There are few recipes I end up repeating many times a week. It is rather curious that I have never posted a few of those oft repeated recipes at all. Is it a case of familiarity breeds contempt? could be.  We as a family of three consume a dozen eggs in two - three weeks, mostly. I love eggs. They are my favorite breakfast. Eggs and a cup of milk, picked up during my hostel years at JNU. I hated the many different things that was served in the hostel. I hated the greasy Parathas, I hated the thick, heavy concrete circular slab called Uttapam, I hated the bland Upma and of course Tuesday was the day of fasting for Hanuman therefore we were served Bananas or eggs for breakfast. Since I did not like breakfast served on most of the days, I took to having egg and milk everyday since these were the constant alternate on the menu everyday.

Before my hostel days, we had tradition of bread and eggs for breakfast on Sundays. My mother used to prepare fresh butter on Sundays and me and my father would go to a small shop in Agrahara, Mysore to get our loaf of Modern sweet bread. Sometime, we would also pick up a small loaf of Modern fruit bread too. Then from Chick-Market  we would buy our eggs.  Back home my mother would prepare Omlette, french toast or boiled egg as per our choice. I would mostly stick to either Omlette or French Toast. My father would some times have it scrambled. Curiously enough Sunny boy loves eggs too. But he is a boiled egg whites only guy! Not like me who as a toddler used to drink my milk  beaten with raw egg, something of an eggnog (eeek.. I hate it now). My mother thought that would make me strong till some one told her that I could be food poisoned to death! So I actually do not remember what it tasted like though I survived the food poisoning scare. It is just that back then food was more wholesome and food poisoning was much lesser a scare then than now despite all our refrigeration and modern technology etc. Commercially farmed, processed and transported across half the globe food will never be as good as the locally grown fresh food.

For now it is just simple Omelet. Serve it for breakfast by itself or with a slice of bread. Or serve with for lunch dinner along with  Rice/Curry to make the meal a little more interesting. Also unlike the french Omelet which is served jiggly in the center we really cook the hell out of our eggs till they are golden brown. We make sure our Omelets never look like they were made out of eggs.  They should resemble the more familiar Dose to be good enough to be eaten! I know the French would probably cringe at our presentation, Julia Child might be rolling in her grave but then my Mother would never ever touch a completely yellow omelet, much less the jiggly ones. As a matter of fact, I would not either if I had a chance. Sorry IHOP I never liked your omelets or pancakes for that matter.

We will need,

Eggs 2
Onions 1 medium chopped
Green chillies 2 chopped (adjust according to taste)
Coriander a handful washed and chopped
Coconut fresh grated 1 tbsp
Peanut oil/Coconut oil 2 tsp
Salt and Pepper to taste.

  • Pre-heat a heavy bottom pan on medium high heat. 
  • Break the eggs into a bowl. Pierce the yolks and start whisking the egg. Whisk till frothy. 
  • Throw in all the ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour a tea spoon on oil into the pan and swirl the pan to ensure a thin film of oil all over the bottom of the pan. 
  • Gently pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook till the sides look set and golden brown.
  • Flip, pour the remaining oil around the edges of the pan and cook the other side for a few more minutes till the other side is golden brown too.
  • Serve hot.


I have always believed that simplicity is the USP of Kannada cuisine which augers well for busy time constrained modern life. We have no time to cook elaborate meals now, looks like our ancestors did not have time for elaborate meals either. Our everyday meals are quick and easy with a sort of no-nonsense air about it. One such meal is Uppsaaru along with Ragi Mudde/Rice. Uppsaaru is just a handful of beans/legumes, vegetables, greens or any combination of the three cooked together and served with a side of "Khara" a spicy chutney made of red chillies and garlic.  A little more refinement means draining the cooked beans and vegetables reserving the stock. And then a quick Oggarane on the cooked beans/vegetable combo. How about this for a quick weeknight meal? Make the "Khara" once and Uppsaaru is ready in no time. In fact the Khara ground in a stone mortar/pestle would last for days without any refrigeration. That was how it was done indeed, kept in the empty shell of a coconut in open air.

There are three components to a more refined version of Uppsaaru, the Palya, the Kattu or the broth and the Khara, all served separately. As we ladle rice into our plates, we make a hole in the center and pour the Kattu into the hole. Then we throw a peanut size Khara and mix everything. We increase the heat by helping ourselves for more Khara if preferred.

