Butter/Garlic/Thyme Naan-Homemade!!

March 23, 2014

I am in Heaven…and so Blessed and Grateful

BUTTER/GARLIC/THYME NAAN

BUTTER/GARLIC/THYME NAAN AND MASALA CHAI

I just finished eating this truly, amazing and delicious meal served with my own special Masala Chai. 

You can see how delicious it is from the photos, but there is no way I can photograph the wonderful aroma still pervading my house from baking it.

The recipe is one of so many I have tried from one of my all time favorite blogs:  Peri’s Spice Ladle.  http://www.perisspiceladle.com/2014/03/14/garlic-and-thyme-naan-indian-bread/

Just some photos during preparation….really worth a try.

Dough Resting

Dough Resting

Divided into Six Portions

Divided into Six Portions

Ready to go in the Oven

Ready to go in the Oven

Baking

Baking

Namaste to all

Jane

 

 

 


Chole Bhatura from Start to Finish

March 3, 2014

Chole Bhatura from Start to Finish

chole bhatura

chole bhatura

Chole bhautra is an amazingly delicious treat prepared from chickpeas in a wonderfully spicey sauce and served together with Bhatura, a fried, puffed, light bread.

rolling the dough

It is a sinfully delicious Indian snack/meal and I was privileged to eat it during my stay this past year in Delhi with my dear friend Preeti and her lovely husband Sudeep.

starting to puff up

deep frying and starting to puff up

Golden brown and puffed to perfection

Golden brown and puffed to perfection

It is a popular Punjabi dish but is now enjoyed all over India. I’ve posted a series of  photos of the entire process in case it interests you…watching the preparation and all the effort involved made me even more grateful for this wonderful meal!

Chole Bhatura

Namaste

much love light and JOY

Jane


ALONE AT LAST – NOV 16 2013

November 16, 2013

ALONE AT LAST – NOV 15 2013

LAXMAN JHULA
I’ve been in India a full 3 weeks now but this is the first time that I find myself alone, which is for me, a true first! Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way complaining about the past 3 weeks.
It has been a very different beginning to a sojourn here but not any less rewarding and exciting and unique as the usual arrival on my own from day one.
I spent the first week with an amazing couple, Preeti and Sudeep from Delhi. I met Preeti via Facebook and finally last year we met face to face for a very short visit when she was in Rishikesh. And there was an immediate chemistry between us which could not be denied. We agreed that when I came back this year, if it worked out, I would spend the beginning of my trip with her and her lovely husband . And it did work out and was a truly blessed week that I spent with them…..first of all, I ate truly gourmet Indian food prepared each day,

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three times day (except for a couple of dinners we ate out) by Preeti’s superbly artistic and ingenious hand in the kitchen. I won’t even try to describe the meals she prepared as there are no words to describe the gastronomic pleasures of her cooking. Just a few photos to perhaps whet your appetite.
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And at the end of this fun, educational, interesting, eyeopening, week where I explored Delhi through the eyes of local people who love their city and know it well….I met my daughter and proceeded to spend the past wonderful two weeks with her. In all the years I’ve been coming to India, this is the firt time a member of my family has joined me, so this was truly a memorable and amazing two weeks. And a true blessing to be cherished.
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I will now settle in to being just with ME-the main reason I come each year to India, as well as to do my panchakarma treatments. And during this time I hope to catch up on posts about all the lovely adventures I had over the past 3 weeks. Hopefully I will do so at a pace compatible with my “going within”…so this may take some time. But I truly would love o share these days in both words and photos with you…so be patient, as I will do my best to be.
with love light and JOY
Namaste
Jane


Beautiful Last Evening (and day) in India – Nov 21-22 2012

December 1, 2012

Beautiful Last Evening (and day) in India – Nov 21-22 2012

Last Morning in Rishikesh-Clouds Over the Mountains

Last Morning in Rishikesh-Clouds Over the Mountains

I was invited to Dr. Arora and Manju’s for dinner together with my friend Michal.  I usually spend quite a lot of time visiting with Manju while I am in Rishikesh.  Daytime visits where we just chat and I watch her in the kitchen-best cooking lessons available-and these visits were missing during this short stay.  But at least I would get to spend the evening with her, and I was excited about going.

We wound up spending the evening in prayers, chanting and singing with all the female members of the communal family dwelling (5 sisters-in-law, a couple of THEIR daughters-in-law, a visiting sister of Dr. Arora from Delhi, and even one baby granddaughter).  I couldn’t have found a more suitable, uplifting and beautiful way to spend my last evening in Rishikesh, or better company.  I have no photos, as it seemed neither appropriate nor necessary at the time, but the wonderful pictures will remain in my mind for a very long time.

