Poonam and Arunima down the lane---we became fast friends---forever together-----stuck together with Stick Fast!!!All of us loved reading and we sat together and read often in each other's Bedrooms or Studies----there was lots of space for us to stretch ourselves!!!However since Gouri was an only child we preferred her home---no siblings to pester us there!!!Gouri had a beautiful wooden Doll House which her Parents had shipped down from London---and we spent many delightful hours playing "House" with it.
Enid Blyton's Books were our favourites---specially the Famous Five,Five Findouters and The Circus Books---the last inspired us to pretend we were Circus
acrobats and would use the Swings in our backyards to really swing very high up and then jump off----thankfully never got hurt----or we could have been really badly hurt!!Around 1964 Gouri's Parents began work on building their own Bungalow nearby---the Building Material was stored in their Garden Shed.We began purlioning Planks and hacked out a rectangle in the Ground in a secluded and shady spot of their Garden.The Planks would be stuck into the hacked Dirt,then extra Dirt would be spread around the Planks---finally we'd water the Earth around the Plank aand tamp down the Earth firmly---the Planks would get fixed and stand upright----firmly fixed in the drying Dirt!!Thus we made a fence of Planks measuring about 8' by 6 '---leaving space for a door!!Then we laid Planks across the top to lay the Roof---but there were gaps left---which we were sure would leak terribly in the Monsoons!!To counteract this we collected all the pruned Branches from all our Gardens---the Gardners employed by the Government did a thorough job while pruning---and laid these over the Planks----on top of this we shoveled Dirt from the Vegetable Garden till there was no sign of the pruned Branches visible on top!!All this hard work took place in the hot Summer--except for 3 hours breaks in the afternoons we spent all our time and energy building this "Club House" that Summer---words can't describe the satisfaction of successful Labour when we crawled in and sat crosslegged on the floor inside!!!This Club House was crude but sturdy and strong---it became our haven---away from the prying and censorious adult eyes----and stood proudly for the next four years---it was dismantled by the new Residents after Gouri and her Parents moved out from the Government accomodation into their own!!!
One of the things that I'm grateful for is the fact that I was lucky to have such a wonderful childhood----the innocence of being a child was enjoyed to the hilt by our generation---perhaps the last to do so!!In 1971 Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon---the World changed totally---slowly,steadily,irreversibly---t
he stars went out from the vision of children across the World!!For us simple pleasures gave lasting satisfaction---our needs were simple and our environment healthy----we grew up happy with Life as it was---we enjoyed wholesomeness of being real without artifice--- the Magic of Films---it was a Fairytale come true---marvelling at Tom and Jerry's Antics----watching Walt Disney's Films spell bound---holding our breath with our hearts in our mouths during the Chariot Race in Ben Hur----fear mixed excitement during those thrilling moments!!
In the evening of my Life today I feel I couldn't have been born at a better time--or in a better Era---and therefore I thank The Almighty for having given me a really wonderful and great Childhood!!!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
CALORIE COUNT PER SERVING
Total Fat=33.1 g, Saturated Fat=14.4g, Polyunsaturated Fat=4.4 g., Monounsaturated Fat=11.4 g., Cholestrol=147 mg., Sodium=245 mg. ,Carbs.=45 g., Protein =43 g.Potassium=1151 mg.,Dietary Fibre=4 g., Sugars=4 g.
