Mar 31, 2006

afghan dishes...

This week our cook made some 'special' afghan dishes to prove that afghanistan does have some special veggie food...This is called "Bolani". He made it from maidha flour and stuffed it with either potato mash or spinache. He added a touch of spice to satisfy our Indian tongues. This dish is almost like our stuffed paratha. and ofcourse tasty!

This one is called ' Aalo ka chablikabab'. Its main ingrediants - potatos and onion. It brought back memories of our tea kadai baggis...hmmm

Mar 30, 2006

The DMK manifesto

Dr.M.Karunanidhi has come out with his election manifesto. True to his reputation of the being called the “old fox” of Indian politics, he has come up with some amazing promises…Here are the most important items from his Santa Claus bag…
1.Re-establishing the MGR Film City (natukku romba avasiam)
2.Reinstallation of the Kannagi statue at the same place (nattukku romba romba avasiam- kannagia paakama yaar aludha?)
3.Free gas stove for all poor women (ladies sentimenta touch panraram…nadakattum)
4.Free electricity to weavers in addition to farmers (first stop the power cuts dude before u start giving it free)
5.Coop loans to farmers to be waived ( coop banks nasama poochu)
6.Reservation for Muslim and Christians (irukura reservations pathada?)
7.Assignment of two acres land to all poor families (adhu sari..wat to do with this barren useless land that will be allotted atleast 155 kms away from human habitation?)
 8.A monthly financial assistance of Rs. 300 to unemployed youth (hey…now u can earn from ur home...thalaivar padam blackla paaka ine prechanayae illa)
 9.A maternity assistance of Rs. 1,000 a month for six months (adakodumaiyaa…now the poor have the perfect reason to have another child)
10.Ration rice at Rs. 2 per kg (arambichitaruba…ethani kalam dhan aemathuvar indha natilae?)

Now heres a gem…

 11.Free color TV for women of every family” for women's recreation and general knowledge"  
(I’ll stop before I say something nasty…I leave this for u to comment…)

Mar 29, 2006

veggie time...

Namba iyer aathu spicy 'more kolambu' (made from butter milk) with 'molaga (chilli) & sunda vathal'...great combo!
(french fries wer made by our cook)

I never imagined one day I will get exited about a simple Lemon rice with appalam! But strange things do happen in Life !

Mar 28, 2006

chapathi time...

Chapathis with pattani kuruma...turned out yummy!

ok.dont ask me whats so great about it. If u are as far away from home as Iam and live on afghan rotis , U will understand the mahimai & mahathuvam of our good ol'indian chapathis!

Mar 27, 2006

The Boss of Bass

The Drum was my natural musical instrument and I had also spent most of my college days playing the Key board as well. But the instrument I really love playing most is the Bass guitar- espically if its an Ilaiyaraaja song...The Bass pattern in Raaja's songs have a life of their own and can transform you to a different plane if you put your ears to it...

I was reading Vicky's analysis -The Boss of Bass and was happy to know that there are really people out there who understand the beauty of Raaja's bass.

"The point is, many tamil music listeners doesn't even know something called bass guitar exist. Still why is he composing such superb bass tracks song after song. It's the same way that God has created so many beautiful landscapes, animals, plants and flowers in this universe which most of us are unaware of. Why did He create so many things that go unnoticed?
The answer : That's the joy of creation..."

My salutes to the great Bass masters who played for Ilaiyaraaja, namely the legendary Viji Manuel, Vasanth and Shashi (who still plays).

Click here to read Vicky's blog...

Mar 25, 2006

learning polit(r)ic(k)s...

I used to admire this man in my student days...
Vai.Ko had such a huge fan following in Madurai and other southern districts when he was in DMK...
His hands were believed to be clean (at that time) and his stage presence had charishma...
I had goosebumps when he talked about Tamil Eelam and stuff in a public meeting..
He was an awesome orator who could bind you with his words if you are not too smart...
He was once believed to be the rightful successor to M.Karunanidhi in DMK...
I voted for him when he formed MDMK and stood alone in an election...

I will never do that mistake again...N e v e r.

but then I have a better choice?

Mar 24, 2006

St Georges turns 125

One of the most famous churches in Madurai St Georges, also called 'the Stone church', celebrates its 125th year...Read its interesting history here in the Hindu

Friday food fever !

Friday is offday for us.Encouraged by the past months food experiments, Sunder tried his skills at the Biriyani (namba oru style)...It turned out amazingly delicious...We combined it with chicken fry and onion raitha...

( Idiyappam) Lemon Sevai makes a great dinner combination with omlette...
More experiments to follow soon....

Thank you...

(photo: lampshade I snapped at a local restaurant)

I suddenly realised that i have completed one year in!
Living in an entertainment free country for the past one year, blogspot has been my only resort for meeting interesting people and sharing ideas and smiles....I have made more meaningful friends in the past 1 year than I did in the past 10 years...Thanks to everyone of you who visit 'ashokism' and make my day colorful...

Mar 22, 2006

Rava dosa / idli ...history

It was a historical moment for us in Afghanistan yesterday...
We made 'rava dosai' ...from MTR rava idli ready mix...

Found on the MTR pack an interesting piece of history :
Did u know rava idlis were first invented at MTR? During world war II, rice was in short supply
.MTR experimented with wheat and thus was born the enormously famous "rava idli"

what can i say...

Mar 21, 2006

Nav roz!

Today is the afghan new year (nav roz)..Marks the birth of Spring...Interestingly, I saw the first wild flowers yesterday in our lawn...

saal-e-nav mubarak!

Mar 20, 2006

naan mae kurdhi....3

Veggies skip this post...

afghan chicken biriyani...without the usual dry grapes and carrot garnishings,,,

potatoes in meat...afghan style!

