Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

One Millionth Visitor

Mahanandi is going to have its one millionth visitor today.

I began stat counting on June 2005, about one and half years ago and the number of visitors at that time was around 50 to 100 a day. Now Mahanandi is averaging about 5,000 to 6,000 visits and 14,000 to 16,000 page views a day and the number is constantly increasing. Reaching first million is a special benchmark in a blog’s history and the blog world ritual demands a post honoring the visitors who made it possible.

Thanks to all of you who have read and supported this site with words of encouragement and links. In return I want this post all about you, the visitors. You already know me through my posts and I would like to know you as well.

Who are you?
Where are you from?

Say hello and please feel free to share about yourself, your cooking interests - one sentence or one full page (forget about Mahanandi). This day is for you.

One of you going to be THE millionth visitor and for you, this special friendly rose.

Image from


Added on Nov 13:

Screen Captures
999,999 1,000,000

First of all, I want to thank you for saying hello and letting me know about you. It is humbling and overwhelming to see such a response from you all. Some of you are regulars like me hanging in the web world and some of you drop by occasionally. If I ever wonder who you are, the affectionate note you have left will be my handy reference guide to know more about you.

I remember reading, “Food is like music. The possibilities are endless, and the learning curve never ends. They both satisfy the soul and make us feel good to be alive.”

I am glad to be around a group of positive people who think alike. Thank you!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday November 12, 2006 at 12:19 am- permalink)
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Weekend Seattle: Pioneer Square

Video guided tour of Pioneer Square and Seattle Underground

Bong in Food blog world:

A bong, a mom and a cook ~ Bong Mom’s Cookbook

Calm inducing, anxiety reducing Kava Kava tea - from Evil Jungle Prince

One needs bong to sit through this semi homemade true Halloween Horror ~ From Manolo’s Blog

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday November 11, 2006 at 5:31 pm- permalink)
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Coriander ~ Pappula(Bhuna Chana) Chutney

Coriander~Pappula Chutney with Upma

Just like dear Supriya (Tweety) of Bengaluru, I also prepare upma often, at least once a week for lunch or dinner. Rice and roti are good but sometimes I feel like taking a break from those two and upma usually comes to my rescue.

Upma recipe is very forgiving. We can make it as elaborate, nutritious (by adding lot of vegetables, nuts etc) or simple (just plain water and some salt) as we like. One thing the recipe does need is a pickle or chutney on the side. A meal is healthy when it’s homecooked and upma is pleasing when it’s served with chutney on the side. One such simple and easy chutney recipe that taste terrific with upma or for that matter all varieties of breakfast items is coriander-pappula (roasted chana dal) chutney.

Pappulu or putnala pappulu (Telugu) are sold as ‘dalia’ in US. See this label here. I always thought the name dalia is a North Indian one, but not so says Anita of ‘A Mad Tea Party”. So now the question is who calls pappulu or bhuna chana ‘dalia’? Which Indian language is it from? Or unknown to us mere mortals, Indian grocery wholesalers have a separate language to confuse us more?:)

Edited to add:
Thank you Darshana and Madhuli for clearing the confusion. Dalia is a Gujarati word for pappulu or bhuna chana.

Pappulu (Putnala Pappulu, Dalia, Bhuna Chana, Roasted Chana Dal) and Fresh Coriander


1 cup of roasted chana dal (Pappulu, dalia, bhuna chana)
1 bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro, Kottimera)
8 green chillies - short, Indian variety
1 T of tamarind juice or limejuice or to taste
1 T of coconut fresh or dried (optional)
1 teaspoon of cumin
½ teaspoon of salt

Take them all in a blender, add about half glass of water and grind to smooth paste. Remove to a cup.

Do the popu or tadka:
Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a tadka pan. Add and toast in this order - 5 curry leaves, half teaspoon each of urad dal, then cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to splutter immediately add the popu to chutney. Mix and serve with breakfast items.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia), Kottimera(Cilantro) (Thursday November 9, 2006 at 1:28 pm- permalink)
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Brussels Sprouts, Potatoes & Garbanzo Curry

Lonely Brussels Sprout
Brussels Sprout

If cabbage has a mini me, it would definitely look like a brussels sprout, I think. To compensate what they lack in size, they got lot of that cabbage sp(t)unk. Somehow this tiny, tightly wounded veggie brings out the bad in people here. Blah, eew, yuk, is what you hear often with the mention of brussels sprouts. Blanching them whole and buttering them up, I would say yuk too. My way of preparing brussels sprouts is different and cooking curried way makes this winter season vegetable pleasantly pleasing.

