Butternut Squash curry Indian Style, Little oil

IMG_20150910_154852 IMG_20150910_154900 IMG_20150910_154920 IMG_20150910_155059 IMG_20150910_155104 IMG_20150910_155254 IMG_20150910_155307 IMG_20150910_155856

I had a small Butternut squash and I thought about cooking it. We in India generally use pumpkin for preparing curry, well, same family, so why not. And when Halloween is so near.

In Dehradun city, North India, in 1987, we used to eat at some restaurants who prepared a delectable dish with pumpkin a little sweet and sour, and a bit mushy, I tried to recreate my fantasy.

So peeled and cored the squash, as you see and cut in small pieces. I took two tomatoes and peeled them (tomato skin left in curry is loosely hanging around and shreds are conspicuous by their presence). Tomatoes should be felt, no seen. I cut the tomatoes in small pieces, and kept an inch of ginger whole ungrated (my grandkids do not like ginger shreds on their palate but fragrance of ginger ok. I wanted to add some Cayenne Pepper, but avoided again because young children were involved. In go two cloves of garlic beaten to submission, but left intact.

So, out comes a cooker, heated and with a little canola oil (canola is Canadian Mustard). Added fenugreek seeds to splutter, and then added the squash and tomato pieces. Pumpkin is always made with addition of Fenugreek, not regular Cumin in North India, don’t ask me why. I never asked my mother. And now I can not….she is smiling from above.

I added one teaspoon of turmeric concentrate, a little brown sugar (sweet variety….not the drug), turmeric powder and salt. cooked it under pressure, but no whistle. Too delicate for that. I decided to cool the cooker under tap after a while. All was guesswork. I love to take risks in the kitchen.

Ended with a little curry powder, (garm masala) and a hint of EVOO for the kids. I am sorry, I in a hurry did not take the photo of the hot stuff and its cold now. having been in the fridge last half an hour that I am typing.Squash curry

So little was left over, I am delighted.

If nk (that is me) can cook, so can you. Do not be afriad to take risk (in the kitchen). Never.


Indian Bread Again

Roti….chapaati 101,

The basics

Presumably, the dough making is not a rocket science, but rolling chapati and cooking first on a griddle and then on a flame is/maybe. Hence photographs. Some cooks add flours of other grains in wheat flour. Some cooks prefer a stiffer dough, my preference is for a softer dough, which gives softness to the bread. Some cooks insist that the dough should rest a while, at least 30 minutes, I prefer it not to rest at all, and love the dough that way. Again North Indians prefer to have coarse flour.

My rolling pin has ball bearings and makes it easy, and fun thing to roll. I do not wash it, only scrub with the back of a knife for any sticking dry dough. Always wash my hands CLEAN before touching flour or dough. No rings in the finger is a good policy. Alternately I do not touch flour or dough by hand. Use a spoon. Even for making small balls, I use a spoon, take a small portion and start rolling, untouched by hand till then.

Feel motivated to try your hand? GA (go ahead, old telex lingo)

Dough ready to be rolled
Dough ready to be rolled
Rolling Zero
Rolling Zero
Rolling 2
Rolling 2
Removing from Marble plate to the griddle
Removing from Marble plate to the griddle
On the HOT Griddle
On the HOT Griddle
Ready to Flip
Ready to Flip
Flipped/Cooking on the other side
Flipped/Cooking on the other side
Cooking directly on the flame
Cooking directly on the flame
Cooking on the flame
Cooking on the flame


Those were good old days. Cities were small. ISBT had three buses, one going north to Sonepat, another going west, to Rohtak, and one going south, to Gurgaon. ISBT was located at Westend cinema, in Sadar Bazar, Bara Tooti.

Water for all purposes (including drinking) used to be a 24 hour supply, pressurized to reach ground floor and the first floor. There was no need to store water. Trams were comfortable, from Subzi Mandi to Red Fort, and then there were Horse Tongas.

Pine Nut

Mosquitoes were not a menace, it was really a good night under the stars (not the “Good Night” fumes in closed doors of today). Pine nuts (chilgoza) were available and eaten by children. Loquat was not extinct. Falsaa, khirni and Shahtoot were a plenty.450px-Eriobotrya_japonica3

Loquat fruit (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eriobotrya_japonica3.jpg)

Children used to talk (person to person) not through SMS, and whatsapp.

Was not Delhi “smart” in those days?

Our obsession with size

Lets hear the moms talking in the old and new scenarios:
  • उसका बेटा कितना छोटा है और दिन में चार रोटी खाता है, तू दो भी नहीं खाता.(Her young son eats four Roti, you don’t eat even two)
  • मैं बेटे के लिए भेजती हूँ पांच किलो घी  हॉस्टल में, एक महीने में कुछ तो खायेगा ना. (I send four Kg butter-fat in a month to my son)
  • उसने एक मिलियन का लिया था, अब उसको बेच दिया और कैलिफ़ोर्निया में ही बड़ा घर ले लिया है. (He sold his one million house, and got another one in CA, USA.)


In the office scene:

What is your order-booking till now, I have exceeded 300 million?

His cubicle is not as large as Patel’s

Featured image

Our organization is Rs 70,000 crores, there are 60,000 employees!

I have 1500 sq foot house, with a large yard behind, and three baths.

footfalls, eyeballs, branches, (Big bazaar-Pantaloon) space after next expansion, all excite us.

Planted 30000 saplings on the Green Day (how many lasted one year?)

Even wettest place, yes wettest place, highest peak (we think Nepal is India, try telling that to the Nepalese), longest day, biggest glacier, hottest chilli mirchi (as if we manufactured them!)

size size size size size


We Indians are obsessed with bigger, longer, higher, costlier.

Like what my friend Dinesh said there is a defective gene somewhere in the South Asian race, that prompts us to talk more about size than quality. I would guess there is a co-relation with heart disease somewhere. “His parents both lived to 90 years of age (and made everyone around them miserable!)”. The successful among us work 14 hours a day (solving crosswords). Maximum number of open heart operations by one doctor (how many were unnecessary?).

Did we ever talk quality? Were five Pandavas better than 100+1 Kauravas? Whom would you chose, the Ekta Kapoor assembly line of dramas, or Shoojit Sarkar’s rare cinema? Did we ever celebrate a Warren Buffet, who lives in a small house, drives a small car and gives 24 billion (yes billion, not million) to charity! Why? There are such people who are not obsessed with this longer and stronger stuff, but they are a minority.

Freud the great would have winked reading the subject of this blog; and you?