It seems over 30 years ago, Dr. Arora’s father decided that every Tuesday there should be an evening of Kirtan (sacred chanting) in the family temple situated in the center of the family dwelling, and the women at the time decided they would be the ones to do it.  And to this day, this is precisely what happens every Tuesday evening.

There is nothing that compares with the power, and empowering energies of the prayers of women.  The chanting was done joyfully, sometimes playfully, sometimes with deep serious mindfulness and devotion, but always directed directly towards the deities.  I felt it on a deep soul level and felt myself being swept away with the power of the connection to God felt in the small room.  Since the chanting is repetitive, and the women took turns leading it, I was very often able to join in. And from my years in India, several of the chants I realized I actually knew the words to myself!  This surprised me and of course brought great joy and approving pleasure to the faces  of the women. And of course, clapping along with everyone else was a no brainer, even for me!!  🙂

The visit afterwards with Manju and the Doctor was thoroughly enjoyable as always, with good conversation, seeing the beautiful wedding album from their eldest son’s wedding last year (the daughter in law of course now living there with them) and of course a superb light dinner.  With soup, idlis, subji, shahi paneer (Manju makes the best in India for sure and she always remembers how much I like it and makes it for me when I come), chutney and of course chapattis with ghee . Dr Arora drove us home, quite late…tired but with full stomachs and happy hearts.

Now having my last breakfast here at the Pundir Restaurant after being treated to a wonderful whole wheat chapatti and homemade ghee when I stopped by Seema’s house earlier.

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The sky is cloudy today for the first time in 6 weeks.  I feel “cloudy” myself. Must be raining somewhere up in the mountains to bring the clouds and colder weather today.

Neelkanth Temple in Distance

Neelkanth Temple in Distance

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And somewhere deep inside of me there is a “rainy” feeling as well.

evening clouds

evening clouds

The day continued quietly, with goodbyes to everyone, always difficult, but even more so after such a short stay, and of course packing up my stuff for storage as well as for taking home.  The sky was beautiful to watch during the day and evening,

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and before heading off to Delhi by taxi, I had my last supper of schnitzel and chips!!  🙂

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The ride on the new highway took less than 5 hours….

Sachin provided me with a pillow so I could sleep in the car on the way.  I dozed on and off…and to my great surprise was in delhi in less than 5 hours!!  New road is good for sure.
Found a nice bench in the departure lounge to lay down on for another hour until they opened the RJ check in counter.  They really hassled me about my carry on- it didn’t fit into the “rack” which measures them.  Finally they called the supervisor, and she allowed me to take it.  What a pain in the ass.  The whole thing took over an hour but luckily I was first on line and when I got to the gate, there was even a free bed to lie down on which I did of course.

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Last Sunrise Over Delhi During Take Off

Last Sunrise Over Delhi During Take Off

the flight was fine but it seems the AC as not working….it was really hot on the plane.
Good flight to amman but it is over 7 hours going back.  The plane was not full so there was no one next to me which made it easier to  sleep a little with my legs over the handle of the next seat.
1/2 hour delay in Amman but that meant yosi actually got the airport in time to pick me up.  It was nice.
We went and had a nice breakfast in Yehud and then headed home and got stuck in a HAIL STORM!!  Thought the car windows would crack the pieces were so big!
And then later on in the evening, my house was struck directly by lightning and my phone went dead while talking to yosi.  and my cellphone needed to be charged but I had no electricity, so we couldn’t talk.  It was easier talking to him from India!

And now I am home, a week later, writing this last post!!  I will be posting several more photo posts, and then saying goodbye until next year!  Look forward to seeing you all once again then!

Namaste from Herzlia, Israel


Perfect Paneer Parantha – Finally Good Outcome from Panchakarma-Nov 20, 2012–11–28

November 29, 2012

Perfect Paneer Parantha – Finally Good Outcome from Panchakarma-Nov 20, 2012–11–28

I just ate the perfect paneer parantha.  (You can see a perfect aloo parantha Here )

 Would have been the perfect aloo parantha if that had been my choice today but I felt like paneer this time.

VERY thinly rolled, not doughy, not greasy, lots of turmeric and cilantro and the slightest hint of chilly powder.  And lots of paneer.  So different from what most places serve.  Just as good as any I make myself at home.

Got up this morning-my last “real” day here before leaving tomorrow evening for the airport in Delhi..  Got dressed and decided to out for breakfast in Laxman Jhula. Below some of the sites I saw and pretty much the last photos of this short visit to Rishikesh

early morning family outing

 

On the way down to the Ganga

stuff to buy along the way

colorful surprise

 

Stoppedby Dr. Arora to make final arrangements for dinner tonight at his house.  Really excited.  Manju is THE best cook I know personally in India!

