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Showing posts from 2019

Fort 1: One day trek to Torna (Prachandagad)

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Maharashtra is known as the Land of Forts and rightly so. You find numerous and all kinds of forts here - be it a hill fort, sea fort, land fort or watch towers  - you find them all in this one state. 'Fort' in English translates to ' Durg' in Sanskrit, which is derived from the word 'Durgamam' which means difficult to access. The Sahyadris' terrain, characterised by flat tops, precipitous inclines and surrounded by dense forests, are certainly difficult to access and hence were naturally suited for building forts. Maharashtra has close to 350 forts nestled in the rugged Sahyadris. Almost every peak in this region of the Western ghats seems to have a fort! Many of these forts are still in good shape and almost all of them have a story to tell - A story of valour, sacrifice and undying love for one's motherland. These forts were the founding pillars of Shivaji's Hindavi Swaraj and are now a mute testimony to the glorious history of Marathas. The

Raw Papaya Subzi (Peeth Perun Papaya Bhaaji)

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Raw Papaya Subzi I cooked an amazing subzi which I had tasted almost a decade ago at one of our aunt's house in California. She had asked me to guess the vegetable and I couldn't - for I had never eaten it as a subzi before then. She had made RAW PAPAYA ki subzi in a Maharashtrian/Gujarati style. One of the prime reasons for making this subzi today is that I had a couple of raw papayas hanging in my garden that stubbornly refused to ripe. So brought one of them under my knife today ;) I tried to remember our aunt's recipe and tweaked the recipe a bit as well while cooking. Luckily, it has turned out quite nice. Lately, raw papaya has been in the news for all its nutritional benefits. But to be honest, I don't bother about the specifics. Just knowing that it is a healthy and a tasty vegetable prompted me to go ahead with the preparation. Here is the recipe: Ingredients: Raw Papaya - 250 gms,  Peeled and chopped into small pieces Besan -

Hua Hin - Amazing retreat near Bangkok

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Hua Hin: 'Hua Hin' - heard of this place before? Well, I had not. I thought we were going to Phuket this time as we had already covered Krabi and Chiang Mail  on our last trip here. But my husband pointed out that this is where we were headed to, to kickstart our vacation in Thailand. Hua Hin is a seaside resort town just 3 hours away from Bangkok and therefore a very popular weekend destination for the Bangkokians.  We spent 4 days in this idyllic town at Hyatt Regency Resort catching up on the lost art of relaxing :) An ideal break from the daily grind of our lives, especially, after kind of starting all over again, by moving to Pune. We had planned for a packed itinerary in Bangkok after Hua Hin and so this was our place to rejuvenate for the tight trip ahead. A bit about our Resort: The Hyatt Regency Resort is a perfect place for relaxation along the sea. Impeccably maintained, it has a positive vibe to it. Immaculate lawns, sculptured fountains,  a family pool

Upperi (raw banana chips)

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Made upperi today after a long long time. They are nothing but fried raw banana chips simply marinated with haldi, chilli powder and some salt. I added some rawa today to get that crispy texture.  Upperi was always prepared in our house on festive ocassions. I remember my avva (grandma) slicing the bananas and dipping them in turmeric water to prevent them from turning black. The thinner you slice the bananas, the crisper you get the upperis. There used to be a tussle between the family members as to who gets the crisper ones served on their plate. However, I always preferred the softer ones which are cut thick. No tantrums ;)  A simple, nutritious raw banana preparation associated with memories galore...do try making upperi at home. 

Do you know the magic ingredient to be added to Turmeric milk ?

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Down with cold, cough or a sore throat ??? Have a cup of warm turmeric milk and you will get going :) This is how an average Indian has been brought up since his or her childhood. Turmeric is an ancient Indian spice and Turmeric milk or haldi ka doodh has been a typical home remedy in almost all Indian households for generations now. Be it an infection, fever or a deep wound, this golden drink has been given to us by our grandmoms and moms for time immemorial as a medicine or as a supplement to the modern medicines and antibiotics....and I am sure, we would continue doing the same for our future generations as well. Turmeric or more importantly, its active component curcumin, has tremendous, clinically proven, medicinal benefits. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent with no side effects. If you wish to know its properties in more detail, then please visit this link:  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#s

Saaru (Rasam)