For our lunch today, I saut?ed the brussels sprouts with potatoes and fresh green chana (garbanzo/chickpeas). Little bit of chillie and little bit of garam masala, together with sweet taste of green chana - one tasty curry was ready for chapatis.

Brussels Sprouts, Cooked Potato and Fresh Green Garbanzo (green chana)


15 fresh brussels sprouts - outer leaves removed and finely chopped lengthwise
2 medium-sized potatoes - Boiled to tender, skin removed and quartered to cubes
½ cup of fresh green garbanzo beans (green chana/chickpeas)
1 red onion - finely sliced lengthwise
Green chillies to taste or 6 - finely chopped
Garam masala, coconut powder, turmeric and salt - to taste or 1 tsp each
Popu or Tadka Ingredients:
Cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves - ½ tsp each

In a big skillet, add and heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Add and toast tadka ingredients first. One by one add and saut? onions, green chillies and garbanzo beans. Add in brussels sprouts. Stir in garam masala, coconut powder, turmeric and salt. Mix. Cover and cook for few minutes until the sprouts start to wilt. Add in cubed potatoes. Cook covered for another 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring in between, until the sprouts reach the tenderness you desire. Keep in mind just like cabbage and cauliflower, brussels sprouts also release unpleasant odor on overcooking.

Serve hot with chapati or with rice.

Brussels Sprouts, Potato, Green Garbanzo Beans Curry

Fresh, green garbanzo beans - Frozen section, Indian grocery & Trader Joe’s
Recipe Source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Chickpeas, Brussels Sprouts (Wednesday November 8, 2006 at 9:22 am- permalink)
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Election Watch

Up to the minute coverage - Atrios and TPM.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Tuesday November 7, 2006 at 8:35 pm- permalink)
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Sarson da Saag (Mustard greens, Spinach & Paneer)

Baby Sarson (Baby Mustard Greens)
Baby Sarson (Baby Mustard Greens ~ Japanese Variety)

“Mustard greens originated in the Himalayan region of India and have been grown and consumed for more than 5,000 years. Mustard greens are a notable vegetable in many different cuisines, ranging from Chinese to Southern American. Like turnip greens, they may have become an integral part of Southern cuisine during the times of slavery, serving as a substitute for the greens that were an essential part of Western African foodways. While India, Nepal, China and Japan are among the leading producers of mustard greens, a significant amount of mustard greens are grown in the United States as well.”

- Says the WHFoods, a website which provides unbiased scientific information on nutrient-rich World’s Healthiest Foods. If you think history of this green leafy vegetable is impressive, check out the detailed nutritional information listed. It has antioxidants like Vitamins A, C, E to mineral - Magnesium, that would help to deal with lung problems (asthma) etc, - almost everything that a health(label) conscious person desires in a vegetable. Not only that mustard seeds (aavaalu) that we use regularly in our tadka and mustard oil comes from this vegetable.

When it comes to cooking mustard greens, the famous Punjabi’s ‘Sarson da Saag’, is THE recipe. Mustard Greens (Sarson Patta in Hindi), spinach and paneer along with traditional Indian seasoning are all cooked together. Like Punjabis, the end result is attractive and vibrant - in a nutshell, wholesome food experience. Give it a try!

Fresh Baby Mustard Greens, Spinach, Onion, Ginger, Garlic, Cashews, Paneer, Green Chilli


1 bunch fresh, baby Sarson (mustard greens)- chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach - chopped
10 green chillies - small Indian variety
1 small onion - finely chopped
1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp of cccc powder (cumin-coriander-clove-cinnamon) or garam masala
15 cashews - roasted and powdered
15 paneer cubes - grilled or pan-fried to light gold
Limejuice to taste or 2 tablespoons
Turmeric and salt to taste or ½ tsp each

1. In a big skillet, heat a teaspoon of ghee. Add and saute the sarson, spinach and green chillies. Within 2 to 3 minutes, the leaves start to wilt and come together. Turn off the heat and remove them to a plate. Let cool and then take them in a blender or food processor. Grind to coarse paste by adding a pinch of salt.

