Saturday, June 28, 2014

Green Banana Chips

The green bananas from the Indian store have been languishing in the refrigerator since last Saturday. The idea of making the same old curry was kind of boring. So, I decided to throw dietary caution to the wind and decided to make chips out of them. It was a hot and sticky day with the temperatures in the 80s and it seemed totally appropriate to spend one's time toiling over a hot stove! It did not take long to make them, yet, by the time I was done, my shirt was clinging to my back. But the chips came out crisp and tasty.

What you will need:

1. Green bananas (the ones I used are the Indian variety and are small in size. You can also use the long green plantains).

2. Any oil that has a high smoking point, such as Corn oil or Canola oil
3. Peeler and a slicer
4. Salt and crushed red pepper to taste


A. Wash and peel the skin of the bananas.
B. Slice them thinly.

C. Wipe off the moisture from the slices with paper towels.

D. Heat oil in deep frying pan, Test the temperature of the oil by dropping a slice and if it comes up sizzling, then the oil is ready for frying. Add a handful of slices into the hot oil.

E. Remove the chips from the pan when they turn golden brown. Drain them on a paper towel.

F. Sprinkle salt and red pepper and shake the chips to coat evenly.

If you store them in a ziploc bag, these chips will stay fresh and crisp for several days.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mapping the Sacred Using Street Photography: Kilpauk, Chennai

It started as a simple project: to take  photos of the dozens of temples that dotted the area.  It is hard to miss them. Almost one per street. Almost all of them dedicated to Amman (mother goddess) and Ganesha and in various stages of growth. Even as you are pondering why so many, your eye catches something else. The almost equivalent proliferation of churches, little and big.  The juxtaposition of Amman (Mother Goddess) temple and Velankanni  shrine (Our Lady of Healing).  When did this happen? Then you remember Raji, the maid servant in your mother’s house, a Hindu woman  whose son had married a Christian, announcing she has become a Christian; the Sunday morning tent revivals, blaring mikes and the traffic jams. Then you realize that  the trade liberalization that welcomed the McDonalds, the Gap and other mncs, has also let in the Mormons, the Seventh Day Adventists and other evangelists.  Consumption followed by salvation. On the sacred geography of Kilpauk  (as in other parts of Chennai), the temples and the churches are no longer just  material evidence of Chennai’s religious pluralism but contested turfs for the hearts and souls of Chennai’s  low caste poor. You begin to wonder: is free trade finally accomplishing what two hundred years of direct British control could not?

The  photos and the text are the property of Indira Govindan. Please do not copy or reproduce any of the materials without my permission. Thanks for visiting.

Twithout my permission.
¨The  photos and the text are the property of Indira Govindan. Please do not copy or reproduce any of the materials without my permission.¨It 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Colorful Curry

The other day at the Indian store I spotted capsicum (bell pepper) in four colors: green, red, yellow and orange. Since they were all priced the same, I could not resist buying one of each. The very idea of creating. a curry in a mix of colors made cooking suddenly exciting. And the beauty of it was that the colors added their own special flavor to a simple curry. Here is how I made the curry

Medium sized Bell pepper, one each in green, red, yellow and orange
Red onion, oen
Fresh ginger, a small piece
Raw peanuts, 10-20
Small cooking potatoes (not baking) 3 or 4 
Olive oil, 1-2 tablespoon
Spices (optional): chili powder, turmeric, garam masala to taste
A sprig of coriander or mint

1. Cook potatoes to softness. Peal the skin and cut into small cubes.
2. Chop onions and peppers into small chunks. Thinly slice the ginger. Crush the peanuts coarsely either in a spice mill or in a pestle and mortar.
3. In a skillet, heat oil and add the peanuts. Roast till they turn golden. Add ginger and the onions, Cook till the onions turn translucent.

4. Add the peppers, salt and other spices. Cook till the peppers turn soft but still retaining their color and shape. 
5. Add the potato chunks and mix them all together with a spatula.

6. Remove from heat. garnish with coriander or mint.

Serve with roti or naan.

Thanks for visiting.