Saturday, November 22, 2014

Yarn Bombed Mixed Media Altered Cigar Boxes

Plain wooden boxes are like catnip to me. I have to paint, sketch, scrap, embellish and alter them in any direction my muse takes me. This was a $5 cigar box.

It has been sitting in the attic for several months. I brought it down to my studio a few days ago with no idea as to what I wanted to do with it. I decided that I would yarn-bomb it. Currently, I am on a yarn-bombing spree.  I do not knit or crochet but  wrap knitting yarn around objects in a variety of ways using glue to hold it in place. You could call it yarn-bombing redux :)

In the photo above, you can see the design with yarn and fabric. I gave the box a funky look by adding tall legs which were also yarnbombed.  Now the humble box is a magnificent gallery stand for all kinds of objects!

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Art on Wood with Paint, Yarn and Inca Gold

Art on wood--my favorite medium. Materials used: wood boxes, acrylic fluid paints, yarn, Inca Gold by Viva Decor. Can you tell my favorite colors?:)

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Curried Cauliflower

Cauliflower, which is becoming a trendy vegetable, got a shout-out from the New York Times in a recent article. The article called cauliflower "a feisty vegetable that can take a punch" and recommended cooking it with bold spices in high heat. It goes on to say "Asian spices marry well with cauliflower". Well indeed. In northern India, cauliflower (Phool gobi) is one of several winter time vegetables eaten with roti or Indian flat bread.

One of my favorite ways of making gobi curry is the one I learned from my mother. What my mother used to do was to add a tablespoon or two of gram flour (besan) when the curry is almost cooked and give the curry to good toss and saute it for a few extra minutes. What one gets is a texture and taste of pakoras without the oil and the deep frying.

Here is how to do it:

1. Cauliflower
2. Usual spices (salt, turmeric, chilli powder, masala)
3. One tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon coconut oil
4. 1-2 tablespoon of besan (gram flour)
4. Black mustard for tempering


1. Cut the vegetable in medium sized chunks. The vegetable should be able to retain its shape after cooking.

2. In a pan heat oil and add the mustard.
3. After the mustard has finished popping, add the cut cauliflower.
4. Add the spices and saute in low heat till cauliflower is cooked. Cook it al dente. That is, it should still retain its shape and crunchiness.

5. Add the coconut oil now and sprinkle the besan on top. Toss with spatula so that the oil and besan coat the cauliflower uniformly.

6. Turn up the heat little and continue to saute till the besan turns brown.

7. Remove from heat and transfer to a dish. Serve with rice or chapati.

Enjoy. Thanks for visiting

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sabudana Vada Tapioca Sago Patties

Sabudana (sago or tapioca pearls) vada (patties) is not a south Indian food. It is a Bombay snack but has become very popular in Chennai. I never had it when I was growing up in Delhi. But, my mother made it when I visited her after I had moved to the US. I learned this recipe from her. 

What you will need

Sago (Sabudana or ஜவ்வரிசி or साबुदाना): 1 cup

Baking potatoes: 2
Raw peanuts: 1/2 cup
Green chillies (optional)
Salt (to taste)
Chickpea or gram flour: 1 tablespoon
Oil for frying

1. Soak sago in water overnight. It will become spongy and puffy. Drain it completely in a sieve to remove all water.

2. Cook the potatoes till they become soft. Remove the skin and mash thoroughly.

3. Crush the peanuts coarsely.
4. Mix in sago, potatoes, peanuts, ginger, chillies, gram flour and salt.

5. Take a spoonful of the mix and flatten into a patty. 

6. Heat oil in a frying pan. When it reaches appropriate temperature. drop patties into the hot oil, two at a time.

7. Remove from heat when they turn golden on both sides and drain on a paper towel to remove extra oil.

8. Serve with mint or tamarind chutney.

Thanks for visiting.

