August 30, 2017

Ananta Shesha Naga - Rise of Demon Prince by Sanjeev K. Sharma - Mythological Thriller Review

Hearing mythological stories from elders is always a great experience, because we visualize the scenes as to our own imagination unlike TV serials or films which do the imagination for us. The next best thing to hearing these stories from elders is to read them as novels. This is the reason for the evergreen attraction of mythological novels and the success of new storytellers of mythologies attest to this fact. Another important element to the mythological stories is their nativity. While you can enjoy Harry Potter novels, there is always an alieness about them because the mythemes like flying sticks are not native to our culture. Hence novels which have strong native mythemes always catch our imagination.

There is no better mytheme and mystique in Indian mythologies than the Nagas. Nagas are uniquely pan-Indian mythologies and naga mythical elements always catch our imagination and nothing fascinates more us more than the naga legends. The sheer number of Hindi and Telugu movies and tv-serials is clear attestation to this. The Naga mythological novel, Ananta Sesha has all the key naga elements such as the lokas, shape-shifting to human and snake forms, secret naga-stones which are power-sources etc. are mixed up well along with other mythical figures like Ananta Sesha, Varuna, Indra, Vishnu as well. The strange mix up of the god-figures with the naga legends give magical realism feel to the story told. the story-telling style of the writer also gives us a wondering thought whether we are reading a true legend or a pure imaginative spell from the writer.

The plot is also a gripping ever-green formula.. a conspiracy of galactic proportions with a few ambitious characters plotting the birth of demonic ruler who will unleash hell on the living world.. as the conspirators keeps trodding along their plan, spies and counter-spies add to the intrigue and seduce the reader into the story world.. the plot races towards a great war between the good and evil and engages the reader into wondering whether the side they are emotionally engaged with has any outside chance of winning.. the author has got all the story-devices to make the reader finish of the 250 odd pages in one single go.

If you are a big fan of mythological novels, do not miss out having fun with this Ananta Shesha Naga,rise of demon prince Naga Novel.. AnataShesha Naga is a definitely a good one and would bring back the nostalgia of one's younger days back..

August 23, 2017

Kozhukattai Recipes

August 17, 2017

Chakka Payasam / Jack Fruit Payasam and Onam Cleaning Tips with LAL HIT


In Kerala, Onam is a ten-day long celebration of harvest and is the most important festival of Kerala. Onam has many elaborate rituals like increasing flower arrangements and decorations every day etc. special food recipes preparation etc. I would share one Onam special recipe too. As with most traditional festivals, Onam is also associated with cleanliness. As most of the population lives in an urbanized city environments, cleaning our houses is the now part of the festival rituals. Festival cleaning rituals have to be more special and methodical and this means including LAL HIT in the deep-cleaning process.

       Traditionally Preparations for the Thiru Onam starts in a big way with House cleaning  on a massive scale, with every nook and corner of the hosue  made neat and tidy. This is a good occasion for us to kickstart a deep-cleaning session in our houses periodically. Most of us have a busy weekdays - monday through friday, as kids and adults both men and women nowadays have hectic work schedules. Even though we might have housemaids atleast part-time on hourly basis, we can't expect the house-cleaning activities to be perfect. We would definitely the nooks and corners of the houses even if we manage to keep the floors and furnitures clean. That's why deep cleaning should be a weekly or atleast monthly ritual. If some of you are feeling that daily fatique is overwhelming you, let Onam's festive spirits motivate you to engage in the deep-cleaning.

      I’ve been getting a number of requests for making a quick and healthy Onam recipe which would be easy to prepare and not use too many dishes, so that cleanup is a breeze afterwards. I understand the pain – it is irritating to wash all the dirty dishes after cooking is over, and if you leave them stacked up, chances are you’d get a score of roaches on your kitchen sink, trying to pry off the last morsels of food from your dirty plates and spreading germs and can result in food poisoning. You really don’t want your new year to turn out to be a sad one, where you and your family might fall sick. 

    This is why I keep Lal Hit around, which is deadly on cockroaches and really keeps them away.

       Before the recipe, a note about why we need deep-cleaning periodically with LAL HIT, need to make it a monthly kitchen cleaning regime. Cockroaches very easily and surely escape the regular cleaning process by hiding in hard to reach corners like under the cylinder, sink, cracks, and crevices. They contaminate food and affect family members, guest, and kids in particular. LAL HIT is the only solution that can eliminate the hidden cockroaches. It comes with a Deep Reach Nozzle that can get inside deep corners, cracks, and crevices. Now that we have the kitchen cleaning expert-LAL Hit with us we can be tension free and cook delicious.