2. In the same skillet, add and heat a teaspoon of ghee. Add and saute onions to gold color. Add and fry ginger-garlic paste for few seconds. Add pureed sarson-spinach-green chilli and half cup of water. Stir in cashew powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt. Mix thoroughly. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Before turning off the heat, add paneer cubes and sprinkle in limejuice.

Serve hot. Tastes great with rice and roti or chapatis.

Sarson Da Saag with Chapatis
Sarson da Saag with Chapatis.

I purchased these fresh, baby mustard greens from an Asian grocery shop (Uwajimaya).
Recipe adapted from: Basant. I have added cashews to bring some nutty sweetness to the curry.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Paneer, Spinach, Cashews, Sarson (Mustard Greens) (Monday November 6, 2006 at 4:29 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Mustard Greens (Sarson Patta or Sarshapa)

Baby Mustard Greens
Young, tender Sarson Patta or Mustard Greens ~ For this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Sarson (Mustard Greens) (Sunday November 5, 2006 at 5:13 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Weekend This and That

Deepavali Celebrations from Panjim, Goa, India:

Hair-on-fire to Klingon to Genghiz Khan - different avatars of Narakasura

Food Blogging World ~ Newbies and News

“Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria! That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world!”
- Vidya of Foodie Confidential from Tsuruoka, Yamagata, Japan.

“One of the big lessons, I have learned from my mum is not to have the ?it will do? attitude towards a given recipe. Don?t bother cooking a given dish if you don?t have the right ingredients.”
- Dilip of Garam Masala from London, UK.

Nursing student, mother, food blogger and she has a gorgeous kitchen
- from Newfoundland, Canada, Trupti of The Spice Who Loved Me

Ghutti coffee and more from Palo Alto, California - Alison of Full Tummy.

Kay is back!

Voting is on! Go vote and have fun!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday November 4, 2006 at 8:26 pm- permalink)
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Baby Brinjals in Masala Sauce (Gutti Vankaya)

Gutti Vankaya Kura (Stuffed Brinjal Curry or Baby Brinjals in Masala Sauce)

Once upon a time, like many of us in present time, a housewife was struggling with the question, “what’s for lunch?”

Adding to the stress, it was almost month end, everything in her kitchen cupboard needed refilled. To do that she had to wait until the salary comes home. What she had was few young brinjals from her backyard garden. Even the pleasant pale purple color of brinjals couldn’t lift her spirits up. Nonchalantly she plucked the brinjals and dragged herself into the kitchen to prepare something. She opened the cupboard, added everything that was available there to the skillet to roast. Wonderful aroma from roasting lifted her spirits a little. She had to powder them so pounded away her frustrations. In exercise induced endorphin daze, she thought of a novel way to cook brinjals and made a plus shaped cut in brinjals. In a big skillet, added the brinjals along with powdered ingredients and a glass of water. Covered the vessel and let it simmer while she went to freshen up. When she came back what she had in the pot was a delicious stew of brinjals. So fragrant and so pretty to look at. Her face glowed like a warm sapphire and at last she smiled at her ingenuity. Thus, a new recipe was born! Saving housewives everywhere, whenever they are low in spirits or things in kitchen cupboards.

I am sure this must be the story behind the ever-popular stuffed brinjal curry of India. Like the designers to dress stars at Oscar night, all the famous spices and ingredients in Indian kitchen come out, but here to dress the already gorgeous shiny starlets - the fresh, young brinjals. Needless to say the recipe rocks!

Ingredients for Gutti Vankaya Kura


Roast or toast in an iron skillet:
Needed: quarter cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, ¼ teaspoon and a hot iron skillet. One by one or all together, however it’s convenient for you, roast the following items listed below. Take care not to black or burn them. Ingredients quantity is for 12 brinjals.

