Moong & Kairi #Chutney, #Pacchadi

Moong_Kairi_Chutney

A humble, easy to make chutney which goes well with chapatis, white steamed rice & rasam, and even as a bread-spread!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup – Raw Mango diced
  2. 1½ cup – Moong Dal soaked
  3. 5pcs – Green Chilies
  4. 4pcs – Dried Red Chilies
  5. ½ Tbsp. – Mustard seeds
  6. ½ Tbsp. – Cumin seeds
  7. ½ Tbsp. – Urad dal seeds
  8. 8-10 – Curry leaves
  9. 2-3 pinches of Heeng (asafetida) powder
  10. 1½ Tbsp. – Vegetable oil
  11. Salt to taste

Method:
Coarsely grind the first 3 ingredients and salt. Transfer the paste into a serving bowl.
Heat oil in a small wok and add Mustard seeds and let them splutter. Now add Cumin seeds, Urad dal, Dried Red chilies and curry leaves. Roast a bit and add Heeng (asafetida) powder. Turn off the stove. Add this to the ground mixture in the bowl. Mix gently.
The Chutney is ready to serve.


#Achaar, #Avakai

Avakai_1

Ingredients (pic1):

  1. 1 Kilo Raw Mango cut into cubes along with the seed wood
  2. 1 cup Mustard Seed powder (coarsely ground)
  3. 1 cup Red Chili powder
  4. ¾ cup Salt (to taste)
  5. 1 tbsp. Turmeric powder
  6. ½ tbsp. Fenugreek (Methi) seeds
  7. 1 liter Groundnut/Sesame oil

Method:

Preprocess (pic1): All ingredients must be moisture free and as dry as possible. First coarsely grind the mustard seeds and de-husk them of the black skin a little. You can leave some black skin on too to enhance the taste. Prepare the storage jar (preferable china or glass) by sun drying it and keeping it absolutely free of moisture.

Preparation – Part 1 (pic2): Day 1 – Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly in a big bowl. Now slowly add half cup of oil while mixing the mixture so that the mixture becomes moist with oil. Now add the raw mango pieces and ensure that each piece is thoroughly coated with this semi-oiled mixture.

Storage (pic3): Layer the bottom of the storage jar with a 1cm layer of the masala mix. Now put the mango pieces coated with masala inside the jar and pack them tightly together. With every batch you add to the jar press them all tightly together. Once all the mango pieces are in the jar, layer the top with the remainder of the mixture and spread it evenly. Close the jar air tight and store it in a cool but dry place. Now this jar has to be opened on the third day only.

Preparation – Part 2 (pic4): Day 3 – By the third day from preparing the Achaar, the raw mango juices must have seeped in with the masala and a nice juicy mixture can be seen in the jar. Open the jar mix the content uniformly with a long handled ladle. Once the mixture is homogeneously mixed, add oil half cup at a time, while constantly mixing the contents. The intention is that no part of the mixture remains dry. One the mixture is well mixed, press it down tightly in the jar and add oil on the top so that you have at least 1 cm of oil above the mixture to seal it to external air. Close the lid tight.

Avakai is ready to use! Savor it with parathas or plain rice, or any way u like it.

#Achaar, #Avakai


I Adore THEE

It suffices to say that it makes my day just to have a glimpse…

…a glimpse of those two eyes that have always mesmerised me. The smile on the face sometimes naughty, sometimes knowing, sometimes waiting to explode with joy, sometimes just assuring… Just a look into those beautiful eyes assures me that all shall be well, it tells me that I am cared for and loved.

Ever imagined an obese body, with an elephant head on it? Doesn’t form a pretty picture, does it? Yet every single form that this combination is depicted in brings forth a smile when the form is of our favourite Bappa. Yes, Ganesha depicted in any form, from abstract or ornate is just so adorable and cute.

The form of Ganesha has a meaning; everything associated with HIM has a meaning. Let us see what HE says to us just with his form alone. An Elephant head (Gajanana) denotes great knowledge, elephantine ears (ShoorpaKarna) denote the ability to “Listen”, and small eyes (PinjarNayan) denote farsightedness and attention to detail. The curved trunk (VakraTunda) represents the ability to stretch and go beyond one’s ability to deliver. Large tummy (Lambodar) indicates the ability to assimilate and process information from all sources. Four hands (Chaturbhuja) denote the ability to multitask with efficiency. One Tusk (EkDanta) denotes the singularity of purpose. The mouse at HIS feet indicates the ability to keep ones vices under control at all times and not to let them overpower us.

He is seen holding a Goad (Ankush), a Noose (Paasha), a battle axe (Parashu), a lotus flower (Padma), and HIS most favourite Sweetmeat the ‘Modak’. What do these tell us?

The Goad, as it helps push a beast ahead, tells us to always keep on going no matter what circumstances we are in. The Noose tells us to check our actions lest we do things we may have to regret later. The Battle-axe tells us to be sharp and ever ready for anything we face in life. The Lotus flower tells us to rise above the everyday muck we see all around us and be a better person. The ‘Abhaya Mudra’ right palm held upright assures to be fearless as HE is with us, always. Last but not the least the Modak tells us to always be blissful not only for oneself but also for others.

There are many meanings that can be associated with HIS form and being, the above mentioned ones are but a few which we can derive and apply to our daily lives and become better individuals. The eleven day festival of Ganesha is round the corner, the next time you see HIM think of these virtues which have been so intrinsically associated with HIS form and let us promise ourselves to adopt them for our own benefit.

IMG_6510

 


Q – How is a Hindu going to know about his religion, Ritual, and its importance?