So here it is. Simple food at its best.

For the Palya and Kattu,

We will need,

Beans/legumes of choice I have used Alasande (red chori) 1  cup
Mixed greens  1 lb or chopped vegetables (green beans, carrots, ridge gourd etc) 1 lb
or a combination of green and vegetables
Onion 1 large
Garlic 2 cloves minced
Red chillies 2 (broken)
Peanut oil/ghee 2 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves a handful
Coconut fresh grated 1/4 cup (optional)
Salt and lemon juice to taste

  • Pick and wash the beans till water runs clear. Combine it with six cups of water in a pressure cook till al dente. 
  • Once the beans are cooked, throw in the greens/ vegetables and cook till vegetables are tender al dente.
  • Drain the vegetables in a colander and reserve the stock.
  • Heat oil/Ghee in a Kadai. Throw in the mustard seeds, Jeera, red chillies and curry leaves. When they crackle throw in the onions and the garlic. Saute till the onions are slightly pink. Throw in the well drained vegetable mixture.
  • Adjust salt and lemon juice. Throw in the coconut if using and remove from heat. 
  • For the Kattu, place the stock in a pot and adjust salt. Throw in a tea spoon of butter if preferred.  Serve the Palya and Kattu separately with the Khara as shown in the below picture

There are a bunch of recipes for Khara. It is nothing but one size fits all. I guess our grandmothers and their mothers were quite creative when it came to recipes like these. They just used what ever ingredient was handy, from coconut to garlic to peppers to toasted curry leaves.  Think of the recipe below as a starting point and customize is as desired. Most of the ingredients are optional except Red chillies, garlic, tamarind and salt.
We also make a green version of this Khara and call it Sapneeru.

We will need,

Byadagi chillies 10-15
Garlic 4 cloves
Pepper corn 2 tsp
Jeera 2 tsp
Tamarind extract 1/2 tsp
Jaggery 1 tsp
Kopra /dry coconut 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender with as little water as possible and grind it to a smooth paste. Better it grind it in a granite mortar/pestle
  • Keeps well for at least two weeks in the refrigerator.

Canada Diary

This past week we were in Canada on a vacation. Since we did not have time to plan ahead, we decided on a rather impromptu road trip.

Day 1: We started from Princeton well past 11 AM and after a quick stop at Durga Temple, we headed north to Quebec city. Thankfully 1-87 was quiet and we were able to make decent progress before the lunch hour stuck. We stopped at one of the rest areas to finish our lunch of home made vegetable Pulao. Once we entered the Adirondacks region, the scene was breath taking. With the pine lined mountains and azure lakes the scene out the car window looked straight out of coffee table books! Sunny boy however was loosing his patience. I forgot to pack some activity books, crayons for him. He made us listen to his favorite songs ("Yello Jogappa" from the Kannda movie Jogi and "12 3 Vishnuvardhana" from the movie Vishnuvardhana) for a few continuous hours. We reached the Canadian border at around 5.30 PM. With summer in full swing, we got to enjoy the landscapes in bright day light for a few more hours.It was at the customs post that I first heard "Kubek". That did not prepare us for the amount of French we would be encountering in Quebec. After a brief stop just outside Levis for an early dinner, we headed into Quebec city. Our accommodation was at Beauport just a few minutes from downtown Quebec. The lady at the reception greeted me with a "Bonjour" but she was courteous enough to switch to English the minute I fumbled with my Bonjour! Though I did my research before to get at least my "Bonjourn" and "Merci" right, I often did not get it right. However, a nice smile with the wrong word and the large hearted Quebecians made sure that we had a very good time at Quebec!

The first thing that stuck me when we got out of our car was how expensive Canada was. A dinner of two small sized pizzas cost us $25! Something that would cost us a little over $10 here in the states. I still gave a benefit of doubt , may be it was just this joint?

The second time I almost got a heart attack when I looked at the price of Gas in Canada. With all the shale oil, arctic reserves, I was not really ready for such a steep gas bill filling up our tiny Pruis-C. Half of a tank cost more than $30! it would never cost more than $25 for a full tank here. That was to come a little later though.