- Quarter cup each of:
Chana dal, urad dal, sesame seeds, grated coconut and peanuts
- Tablespoon each of:
Coriander seeds and cumin
- Quarter teaspoon each of:
Cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorn and fenugreek(methi) seeds
- 15 dried red chillies (for 12 brinjals)

Once they are cool enough to touch, take them all in a mixer. Add a tablespoon each of - jaggery, tamarind juice and a teaspoon of salt. Blend them to smooth consistency.

Baby Brinjals:
12 young fresh looking brinjals. Make two cuts in each brinjal, one horizontal and one vertical Like plus (+) shape. Keep one end intact. Check this photo for reference.
(The brinjals I’ve used for this recipe are young and tender, too small to stuff. So I directly added them to the skillet after making a plus shaped cut. If these were somewhat medium size, I’d have stuffed them like I did in this method.)

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a big skillet. Do the popu (add and toast few curry leaves and a teaspoon each of cumin and mustard seeds).

Add the cut brinjals to the skillet and also the masala powder you have grinded earlier. Add about a glass of water. Stir in turmeric and salt-½ tsp of each. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring in-between. When brinjals are cooked to tender and masala sauce thickens up a bit - time to turn off the heat. Let the curry sit on stove for another 10 minutes like that, giving more time for the flavors to mingle well.

Serve warm with rice or roti.

This recipe is my mother-in-law’s. Even without ginger-garlic and tomatoes, it tastes great and she usually prepares this curry with pulagam (rice+split moong dal+salt) or jonna rotte (sorghum roti) combination.

Gutti Vankaya Kura mariyu pulagam (Stuffed Brinjal Curry with Split Moong dal Rice)
Gutti Vankaya Kura mariyu pulagam (Stuffed Brinjal Curry with Split Moong dal Rice)

Stuffed Brinjal:
Gutti Vankaya Kura (Stuffed Brinjal Curry I)
Nune Vankaya kura (Stuffed Brinjal Curry II)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Friday November 3, 2006 at 3:27 pm- permalink)
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Ridgegourd~Moongdal (Beerakaya Pesara Pappu)

Precious things in nature often have some protective mechanisms to guard themselves. A pineapple or a rose, by the looks or touch, they strongly give signals to not to touch. But remove those sharp things and you know there will be a sensory explosion awaiting you. Same thing with the vegetable, ‘ridge gourd’ (beerakaya, turai). Just at the first look a person with any veg sense or nature sense would immediately know that this vegetable has something special going on.

Nature has showed a special interest on this veggie. Unlike any other gourds, ridge gourd has some sharp vertical ridges along its body. The younger the vegetable the sharper the ridges are. Once you peel the ridges and cut it open, sweet tender taste awaits you. Mature, old ones have ridges like far end of knife, dulled and raised - signaling that they are not good for consumption. Like dried rose petal potpourri, they are also destined for bathrooms as loofas. But young ones, they taste tenderly sweet and here in this traditional Bharath recipe they are paired with moong dal. Lightly roasted moong dal and tender ridge gourd cooked together with green chillies. And tadka is added at the end to bring life to the dish. Easy comfort food that tastes good, particularly on a cold day like today.

Ridge Gourd and Roasted Yellow Moong Dal


Yellow Moong dal: Roast 1 cup of yellow moong dal in an iron skillet to light golden-brown color. I prefer moong dal always roasted, this is a habit I got from my mother. It takes few minutes to do the roasting but I do think they taste so much better as a result.

Ride gourd and green chillies: Peel the ridges of one medium sized young ridge gourd and scrape the skin lightly. Cut the vegetable to small pieces. Comes about 3 cups. Also finely chop 8 green chillies.

Cook: Take roasted moong dal, ridge gourd pieces and green chillies. Add a tablespoon of tamarind juice, half teaspoon of turmeric and one glass of water. Pressure-cook or cook covered until they are tender. Remove the lid, add about half teaspoon of salt and mash the dal to smooth consistency.

Do the popu or tadka: Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a vessel. Add and toast few curry leaves, a tablespoon of minced garlic and one teaspoon of cumin and mustard seeds, in that order. When seeds start to dance, immediately add the mashed dal to the popu.

Serve warm. Tastes good with rice and with chapatis.

Ridge Gourd~Moong Dal with Rosematta Rice

Turai curry with fresh dill - recipe

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Moong Dal (Washed) (Thursday November 2, 2006 at 2:34 pm- permalink)
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