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The problem of being a Good Housewife!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I just finished pickling and preserving certain Condiments for the year ahead---converted 3 kgs. of Raw Green Mangos into sweet "Moraambaa" with Saffron Threads and Cardamom Seeds,2.5 Kgs. of Mangoes into "Gulaambaa" or a spicy and sweet Pickle cooked with Jaggery and Red Chilli Powder as well as 2.5 kgs. of hot and spicy Raw Mango Pickle---drowning in hot thick Juice made by a combination of Spices,Mustard Oil and the liquid exuded by the raw Green Mangoes---a mouthwatering combination--specially when teamed with "Dal & Steamed Rice"!!Raw,Green Mangoes are on the way out in Mumbai as the Season draws to it's end.The relief at having finished an important activity on time and the satisfaction of a job well done soon evaporated!!Reason??Sudhir!!
The prepared Pickles and Preserves were lined up on my Kitchen Counter---in clear Glass Jars.I was just finishing wiping these Jars with a damp cloth to remove the spills that had occured while filling them when he walked in."Oh my God!!" he exclaimed"Don't you think that's too much for just the two of us???You're impossibly incorrigible---always make too much!!!" and shaking his head ruefully at my mismanagement he left the Kitchen!!This was on Friday night.
All through the Weekend and Monday I waited for him to ask me for some of the Stuff to carry to Court for his Friends---but when the 3 days passed uneventfully I heaved a sigh of relief---but just a tad bit too soon!!
Last night he very sweetly asked me if he could carry some of the Sweet Mango Preserves(Moraambaa) for his Friends to sample----and I didn't have the heart to say "No"!!Now my "Moraambaa" Jar is depleted by 250 gms. and I'm sulking 'coz what remains will last for a bare 3 months if he eats it alone---and trust me I'm not joking!! However if as usual he starts handing it out----not even a month !!!The Punchline??It seems I'm such an awesome Cook that people just can't get enough of the Food I cook!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAIN454 6/29/2011 2:41PM

    I've been reading your recipes/blogs for months and months now...and you are DEFINITELY a great cook! Sudhir (and friends) are so lucky to have you in their lives! Can you come to Texas soon, please?!! hehe.
Quick Tip - next time, make even more and HIDE a few jars!!
Btw, my mouth has been watering since the first line!

Comment edited on: 6/29/2011 2:41:59 PM

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XXMILAXX 6/29/2011 4:56AM

    You know him too well, and vice versa..so it all works out. Some husbands have it soo good they just have to find a reason to complain.Your mangoes sound really yummy!


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PRACHI17 6/28/2011 1:25PM

    emoticon

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SAASHA17 6/28/2011 1:15PM

    let me email u my address:P or better send u a box for reverse postage...hehehhe..

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BOVEY63 6/28/2011 12:50PM

    I'd take some too - sounds so good!
emoticon

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ATMANI 6/28/2011 12:01PM

    Hope you can share these recipes...

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*MADHU* 6/28/2011 11:24AM

    I'd love some too emoticon

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LCULL56 6/28/2011 11:24AM

    Wow, sounds like you did an amazing job!!!! Maybe next year you should invest in a locked cabinet for your creations so they won't all be given away emoticon


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EACHDAYAGIFT 6/28/2011 8:39AM

    Okay, Sudhir... make up your mind, already! Is it truly too much, or is it not enough? Please don't tear your lovely hair out, Komal. Think about his good qualities until he regains his sanity. That's what I try to do. Oh, and mocking his insanity is also therapeutic! After nearly 35 years together, Lloyd and I know every nuance of each other's craziness all too well, and neither can claim superiority in the sanity department. Maybe we can share a padded room.
emoticon emoticon

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EOWYN2424 6/28/2011 5:47AM

    Wow! I'd love some too! ;)

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Still Coveted--Ancient Weaves--4

Monday, June 27, 2011




The Silk "Bomkai" from Orissa--sheer Poetry in Silk---softly wraps around you with a very smooth and silky feel!!


The Banarsi Silk Jaamdaani---the stuff Dreams are made of!!




This beautiful Silk Gadhwal is another Legendary Sari--made with Pure Gold Thread or Zari---it comes in beautiful double shades and colours--strikingly Vibrant!!The body is woven in fine Cotton as well it is however always bordered with a border woven with Pure Silk and Gold Thread with beautiful Gold Motifs on the Pure Silk Pallu!!



Dark,soft and supple this "Ilkal/Irkal" from Karnataka comes in Jewel Colours and vibrant shades.Adorned with the Karnataki "Kashida" or "kasuti" as this embroidery is called it becomes a magical Sari to drape around you!!


The "Chanderi" Sari from the State of Madhya Pradesh is a Gossamer Fabric--woven so fine so as to envelope one in the feeling of wearing Air!!Teamed with Gold Zari and both Pastel and Dark shades these Saries have beautifully worked woven Borders and an even sprinkling of various types of Motifs or "Butties".