A –

A very valid and important point raised. Thanks.

I agree with you that Hinduism as it should be taught is not being done. The fault as I see it lies in the system that we as citizens have adopted to educate our children, and the misuse of freedom given to individuals as members of the Hindu society. To elaborate on these points I feel that the basic education system in itself is so taxing that a student even if he wants to cannot devote much time towards religious studies and also that these studies do not form a part of the curriculum under the pretext of India being a “secular state”. What I don’t understand is why does so called secularism mean to shun and avoid religions instead of supporting and respecting all in equal stead. Wont it help our young generation to understand better their own faith and others if introductory classes were given in schools itself, thereby promoting not only their knowledge in their religion but also in other religions too? Not to mention that it shall increase the levels of tolerance, respect, and understandings of other religions too. In Hinduism every ritual has a meaning both deeply spiritual as well as practical, how is one supposed to know if such rituals are just passed on as acts to be done instead of knowing the exact meaning behind them, from one generation to another.

To cite an example, we in our family have Ganapati Pooja tradition, which all follow, but now a days it is just confined to bringing in the idol, decorating the place, and having a huge platter for naivedyam! I mean out of 7 families only one follows the entire pooja routine to the book with complete understanding!

That apart, discourses are viewed and perceived as for the old and people who don’t have any work. The perception of religion is relegated to be of use only in the vanaprasthashram or what??

Also when you say that Sanskrit text be made more simple and in language more common, I shall beg to disagree for the reason that the Sanskrit text for mantras and pooja have great meaning and potential. Our mantras are not only textual but have deep phonetic, audio-wave impact. Hence I am of the view that they should not be meddled with and preserved in the purest form that is in Sanskrit only. I say this because Sanskrit is a very evolved language, a language in which with subtle changes in intonations of the same words different meanings are derived, not to mention that it is a language which has grown itself over the barriers of punctuation!

In schools especially in the northern states Sanskrit is an optional subject which is mostly opted out in favour of some foreign language or a regional one citing its irrelevance of use. Isn’t it here that it can be used, to get closer to one’s religion?

Literature though widely available and now a days predominantly in Hindi is still not used because people take almost an hour to read a single line in Hindi! This amazes me beyond words. I am surprised when i see my fellow colleagues frown to see me reading Hindi novels and Sanskrit books, I mean how difficult is it to learn to read a language which you use 80% of the time to interact n talk in?

The attitude is wrong. Coming to my second point of misuse of freedom, I’d say that we Hindus have been given a freedom to chose to worship the way we want, and we have conveniently chosen to be lazy and not to do what we are supposed to do. That is we can donate a huge amount one day or be hungry one day and light lamps n use flowers n colours and conveniently call ourselves Hindus, where we don’t even know who the father of Ayaapan is or who is the husband of Riddhi & Siddhi!

It is said that “Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha” the one who follows dharma is taken care of by dharma itself. I don’t know how many of us have even heard of it.

As far as Idol worship goes, it too had deep meaning and relevance in the Hindu way of life and should not be discarded just because some say so. Hinduism is probably the only religion which takes two or more opposing views and yet can keep them together in view of the greater goal for the benefit of humanity and its freedom to express freewill and choose a path to attain God.

All in all I’d say just take out sometime and know your religion of which you are so proud of am sure. Just sit with it for a while and see for yourself how much more it has to offer than the bit you choose to take from it. I assure you that you’ll discover a wealth unparalleled and happiness like never before.

Sarvejanaha Sukhino Bhavantu.


Q – Shiva is shava without shakti … What is the esoteric meaning?

A –

“Shakti ke bina Shiva Shava hai”

This sentence not only has deep meanings hidden in it but also echoes the importance of Shakti (the feminine).

Shiva, without Shakti, as material manifestations is equivalent to things which are “jada”. It is only after Shakti pervades in is when “Jada” becomes “Chaitanya” and worthwhile. The panchamahabhootas with which the entire creation is said to be made of has no meaning if these panchamahabhootas dont have their inherent energies. These, with the material they constitue and the energies they carry together, are useful and result in “shristi”.
Hence as a bulb without electricity, a flower without its fragrance, a body without the soul have no meaning, so does Shiva have no meaning without its feminine half Shakti. they both compliment to make Shiva, Shiva, and Shakti, Shakti.

This philosophy gives equal importance to the feminine so much so that it makes it important for the existance of the other.

A karta without a karaka is meaningless as the karak defines karta, and karta is essential to the karaka to be a karaka.

A meaning of the eternal bond of love is also enunciated by this sentence. A “Purush” without “paurush” is of no use, and this “paurush” comes to him with the advent of “prakriti” in his life. Thus this sentence helps to understand the importance of “prakriti” for a “purush” and hence their eternal bond.


Q – Does God have a romantic soul? Is being romantic bad?

A –

Definitely God is a Romantic.

See around, just see around for once and Gods deeds of romance are everywhere…
in the colours, the flowers, the fragrance, the twilight, the dusk, the natural beauty…

…all, everywhere….

and when God splashes the rainbow, ain’t the weather romantic?

OH my!
God is a perfect Romantic!

And being Romantic is not bad. Doing selfless acts of appreciation to make someone feel special and also to tell them that you care… how can it be bad?

No being romantic is NOT bad.


Enlighten!

As I type
every syllable
reveals…
things which are
newer still
the tips of my fingers
touch and glow
and newer meanings
unfold…
every moment
every breathe
every “sip”
I know…
reveals
and rejuvenates
lightens my being
enlightens my soul
now here
when you read this
then too…
to be open
to receive
and perceive
is the way to lighten
enlighten
and fly
for an eternity…