My First Act on World Stage Postponed. World Masters.

World Masters Games to be held in Kansai Japan in May 2021 is postponed by one year. I was to complete in a few swimming items in my age group.

Covid is the reason for the postponement.

Though my first opportunity to perform in a world stage is delayed, it may be a good thing as any practice in a swimming pool has been stopped for about 8 months now.

Moreover there’s more time to get some proper training for someone like me where the current strength is in extensive river swimming. I hope to improve by a few seconds with coaching under experts like the Thoppans.

Right now the objective is to survive the pandemic.

And then to some serious training for the games in 2022.

My First Act on World Stage Postponed. World Masters.

കിളിമീൻ (Pink Perch) Fry. Kerala Style.

The fish vendor delivered some pink perch which triggered nostalgia of childhood days of enjoying kilimeen fry, red hot from the tawa.

In my childhood days an Indo-Norwegian project brought fish from Kochi within three hours of trawler landing to home in interior Thidanad.

Sardines, Mackerel and Kilimeen were popular buys as we had to buy a fairly large number to feed in the house with 10 children. I mean, they were less expensive as compared to other fish.

Kilimeen fry, hot from tawa was the most delicious with rice for lunch.

So I took my wife’s permission to try and make the fry.

Essentials

• Kilimeen 4 large (one Kg)

•  Ginger/garlic paste-2tbsp

• Turmeric Powder- 2tsp

•  Pepper Powder- 1tbsp

•  Kashmiri Chilly Powder- 2 tbsp

• Lemon Juice- 1tbsp

• Salt- to taste

• Coconut oil – for shallow frying

• Curry leaves- A few springs

Wash the cleaned fish and make deep cuts on both sides with a knife.

Make a fine paste of the ingredients.

Apply it on the fish making sure that the mix goes evenly and into the cuts made on the fish.

Keep the marinated fish in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Pour coconut oil (must for the Kerala taste) sufficient for shallow frying onto the heated pan. Allow it to boil.

Place springs of curry leaves on the tawa and carefully place the marinated fish on top.

Cover the pan and allow to fry for about 5 minutes.

Turn carefully to the other side and fry again for five more minutes.

Kilimeen fry is ready to be eaten hot with rice.

It turned out well and tasty though some lack of fine skills made the presentation somewhat wanting.

കിളിമീൻ (Pink Perch) Fry. Kerala Style.

Bhapa Doi/ Steamed Yogurt Pudding

From the name it’s a Bengali delicacy and I got the recipe from ‘Yiutuber Zaikastreet’

A friend of mine suggested a name for my culinary interest as ‘alternate healthy gourmet cuisine’.

Interestingly the major change here is suggested by Zaikastreet itself when she told me to use jaggery instead of a rich original ingredient.

So there’s an option to make it my way or better the original way for which I am giving the link below with recommendation to like and subscribe to the YouTube channel.

I took half a litre of fresh yogurt. Ideally it should be hung yogurt where all the water have drained out. Just that I strained off the water.

Whip the yogurt with an egg beater. Add boiled and cooled milk and whip nicely. Add just enough milk and see that it’s not very watery.

Condensed milk is the ideal ingredient. But the healthy change suggestion is to use jaggery powder and I added it. Palm jaggery is the right choice.

Mix again with a tea spoon of cardamom powder. Add some crushed almonds, pistachio and kismiss. Mix well.

Since it’s not hung yogurt and the condensed milk was avoided, it may be watery. Add one and half teaspoon of agar agar so that it will be thickened.

Pour into a container which is greased inside so that the contents will come out easily. Cover well with tin foil and steam for about 25 minutes.

When cooled down to room temperature, cover with thin foil and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.

Transfer the contents upside down into a plate. The pudding is ready to enjoy.

See original recipe and subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Bhapa Doi/ Steamed Yogurt Pudding

Louki (Bottle Gourd) Ice Cream.