This is Chanderi Tissue woven with Gold mixed with Silk thread all over to give a shimmery sheen to body of the Fabric.

The famous Texture of this Sari is bordered with Gold.


This is the "Maheshwari" from the State of Madhya Pradesh---revived by the Royal family of Indore---the Holkars literally resurrected a dying Art and brought back into the mainstream of Fashion.

Maheshwari Tissue--shimmering with the sheen of Silk and Gold!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAIN454 6/27/2011 7:37PM

    the Banarsi Silk Jaamdaani is gorgeous....
I wish I had taken you sari shopping with me...i always wondered what store keepers meant when they asked "what kind of sari are u looking for?"...lol...with a million options, I had no idea where to start. Now I know there's a method behind the madness...

:) Thanks for sharing

Comment edited on: 6/27/2011 7:40:20 PM

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BOVEY63 6/27/2011 1:00PM

    So beautiful!

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SAASHA17 6/27/2011 12:51PM

    I love Gadhwal sarees:)

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CHLOEGRACE1 6/27/2011 12:33PM

    The colors are beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. I cannot imagine the time it took to weave these fabrics before technology. emoticon

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Reassuring---Connecting with the Past!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Certain mundane things can trigger off Memories---and act as a connection with the Past.For me it is the month of June when I connect with my Past---when I preserve Raw Green Mangoes for the year ahead!!This is the most Nostalgic period of the year for me---a tribute to my both my Grandmas!!I feel a part of the ancestral chain each time I perform this task---it's my salute to my female Ancestors!!I follow the Time honoured methods to create these as lovingly as they did--for Love adds the greatest Spice to any Food you cook or make!!
Mummy too made her own Pickles---but this activity would take place in the Winter.This was because she made the North Indian style of Pickles---Spicy Vegetable Pickles with Cauliflowers,Turnips and Carrots,Stuffed Red Chillie Pickles and stuffed whole Lemon Pickle---with the "Kaagazi" or Thin skinned Lemons available in plenty during the Winter.All these Pickles would be cured in the Sun for 10-15 days and would last for the entire year ahead.There would also be a special Lemon Pickle cooked entirely in the Sun---pieces of Lemon would be smeared with Rock Salt,Red Chillie and Cumin Powders and left covered overnight.Sugar would be added to it the next day and a cloth would be tied over the open mouth of the Ceramic Jar or "Barni" as we call it.This would sit in the Sun--religious stirred before and after it's Sun bath every day!!This was exclusively used on the days Fasts were observed--or during a bout of Fever and it's recovery--for Lemon pickled this way has great medicinal properties!!Another Lemon Pickle we loved was made with whole Lemons and Salt----in the Bihari Style!!There were also the Sweet Preserves of "Moraavala" made with tart Indian Gooseberries called "Aamlaa/Aavalaa"in Sugar Syrup as well as Carrot "Murabba"---cooking tiny sweet Red Carrots in Sugar Syrup--both these Sweet items flavoured with Saffron Threads and Cardamom Seeds---makes my mouth water just to remember it!!
In the Summer she'd pickle the tiny Green Mangoes that would fall off the Mango Trees---shaken off by the strong gusts of Wind during the pre-Monsoon Showers.We had 30 Mango Trees in our Garden and she would pickle these whole!!This spicy Pickle was called "Bee-Aambli" Pickle and Salt was the main preservative here though Sesame Oil too was used liberally.As Summer progressed she'd make the North Indian spicy Mango Pickle in Mustard Oil---something I miss as I grow older--for a similar tasting Pickle is hard to find!!Besides there would be the usual Summer Parcel from Poona---sent by my Aaji---choc-a-bloc with home made Pickles,Mango "Moraamba",Mangosteen or "Kokam" Sherbet Concentrate, Dried "Kokam" skins,Split Pigeon Peas,Dried Field Beans, Dried Fish---a true Treasure Chest for us to dig into!!
After my marriage I shifted to Bombay and I learnt the authentic way of making the Spice Powder for various Pickles from both my maternal Grandma Aaji and parternal Grandma Akka----not just that,both of them taught me the Art of Cooking and by following their instructions to a "Tee" today I enjoy the reputation of being a good Cook.I spent most of the last week following their instructions and pickling and preserving 8 kgs. of Raw Green Mangoes--slaving away in the Kitchen over a hot stove.The best compliment I got for it?This morning my grandsons Aseem and Saumil(Shilpa's sons)paid us a visit.Seeing the Jars of Mango Pickle in the Kitchen they unscrewed the lid and inhaled the aroma deeply."Ma, just see!!Komal Aaji has made lots of Mango Pickle for us to carry back home to Singapore---how GREAT is that???!!"

