Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu!

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu!


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May 30, 2018

Ardhanarishwarar - Kerala Mural Musings 2

Couple of days back, I have shared my first try on Kerala Mural painting using water color. Thrilled with the outcome, I decided I will make another one and this time something big and different from the first one.  Came across lot of pictures from internet and finally decided on Ardhanarishwarar.

Since I am doing this art by looking at a small picture from internet, I had little tough time in sketching it. After trial and error, finally drew a decent picture which definitely will not justify the beauty of the original but still I was happy as I felt the improvement from my first try.

This time, I tried to keep the color subtle as much as possible. Working with water color is always fun and this project, I enjoyed more.

Sharing with you my work step by step as it advanced...

Light pencil sketching and started darkening the outlines with outliner.

Completed outlined sketch

Started coloring.... 

The coloring stage normally starts with a similar color application and then getting into the details. However, I forgot that and it flowed naturally in my own way, which I will keep in mind in my next project.

Major coloring done. Now waiting for the details.

Major details added.... still some finishing minor ones to be done.

Now comes the final picture!........

Nama Parvathi Padhaye ; Hara Hara Mahadeva! _/\_

This painting was done as per God Shiva's wish and  I dedicate it at his lotus feet. Praying that all the  Kailash Manasaroar Yatris be blessed with a smooth journey to & fro and darshan. 

Shambo Mahadeva!

Usal - ऊसळ (with coconut)

Usal or ऊसळ is a Maharashtrian Gravy dish made using legumes and an excellent accompaniment with Pav Bread. This gravy uses an unique masala blended with fried coconut and the Maharashtrian speciality Goda Masala, which gives it an unique taste, color and flavour. 

I have attached two types of photos as they were taken at different days at different times. The lovely color of the Ras (liquid) is seen in the last photo and that was made little watery in consistency to show you how both consistency look like.

Usal can be prepared using any one of the following or with combo of these :-

  • Turkish gram or moth bean - Matki (Marathi) - looks like green gram but color is dull.
  • Yellow Peas - Vatana (Marathi) / Manal Pattani
  • Black eyed Peas - Lobia / Chawli / Karamani / Payaru
This gravy is an excellent accompaniment for Pav Bread (soft) / Kadak Pav (hard) / Normal Bread that is toasted and crisp.

It is always on demand at home and I love making this.

Ingredients :-

  1. Onion - 2 Nos. (Finely chopped)
  2. Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp
  3. Tomato - 1 No. (Pureed)
  4. Ginger - 1/2 " Piece (Grated)
  5. Garlic - 3 big pods (Grated)
  6. Turmeric Powder - less than 1/4 tsp
  7. Red Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp (or as preferred)
  8. God Masala Powder - 1/4 tsp
  9. Garam Masala Powder - 1/4 tsp
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Oil - 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp
  12. Legume - (Any one or combo of all) - 1/2 cup
  13. Finely chopped coriander leaves
Process :-
  • Soak the legumes overnight (or for 8 hours) and pressure cook it adding salt.

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok and fry half of the finely chopped onions, till golden brown and then add 2 tbsp of grated coconut and fry well till the coconut also turns into golden in color. Leave it to cool and then grind it to a nice paste.

  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok and fry the remaining chopped onions till golder in color and then add the grated ginger garlic paste, fry till the raw flavour goes. Add the tomato puree and fry well (till oil separates)
  • Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, Goda masala powder and Garam masala powders. Fry for a minute.
you can notice the color difference between these masalas. Goda masala will be darker in color.

  • Add the fried and ground onion+coconut paste and cook for 2 minutes
  • Add the cooked legume and adjust the seasoning and consistency of the gravy as per your preference. Some like thin consistency and i usually keep it medium (neither watery, nor thick).
  • Cover and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally in between.
  • finally garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
wow! Look at that lovely color on top of the gravy!!

  • Lip smacking Usal gravy is ready!!

Adjust the number of units given as per the measure you take for legumes.

 A filling food!

May 28, 2018

Masal Vadai

Masal vadai generally means dal vadai with Onion. But some call the onion medu vadai also as Masal Vadai.

The recipe today I am going to share is the Masal Vadai using Toor Dal and Channa Dal. This makes it an excellent snack.

For those who don't like onioin , the 'without onion' version is HERE . Else, also you can just skip onion in the recipe given below and add other ingredients as specified.

The process is the same as Dal Vadai.

Before reading the recipe, giving you few tips to make crispy vadai.

Tips to make Crispy Vadais :-
  1. use Toor dal
  2. Grind without adding water or little water only.  Less the water, crispier the vadais.
  3. Fry in hot oil in medium to low flame by pushing them down frequently.
Now let's start!

