April 6, 2011-Perfect Aloo Parantha

April 6, 2011

The Importance of Having the Proper Tools of the Trade

I didn’t expect to be posting here again, but since what happened today at home is directly related to my last stay in Rishikesh, I decided to post anyway.

Perfect Aloo Parantha Puffed Up on Tawa (pan)

I just made the perfect aloo parantha…thanks to the new rolling pin I brought back with me from Rishikesh and the practice in Seema’s kitchen…you can see it is perfectly round (which I never accomplished in the past) and beautifully puffed up here…and it was SOOOOOOOOOOOO yummy!!

Preparing Parantha in my kitchen

I’ve been making parnathas for several years now (paranthas are made from dough – the same used for chapattis, which is filled with various fillings, rolled out flat, and then cooked over a high flame on a cast iron pan to insure that they puff properly and are cooked through by steam), as well as chapatti, and although they have always tasted good, they have never been round, and rarely puffed up to be properly steam cooked.  While in rishikesh I asked Seema again why this happens and she invited me once again into her kitchen.  When I rolled out paranthas in HER house, they were perfectly round, with no problem, and the filling did not come out all over the place.  we tried to figure out what was different, and came to the conclusion that I was using the wrong type of rolling pin and because of this, they also were not coming out round, and not puffing.  If the dough is not rolled out exactly evenly all over, it will not puff on the pan, or when placed directly over the flame, and then will not be cooked properly inside.

So I bought a rolling pin exactly like seema’s and a couple of days ago it arrived in a parcel. You can see it in the photo above.

Today I made my dough, as usual, my potato filling, as usual, and the only difference was the rolling pin.  And to my great amazement, as well as that of my daughter, the paranthas came out as perfect as perfect can be!

Lovely Round Aloo Parantha Cooking on Pan

Which only goes to show that we can make every effort possible to make sure things are done properly, and insure the best outcomes, but without he proper tools, are efforts are very often in vain.

Shalom

Jane

 

 


March 11, 2011 – Vacation Day 10 – Change of Plans and Final Shabbat Shalom from Rishikesh

March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011 – Vacation Day 10 – Change of Plans and Final Shabbat Shalom from Rishikesh

At this time next week I will probably just be waking up in my own bed!

Hard to believe 3 months have gone by so quickly…and so beautifully.

Now cooking probably for the last time here, as I want to get my “kitchen” packed away today. Making plain pasta with just some ghee.

Earlier today, I woke up feeling really good, especially happy with the fact that I have gotten back to eating properly and pleased with myself.  Got dressed up nicely, put on my makeup for the first time in a long time, and went down first to visit by Dr. Arora and explain to the girls why I hadn’t been around for a few days, and then go take care of a couple of things I needed to finish in Ram Jhula, and hopefully go sit along the Ganga.

Well, this was not to be. I got down to Dr. Arora and simply mentioned my feeling so weak and having a slight fever a couple of days back, and resting up the past couple of days.  He was a little surprised and when he checked my pulse found it weak.  I asked if this has anything to do with the panchakarma, and he asked what I had been doing the whole week.  Didn’t mention everything I ate, but did tell him I had done lots of wonderful walks in the beautiful weather.  And he immediately understood what had happened.  He said even the slight fever was an indication that my body was very tired, because I had not rested properly after doing panchakarma.  Just then I got up to talk to Laxmi, and felt so faint I had to sit down.  He took my blood pressure which was also quite low, and simply told me that I must respect my body and just rest for the next few days.

Truth is, in past years, I did panchakarma at the beginning of my stay here, had plenty of time to rest for a week or 10 days afterwards, before getting back “into action”.  But this time, I finished just a couple of weeks before going home.  Also, the weather had been so bad, I wanted to not only get out and enjoy walking, but get in as much walking before going home.  So I literally went directly into action the day after finishing my panchakarma.  And a week later, my body just rebelled….knowing that better than “me” what was good for me.

So now, instead of all my plans to take full advantage of walking for the next few days, I have been advised, especially before traveling and coming home, to rest as much as possible.

So looks like the next 3 days I will stay very close to home, enjoy the weather from my rooftop, cancel my plans to go visit Devi, Laxmi and Manju, no Papu Lassi in the Market, no facial in the Market as well, and no special meals back at Prem’s Namaste Café.

Perhaps in another day or so, I WILL feel a little better, but truth is, I was so weak, that for the first time here I had to take a rickshaw all the way up to Swiss Cottage…I could not walk back up the hill!