Here is the Onam special recipe:

Jack Fruit Payasam / Chakka Pradhaman

Jack Fruit
10 nos
¼ cup
Thick Coconut Milk
1 cup
2 tbsp
Cashew Nuts
10 nos
Dry Grapes
20 nos
Cardamom Powder
1/4 tsp

1. Remove the seed from the jack fruit. Chop them into small pieces.
2. Pressure cook them with ½ cup of water for 2-3 whistles in a medium flame.
3. After the pressure has gone, allow it to cool down completely.
4. Grind them into a fine paste using the mixie jar.
5. Add 2 tbsp of water with powdered jaggery. Bring into boil till the jaggery melts completely.
6. String the jaggery syrup with metal strainer.
7. Add this jaggery syrup and cardamom powder with ground jackfruit paste. Mix them well and bring to boil.
8. Heat the ghee in a small pan. Add cashew nuts and fry till they become little bit brown.
9. Then add the dry grapes/ raisins and fry till the raisins become double in its size.
10. Pour this mixture into the jackfruit payasam mix. Mix them well and cook for 2-3 mins.
11. Finally add the coconut milk and mix them well. If the payasam starts to boil, switch off the flame. Don’t over cook the payasam after adding the cococnut milk.

    Yummy and tasty jackfruit payasam / chakka pradhaman is ready!

1. You can also use finely chopped and fried coconut pieces.

Festivals motivate us to do a special deep-cleaning of our houses. I have made it a habit to deep-clean my house every month with LAL HIT to avoid food poisoning at home. LAL HIT now also comes with a fresh fragrance spreading nice aroma in your kitchen. Festivals also bring the Joyous mood to our house. Celebrate Onam this year with an Onam recipe like chakka payasam and spread the joy.


August 11, 2017

Aval Chocolate Laddu / Poha Chocolate Laddu | Krishna Jayanthi Recipes

For Krishna Jayanthi, Aval laddu is the special sweet. In Chocolate laddu, we are using butter (Krishna’s favorite) instead of the Ghee in standard aval laddu. We are adding chocolate to make it more attractive for kids. Try this chocolate aval ladoo as a new special sweet and make this Krishna Jayanthi more memorable.

Full Video :

 Recipe Cuisine : Indian| Recipe Category: Sweet
Preparation Time: 15 mins   | Yields: 13 Laddus
Aval / Poha/ Riceflakes
1 ½ cup
¼ cup
2 tbsp
Warm Coffee Syrup
2 tbsp
Salt (optional)
¼ tsp
Coco Powder
1 tbsp
Vanilla Essence
1 tsp
Desiccated Coconut (Recipe HERE)
¼ cup
Coffee Syrup: Use 2 tbsp of warm filter coffee or mix 1 tsp of instant coffee powder with 2 tbsp of warm water.

1. Dry roast the aval till the nice aroma comes out from it. Allow it to cool down completely.
2. Add roasted aval, coco powder, sugar and salt in a dry mixie jar.
3. Grind them into a fine powder. Keep it aside.
4. In a wide bowl add warm coffee syrup, vanilla essence and butter. Mix them well with the spoon.
5. Then add the ground  aval powder (from 3) and mix well with spatula or with your fingers.
6. Now you can get a soft and pliable dough.
7. Make gooseberry size balls from the dough.
8. Spread the desiccated coconut on the dry plate.
9. Roll the balls over the desiccated coconut and press them with your fingers.
    Yummy, healthy and kids friendly poha chocolate coconut laddu is ready!
1. Suppose the dough is sticky, you can add little bit aval powder.
2. The dough is too thick, you can add little bit coffee syrup or warm water.

August 10, 2017

Ragi Paper Roast / Finger Millet Dosai without Rice

Typical Ragi Doasi becomes thick like a wheat flour dosai. So this reduces the taste. In this recipe we make Finger Millet Dosai very thin like paper which makes it very tasty. Now you can have gluten free healthy yet tasty Ragi Dosai.

Click HERE to view 30+ dosa varieties.

Recipe Cuisine: South Indian | Recipe Category: Breakfast
Soaking Time : 6-8 hrs  | Fermenting Time: 6 hrs | Cooking Time: 10 mins

Finger Millet / Ragi / Kelvaragu
2 cups
Urad Dal
½ cup
Fenugreek Seeds
2 tsp
As required
As required
For making dosai

1. Wash the finger millet 2-3 times. Then soak them with enough water for 6-8 hours.
2. Wash and soak the urad dal and fenugreek seeds together for 2 hours.
3. Grind the urad dal into a thick batter using either mixie or grinder. At the time of grinding, add water little by little and grind it into a smooth and thick batter.
4. Then take the urad batter from the grinder completely.
5. Now grind the soaked finger millet into a fine paste using little water.
6. Then combine both urad dal batter  and finger millet batter.
7. Add salt and mix them well with your hand. Keep it aside for fermentation.
8. Now mix the batter thoroughly with ladle.
9. Heat the dosa tawa and pour one ladle full of batter. Spread the batter as thin as possible with the back side of the ladle.
10. Pour one tsp of oil along the sides of the dosai and allow it to cook.
11. Once cooked, then turn over the dosa and cook till it reaches golden color on both sides.

1. No need to add rice for this recipe.
2. Grind the urad dal batter as thick as possible, because the finger millet batter is little bit liquid.

