The past few months seem to have gone by in a haze, I feel as if I had lost all track of that particular phase of time. Some months left me low and others went in a dilemma. At times there was a sort of tussle between what my heart felt and what my mind thought; a turmoil which wrung my mind and heart so badly that I couldn't think of ways to fix things and how to turn all the wrongs into rights. Then came a point, when I believed that it was the utmost point of things going wrong and they couldn’t go worse any further. The feeling left me almost numb and paralyzed my capacity to think. Perhaps that is what hitting rock bottom means.
It has often happened with me, that whenever I am at my lowest, I either come across a mail or receive a text message from a friend or just happen to hear something on the TV/radio which seems like an apt answer to that particular issue that has been haunting me or it addresses that particular emotion so well that it invariably leaves me filled with faith and uplifts my spirit. It is as if some power up there is connecting with me and holding me together.
The calm and peace that descends upon me is perhaps inexpressible. I then know that God is around, He is there – with me, for me – and my faith is reposed and further strengthened. Armed with faith, I know there is nothing to fear, nothing to worry and this confidence has always helped me fight through each of my personal trials and tribulations. Rest I leave to Him. I received an SMS that read – “when going through tough times, don’t say ‘God, why me’…instead, say ‘God, try me’!” It wasn’t difficult for me to grasp the meaning of these simple words. He never tries us beyond our capacities.
Hitting the kitchen is what I always do when I am going through such phases. It helps me calm down, unwind and I find it very therapeutic...almost cathartic. I often plunge myself into making stuff that is somewhat elaborate by my normal standard (I normally believe in finding ways/cooking stuff that is easy and fast to dish out) – measuring, stirring, simmering, cooling, spreading, turning over. I thoroughly enjoyed carrying out each one of this activity while making the papads, known popularly as poppadums or papadums to the West. These papads turn out crisp and delicious; you can enjoy them as an evening snack or serve it with curries and rice.
Making these papads also brought back some sweet memories of childhood. I can vividly recall Mom stirring the pot in the kitchen and me excitedly waiting for her to bring the pot out in the sun to spread them out for drying. Although we used to make them during summers (since they would dry faster), yet the blistering heat could never deter me from venturing out with Mom and making these fun goodies! J
As for the Tomato Rice, it was the outcome of some left-over cooked rice. This is a south Indian recipe though not a typical one. It does not have the omni-present curry leaves of the south Indian cuisine but fragrant never the less. Low in calories, rich in lycopene, potassium and Vit C, tomatoes have much more health benefiting qualities than that in an apple! With so many health benefiting qualities, it does not come as a surprise that Tomato Rice happens to be a popular dish served out at most wellness and healing centres in India.
Here is what I used to make the Tomato Rice:
2 cups cooked rice
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
2-3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
¼ tsp ginger (finely chopped)
½ tsp anise seeds or fennel seeds
¼ tsp mustard seeds
3-4 green cardamom
1 inch cinnamon
1 ½ tbsp refined oil
3-4 medium, plump red tomatoes (finely chopped)
Salt and red chillies to taste (I used ¼ tsp chilli powder)
Heat the oil in a wok and add the mustard seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and anise seeds.
When the mustard seeds start crackling and the anise seeds start to change colour, add the onion, garlic and ginger.
Sauté till the onions just start turning golden.
Add the tomatoes and cook them on low flame for about 15-20 minutes.
Season with salt and chillies and stir in the rice.
Cook for approx. two minutes and serve with papad.
Note: I usually grate half the amount of tomatoes that I use and finely chop the rest. This cuts down on the cooking time.
For the Papad you would need:
½ cup tapioca pearls
3 cups water
½ tsp cumin seeds (more if desired)
Salt to taste
1 generous pinch Chilli powder (optional)
1 generous pinch Garam Masala (optional)
Transfer the tapioca pearls in a pot and add salt. Soak them in water for 45 minutes to one hour.
Place the pot on medium flame. Once the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and keep stirring.
Cook till the mixture turns somewhat thick and viscous (not too thick) and the tapioca pearls will become almost translucent (it will take approximately 30-35 minutes)
Let the mixture cool down a little and then start spreading the mixture to dry.
Scoop half a table spoon over a plastic sheet or a white sheet and gently spread (not too thick or thin) them at a little distance and finish the whole mixture.
Lay them in the sun and once the top starts setting, cover them with a thin cloth to prevent dust.
Once the top is dry, turn over the papads so the other side is dried out as well.
Once dry, store in an air tight container.
Notes: If using a cloth the papad will tend to stick to the cloth and may not come off easily; remove them by slightly moistening the back of the cloth by dabbing water and gently remove the papad.
Notes: The tapioca pearls should be well cooked, else you will have chewy papads. (My first time was a fiasco!)
Note:Fry the dried papads in hot oil carefully since they tend to splutter oil once in a while (mine did). For this reason, I fry one at a time.
Note: The papads will double in size upon frying so carefully chose the size when you spread them to dry.
Makes about 25 papads (size shown in pics)
Thanks for visiting and see you again!
Post linked to Nancy's YBR - March event
Linking to Lunchbox Ideas event hosted by Chandrani
Post linked to 'Only' South Indian event hosted by Pari