And weighed myself.  I could tell from my jeans this moring that the results of the final stage of panchakarma, rejuvenation, are finally clicking in.  My body is finally beginning to get slowly back into balance.

Well, I got on the scale and to my great joy and surprise (as well as the doc’s-he gave me a huge grin and then hugged me), I gained 5 kg in the last 10 days or so.  And it is the first time I’ve managed to put weifht back on since my digestive issues began more than a year ago! Went from 47 to 52 Kg!! My normal weight is around 56 kg so I am on my way.

Despite the setbacks during panchakarma this year, and it being soooo difficult, I see for sure tht slowly the full impact will be felt in the final results.

So I now sit at the Ganga View Restaurant, across Laxman Jhula to the left past the jeep stand.

breakfast view Laxman Jhula

My View While Eating Breakfast just One Week Ago

 

This is a place I usually come to eat often, but will not have the time this year.  They have the best iced coffee, toasted cheese (made with yak cheese), tofu and veggie dishes, and to my surprise, have now added bakery items to their menu.  And of course a wonderful Ganga View to enjoy.

Today I found a lovely spot in the sun to enjoy.

peek at laxman jhula

Had the wonderful paneer parantha and masala chai, and for dessert had a delicious chocolate/banana muffin which was perfect!

morning music

early morning ghat view

lady on crutches navigating ghat with child

 

Final Look Towards Laxman Jhula

 

Heading home to rest and finish packing and be ready to go to the Arora’s for dinner. Hope to write about it in one more post, as well as post several photo posts with shots that didn’t make it into any of the posts from this trip,

Namaste (but now in Israel  🙂   )

Jane


Blessed Life, Gratitude and Joy-Panchakarma Day 6 October 19,2012

October 20, 2012

Blessed Life-Panchakarma Day 6 October 19,2012

Dinner at Laxmi’s

Ganga below, clear blue sky and green mountains across, above and surrounding me, cool breeze, breakfast on the way at Lalita’s restaurant as I begin to write this post in my notebook.  … as tears of overwhelming gratitude and joy for my blessed life stream down my face.!  

Gas Delivery Day in Tapovan

Just a scene from local life….apparently gas delivery day as women were coming down the street one after the other, old and young, all carrying balloons on their heads…I was lucky enough to get my camera out and get at least this one shot above!

Feeling better today but still tired.  Dr. says no more “communal” massages.  No more practicing on me (even though I love all the extra massage care and attention).  Need very gentle, relaxing massage by one person only.  If not, it is too tiring and exhausting for me in my weakened condition.

So today I had a truly quiet and relaxing massage from just Laxmi and the same chest pack again as yesterday.  I wasn’t quite as cold as yesterday (they told me that most people begin sweating when this is put on them) but still not comfortable.  This is just another indication of my still very weak condition.  Dr. will also do some further treatment later to help clear my sinus and chest, which is normally done by the Vamana (vomiting/purging which I am not allowed to do this year), so all is well.

And just to make a day even more perfect, even with the wall blocking my view, I was still rewarded with these slight signs of a beautiful sunset.

It is now 9:30 at night and to my great surprise, just got back home from a fun evening at Laxmi’s house.  She invited us today and I had originally planned to go to the puja to meet some Israeli friends, but I wasn’t feeling up to it and so decided to go with Michal for a quick visit and light snack at Laxmi’s house.  We met her at the clinic and waited for her for quite awhile before she was ready to leave.  We bought some sweets for her kids and mother-in-law on the way.  And to my surprise, my good friend Reingard, from Germany, who I know for several years now and who I spend quite a lot of time with during my stays here (last trip we went to Varanassi together), was also there.

Laxmi’s Kids

We played with her kids, aged 11 and 13, had lots of fun, it was great to see her lovely home finally complete – it was still in progress last time I was here.  After working a full day at the clinic, she came home, changed clothes and went into the kitchen to prepare what we thought would be a light snack.  We sat in the room for quite awhile (after being served delicious chai of course) and she was still in the kitchen.  Went in to see what she was doing…got a few more pointers about getting my own chapattis to come out as good as hers, and then went back again to wait.

Finally, when we were all really tired, but quite happy spending the time with her kids and talking to Reingard, she came in with a full Tali for each of us!!  Chappati (with ghee of course), two kinds of subji (vegetable dishes-one cauliflower, the other potato and cucumber) and delicious soup made from cucumber!!  Talk about a light snack.  This is one meal we certainly won’t tell the doctor about!!  But it was soooooooooooo delicious!   And we had a truly love time.

