Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Kathrikkai Pulikuzhambu
(Eggplant in Spicy Tamarind Sauce)

Puzhikuzhambu is a common and much liked dish in my family, eaten traditionally with Uppu Paruppu (seasoned dal) and Vathal and Vadakam. The simple taste of dal and the spicy, tangy taste of the puzhikuzhambu make it a combination hard to beat. Puzhikuzhambu can be made with ladies finger(okra), brinjal (eggplant), Pavarkai (bitter gourd or bitter melon), Garlic and onions. It is quick and easy to prepare, and I learned it from my mother.

KPuzhi

Ingredients
1. 2 brinjals (I used the long variety) any kind would do
2. 1 1/2 cup of tamarind pulp
3. 1/2 onion chopped roughly
4. 5 garlic pods
5. 2 Red chillies broken in half and seeds removed
6. 1/2 tomato finely diced
7. 1 tbsp puzhikuzhambu powder (see below) or use readmade vathakuzhambu powder
8. seasoning, cumin,mustard, urad dal, methi seeds - about 2 tsp combined, curry
leaves
9. 1/4 tsp sugar
10. a pinch of asfoetida(perungayam)
11. 1 1/2 tsp oil


Puzhikuzhambu powder
1. 1 1/2 tsp corriander seeds
2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
3. 2 red chillies
4. 1/2 tsp methi seeds
5. 1 tsp urad dal
dry roast the above and powder (in a coffee grinder)

Method
1. In a vada chatti (pan) heat the oil and season with urad dal (when this turns slightly brown) add , cumin, methi, mustard and curry leaves.
2. When the mustard starts to pop add the red chillies and onions, fry till the onion starts to brown.
4. Add the garlic pods and saute for about a minute.
5. Add the brinjals and saute for a few minutes.
7. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute till they are soft.
8. Add the puzhikuzhambu powder and salt and mix well.
9. Now add the tamarind pulp
10. Let it boil add the sugar and when it reaches the consistency that you desire switch off the heat. I like it a little bit thick so I leave it till it thickens.
Also before you switch of the heat test to see if there is enough salt.

Serve it with Seasoned Dal. Feels like home everytime we have this dish.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Neer Poosanikai Thayir Kuzhambu
(White Pumpkin in Spiced Yogurt)

Over the weekend I completed a month in the blog world. In this short period I have learned so much about food that I never thought possible, not only about Indian cooking but also about food from around the globe. My learning will continue...

It has been fun so far and my and I have never photographed food before but now 'Click It' before 'Serving It'.

thayir2

This is a dish I learned from my grandma(ammayi). It is so simple but the taste is really unique.

Ingredients
1. 1/4 White Pumpkins skin and seeds removed and diced
2. 1/4 Onion diced
3. Seasoning, cumin,mustard, curry leaves
4. 1 1/2 cups Yogurt

Coconut Paste
1. 4 tbsp grated fresh coconut
2. 3 green chillies
3. 3 pods garlic and 1/4 inch ginger (I sauted these in a little bit of oil) in my grandma's recipe this is used raw
4. 2 tsp cumin
5. 1/4 tsp black pepper (optional, I did not add this for the recipe)


Thayir

Grind the above with a little bit of water to a paste

Method
1. Heat a 1/4 tsp of oil in a pan, season with cumin, mustard and curry leaves.
2. When the mustard starts to pop add onions and saute till translucent.
3. Add the pumpkins and salt and cook till they are soft.
4. Add the ground mixture and fry till raw smell goes
5. Turn off the heat and when it cools down add the yogurt and mix welland check to see if there is enough salt.

Serve with rice or as a side to spicy parathas.

I guess each region/family has their own version of this recipe like LG's Ethakka Kaalan and Sugar And Spice's Mor Keerai .

Monday, May 29, 2006

Paruppu Keerai (Greens in Dal)

Keep it Simple

"Keep it Simple" this is going to be my theme for the week. Simple food cooked with a few ingredients preferably fresh the way my ammayi(mom's mom) and aatha's (dad's mom) used to cook. They never used complicated ingredients or methods of preparing food but the dishes always tasted amazing. When I had the luxury of watching them cook I never paid any attention. These days I only wish I were there next to them to catch those nuggets of wisdom. Jumping to a completely different topic, it also got me thinking why some of us are vegetarians and some of us are not. My mother's side of the family was Vegetarian and my father's side was Non-Vegetarian, we grew up eating non veg. I am curious how these things came to be.

