Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Small Town Christmas...

My colony back home is huge like a maze... with many winding roads and lots of pretty & some opulent looking houses. Its a great place to go walking and take in the sights, there are hardly any vehicles on the road and houses are gracefully adorned with flowering plants and the like. This peaceful and quaint little place transforms itself during the month of December, it literally glows with festive cheer. People put up stars that shine in the evening, Christmas trees glimmer from inside homes, the crib is set up and houses are aglow with serial lights. The whole air is abuzz with excitement and like this song goes... there's a smile on the faces of people passing by. Another ethereal aspect bout Christmas is caroling, this throws the excitement levels completely off the scale. I can't get enough of them during the Yuletide season, I play them continuously... my sister is named Carol since she was born on the 30th of November, the start of the caroling season.

Anyway getting back to my colony, the folks at home are going caroling every evening and I miss that... I really miss that. We go caroling from door to door spreading joy and goodwill, its just crazy and so much fun. A whole bunch of kids yapping away, the choir girls, and a few elders make up the caroling team and its just insanely beautiful walking around in the colony singing carols and taking in the sights of a place transformed by the magic of Christmas. Staying in a city like Madras, just drives home how beautiful a small town Christmas can really be... the city looks the same, no trace of magic in the air, only the malls are commercially (not to mention blatantly) decorated. But this caroling event I attended last week, set my pulse racing again... like it does back home. Felt like someone had sprinkled magic over the auditorium, the event was called Caroling by Candlelight (organised by Madras Musical Association) and it was as awesome as it sounds. We sang carols by candlelight... here's a video clipping. 



The kids choir was simply adorable, they sang like angels... 


Loved every moment of it... 

My favourite carol is 'While shepherds watched their flocks by night'  ... check out this all boy group Libera singing it, they'll blow you away.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nagercoil Chicken Curry...

This is a dish that is served at almost every event in Nagercoil... sometimes when the main course is entirely veg, the non veg eaters are served small bowls of this delectable chicken curry and you can almost see their faces light up. Its one of those time time saver dishes that I love, gets ready in a jiffy... and its simply  awesome, right down to its soul (if a curry has soul that is) its so plain and simple yet sophisticated... reminds me of Socrates. History says he was kinda ugly and not that great to look at but he ended up being the most reasonable man of his time... and undoubtedly our time too.

Anyway, getting back to the chicken curry... 
Dice onions and saute them in a pressure cooker...

Add some ginger garlic paste...

And fry till onions become translucent.

Drop in the pink chicken pieces...

And stir them around till they become an even brown colour.

Then add chillie powder and fennel powder...

Add enough salt, water and pressure cook the chicken.

Now that the chicken is cooked, add a few tablespoons of coconut oil (you can see the oil falling in drops here, went to great lengths to click this picture) and mix everything up nicely, let the chicken simmer for a few minutes. The coconut oil is what gives this dish its distinctive south indian flavour. If you want the curry to be thicker, let it boil for a few minutes till you get a dense masala kinda substance. 

Here is the famous dish one can never get enough of. I sometimes add small pieces of potato before pressure cooking since I'm more fond of potatoes than chicken. Everybody at home loves this dish and its completely satisfying in a wholesome way. So there you go, make this and enjoy some good old fashioned family time at supper.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Home again...

So I went home recently to see mom and as usual it was a fun trip... here are a few pix's.

The windmills...

The sun just rising...

Paddy fields...

Visited the special school too...

And hung out with the kids... I miss that.  

Made some vegetable puffs... 

I seriously love these...

Tried baking Biscotti, they turned out alright...

Melted some bitter Hazelnut chocolate to make a cake...

Here are the Almond Biscotti's and the cake.

Went to Holy Cross Convent, and visited the pretty chapel there...

Inside the chapel...