Came back, had my pasta for lunch, and then went down to visit by Seema, as well as the ladies there…came back to my room, had some chai and carrot cake and later a fruit salad, and finally a pleasant visit until now with a lovely young American girl who I have been spending time with over the past week.  I had originally done Tarot and healing session with her, and we “hit it off” and have had some lovely discussions since then.

I will now read a bit and then go to sleep

Shabbat Shalom for the last time from India this year!

Namaste

Jane


March 6-7, 2011- Vacation Days 5-6 – Knees, Books, Kitcheri, and Ram Jhula on a Sunshiny Day

March 7, 2011

March 6-7, 2011- Vacation Days 5-6 – Knees, Books, Kitcheri, and Ram Jhula on a Sunshiny Day

Sunrise this Morning

I have just finished reading a book “Dog Boy” by Eva Hornung and am speechless.  I sit here in shocked silence, choked with tears.  All I can say is, if you can find this book, you must read it. It was published in 2009 so should not be difficult to find. I usually just post the books I read with short comments on the tab marked “What I am Reading” at the top of the blog, but this time I MUST say a few words here.  There ARE really no words I can find to truly portray the stunning beauty and sadness of this book. It is sobering to say the least, the concept for the story not a new one, but the author has realized it magnificently.  Do your best to find this one!

Now let’s head back to yesterday.  As I mentioned in my previous post, my knee had been complaining after my long day of walking, so it was obvious to me that today would be a close to home day.  The knee was actually worse than I had imagine, and I found my self limping even when walking a short distance, and the stairs up and down from my room were really difficult and painful.

I spent a good part of the previous night, and the rest of today, doing Reiki, but then realized that the pain originated not in my knee but in the calf of the same leg.  I began to think that perhaps I had overdone something in yoga yesterday morning, and then the extended walking just aggravated the problem. (Good news is, the next day, when I am writing this, my knee is good as new and I will go out walking soon).

The day dawned beautiful and sunny again, and I was able to do my morning meditation, pranayama, prayer etc. outside in the sun.  Had a very light breakfast of hot milk with my chawanprash and dried fruit, and di a lot of reading.

And then a lovely young Israeli girl who had “heard” about me, came up to meet me, and we wound up having a lovely and intense (for both of us) session.  I received a powerful channeled message for her, and also was “adopted” by three angels at the end of the session.  It was really wonderful!

Then I went down for a light lunch of steamed veggies, but wound up eating a vegetable burger on a roll, with salad and chips!!!!  I just couldn’t resist and it was soooooooooo delicious.

Came up to my room and slept for a couple of hours to my great surprise, probably a result of the long day out the day before.

When I awoke, was outside again in the sun, and offered to cook dinner for my neighbor and me if she would do the shopping for the veggies…she happily agreed.  Just then, someone else came up to talk to me (the wife of the guy who I had emailed for quite some time – the yoga instructor who mentioned me on her ABC interview…this all in a previous post).  We had a pleasant talk for awhile but then the neighbor came back with the veggies and I had to excuse myself to cook kicheri for us.  Which I did!  And it was really nice cooking for someone else and eating with them…first time this trip I did this-forgot how pleasant it is to be able to cook for other people once in awhile.

The day ended pleasantly, outdoors, and I had a lovely sleep last night, waking early to the beautiful sunrise at the beginning of this post!  Pays to get up at 6:30 and go outside!

It is now after noon and I will be heading out soon for a short walk to make sure my knee is really OK…and will be back later with perhaps something else interesting to write.

Back from my short walk…only out for 4 hours…and my knee is fine, thankfully.

Had a very expensive lunch at the “spa” restaurant in Ram Jhula, and it was interesting but not something I would ever order again.  A wrap, made in whole wheat chapattis (4 of them on the plate – too much for me to eat – of grated beets and carrots in tehini with mint chutney on the side.  It sounds much better than it tasted, believe me.  But it was a change and the place is nice to sit at, so I can’t complain.  Walked around the ghats in ram jhula for a while and then came back,

 

Ganga Panorama from Ram Jhula Ghats

check out more scenes from today’s walk here:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=275070&id=547896544&l=a04e7fe4d1

did some shopping for the next week, visited with some friends staying at Seema’s and am now happily back on my rooftop where I will relax and read and play and listen to music for the rest of this lovely day 6 of my vacation.

cross the ganga and succsss your journey

Don’t forget to check out this link for some more shots of today’s stroll along the ram jhula ghat.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=275070&id=547896544&l=a04e7fe4d1

Namaste

Jane

 

 


March 4, 2011 – Vacation Days 2-3 – Accepting with Joy and Gratitude

March 4, 2011

March 4, 2011 – Vacation Days 2-3 – Accepting with Joy and Gratitude

My First Completely Round Parantha!!