When mind has to sin, it will sin! There are certain things that will console one in such indulgences.

Before telling what it is, I am remembering the masterpiece of all such consolations when it was penned regarding the Movie Diva of yesteryears, Greta Garbo.

The conscious sinner said ‘if mind has to sin, it can at least console itself of the immaculate selection’.

All of us want to cut on sugar, but there’s real sweetness in sugar. So there’s sugar in icecream, but consolation is that it’s Louki icecream.

Grate skinned and seed removed bottle gourd. Boil half litre of milk. Add grated Louki into boiling milk and allow it to cook till the quantity becomes about half.

Add the sweet villain sugar to your taste along with a tsp of cardamom powder. Mix well. Add green food colour and cook for another 2 minutes.

Switch off and allow the mix to cool. Mix the cooled contents in a mixer. Pour into a container and add some crushed almonds. Mix well and keep in freezer.

One can dream of something sweet while enjoying the very tasty icecream. Remember, the consolation is that it’s the healthy Louki.

Louki (Bottle Gourd) Ice Cream.

Adigas Sambar. Felt Like a Michelin Star Chef!

I am not actually a Sambar person, but my wife Sunu loves it, particularly the Adigas Sambar that we get in Karnataka and enjoy at the Adiga outlets where food is eaten on counters or round raised tables. Of course, we stand while enjoying the food.

I used to walk in the mornings to one of the two outlets near our Bangalore home to buy idlies and dosas. And a container was taken to buy some extra of the fiery red hot Sambar.

All of a sudden, they stopped giving extra Sambar. That’s why I thought about making this essential delicacy for my wife.

First task was to get a recipe and I chanced upon one on the net, the right recipe from Asha Shivakumar a US based food specialist and founder of ‘Food Fashion Party’. Here it’s adopted from her’s.

And I made it! Sunu loved it, said its authentic. She also said that the Sambar issue is solved. And I know I will have to make it again and again. But it’s a small reward for all the wonderful cooking she has been doing for me.

We gave some to the neighbors. They too were gung-ho on it. They said it smelt Adiga too. That’s when I bend down to smell my product. And yes, I felt I was in one of the Adiga outlets. Actually I felt like a Michelin Star Chef.

Ingredients and Method (very slightly modified from original for sake of explanation as to how I made it)

Ingredients

• ½ cup toor daal, washed and soaked in water

• 5 small onion or sambhar onion or shallots.

• 1/2 tsp turmeric

• 1/2 tsp asafoetida

For Masala

• 2 tsp coriander seeds

• 1 tsp cumin seeds

• 10 guntur chillies or kashmiri chilies(if you don’t have this, just add more of the spicy red chilies)

• 5 spicy red chillies

• ⅓ cup fresh grated coconut

To fry

• 3 tbsp vegetable oil

• 1 tsp mustard seeds

• ½ tsp cumin seeds

• 15 curry leaves, pinched to release the flavor

• 1 onion finely chopped

• 3 juicy tomatoes, chopped

• 1 greeen bell pepper (optional, but it enhances the flavor)

• 1 drumstick ( optional) skinned and opened into 1 1/2 inches sticks.

• 1 tsp sambhar podi(any sambhar masala)

• 1-2 tsp salt or adjust accordingly

• 2 tbsp red chili powder(spicy kind, red kind)

• 1 tsp coriander powder

• 3 tbsp Tamarind Jaggery paste – (1/2 cup of tamarind juice Plus ¼ cup jaggery, boiled and reduced) or you can use 4 tbsp watery tamarind with 2 tbsp jaggery.

Instructions

Daal

In a pressure cooker or instant pot or slow cooker add the washed toor daal, small onion, half of turmeric, asafoetida with enough or little more water. Cook it for 3 whistles (I suggest 6 whistles) on low heat. Switch off and let cool. Once it is fully cooled, mash it very well and set aside.It has to be watery.