Day2: It was a beautiful day. Sunny and nice, after a quick breakfast of Ashoka ready to eat Palak paneer and  chapatis we were ready to explore the streets of Quebec. We headed out and hit the downtown before we had finished listing to a song. After the mandatory photo stop at the fountain near the National Assembley of Quebec, we proceeded to explore the grand building behind the fountain. Unfortunately most of the information was in french  and one of them said "Hotel du parlement". Now we were confused. Here we were gloriously clicking selfies thinking we were right in front of Vidhasouda, which turned out to be Le Meridian? a bunch of Chinese  tourists were not of much help and so were a bunch of other French speaking tourists. But we got lucky just as we were about the walk away to the next attraction, we spotted a blue booth handing out maps. Thinking that we would be smart with a map in our hand, we dropped into the booth with our broken "Bonjour"s and brilliant smile only to be greeted back with "Good morning,how may we help you"!! turned out that there was a free English  tour of the national Assembly in just about 10 minutes. We were ecstatic. The tour was good, that was my first time in any Parliament building. When our tour guide finished explaining and was ready for a question answer session Sunny boy had one "Why are we wearing this" pointing to the visitor passes clipped to his shirt.  Our tour guide was gracious enough to give him a one line answer even as the whole tour group broke into laughter!

It was only after we got out of the National Assembly that  we realized how hot Quebec could get by noon.  With the blazing sun to keep us company we stumbled into guess who! good old Gandhi tata..It is always lovely to bump into friends,family and familiar faces far away from home.
We decided to head to the lower town in old Quebec for our Lunch.  We stumbled into a Pizzaria right opposite to the Notra Damn Basilica. They served us some excellent food. A fan of thin crust Pizza that I am, I loved the pizza they served, with thin crispy crust, sweet fresh tomato sauce and  fresh basil with good fatty mozzarella cheese on top. Also good was their Chicken Milanese. Though the portions looked rather small having gotten used to the super-sized American entrees. Finally we got the check/bill that reinforced my suspicion of Canada or more specifically Quebec being more expensive than the States!
It was not before long that we realized that the heat and the hearty meal did not go well together and decided to head back to our hotel. Me and Honey napped while Sunny boy played by himself!!
That evening we headed to a water falls a few minutes from the hotel, Chute de Montmorency. Climbing up about 500 steps we were treated to breath taking views of Quebec and St Lawrence river. It was lovely to be by the water on a hot day as well. We decided to end our day with a meal closer to our Hotel. Bad choice. We went to a place called Thai Zone, which looked like a Thai-Canadian Panda Express. The food was bad... We were barely able to finish our order though we ended up forking $35 for a meal that would have cost about $20 at Panda Express.

Day 3: Our last day in Quebec, we woke up to an over cast sky. Typically I would crib looking at an over cast sky. Not that day. I had had enough sun the previous day and welcomed the clouds and a rain shower per chance too..That morning we witnessed the change of guard and toured the citadel of Quebec.
The fort was something like the Lal Kila meeting Srirangapatana fort. A live garrison like red fort, it was also a site of conflict between the  British and French as it played out in Deccan back then, the same style of mounting cannons over the fortified walls,  town within a town like Srirangapatana, it was only Tippu Sutan who was missing in Quebec!
After the tour of the fortification, we headed back to nap at our hotel (yes we napped a lot , it was a vacation after all ) On the way we picked these up.

 These are called Poutins, a local specialty.  It is quite simply French fries topped with gravy and fresh cheese. I loved the cheese, tolerated the gravy but sorry I am not a  french fries person. But Honey enjoyed these a lot. He was also impressed with the average coffee served in Canada. He loved it.
That evening, it was perfect to meander along the promenade by the river, waving bikers and walkers passing us. It was a perfect way to relax. (the only way to elevate the scene would have been a big bag of Churmuri). We rode the Ferry to enjoy the views of Quebec from the St Lawrence river and by the time dusk fell, it was a lovely sight. We had the by lanes all for ourselves with the week end tourists all gone. At 8 PM we were the last patron at a Trattoria in lower town. We ordered a Veggie Pizza which was not all that great given my preference to thin crust Pizzas. But the Spaghetti with sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms was good.

We left downtown Quebec with a happy belly and a heart full of lovely sights of the city.