I now sit outdoors on my rooftop, grey dreary chill surrounds me but inside is a feeling of joy and contentment.  I am listening to lovely music, always chosen by my mood and inner need, and I find te chill invigorating and cleansing.

I have promised myself to accept with joy and gratitude whatever these last days hold for me, and that is exactly what I am doing.

I have just finished a breakfast ordered from room service, simply because I felt like it!  I had planned to prepare fried eggs and toast for myself, but began thinking of the cooking, and especially the cleaning up, and went downstairs and ordered a breakfast that someone else would serve me and clean up from afterwards!  What are vacations for anyway?

Yesterday, I was invited out to my friend Seema’s house for breakfast of aloo (potato) parantha (and to my surprise received also methi (fenugreek) parantha.

Aloo Parantha with Curd and Chutney

I arrived in her kitchen to find her happily waiting my arrival,

Seema Welcoming Me into her Kitchen

and just for fun, I asked to roll my own parantha.  And to my great surprise, (I make parantha all the time at home as well), I managed to roll out my first completely round parantha!!! (As seen in the top photo)

Seema says it is her rolling pin that makes the difference,

Seema's rolling pin

I think perhaps it is also the density of the flour which is different –

Stuffing the Parantha Dough

don’t know-but it was nice to know it IS possible to do.  I will go out and buy a similar rolling pin just to check it out when I gethome, and will try using stone ground flour as well (which is what she uses).

At any rate, I had a lovely breakfast, in lovely company and then went  down to Manju for my special gift massage, and was definitely not disappointed.

Came back to my room, and made myself a pleasant lunch of pasta with tomato, onion, garlic fried in ghee.  Yummy!!

And then, found myself needing to sleep.  Found myself waking up a full 2 hours later!  Had a glass of masala chai and really good fresh apple pie, and then did some computer work downloading new dances I hope to be able to learn before returning home. (But then again, this is something that I feel I HAVE to do, not WANT to do, so might just forget about it).

I then packed away a good amount of clothing which I am no longer wearing and which I leave here from year to year.  This is the first thing I have done which emphasizes the reality that I am leaving soon!  But it was also reassuring, knowing that I am leaving my things here means I will be back!

And then decided to watch a movie before going to sleep.  I actually watched “The African Queen” with Humphrey Boghart and Katherine Hepburn, made in 1951!  Although much of it was really “corny”, I enjoyed every minute of the film more than I thought I would.  Times and attitudes have so changed in the past 1/ 2 century – and watching a movie made 50 years ago is a clear indication of where the world has come from, and where it has arrived. Question being, are changes always for the best?

Went to sleep quite late, had vivid dreams which I have been experiencing since beginning panchakarma, and woke refreshed and at peace.

I have been invited for lunch by a lovely young woman, my next door neighbor this month, who I have been talking to since she arrived.  It is really sweet of her and will be a nice diversion on this dreary day.

And that’s about it.

 


February 20, 2011 – Hurray!! Panchakarma Day 23

February 20, 2011

February 20, 2011 – Hurray!! Panchakarma Day 23

Again woke up just before 7 with a start and looked outside and found this…I love the sunrise…it is beautiful but lasts literally for seconds….

Well, today I finished what for me is the most difficult part of panchakarma…the water enemas.  I finished my 5th today and from now on it is smooth sailing to the end on Friday.  Just a couple of more oil enemas, but those are child’s play, and now massage every day, some steam bath, shirodhara, basti and just pleasant stuff.  Can’t believe it has gone by so quickly.

And with the weather warmer, at least during the day, life is good.  I’ve been a little tired the past few days but that is normal.  In past years I was exhausted all the time, so 3 days of low energy is really a good sign for me that things are going very well this year.

With the change in weather, the tourists have returned.  Like overnight, the “joint is jumpin’”….the guesthouses are filling up, the restaurants have customers (which means you have to wait much longer for your food), and of course Hebrew is once again heard in the land!  Israelis are back in full and I can tell you, the restaurant owners are in heaven.  No other nation eats as much as Israelis…they order large amounts of food, finish it all, sit around talking, and then order more!