Masala

In a small saute pan, add the coriander seeds, half tsp of cumin seeds and toast for a minute. Then add both red chillies. Fry on very low heat. Once it’s toasted, which will take about 3 minutes, add it to a blender with the grated coconut. Add one cup of water and blend it till very very smooth. It has to be a very smooth paste. Set aside.

Tamarind Jaggery Paste

This might seem like an extra step, but I think it’s important.

Use ½ cup of tamarind juice, ¼ cup of jaggery 1 tbsp chili powder and salt. Mix it and simmer and cook it for 15 minutes. Let it get thick and syrupy. Use this for use in the sambhar. Use little or more.

Final step

1 Take a large pot. Add 3 tbsp oil. Let it get hot. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Let pop, add the curry leaves. Add the onion and saute with ¼ tsp salt until it gets soft. Then add the tomatoes along with the veggies(if you are adding), add ½ tsp salt, 1 tbsp chili powder, coriander powder, sambhar powder, turmeric and saute it very well on medium heat. Let the tomatoes soften very well and the veggies cook. This will take about 5-6 minutes.

2 Add the masala paste, the tamarind-jaggery mix, about 3-4 cups of water. Let it boil and cook again on medium heat for 5-10 minutes.

3 Pour the daal little at a time. Make sure not to add too much daal. Cut back on the daal if you find the sambhar getting too light. Check the flavor, if you want more sweet, add some more tamarind jaggery paste, if you want more daal, add all the daal liquid. At this point, check for salt. The sambhar consistency should be watery, not thick or very thin like rasam.

4 After you add everything, let it boil again for 2-3 minutes, turn off the heat, cover and serve with IDLI.

The ideal way to eat idly is to immerse it in Sambar and eat with two small spoons on either hands and standing.

(This picture is from Asha’s page)

I subscribed to Asha’s YouTube channel. I recommend subscribing to her channel. Here’s the link.

https://www.youtube.com/c/AshaShivakumar

She has a food blog too. Link is: https://www.foodfashionparty.com/

And there’s a cook book which I am planning to buy.

Adigas Sambar. Felt Like a Michelin Star Chef!

Covid, Kerala Retains Quarantine and Test Requirements for Entry.

Kerala started very well with virus control, but now leads the country in number of infections per thousand or million.

Indian Government has lifted controls on interstate movements of people and goods so that the virus pandemic will not create an economic pandemic simultaneously. It’s also a recognition of the right of citizens.

Perhaps, there’s also a recognition of the advantage of herd immunity.

We can understand that ‘herd immunity’ is not something that can be advertised as people may tend to relax precautions to acquire it. But it looks like a fact.

Keralites, with known enthusiasm on hygiene, self preservation (if not selfishness) are less likely to be willingly relaxing any virus precautions.

An educated guess could be that the infection chances are more in places like Covid testing centres.

Then if the health minister insists on pre tests for the virus before travelling to the state and then test again after a week’s quarantine, then the visitors are exposed to the risks of Covid testing centres twice.

This is in addition to the damage it can cause further to the state’s tourism industry. Remember tourism along with non resident remittances are (were) the silver linings in the state’s economy.

Panic warrants sensible actions.

Covid, Kerala Retains Quarantine and Test Requirements for Entry.

Dress Sense and Maid Pressure

A lockdown environment and a private terrace encouraged me to enjoy a dress sense without the need for much clothes. Underwear stayed mostly in wardrobe.

Adoption of Intermittent Fasting along with extended workouts using the mostly idle lockdown times, started showing on the body, resulting in narcissistic love for the bathroom mirror.

And all the clothes in store suddenly turned old fashioned or non essentials. Fasting and workout took some 5 inches off the waistline. Amazon deals made the delivery man ringing doorbell practically everyday with new, thinner, tighter, body clinging outerwear, with or without sleeves.

Laziness and lack of much outside exposure made clothes barely used and repeating the same dress for many days was the easier norm.