“Light Snack” at Laxmi’s House

 Her kids have gotten so big, and as they go to a good private school (paid for by Reingard all these years), they speak wonderful English.  Michal had finally picked up the four suits she had tailored for her and so we also had a fashion show, which was great fun!

All in all a lovely evening.  And now happily off to bed.

Namaste from Rishikesh

Jane


To Cook or Not to Cook-That is the Question!

September 19, 2012

…and the answer is NOT TO COOK!!

This sounds very cryptic I know, but is quite simple.  Every year for the past number of years I have set up a kind of very simple kitchen system to be able to cook in my room while in India.

Good enough to Eat

In a previous post I explained the reasons for taking a room and setting up a primitive sort of kitchen , rather than a full apartment with kitchen, as follows:

My first “kitchen”

”  The limited kitchen as a blessing: I sometimes find myself annoyed that I don’t have a real kitchen and have to improvise to prepare my simple meals. And I am very limited in what I can cook, as I have one pot and one frying pan, [the past two years I have added a pressure cooker which is a BIG plus ]  

no counter top, no kitchen sink (I have finally figured out how to best wash my dishes using the bathroom facilities), and basically all I can cook is kitcheri, vegetable soup, pasta, porridge, pancakes, eggs, grilled cheese or toast with tahini, hot drinks…I cannot make anything more ambitious even if I want to, including chapattis and paranthas. And even these few simple things involve great planning and thinking things out before beginning to actually cook them. Measuring out of ingredients, peeling, chopping etc., in advance outdoors,

Veggies ready for cutting up outside on the terrace table

making sure each thing is lined up on the table to be put into the pot which is on the gas balloon which sits on the floor and which I either squat over or sit in a chair to stir. I’ve gotten very good at all this actually and no longer find it difficult in any way.

And then I realized that these limitations are a true blessing.

I usually sit in the chair but a friend caught me one morning like this!

Knowing myself, if I had a comfortable working kitchen, I would spend a lot more time cooking as I did when I had a kitchen in Mcleodganj several years ago. And that involves shopping each day,

Local Provisions Shop (not including fruits and veggies)

carrying the heavy stuff home, spending money on expensive ingredients, spending LOTS of time in the kitchen making all kinds of lovely dishes, and even inviting people in for dinner a few times a week. And this is NOT what I want while I am here. I want things as quiet and simple as possible and being limited in my kitchen facilities, guarantees that things are kept to the bare minimum and as simple as possible while still being able to cook twice a day for myself. So, for me, no kitchen is actually better. ”

my second ‘Improved” kitchen

I have always enjoyed being able to cook these simple meals for myself however, and since I began using a pressure cooker a couple of years ago, it has gotten even easier.  I can now make steamed veggies in 1/2 minute!!  Kitcheri, delicious vegetable soup with lentils in less than 10 minutes etc.

But cooking still does involve work.  Especially getting everything set up when I first arrive.  It takes a couple of days and lots of energy, and then the same energy to get it all packed up and back into storage before I leave.  And of course the shopping for ingredients, the cleaning up after cooking, etc.

Since I will only be in India for 6 weeks total this time, not my usual several months, I have been contemplating the wisdom of going to all this bother this trip.  On the one hand, I love the option of preparing food for myself when I feel like it, and having the freedom not to have to go out to eat all the time…but most of this trip I will be on my special panchakarma diet anyway (which I will write about at a later date), and the big plus is being able to make my own vegetable (with a larger variety than the restaurants would prepare for me), or even having a good rich vegetable soup once in awhile. And of course there is nothing to compare to the porridge I make myself with apples, cinnamon, raisins and almonds,but I will “make do” with the restaurant version for the month.  On the other hand, I will be needing the time to rest and take care of myself as much as possible, and cooking during this period of time is usually on a very limited basis for me anyway.  I do most of my cooking before and after my month long treatments…and that’s when I enjoy it mainly.

My vegetable plates will not be as exciting this year!

So, after much contemplation of the pros and cons, this morning I came to the final decision, that this trip will be TOTAL vacation.  No cooking, no shopping, no cleaning up, no setting up and repacking before I go home etc.  If I want a larger variety of veggies in my daily vegetable plate, I will provide the kitchen with them myself !!  And if I need my kitcheri heated up in the evening, I will ask the kitchen to do that for me as well.   And if I REALLY feel the need for vegetable soup, I will go down to my friend’s house and cook it there, making up a large pot for her and her family as well!!  🙂

I am pleased with this decision and happy that it has finally been made.  Takes another “load off my mind”!  🙂

Namaste

Jane


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