Paruppu Keerai
This is a real easy dish with just 2 main ingredients.I found these radish and turnip greens in the farmers market, came home and cooked them the same day, simply flavorful and tasty.

ParuppuKeerai2

Ingredients
1. 1 Cup Toor Dal (cooked with a pinch of turmeric and a tsp of oil) the water added should be 1 : 1 1/2 dal,water [Moong Dal can also be used ,always roast the moong dal to slightly brown before cooking them]
2. 2 Cups fresh greens
3. 1/2 Onion finely diced
4. 2-3 green chillies slit
5. seasoning - mustard, cumin, methi seeds, curry leaves
6. 1 tsp oil/ghee

paruppukeerai1
radish, turnip greens

Method
1. In a pan heat the oil, add the seasonings, cumin, methi, mustard and curry leaves in that order.
2. When the mustard starts to pop add the onions and green chillies, saute till the onions are translucent.
3. Now add the greens and saute till they wilt a little bit.
4. Add the cooked dal, extra water depending on the consistency you want and salt and when the dal starts to boil leave for 3-4 minutes and turn off the heat.

Nothing could be more simple. Goes well with rice and with chappathis.




PS: Solemn rememberance to the fallen soldiers of wars past and sincerely hoping there would not be any more wars in the future.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Looks Who's Visiting



We are BirdSitting (Minnu) for the weekend for our neighbor. My older daughter thinks we should buy one for her. She has been hinting and talking about pets so much that is has left us wondering if we have to give in and visit the Petstore. So when our neighbor asked us if we would birdsit for the weekend we readily agreed, what would be better a experience than this to see if we would adjust to having a pet around and if my daughter thinks she still wants one after the weekend.



He/She not sure of the gender is a free flying Parakeet but only inside the house, so we have to be careful about keeping the doors closed lest he flies out and we also trying to keep all food closed, not keen on added spices. My youngest who still is learning to speak insists she has to have a bird view at all times or she starts "Minnu Run".

Friday, May 26, 2006

Vegetable Briyani and Spicy Potato

It was GrandParents Day at my daughter's school. Her grandparents live oceans away so I had to represent them. Lemon was the theme, they had a play about a Lemonade stand and we were asked to bring lemony desserts. I was planning on making this delectable Lemon Orange Cake. Later it was decided it would be lunch and International food it was. I would have made Chicken Briyani which always comes out tasting good, but there was Peruvian Chicken and I decided on making Vegetable Briyani. I made Spicy Potato inspired from Route 79's Masala Potato Wedges but toned down the spicyness. I was in a hurry, did not want to take the day off but wanted to finsih as much work as possible but as luck would have it of all days my program was refusing to work so I had to leave that half was and get everything done in a rush. Everybody loved the Briyani and the Potatoes. The Potatoes were spicier than I expected but they were the first to vanish. You have to give Indian dishes their credit they are always a big hit in a crowd and also a great converstation starter. It is no wonder that the Brits have almost adopted it as their own.

Considering how simple it is to make Briyani the taste is really amazing.


Vegetable Briyani



Ingredients
1. 2 Cups Mixed Vegetables (Carrots, potatoes, peas, lima beans, cauliflower)
2. 1 1/2 Red Onions sliced thin
3. 8 Green Chillies
4. 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste (saute the ginger and garlic(12 pods) 1 inch ginger in a little bit of oil and make a paste)
5. 1 Ripe Tomato finely diced
6. 1 1/2 Cups of Mint and Corriander leaves chopped
7. 2 tbsp roghly chopped cashews.
8. 2 tsp garam masala/ any masala powder
9. Seasoning, curry leaves, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom (few of each)
10. Oil 3 tsp, 3 tsp ghee
11. 2 1/2 Cups Rice washed. At this point also put 4 Cups of Water in a pan to boil




Method:
1. In a heavy bottom pan add oil and ghee and saute the seasonings for a few seconds
(meanwhile preheat the oven to 375F)
2. Add the Onions and saute till they turn brown. Add the green chillies and saute
3. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a few more minutes (if you are using raw ginger garlic paste saute till the raw smell goes)
4. Add the mint and Corriander leaves and saute till they wilt
5. Add the masala powder and mix well.
6. Add the tomatoes and saute till they turn soft and mushy
7. Now add all the vegetables except the Cauliflower and salt, cook for a few minutes
8. Now add the rice and mix it well in the spices.
9. Add the boiling hot water to the rice mixture. When the rice has been cooking for some time add the cauliflower, mix, cover the lid cook till the water is almost gone and the rice is about 3/4 done. Add a tsp of ghee on top.
10. Put the pan in the Oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove mix the rice and put back in the oven for 8minutes.
OR
Cook on the stove top for a few more minutes till the rice is completely cooked. If cooking is going to be done on the stove top keep the heat to low.