The wedding will finish up tonight and it should be a really big affair.  I heard them testing the sound system just now…and what they chose to test it with, and which really had me laughing, was a Hinid version of the Russian classic song Kalinka (which is a very popular song in Israel as well, as are many Russian original tunes translated into Hebrew by the original immigrants to the Holy Land).  When I mentioned it to an Indian here, his response, not surprising because this is the Indian way of seeing everything in the world, was:  “This is famous ancient Indian song which was copied by other countries”.  This is soooooo typically Indian, but in this case it was really funny as the music is so definitely Russian in origin.

Anyway, it’s been a relaxing day in the sun upon the roof, resting away the hours with reading, napping, needlepoint, cooking delicious vegetable soup, and writing…all outdoors and back to normal.

Hopefully over the next couple of days I will also have my energy back and be able to go out walking again…I am really missing it.

 


February 18-19, 2011 – Interesting Couple of Days-Global Internet Village– Panchakarma Days 21-22

February 19, 2011

February 18-19, 2011 – Interesting Couple of Days-Global Internet Village– Panchakarma Days 21-22

Yummy Home Cooked Lunch

The last couple of days have been interesting, at least for me.  First of all, although it is still chilly, the sun has been shining so I have been able to relax comfortably on my rooftop, as I have been quite tired the last two days, something which is expected, and up until now, I have not felt this year.  So it was lovely to be able to sit out and read, eat, relax, do needlepoint and enjoy the sunshine at the same time.  Cooked my own lunch yesterday as I was finished too early for lunch and didn’t feel like waiting around.  My own food is always the best in the end, but it is nice NOT to have to shop, cook and clean up afterwards.

On the way back I found this:

Wedding at entrance to High Banks-Guarantee of Three Noisey Days and Nights

At the entrance to the area I live in and I knew this meant 3 days of lots of noise.  Last night it began and I am very thankful that I have good earplugs which block out all noise.  Most people up here could not go to sleep until 2 in the morning…tonight and tomorrow it continues!

After eating lunch yesterday, a young girl came up and said she heard about me and wanted to know if she could get a tarot reading and healing session, and I was very happy to be given the opportunity to get back “into things” again.  It was a lovely session and another day came to a lovely end.

Today, being Saturday, while having my herbal tea outside the clinic, I got a few shots of the colorful crowds which converge on Rishikesh on weekends to go down to bathe in the Ganga…

Colorful Saturday Tourists Going Down to Ganga

You can see more shots in this new facebook album of local life scenes:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=271045&id=547896544&l=651ff68ddd

Today while at Dr. Arora’s, another client came in to talk to him and after she explained what she needed, he pointed to me and said “SHE is the expert”.  And thus began a new career for me….transferring, converting, merging and burning videos from a digital camera.  For me it is simple enough to do and the other person was ever so happy.  And while doing that, another YOUNG girl came up, saw my laptop, and asked if I knew how to upload photos…I said yes, but would not allow her to put her data stick into my laptop USB port.  I’ve had too many problems with viruses to take the chance.  So she went to check it out someplace which I recommended, and later, will come up for me to teach her how to compress and upload them!!  Never thought I’d be doing THIS in India!

And now a funny story. I won’t go into details as I don’t want to expose people who might not want exposure, but it seems that a certain yoga instructor in America, who is making her first trip to India with her husband this year, has brought me to the attention of the American public via TV interviews.  Seems she was interviewed on a national network and mentioned how the internet had helped her to arrange her trip to Rishikesh.  Her husband had found MY blog doing a google search and for the last couple of months we have been emailing back and forth.  Well, I HAVE been emailing with a nice man from America who is coming with his wife soon, and thought “could this really be me?!?!?”. It has been a pleasure helping them, as I have helped others coming to India for the first time.  But how did I find out that I was mentioned in her interview?  Well, someone commented on my blog and I asked, as I always do, how they found my blog.  She explained it was after watching a TV interview with a yoga instructor who’s husband had been emailing me regarding their upcoming trip to India…(not by name, by description…a woman from Israel who has a blog about Rishikesh where she has been living for several months a year, every year for the past number of years). So she (the woman who was watching the interview) googled Rishikesh, blog, Israel and lo and behold (!), MY blog turned up!!

I find this all quite amazing to say the least…what a world!

And that’s it for today

Namaste

Jane


January 19, 2011- Addition: Perfect End to a Perfect Day

January 19, 2011

January 19, 2011 – Addition:  Perfect End to a Perfect Day

steamy steamed veggies - 1/2 minute in pressure cooker

What better way to end this lovely day than with the following;  While I finished posting the first post today, my veggies steamed, and the moon rose like this:

The Moon this Evening

Another day full of blessings!

Namaste

Jane


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