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAASHA17 6/27/2011 12:53PM

    Yum!! I can smell and taste the pickles:)

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*MADHU* 6/27/2011 10:45AM

    I agree with NICE125 :)

Please save and share the links for these pickles emoticon

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NICE125 6/27/2011 10:27AM

  Komalji, aachaar to humne bhi bahUt khaya hai, par description aapki best hai!!!LOL!

Comment edited on: 6/27/2011 10:28:15 AM

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Still Coveted--Ancient Weaves--3

Sunday, June 26, 2011


This is my "Mekhala" Sari from the State of Assam also famous for it's Music,the 2 horned Rhino and the River Brahmaputra or "Lohit" as the locals call it.The eastern State of Assam is famous for it's Silk--- specially the regal "Pat" Silk in Cream or White and the beautiful Gold coloured "Mugaa" Silk.Both are used to make the "Mekhala" and "Chaddar"---the traditional wear of Assamese women.The Mekhala is a Sarong style base tied around the waist while a Blouse covers the upper body.The "Chaddar" is draped over the Blouse and this set of 3 pieces is woven at home by the women of Assam.Each Bride weaves her own "Mekhala Chaddar" and thus creates a unique pattern woven with her dreams and aspirations!!These are difficult to get hold of but I have been lucky enough to buy a "Mekhala" Sari which is a single piece 6 yards long in the traditional Creamy White "Pat" Silk with Red and Gold Mugaa Silk Motifs!!



From Assam we come to the eastern State of West Bengal---and my favourite!!!I own so many of these exclusive Saries--my "Dhakai Jaamdaanis" and "Balucharies"are the talk of my circle of Friends!!Besides these there are beautiful "Kanthas","Tangails","Dhaniakhalis" ,"Tussars"and "Tants" and best of all most are in very fine spun Cotton Thread!!!Very regal and sophisticated---as well as Comfort personified!!
My"Jaamdaanis" and "Dhakai Jaamdaanis" are pictured below.I love the all over weaving of the pattern on White,Cream or different coloured backgrounds.
Each of these is a work of precision as the patterns of Birds and Flowers are retained in the mind--not on Paper---andthese are woven so beautifully that often the right and the wrong side of the fabric is almost impossible to discern!!







The "Baluchari" tells a Story with Legendary Figures woven in various Colours on it.The "Pallu" is very long--starting from the waist up and thickly woven with myrthical Motifs---an extremely Artistic piece to own!! Originally from Bishnupur,it is now manufactured in many other places too---though Bishnupur still retains it's supremacy!!


The Motifs are beautifully woven by hand and are perfect in every detail.


This Sayali's Wedding Sari--from Bishnupur!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

*MADHU* 6/27/2011 10:48AM

    I am learning so much from these posts .... emoticonfor sharing the wealth of your knowledge!

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Still Coveted--Ancient Weaves Photos--2

Friday, June 24, 2011

I just adore the "Ikat" way of weaving and own many of these.These Saries are woven from Pure Silk thread dyed in 5,7 or 9 shades---the patterns emerge from the way the Yarn is dyed.There are beautiful double and single Ikat styles---Saries from Patan in the State of Gujerat in Western India are called "Paatola" and are a must in every Bride's Trousseau!!Similarly the eastern State of Orissa too has it's own way of weaving Ikat which is very distinctive from the Patola--the South Eastern State of Andhra Pradesh produces a very bold Ikat in Pochampalli--a town that has lent it's name to Ikat--these are called "Pochampallis"!!



This is "Ikat" from the eastern State of Orissa---one of the most expensive Silk Saries of India.These are of medium weight and make with exclusively woven Borders----giving a very different look to the Sari.





This is the fabulous Gujarati "Patola"---beautifully woven and a must in every Gujarati Bride's Trousseau.These too are very fine Silk and of medium weight---besides being expensive and exclusive!!




This is the extremely vibrant "Pochampalli" Ikat!!!Colourful and bright it is woven in various Geometrical and Animal Motifs reflecting the "Joie de Vivre" of the People.The "Double Woven" Pochampalli at the top belongs to me---a gift from Sudhir for one of my Birthdays!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 6/24/2011 4:47PM

    The colors and patterns are beautiful!

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*MADHU* 6/24/2011 1:32PM

    I am learning these for the first time emoticonfor sharing your knowledge.

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SAASHA17 6/24/2011 11:54AM

    I love pochampalli sarees....I remember I had a dress made from one of mom's old sarees...i cherish those dresses..right now they are all wrapped in muslin with some cloves and peppers from my grandpa's pepper gardens...so works as storing his memory and saving the old sarees:)
Thanks for the pictures...

Manasa

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MADYANKEE 6/24/2011 2:42AM

    Oh they are beautiful, I never knew there was so many types with such a rich history. Thank you, I love learning new things and such beuty too.

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