Till the new part time maid arrived. She comes with fashionable clothes and by the time she repeats a dress, I would have forgotten that she wore it before.

Some pressure indeed, and a maid induced dress sense, at least during the time of her visit.

Dress Sense and Maid Pressure

Kulfi Like Fig Icecream

I got some fresh figs (20 smaller sized) and an idea to make icecream with them came up. More so after the delicious seethaphalam (custard apple) Icecream from neighbor’s daughter.

Scooped the inside of the fruits and added some granola cereals for any crunchy bite that it can bring.

I am not following any recipe here and I can pick and choose what ingredients should go in. Perhaps for the first time I added white sugar. But instead of milk, I added thick coconut milk. And for a creamy mix, added a tablespoon and half of condensed milk.

I thought about some food colour, but decided against it as the fig provided a slight pink tint and kulfi look.

Mixed all the ingredients in a mixer. The contents came up very creamy, which is not bad. But I was thinking of kulfi.

Took a teaspoon and half of Agar Agar, added some water and boiled it. Mixed it well in creamy mix with an egg beater.

Poured the contents into a rectangular container and put it in the freezer, covered with thin foil.

The fig kulfi Icecream block looked attractive. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before enjoying some and sharing a good portion with the neighbors.

The photo is of what’s left behind.

Next time, I will be equipped with some kulfi essence.

Kulfi Like Fig Icecream

Intermittent Fasting, and still three meals a day!

Imagine having breakfast, lunch and dinner and still do intermittent fasting and gain the benefits. That should be acceptable to all.

16.8 is the normal so far, and one needs to skip a meal which is not okay to some, especially when it’s breakfast on the block.

It’s possible to win going slow and steady. Remember the tortoise who won the race against the hare. He has been winning ever since in every motivational story.

Consider this, have the breakfast at 9 am, lunch at 1 pm and dinner at 7pm. That looks normal, isn’t it? Just that, don’t have anything other than water from 7 pm to next day 9 am. Well there’s sleeping time of 7 to 8 hours in it.

14 fasting hours have at least 2 hours of burning of stored fat. Weight loss and the numerous other IF benefits follow.

What about autophagy, the dream benefit of IF! High intensity workout would induce that. But HIIT is not for all. Remember the tortoise is the hero and he needs to win.

I am on a 20.4 schedule and I used to workout real hard burning some 1400 calories in such moves. Lost 14 kgs and waist size shrank 4 to 5 inches.

Initially the energy was good. Then some anxiety with all the talk about losing skeletal muscles in longer fasts and strenuous workout. Oh no, and hence workout calories reduced to 800. Hopefully autophagy is happening.

I also started with 16.8 and two meals. But how about 14.10 and three meals! Now the question is why everyone is not doing it. Let’s do it, for the benefits are many.

Slow and steady, and win.

Intermittent Fasting, and still three meals a day!

No Cook Delicacies. Coffee and Granola Tart.

I found this easy and wonderful recipe on blog ‘Simple_YetDelicious’ on WordPress and I promised the blogger friend that I will try and make it and give the feedback.

I made it and It’s simply delicious!

The detailed recipe and how to make it are available in the link to the blog given below.

As usual, there is a modification that I made depending on the ingredients I have. Instead of almond milk, I used coconut milk. And I went a step further, I got the tart frozen than just chilled in refrigerator.

The presentation is not as good as it should be, but I think I know how to make it look better.

I didn’t have the tart mould or cupcake cups in Bangalore and I got Bulfyss Reusable Silicone 12 Pieces Round Moulds for Muffins/Cupcake/Jelly/Cake (Made in India) from Amazon.

Please note the made in India tag. It’s even microwave friendly.

Recipe is in the blog link here:

http://simpleyetdeliciousfoods.food.blog/2020/09/25/no-bake-coffee-and-granola-tart/

No Cook Delicacies. Coffee and Granola Tart.