Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Solar Eclipse - with myths surrounding it

A total solar eclipse is one of the most unnerving happenings in the world for all living things. We take for granted the rising and setting of the sun - just like the ever present gravity. Almost all living organisms depend on this solar pattern and respond to its rhythm in their own ways. In addition to its constant gravitational pull to which all life responds (as do the water bodies with tides) the more marked difference comes because of the sudden darkness during an Eclipse. It is coincidental that the sun though approximately 400 times larger in diameter than the moon, is also approximately 400 times farther from the earth - consequently it kind of appears to be the same size and almost perfectly gets covered by the moon's disc during a solar eclipse.

For such a once in a lifetime event, it is quite unsettling and birds have been known to drop from the sky while animals on land suddenly decide to call it a day thinking the day is over. Also a lot of myths (we call them so because our present day science cannot explain them) have perpetuated around this event.

Of particular interest to me is why a lot of ancient cultures decided to not eat or even step outside during the time the sun was covered even partially. Also perplexing is the custom of shielding the pregnant women, to the extent of sending them inside caves during the days when people lived in thatched huts. 

I would love to know more about the Indian tradition of placing Dharba grass leaves (aka DOOB) on pickles and preserves so that they do not go bad. There has been some research but it does not seem conclusive enough to me.

Hoping to be able to drive down south to watch this solar eclipse on August 21st.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Dedicated to Red Chili Pepper Flakes

Didn't feel like eating Indian food - yup, I do have those days 🌝🌝, so scrounged around the pantry and fridge and this is what I could come up with.

Salad - Beets, Sunflower seeds, Feta and a finger-licking good dressing with Balsamic, EVOO, Honey, Red Chili Pepper Flakes, Himalayan salt, Lemon juice and Cracked peppercorns.

Appetizer - Sardines in olive oil, Seaweed wraps, 21 Grain wholewheat bread, Cherry tomatoes (thank you Srishti), Red onion slivers, Organic egg 🙄🙄, Salt and yes, Red Chili Pepper Flakes

Pasta - Wholewheat Penne, Roasted tarragon chicken, Red Onions, Sea salt, Spinach, Olive oil, (shhhh..... a little butter too) and yes, you guessed it Red. Chili. Pepper. Flakes.The Olives and Cherry Tomatoes just tossed in butter and drizzled with White Truffle oil

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

WASHINGTONIAN 100 BEST restaurants 2016

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Valor Beans

Valor beans also called VAL PHALI, cooked with the Bengali five-spice mix comprising of cumin, fennel, fenugreek,mustard and nigella seeds.

Valor beans also called VAL PHALI, cooked with the Bengali five-spice mix comprising of cumin, fennel, fenugreek,mustard and nigella seeds.

Swiss Chard

 Swiss Chard sauteed with Hing and Whole red chillies

Moong Chilka

Split Moong lentils tempered with Hing (asafoetida), crushed Cloves and whole Red Chillies in Ghee (clarified butter).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BUNNY CHOW - another name for Curry

During the Great Depression in 1933 Indians, Whites and Chinese in Durban, South Africa, suffered hunger like everyone else. The kids then discovered that the cheapest curry they could buy (for a quarter penny or half a penny) was made by a vegetarian Indian caste known in Durban slang as the Bania. It was made from dried sugarbeans (no meat). The children didn't have plates, and one kid got the bright idea to hollow out a quarter bread, asked the seller to put the bean curry in the hollowed-out bread, and then used the broken bread he's taken out as a sort of eating utensil. Chinese food was called "chow". Somehow the two words came together: Bania Chow. In time it simply became known as Bunny Chow. Bunny Chow was what the Indian sugar plantation workers took as their day's food to the lands: curry in hollowed-out bread halves. Cheap and practical ... Today it does not matter what your skin colour or station in life is: Durbanites and people from the Kwa-Zulu-Natal province love their BUNNY CHOW ...

Courtesy research by my friend a Great Chef & Restaurateur Balraj Bhasin

Best Bargain of 2012 by WASHINGONIAN

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Shaam-e-Mehfil" - a musical evening

An evening full of fun starting with dinner from 5:30pm - 7:30pm, followed by live performance from Ayesha and Shafiq Rahman. They will be accompanied by Tabla, Dholak and Keyboard players.
Their collection includes old and new Bollywood songs, ghazals (Urdu poetry) & qawalis (devotional songs).
Seats are limited, please Call the restaurant at 301 610 0303 to make your reservation.
For details check the website at:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spice Facts

Spices have been used in India for thousands of years not only for enhancing the taste of dishes but for their therapeutic value and also to counteract the negative residual physiological effects of foods on the human body.

: Fruit of Garcinia Indica tree used mainly in the hot Southern states for its cooling properties & for alleviating skin allergies.

: Carom seeds or Bishop’s weed seeds are used for their volatile Thymol oils to aid in digestion & are used with starchy vegetables and lentils.

: Are used both ways either fresh or dry. Usage is more common in the hot climes to increase perspiration and thereby cool the body. They also have a medicinal value for easing joint inflammation and respiratory disorders.

: Nutmeg used sparingly is supposed to cure insomnia and is frequently mixed with warm milk and taken before sleeping. The covering of nutmeg (calyx) is Mace and is considered to ease rheumatism.

FENUGREEK: The leaves, the shoots and the seeds of this plant are used. Ground seeds with water are supposed to cure diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension. It is also given to lactating women for increased milk production.
It is used as a natural testosterone/muscle booster.

TURMERIC: This rhizome of the Curcuma Longa has a multitude of uses in addition to imparting the characteristic yellow in the “CURRY”. It has an excellent antiseptic and anti bacterial effect, often used to treat common cold, cuts and bruises. As a cosmetic it is applied directly on the skin and it reduces acne too. Its latest use is in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

: This resin of a plant has a pungent sulfurous odor and is mainly used as a digestive. Also provides relief in asthma and bronchitis.

: Quite truly the King of spices at a whopping $11,000/lb for the best grade. It has the most volatile oils of any spice. Used very sparingly, it is supposed to have anticarcinogenic and antioxidant effects; although historically in India it has primarily been used as an aphrodisiac.