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This is a recipe straight from my grandmother's kitchen. We use this recipe to make 'tili saaru'. Tili means watery....water taken by settling the boiled toor dal. When the toor dal is cooked and mashed, add water to the bowl and let it rest. The water on the top is then used to make saaru and is very nutritious. Saaru is a good appetizer and can be had as a soup or as an accompaniment with rice. Saaru powder: 1.25 cup - coriander seeds 0.5 cup - Jeera 0.5 cup - Whole black peppercorns 2 tsp - Chana dal 1-1.5 cup - red chilli powder ( to be mixed at the end) Dry roast all the above ingredients and grind it to a fine powder. Add the chilli powder and mix it well. This powder stays good for many months and can be made in huge batches depending on your consumption. Tomato Saaru/Rasam: 2 cups - water/water from the dal 2 big ripe tomatoes - blanched, peeled and made into a paste 2-2.5 tbsp - Saaru powder Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp Salt - to tast

Ratalyache Kees

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I always try and buy sweet potato even though it is not a favorite in my house. Reason? Just because it is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals :)  Now, one lone, big tuber of sweet potato was lying on my shelf for more than a week now. As usual, I googled up recipes to make it an more interesting eat. The very first recipe  that popped up was that of ratalyache kees (a recipe using grated, boiled sweet potato). I remember my grandmother making it occasionally on her fasting days.  The recipe is very simple almost like that of sabudana khichdi and is a upvasachi recipe (fasting recipe). Fasts were definitely kept so that we could eat nutritious food time and again and also to break the monotony of our everyday meals. The recipe is a keeper for a quick-fix and can be made using our plain good, old potatoes as well! 1.5 cups grated, boiled sweet potato 1 or more chopped green chilly - as per taste 2 -3 tbsp ghee 1 tsp jeera 2-3 tbsp peanut powder

Bhaja Caves - Grandeur of the Past

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Bhaja - Facade It was a rainy Sunday of August in Pune and we were really tired of sitting indoors weekend after weekend.  On the spur of the moment, we decided to drive down to Bhaja Caves near Malavli, some 48 kms from our house . We were not sure of how the traffic along the Mumbai-Pune expressway would be, nor were we optimistic about the weather in Malavli. Still, we decided to step out and I am glad we did; for we thoroughly enjoyed our short outing in the rains amidst the breathtaking greenery and numerous rippling waterfalls all along our route. Tip: Onwards, we took the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway as the Google Maps guided us and while returning, we took the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Driving on the Expressway was a treat that Sunday with absolutely minimal traffic and gorgeous views all around us! In little more than an hour, we reached our destination some 2 kms from Malavli railway station. We paid an entry charge of Rs 5 per person to enter the premises. A small par

Mahabaleshwar - The Queen of Sahyadris

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Our journey onwards from Konkan... We continued our trip through Konkan to Mahabaleshwar. While the Konkan stretch of our journey was all about tranquil beaches, heritage sites and home-style food; Mahabaleshwar was all about the breathtaking landscapes in the Sahyadris. We reached Mahabaleshwar from Guhagar in under 4 hours . The road conditions were broadly good but a good part of the stretch was under construction for road widening. Nevertheless, once we hit the ghats, the Sahyadris mesmerized us with its sheer expanse and volcanic rocks. I was too excited to be back to the hillstation which I visited once with my parents as a kid. Reaching Mahabaleshwar, we checked into Le Meridian and put our feet up for the remainder of the day enjoying the amenities of the resort.The temperatures dropped drastically after sunset and made us pull out our jackets. The verdant chilly weather was a perfect ode to the festivities of the Christmas season. We wound up the day with a nic

Roadtrip to Konkan

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Our December vacation was a road trip from Bangalore to Maharashtra and back. Yes! we always wanted to do a road trip in our Bimmer.  This trip was not only about enjoying the car but the joy of exploring an unknown territory spread out all around us, prompted us to go ahead. Additionally, having our car handy all the time was a real boon in an area like Konkan. Who says it is always the destination which counts! Sometimes the journey too can be as interesting, if not more, as the destination :) This road trip was beckoning us to explore the ever changing landscape as we passed along the Karnataka-Maharashtra border. As we kept on driving, not only the topography and natural landscape changed but also we witnessed a perceptible change in the social and cultural landscape - the farmlands, the type of crops, the small villages along the way, the local dress of the village folks, the temple structure, the local houses  - everything kept changing as we cruised along. Not only that,