INGREDIENTS OF CURRY
1250 gms.Cubed Goat Meat(Leg)
50 gms.Clarified Butter(Ghee)
300 gms.Shallots(Red Onions) thinly sliced lengthwise
Oil For deep Frying
300 gms. Potatoes parboiled in Salt Water and peeled
1 cup kneaded Whole Wheat Dough for sealing the Lid
2 tsps.Turmeric Powder
2 tbsps.Degi Mirch(MDH Brand)
2.5 tbsps.Coriander Cumin Powder
1.5 Packets Mutton Biryani Masala(Shaan Brand)
Salt to taste
100 gms. Raw Papaya(Shredded)
75 gms.Fresh Ginger Root
75 gms.Fresh Garlic Flakes
1 bunch Fresh Coriander (Cilantro) Leaves
1 bunch Fresh Mint Leaves
10-15 hot Green Chillies
750 gms.Aromatic Basmati Rice
1 litre Water
2 tbsps.Lemon Juice
0.5 cup Milk
1.5 tbsp.Carraway Seeds(Shahi Jeera/Kaalaa Jeera)
0.25 piece Nutmeg (Jaiphal)
3-4 blades of Mace (Jaipatri/Javitri)
4 Sticks of Cinnamon Bark--2" in length(Daalchini/Taj)
10 whole Cloves(Lavang/Laung)
10-12 Pods Green Cardamom
4-5 whole Star Anise
250 gms.Ripe Tomatoes,finely chopped
200gms.Cucumbers,peeled and finely chopped
200 gms.Shallots (Red Onions)finely chopped
10-15 hot Green Chillies finely chopped
1 bunch Fresh Coriander Leaves finely chopped
15-20 Sprigs of Mint Leaves finely chopped
Salt to taste
Trim the excess Fat from the Meat.Cut it in 1" cubes and wash clean.
Grind the Chutney Ingredients together to a fine paste.Blend this with all the Marinade Ingredients and apply to the Goat Meat Cubes.Allow to marinate for 3-5 hours preferably in the 'Fridge.
Slice Shallots thinly and deep fry hot Rice Bran Oil till brown and crisp.Drain on paper Towels to remove extra Oil.When cool,crush lightly.
Soak the Saffron Threads in Hot Milk.Keep ready till needed.
In a non-stick Wok place the marinated Meat and half the Marinade.Cook on medium flame,frying the Meat till the Juice dries up.The Yoghurt releases its Fat---so don't use any added Ghee or Oil.Keep adding the remaining Marinade till all of it is totally used up and the Meat is 75% cooked.Remove from flame and set aside.
Pick ,clean and wash Rice.Soak in 1 litre of Water for 30 minutes.Add Salt to taste.Tie all the Spices in a Muslin bundle(Bouquet Garni) and boil with the Rice till it is 75 % cooked.Add the Lemon Juice and allow one more boil.This separates the Grains and prevents them from sticking together.It also whitens them.Remove the Spice Bundle and drain in a Colander.Spread out in a large Plate to cool.Season with the Milk and Saffron Threads,sprinkling to mix it in evenly.
Parboil Potatoes in Salted Water and peel them. Drain and cool.Cut into halves.
Use 2 tsps.of Ghee to grease the bottom of a heavy bottomed Vessel with a tight fitting Lid.Place the parboiled Potatoes at the Bottom.Crush the fried crisp Shallots and divide these into 3 parts.Sprinkle one third of the crushed fried Shallots over it.Cover this with the broiled Meat.Sprinkle the second one third of the crushed fried Shallots over it.Spread out the Saffron seasoned Rice over it evenly.Top this with the remaining crushed one third of fried Shallots.With the handle of a ladle make 4 holes in all the layers.Pour in the melted Ghee evenly in these.Place the tight fitting lid on top and seal it with the Whole Wheat Dough. Bake this for 30 minutes in a 180 degree Celcius pre-heated Oven.Break open Seal,gently mix together and serve hot with chilled Vegetable Raita.
Blend the Yoghurt lightly to make a smooth mix.Add all the finely chopped Vegetables and Seasonings and mix well. Cover with a Foil wrap and chill till Biryani is ready.Serve as a Side Dish.Serves 12 Persons.
This is the way I make my Biryani---and it turns out just great!!! Try it.Substitute with any other Biryani Masala if Shaan Brand is not available.I make my own Masala and have listed it in my "KOMAL 53's Indian Spice Powders,Pickles and Chutneys Cook Book" the address of it is:http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/cookbook
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