Aug 24, 2009

Second attempt

It was my second attempt, hoping to be successful. I let the plan out to a few of my friends so I don't back out in the last moment like the past couple of years. I diligently noted down the step-by-step action plan after referring to a blog. I ensured I have the right ingredients to make this work. My preplanning skills came in very handy. I started out the process with hubby's strengths put to test along with the help of a strong hammer. The jaggery was broken down to manageable sized chunks. I dropped them all into a vessel which was getting heated and I kept stirring until the jaggery was melted. So far, so good! Hubby came over to inspect the proceedings and as an expert who has seen umpteen number of cookery shows, I intelligently explained the meaning of "kambi padham" (the jaggery should drop from the ladle as a copper string) and how it indicates the jaggery was done. Hubby should have been proud that his wife had actually learnt something from those cookery shows and not just pretending for the sake of taking control of the TV remote.

I gently dropped the grated coconut into the melted jaggery and stirred even more aggressively. I got the slight doubt that I might be overdoing the process since I noticed the blackening of jaggery. But then I was hoping for the jaggery coconut mix to become a nice dough without any watery feel to it. My doubt was confirmed after a burnt smell started to emanate. I quickly switched off the gas stove and kept the vessel away for it to cool down. "Once it cools, it should be okay" - I reaffirmed myself.

I started to prepare the white covering for the kozhukkattais (by now, you should have guessed what I was upto!). The rice flour was made into a soft dough. This was the step I made a blunder during my first attempt a couple of years ago. But this time, I got it right. "You are getting better at this, dear!", some cheer from my heart. I called hubby to help me fill the white covering with jaggery-coconut mix. I took a lemon sized ball of rice flour dough and flattened it on my palm. I asked my hubby to take a spoon of jaggery mix and place it on the center of my palm. The instruction was loud and clear. "I couldn't take out this spoon, it got stuck. And this doesn't look like what it is supposed to be. Looks like some kind of thick dark chocolate", hubby explained. Something went horribly wrong. We tried making 4 pieces of kozhukkattais with great difficulty since the jaggery got stuck to the bottom of the vessel. "Dum laga ke haisha, zor laga ke haisha", we shouted hoping to scratch a spoonful of jaggery. It wasn't worth the effort to complete the remaining dough. I steamed the 4 pieces and offered them to poor Lord Ganesha. Thankfully, I had some fruits as a backup for the offering. "Please don't be offended by these disastrous kozhukkattais", I prayed to my dear friend. Meanwhile, hubby was making fun of me imitating the way I taught him seriously on what "kambi padham" means!!

"I am not going to let this jaggery go as a waste. I'll convert this to a payasam" - my putting-things-to-efficient-use part of my brain got activated. Despite hubby's suggestions to throw it, I didn't want to succumb to the defeat. I added milk and started boiling. Slowly the jaggery was remelted and the ladle started to become visible. I exclaimed "See, it works!". After a while, the jaggery was melted completely and the ladle was rescued. But to my surprise, it didn't look like how jaggery payasam was supposed to be. Hubby looked at it and said it looks like Boost (the energy drink). I tasted a little bit and it was so badly sweet. I didn't want to add any more milk to it as I was sure I cannot recover from this disaster. I accepted the defeat finally and enjoyed the afternoon watching the movie Ratatouille. Ironically the tag line of this movie is "Anyone can cook" :-)

As people say, third time is the lucky charm. Maybe next year, I will get it right!!

Aug 16, 2009

A fantasy dinner party

My contribution to Sunday Scribblings - #176

That's an interesting topic to think about on this beautiful Sunday evening. Let me think about the seven people whom I would want to invite to my fantasy dinner party!!
  1. My hubby
  2. Sachin Tendulkar
  3. Rajnikanth
  4. AR Rahman
  5. JK Rowling
  6. RK Narayan
  7. Bharathiyaar
First, my hubby. I haven't been able to think of any special occasion without his presence in the past seven years. He is my fantasy man and his presence means a lot to me in this dinner party. Also it would be fun to watch him while I interact with my teen crush Sachin :-)

The reason why I started to like cricket is because of this one man Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Many of my friends and colleagues know how much I like to support him amidst all the media hoopla about his poor performance in the past few matches. I admire his humility and dedication. His hardwork and his ability to handle pressure from such a huge fan following in this country can never be undermined. My plan is to learn a couple of front foot strokes like the straight drive and cover drive from him when we meet at my dinner party.

The Superstar of Tamil cinema is my childhood favorite. I love all his movies and have watched them over and over again. His style quotient and charisma stand out so prominently that his heroics are still admirable even after many years of being present in the Tamil Film industry.

What's a party without some lovely music? Who else can play my favorite music other than Rahman? His music has always been with me - during times when I am happy, sad, delighted, depressed, contemplating or relaxing. He is not only a brilliant musician but also a very talented singer. I would request him to sing my favorite song "VeLLai pookkaL" when he comes to my dinner party.

Her books have kept me hooked onto them for hours together. Her attention to detail and her words which could transport one to the magical school of Hogwarts is inspiring. JK Rowling's Harry Potter books are very special to me as I enjoy reading the books and watching the movies many times.

RK Narayan's simplistic writings and his fictitious town of Malgudi can never be taken away from my life. My reading habit began with his book "Swami and friends" as I wasn't a big fan of reading novels or stories before I came across this lovely narration. His novels kindled in me an interest towards reading which has now become one of my hobbies. He is an inspiration to many aspiring writers like me.

Last but not the least, my favorite Tamil poet Bharathiyaar or fondly called as Bharathi is invited. His poems on different genres such as patriotism and love are truly master pieces. Having been a fan of film songs with good lyrics, I can positively attribute the reason to Bharathi's poems that I learnt as a kid.

That's my list of people I would like to invite for my dinner party. It would be one memorable evening to remember!! So who's on your list?

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