29 September 2019

Red Rice Pongal

Day 1 of Navratri and it's time to bring out the creativity in Bhog. Red rice gets its hue from a compound called Anthocyanin. In its unhulled or semi-hulled forms, this rice is an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals and fibre. It has a low Glycemic index too.
For Pratham day, we made a Red Rice Pongal (It can be made risotto style too)
PS: Don't be stingy with ghee! :)


Red Rice - 1 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Water - 3 cups
Jaggery - 1.5 cups
Cashews, raisins - a few
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Ghee - 1/4 cup

1. Wash and pressure cook rice along with milk and water upto 6-7 whistles, so it's well done to a very soft consistency. Keep aside.

2. In a saucepan, add jaggery along with 2 tbsps water and stir on low heat till it dissolves. Filter the impurities first. Now transfer back to saucepan and stir on low till you you get a sticky consistency (no strings needed)

3. Mash the cooked rice and add the jaggery syrup to it. Stir on low -medium heat till it all comes together well.

4. Heat ghee in another wok, roast the dry nuts and keep aside.

5. Pour the heated ghee over the Pongal. Add cardamom powder and give a quick stir. Leave it covered for a while to allow flavours to soak in.

6. Serve hot garnished with ghee-roasted nuts.

27 September 2019

Intriguing Read - Heartquake

An IAS officer, a cardiologist and a police officer...corrupt politicians and a medical epidemic to boot. Sounds like right out of a Rohit Shetty movie doesn't it?
Heartquake is the new baby from the pen of author K.Vijaykarthikeyan after Once Upon An IAS Exam.

Story Summary: IAS Officer Vikram Kumar, or VK is an honest IAS officer, who seeks to expose the corrupt politician RPR, i.e, Rudra Pratap Rana. In a typical movie style twist, officer Kumar is transferred to Laxmipur as sub divisional magistrate, right in Rana's backyard.

Vikram Kumar commences his duty and RPR commences his vengeance. However life has other plans for Vikram, as a sudden epidemic grips the town. What initially seems like normal heart attack cases suddenly escalates into a series of mysterious deaths.
How Vikram with the help of cardiologist and a police officer and by risking his life, seeks to find a solution to this mystery forms the premise of the rest of the book.

The Indian diaspora, especially the movie buffs, are no strangers to a plot like this. Where the protagonist walks into the enemy territory with his head held high and looking to right the wrongs.

Doctor turned career bureaucrat himself, Dr. K. VijayKarthikeyan uses writing as a way to express himself. In his words, writing for him is way to vent and rejuvenate himself.
He also says that what he sees around him inspires him to write. "We are the world we choose to create".

When it comes to crime thrillers, it is important to create a strong imagery in the reader's mind and leave the rest to the reader's imagination. The author chooses a compact set of characters and I found all of them mostly relevant to the plot. Description of some scenes were a tad violent in parts, but not to the extent of leaving me disturbed.

What I especially like is that the author, just like in his previous book, Once Upon an IAS Exam, keeps the characters relatable. It is nice to see desi authors come into their own, especially as there is enough happening around us everyday to make for books on almost every field of life. Will definitely look forward to Vijayakarthikeyan next book.

12 September 2019

Pongal /Khichdi

(SALT) PONGAL (South Indian Style Khichdi)

Rice - 1 cup
Split green gram - 1/2 cup
Black peppercorns - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cashews - a few
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped
Salt to taste
Clarified butter (Ghee) - 2 tbsps
Curry leaves - a few

1. Heat a pan and dry roast the green gram for just a minute. Transfer to a clean dish. Wash along with rice and pressure cook with 4 cups water upto 4-5 whistles, reduce and cook for 5 mins more. Remove from flame.
2. Add salt and mash while still hot.
3. Coarsely grind the peppercorns and cumin seeds. They need to be just broken down, not powdered.
3. Heat ghee in a pan, add cashews and roast till golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
4. Add the curry leaves, ginger to the same ghee and saute for 1/2 a minute. Turn off flame and add broken peppercorns and cumin seeds. Give it a quick stir and add to the Pongal.
Serve hot.