Day 4: We hit the road early heading into Montreal. Montreal greeted us with open arms and traffic choked roads. Sunny boy was running a temperature by then. We stopped at the China town area and walked into one of its many restaurants for a quick meal. Surprise! the food was supurb. We ordered some Chicken coriander Dumplings (Lloved them!) They were hand made right in front of us by a couple of old ladies. Unlike the regular dumplings, the skin of these dumplings were rather spongy and thick but they were out of the world.

The noodle and dumpling soup enough to bathe a baby was equally good. Just that the dumpling kept slipping down my chop sticks! we thanked heavens and Tylenol for such a great meal, a meal that made my sick picky eater Sunny boy eat his lunch with out making a big fuss. 

The next stop was Notre Damn Basilica. It was grand. Sunny boy did not like the rather dark church. He wanted to go out and play. It was Canada Day and there was a big party happening right behind the Basilica. We decided to walk to the party. What a way to celebrate the birth of a Nation. It was all about concerts, cakes, puddings and lots of fun things to do. But with Sunny boy sick, we did not enjoy it all that much and decided to head over to Ottawa, our next stop. We gave the Montreal Olympic village a miss. That will have to wait.
Ottawa reminded me of Washington DC. There is something about capital cities that makes them smell and feel similar. Is it power? is it something else I know not. But New Delhi, DC and Ottawa all feel the same to me. That night Sunny boy was better and we decided to head over to the heart of Ottawa to watch the fireworks. With major road closings and a new city, it was actually a brave decision to  go there in hindsight.  But there were good Samaritans all along who guided us to the right place and then we were at the heart of Canada day celebrations. It was Diwali, New year at Times Square and 'Marammana Jatre' all rolled into one. It was a hell of a block party, merry making in every sense. Only the red and whites of the Canadain flag could set it apart from  a grand block party. The fireworks began shortly so did a thunderstorm. I ran with Sunny boy to a shelter close by and a sweet Canadian girl offered me her umbrella. I was hesitant to accept her kindness as there was not way I could return her umbrella in that crowd. But she was sweet enough to give it me to keep. That is my souvenir from our trip, an umbrella from a kind hearted girl who could not bear to see my little Sunny boy getting drenched in rain.

Day 5: We  walked along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, got the last tickets for an emglish tour of the Canadian parliament hall and hopped into the Nature museum. Well for starters, the museums are expensive unlike DC museums which are free. But Canadian Nature museum is much beautifully laid out that the DC natural history museum. We also had a wonderful Raspberry pastry at the museum canteen, it was so delicious that it was gone before I could click a picture! It more than compensated the mediocre Pizza they served us for $20+taxes.
We rode the water taxi again to see sights of the Parliament Hall from the water. The Rideau canal was very impressive indeed. Would have love to see a boat cross the locks but that was not meant to be.
We had plans of watching the MosAika sound and light show at the Parliament hill, unfortunately we were too early for that. It will be starting next week.

Day 6: We headed out of Ottawa to Kingston to the land of thousand islands. Our trip was now in sailing rough because Sunny boy was tired and ready to go home. But decided to stop briefly at Kingston for a ferry ride and go over to Niagara falls and then home cutting short of trip by a day and a half.
The ferry ride was very good. But we realized later that a ferry ride from Gananoque would have been better.  But we got to have beaver Tails in Kingston. Well those of you wondering if we did really eat a tail of a beaver, beaver tails are something like fried dough topped with cheese, chocolate and other goodies. They are shaped like Beaver tails though. we had the ones with Cheesecake ,chocolate and caramel candies.

Our next stop was a brief stop over at Toronto and then to Niagara falls. Niagara falls from the Canadian side is awe inspiring. The gushing waters made the earth beneath my feet shake..the mist that rose as the water fell into the deep gorge below made my mind go numb for a while. My heart thumped at the might of the currents, of water. I though I saw a cormorant drown in the currents, but she popped up after a few minutes, probably happy with her catch. Never knew cormorant could dive. It was also a tribute to the diversity of life on earth. An all powerful man would not have survived the dive there but a tiny cormorant did. She is blessed with a talent we are not. No wonder people have always tried to conquer the falls in barrels, rafts and what not. That was the end of our trip and we headed back  home after a long road trip , it did feel nice to be back home. So long Canada, we will remember your Poutins, Beaver tails and the raspberry pastry for a long time to come!