Ingridients :

  1. Channa Dhal - 1/2 tea cup
  2. Toor Dhal  - 1/2 tea cup
  3. Asafoetida  powder - 1/2 tsp
  4. Dried Red Chillies - 6 nos
  5. salt to taste
  6. Curry leaves - 3 sprig
  7. Onion - 1 No (big)
  8. Fennel Seeds (Saunf) - 1 tsp
  9. Oil for deep frying

Procedure :

  • Soak the lentils (dhals) for 2 hours
  • Grind the soaked dhal along with curry leaves, red chillies, Salt, Asafoetida Powder - to a coarse paste without water. Incase, if you feel you need and then add only little water - a tsp or 2 only, max.
  • Transfer it to a bowl, Add chopped onions and mix well
  • Divide them into equal portions of balls and flatten them
  • Deep fry in hot oil on a medium to sim flame and out them on an absorbent paper or in a colander to drain the excess oil.
  • Crispy, tasty Masal Vadai is ready!!

May 25, 2018

Devi - a simple Kerala Mural work using water color

I always admired the Kerala Mural Paintings. They have their own charm. The vibrant colours, selected shades of natural colours, the curvy features and designs are unique to this art.

I wanted to try it, so chose a simple design from the internet, sketched it and then colored it using water colors.  I haven't learnt painting professionally. Just managed with the natural skills and tried this.

May 24, 2018

Cushion Cover

I was thinking of  making some small changes in the living room at a small budget. Cushions and covers are the best visible transformation for otherwise tired looking old living room. I will give you the picture before this change.

Those cushion covers were crocheted by me and ever since, I was using only them for past few years. I love the elegant look they brought moreover it is a proud display of my work. But a transformation is always welcome to add a look to the living room, again by something made by me.... Yes, I like that personal touch in display. [Saved my old crocheted ones (though don't look so old) for future use. The acrylic yarns have a pretty long life!!!].

Couple of months back, when I had been to market, I saw a vendor selling some blouse bits. So bought few of them as the deal was good. Also I had couple of polyester blouse bits at home which was given by someone on navratri. Since polyester blouses I don't wear, I saved them for some good use in future. Bought couple of more cushions on a sale and added the numbers. Too much of cushions will also not hold good. Cushions of different shapes are too good to use to enhance the look but as of now I restricted myself with this simple change as I can always add them to my future transformations.

While thinking of the changes in the living room, I decided I will make new covers for the cushions kept on the Sofa. Since, I already had crocheted ones, this time, I ended up with these lovely vibrant ones sewed by me. The sofa cushions are orange in color so to make them look great on it, I bought a sofa cover as well so they look great on the white background.

This Sewing project I had great struggle to understand as I have not learnt stitching / sewing / tailoring. So I took up one old store bought cushion cover and was studying at it. Watched few youtube vidoes on the same but they were of not much help as they had longer fabric and what I had are 80cm blouse bits. For a person who doesn't have a professional knowledge on this art, unless the exact measuring cloth is there, it is going to be a roller-coaster ride but this ride I enjoyed.

Let me share my sewing adventure of the Project Cushion Cover! ;-)

First I measured the cushion and it was 16" x 16" and  I allowed a seam of 1", took a news paper and marked that measurement in it as I don't want to damage or waste the fabric. I tried one trial cutting sewing-assembly in it to see if I can get the same like the model I had.

Then I placed that on the fabric so that it is cut without much wastage, then marked the outer lines. Cut them and sewed them. Added few press buttons to keep the openings intact. The remaining fabric I have saved them for future projects where I can combine two colors and make a mix match covers. A thrilling experiment it will definitely going to be!!

I enjoyed learning the technicalities of each provision given in the sewing machine and it was fun.  First the cushions were looking plain and simple. Then I used the zigzag stitch to give a decorative finish to the covers outside at the ends.

The first cushion took 2 hours as I had struggle in cutting, assembling with few trial & error in the sttiching.. I had to remove the stitches as back and front got mixed up where inner side is seen out... jumbled... haha... but I enjoyed it as it was a learning experience for me. I think this is the first time, the otherwise idle sewing machine is put to max use :P

Then the I stitched the second one keeping the errors & corrections of my first experience, then I got the hang of it.

The subsequent ones, happened quicker than the previous ones.. thus ended up with those lovely ones...  

Just mixing them or arranging them in different order each day will bring in some change!

Adding some sequins or readymade golden borders or pom poms / tassels on the corners will give them that traditional royal touch! But as of now, I have decided to leave them as it is! 

If you have small polyester blouse bits and wish to give a try, sewing cushion covers is not a rocket science! All the best!

May 16, 2018

Chithirai Thirunal Vishu Dina photos 2018


Hope you all had a very happy Chithirai Thirunal, Vishu, Baisakhi, Nobo Borsho day.

Since I had uploading issue with my photo editor I was trying other possibilities and finally found another way of saving watermarked pic and uploading it to my blog, hence sharing now, our 'Kani' photos of this new year!

Viewing in the light of oil lamps like how they do in Kerala style temple, has it's own charm and makes it more divine. So, this vishu, I have kept the deepams and took a pic in that light.

To get a clear view, here it is under an electrified light, below:-

May this new year brings you more & more Prosperity, Good Health, Happiness!

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