August 2, 2017

Banana Bread with Whole Wheat Flour | Healthy Baking

Many times bananas get over ripen. Some times we prepare smoothies with that. This banana bread is a good alternative and you can have the banana bread for even a week time. As the bread is prepared with whole wheat flour, so it is very healthy too.

Recipe Cuisine : International | Recipe Category: Baking
Preparation Time: 15 mins  | Baking Time: 40 mins |Source: Simplyrecipes

1 cup = 240 ml
Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup
½ cup
½ cup
Baking Soda
1 tsp
½ tsp
Vanilla Essence
1 tsp
Mashed Banana Puree
1 ½ cup (almost from 2 bananas)
2 tbsp

* All ingredients should be at room temperature.
1. Sieve the whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt together for 2-3 times. Keep it aside.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together till they become fluffy.
3. Add egg and 1 tbsp of flour (from 1). Beat well till they become fluffy.
4. Add mashed banana puree and vanilla essence. Beat them well for 1 min.
 5. Add flour mixture little by little and fold them gently.
6. Great the 9 inch loaf with oil and dusted with flour.
7. Pour this mixture into the dusted loaf pan. Use the spatula to spread the batter evenly into the corners and the edges.
8. Pre heat the oven at 180 degree Celsius for 8 mins.
9. Bake the bread for 40 mins at 170 degree Celsius or till the inserted tooth pick comes out clean.
10. Allow it to cool down completely. Then remove the bread from the loaf and cut it into small pieces. Serve with hot masala chai.

1. Replace egg with ¼ cup of curd.
2. Use Red banana, yellow banana or nendran banana. I have used red banana.

3. Use APF instead of wheat flour.

Going for a Tea Trails Cafe

      On last Saturday, I went on a completely different trail – TeaTrails with my family. Tea Trails is Tea Lounge, bringing the rich world of Tea to Indian Community. A very different social experience with tea. We went to the newly opened Tea Trails at Anna Nagar Metro Station, just behind Kandaswamy College, Anna Nagar Second Main Road. The interiors and the ambiance is really great, giving a rich fine-dining experience.


Tea and Chai


What is the difference between tea and chai?  This is the first thing one learns at TeaTrails. Tea is always without milk and Chai is with milk. Even sugar is optional only. It is a real surprise for us South Indians who have conflated Tea with Chai. Second interesting fact you will come to know is that all the different types of tea – Red Tea, Green Tea, White Tea etc. come from the same Plant - Camellia sinensis only. The different types of Tea comes with the different types of processing steps such as withering, rolling, oxidizing etc. 

Tea as high culture :  

In Countries like China, Japan, England, Morocco etc. tea tasting is a very ritualized social affair. Tea is taken along with food during breakfast, lunch and dinner. You might have read about how today's modern world was hatched in Coffee shops across Europe, especially the French revolution which was brewed in coffee shops. If the commoners were going with coffee, it seems the royalty, especially the English went all over on tea. The tea habit of the English has had a big impact on India. They had formed large plantations of Tea in India only to counter the Chinese Tea imports to England. 

In TeaTrails, they serve the Tea in a specialized Transparent Glass Filter Jug. The tea is put on the top layer on the Jug with hot water in the main jug. They keep a Sand Clock which indicates how much time the tea has to brew. We have to pour the tea into our cups only after the specified time. 

Teas and Eats: Tea Trails-Pairings

The Uniqueness of Tea Trails is that they provide a great dish which goes well with the tea they serve, a combination their culinary team has come up with after long research. Here are some of the great Tea Trails Pairings we devoured:

a. Silver Needle (White Tea) paired with Bun Muska

b. Kashmiri Kahwa (Green Tea with almonds) with paired Burmese Tea Salad (Salad with Tea leaves added) and Veg Ham Bruschetta


c. Lapang Souchong (Chinese Black Tea) paired with Smokey Paneer/Chicken Sandwich


d. Adrak Chai with Onion Pakoda

e. Japanese Iced Matcha Shake paired with BBQ chicken or Paneer Pizza

f. Tisane Red Zen paired with fruity dessert like chocolate waffle.

Cold-Tea Drinks:

TeaTrails has some great Special Cool Shakes which are tea based cool drinks. We taste two unique Shakes worth mentioning

e. Litche Bubble Tea contains fruit bubbles which burst in the mouth. Kids would freak out on this drink. A not to miss drink for sure.

f. Better Wife is a mint, Japanese mocha and ice-cream mix. Really enjoyable Cool taste with a cool name too.

Affordability: Since the Tea they serve have four servings which can be shared by two-to-three people, each cup of tea would come to about 40 Rupees on the average which is quite competitive, given the experience factor and rich food varieties.

Tea Trails is not just for Tea. It is an ideal place for a great team-out, office and birthday parties. Since they also have different varieties ranging from Pizzas to VadaPavs, Pastas to burgers etc. you can visit anytime - breakfast, lunch, evening snack or dinner.

Tea Trails is a high recommended, must visit place for foodies.

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