Artwork on New Surface

Wood is my new substrate of choice for painting. It began when I spotted small, inexpensive 4"x6" wood panels at Michaels. I bought a whole bunch of them to paint. It was pine or balsa wood and not the best surface to paint. But it was a good experimental surface to try out inks, paints, pencils, markers, pens etc. to see how they preformed on wood. From pine, I switched to birch wood and simply loving the effect! In the last two weeks, I have completed several paintings and put them up for sale on my Etsy shop. Take a look

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rajma, Kidney Beans Stew: Creamy and Flavorful Without Cream or Spice

Rajma is one of my favorite curries and it is my go to accompaniment to rice and roti when I am feeling lazy. Except for the advanced preparation of soaking the beans (not needed if you are using canned beans), it is a very simple and quick dish to make. The version I make is creamy and flavorful but low-fat without the addition of cream or without any exotic or hard-to-find spices. Purists may look askance at my concoction but I would have it not any other way :).

The key to my recipe is the sauce. I use a blend of tomatoes, coriander leaves, mint leaves and yogurt. I add this blend to the beans and simmer with salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Finally, a drizzle with hot oil or ghee. Eat it with rice or any Indian bread.


Kidney beans (dry or canned). Small one if using canned.
A small can of diced tomatoes (canned)
Sprig of fresh coriander
Sprig of mint
Low fat plain yogurt, 4 table spoon
Pinch of salt, turmeric, chilli powder and asfoetida
Olive oil, coconut oil or ghee

1. If using dry kidney beans, soak them overnight in plenty of water. Once they are well soaked and swollen, cook them in either pressure cooker or over the stove top till they become tender. If you are using canned beans, you can skip this step.

2. Meanwhile, add half a can of tomatoes, fresh coriander, fresh mint, all of yogurt into a blender and puree using pulse setting. When done, the sauce will look like this.

3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and add turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Add the beans and pour the sauce over the beans. With a spatula, thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.  Heat it thoroughly on low heat. Do not simmer the mixture as it will cause the yogurt to curdle and separate.

4. In a separate pan, heat 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil, coconut oil or ghee. Drizzle the hot oil over the bean mixture.

5. Eat with cooked sticky rice or flat Indian bread.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pesarettu Moong Dal Dosa

For a dosai that is made with just one legume it is an extraordinarily tasty dish in addition to being a very healthy one. You can make it flavorful by adding spices like cumin or carom seeds. You can make it into a meal in and itself by adding your favorite vegetable stuffing. It is also one of those dosas you can eat without any additional condiments. It is also much easier to make compared to the standard rice dosai. Except for the time it takes to soak the legume, prep time is quite short.


Green moong dal whole (unskinned): 1 cup
Salt to taste
Chili powder or paprika to taste (optional)
Cumin (optional) 1 teaspoon
Carom seeds (good for digestion) (optional) 1 teaspoon
Dessicated coconut or shredded coconut  2 tablespoon
Red onion (large) 1
Coconut oil

1. Soak moong dal for at least 24 hours. Soaking will soften and plump up the dal. You will need it to be soft to grind.

2. Drain and grind the legume in a food processor or a standard grinder. You can add salt and paprika at this stage. Grind it to a smooth batter.

3. Meanwhile, chop onions to finely. Heat oil in a skillet and sautee the onions till they becomes translucent. Remove from heat and transfer into a dish. (Or you can substitute onions with a vegetable of your choice)

4. Heat the griddle or a non-stick pan. When the griddle is hot, wipe it with a little bit coconut oil. This will keep the dosa from sticking to the griddle.

5. Pour a ladle of dosa batter onto the griddle. Using the ladle spread the batter in a circular motion till it has the desire thickness and size. You should do this fairly fast before the dosa starts cooking. Drizzle a small amount of coconut oil around the edges of the dosa.

7. When the edges turn brown and cripsy, flip over to the other side and cook it for a few minutes. Always make sure that dosa is not overcooked or burnt.

7. Flip again and layer the dosa with filling.. Carefully turn one half side of the dosa over the other. Gently lift it with the spatula and transfer it to a plate. Top it with a little pickle or brown sugar and enjoy.

Thanks for visiting.