Mar 19, 2006


Naan mae kurdhi?...2

the famous afghan roti!
Throughout history, Afghans have always been a warring tribe and never really advanced themselves in food skills. (Or, in fact anything). Their basic diet is afghan roti /afghan pulav with spice less chicken/beef/sheep. The best they have come up is the kebab…This is typical of any warring civilization. The women have less time for delicacies and even less resources for experiments. The food remains close to the basics.
The afghan roti is almost a meter long and half an inch thick. Nobody makes it at home. Everybody buys it from local bakeries for 6 afghanis a piece. Its ok when warm but gives your gums a good exercise when cold. I stopped eating it the day someone said that the dough is kneaded with the feet. Oops!
When Afghans (Mughals) came to India, they brought with them their basic military food-the afghan pulav. In military camps, there was no time for cooking meat separately. So it was cooked together with the rice. This kept evolving and finally found its present form as ‘Biriyani’ under the Nizam of Hyderabad (who was an expert cook thankfully)
So, Afghan pulav is the spiceless forefather of our modern Biriyani. Sometimes, slender slices of carrot and dry grapes are mixed for flavor or whatever.
Afghans have a typical way of eating. Only the meat is in the plate. What we usually call the side dish is actually the main dish here. The roti is always on the table. They take the meat in the right hand and a bite of roti with the left. I was so amused by this sight when I saw it the first time. I desperately wanted to show this sight to my family. .what a fuss they make with table manners!
the afghan kabab!
Afghans consider vegetarians as very poor people who cannot afford a sheep.”Hey look at Abdullah buying potatoes and pumpkins.. he must have had a bad harvest of hashish this year.” Well, it’s sort of unfashionable to give importance to vegetables in this part of the world. So, in general it’s either meat or hunger. And they’ve had a fair share of both in their history.
Afghanistan has an attractive variety of fruits. Grapes (remember studying in history the famous Kabul grapes brought to India by Babur) , berries, water melon, apples, apricots, kenus(oranges), peaches are found in abundance in summer. I should also mention that nuts (pista, walnut, badam etc) form a big part of afghan snack diet.
Something the Afghans cannot live without is Tea – both black and green. I almost puked the first day I landed here when I sipped the green tea offered to me. I begged for milk and sugar the next day and from then on our cook serves me only ‘dhoodh-pathi’ (milk tea)…and I don’t care when I am looked at with amazement for adding milk to tea!

When compared to all of this, look at that way we south Indians have zoomed ahead in the kitchen sector. I was reading the comments of Tilo’s post to realize this. Our choice and variety of food is unparallel to anywhere on planet earth
The biggest sacrifice I had to make when coming to Kabul was food…the wonderful south Indian food… I come from ‘thinnu ketta’ Tamil nadu, the land of good food…! And of course I come from Madurai…the land of kuthu parotta and chalna! (my mouth is watering as I am typing this line *sigh*)
I don’t know what I would have done if not for the culinary skills of my junior architect SundaraPanidan. Necessity is the mother of invention… He learnt and improved his cooking skills in Kabul …the scapegoat was chiefly me. But he is a true professional by now.. (refer previous post for proof)
Of course, my specialty is hot water and scrambled eggs!

Mar 13, 2006

naan mae kurdhi?..01

Fish Fry..
Egg Podimas...

Puliogarai ...

Chicken 65 with rasam & omlette

muttai kolambu!

Pongal & sambar !
Poori - kelangu !

Mar 12, 2006

the moment...

Every photograph stands for a word, a feeling , a poem…Where Life is about continuation, photography is about the moment, the eternal moment!
Art trespasses all borders and eradicates all frontiers of race, culture and language.
With art an eternal expression is born that protects our sanity and serenity.
It brings peace when nothing else could and when everything seems to fall apart. Art breaks down the conventional and leaves behind the imprints of possibilities.
With Art we save ourselves;
With Art we pose the most vital questions.

Mar 8, 2006

Kabul this week...

Few snaps that i took on the way to the Kabul International airport (from my car)...


Kabul has an exclusive women's park!!!
I have no idea if its used though!
The board thats hanging outside gives an idea that its probably under renovation with Japanese funds...

I just had a few seconds to snap the entry as i was passing it...not a good idea to snap anything related to women here!

Happy Women's Day !

Mar 6, 2006

gone with the wind...

She flew towards me in the flowing air
With an Icy look yet clothed in fire;
A strange mix of fear and desire
Griped my soul , I stare, I perspire.

I got a glimpse of the moon lit face
So near yet miles afar;
So unreal yet there she was
A flickering lamp in the chilling air.

I strained my eyes but futile it was
As the moon was behind her now;
I kissed her shadow just before
She vanished with the wind.

She loved the wind and the wind loved me.
She loved the wind as the wind loved me.

[Here Iam republishing a poem that was inspired by the American Poet Theodor Roethke. I had by chance come across an article about Roethke in 'Span' as a school boy. The imagery he had used in a poem had a deep effect on me and inspiried me to pen this poem.]

Mar 4, 2006

Madurai map...

This is the artistic representation of the Maduari city beautifully done by Rathina Basker (for commercial purpose). He was kind enough to send this to me for my opinion and allowed me to use it in my blog as well...good work rathina!

Mar 3, 2006

Kabab party...

Jamshed Ulmasov , our HR manager threw a kabab party on his b'day (28 feb) It was also a goodbye party as he is leaving to Tajkistan.
Our chef - doing what he does best -afghani kababs!
mutton kababs on the grill...

mutton & chiken kababs ready!
potatos and eggs with a tomato rose!

the Indian gang with the b'day boy!
ofcourse, Emad came out with his usual hooka and gave a belly dance aswell...!