I took Cucumber/Carrot Raita because I was not sure if everyone would like the taste of raw onions.


1. 2 Cups Yogurt whisked
2. 1 carrot grated
3. 1 finely chopped cucumber
Mix all of the above with salt.


Spicy Potatoes
I chose the potatoes because I could use the oven to cook both of them at the same time. Oven is preheated to 400F
Ingredients
1. 2-3 lbs Potates Cut even sized pieces like orange slices.
2. 4 tsp sambhar powder ( I like the taste of sambhar powder compared to just plain chilly powder)
3. 1 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
4. Oil - 1 tbsp



Method:

1. Mix all of the spices and oil with the Potato slices
2. Take a sutiable size baking pan line with aluminium foil, spary oil and spread the potatoes.
3. First bake for 30minutes, remove turn them and bake for another 20 -30minutes depending on how crisp or soft you want it. It should be cooked the first 30-35 minutes.



Yum.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fresh Red Beans and White Brinjal (Eggplant) Curry



Ever since I found these Fresh Red Beans in the store one summer I am hooked and the taste is much fresher than the dried kind and ofcourse the gaseous properties are completely absent. I also found these amazingingly cute button sized White Brinjal and the two indeed make a good combo. The white brinjals can be substituted with regular purple small size brinjals.





Ingredients:
1. Fresh Red Beans 1 1/2 cups (dry Red Kidney Beans)
2. White Brinjals about 20 (slit in half, not cutting them completely)
3. 1 Red Onion (3/4 onion roughly chopped) 1/4 diced fine
4. 6 garlic pods
5. 1 ripe tomato diced
5. 1/2 inch ginger
6. 1 1/2 tbsp masala powder (the ingredients below)
7. 1/4 tamarind juice (soak tamarind in water and squeeze the pulp out) or 1 tsp of tamarind paste
8. seasoning - mustard, cumin, fenugreek curry leaves
9. corriander leaves

Masala Powder:
1. 1/4 tsp cumin
2. 1 tsp corrinader seeds
3. 4-5 red chillies
4. 1 tsp pepper
5. 1 cardamom

Dry roast the above and powder. Coffee Grinder comes in very handy for making these powders.

Method:
1. In a pan heat oil, saute onion till it turns brown, add the garlic and ginger and saute for a few minutes, add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they turn soft.
2. Blend the above mixture to a paste.
3. In the pan heat a little bit of oil and the seasonings, cumin, fenugreek, curry leaves and mustard.
4. Add the onions and saute till they turn brown. Add the masala powder mix well.
5. Now add the brinjal and saute for a few minutes.
6. Add the Red beans mix well, saute for a few minutes add salt.
7. Now add the tamarind juice and when it starts to boil, add the ground mixture and mix.
8. Cover the lid and cook till the beans are cooked and soft.
9. Sprinkle the corriander leaves.


The curry goes very well with rice or chappathis.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cabbage Kootu and Beetroot Parathas

Kootu is an easy dish to make and goes well with either rice or chappathi. It never fails to amaze me that a few ingredients could make such a flavorful dish. I had some fresh beetroot and wanted to give Vineela's Cusine alphabetic series 'B' for Beetroot Parathas a try. My daughter was absolutely delighted with the purple color and together with the kootu tasted delicious.




Cabbage Kootu

Ingredients:
1. 1/4 cabbage shredded
2. 1 cup moong dal (roasted to slightly brown color)
3. 1/4 red onion diced
4. green chillies - 2
5. tomato 1 diced
5. seasoning mustard, cumin, curry leaves
6. oil - 1 tsp
7. corriander leaves
8. ghee - 1/4 tsp (optional)



For Paste:
9. cumin 1/4 tbsp
10. fennel seeds 1 tsp
11. green chillies 2
12. shredded cocunut 1 tbsp

dry roast the above ingredients (2-3 minutes), add the coconut last and just mix it with the rest of the ingredients and blend it, should be slightly coarse .

Method:
1. Pressure cook the moong dal with a little bit of oil and turmeric.
2. In a pan, heat oil, add the seasoning, cumin, curry leaves and mustard.
3. When the mustard starts to pop add the onions fry till slightly brown
4. Add the diced cabbage and salt cook for a few minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook till they are soft.
6. Now add the cooked moong dal with a little bit of water
7. When the dal stars to boil add the ground mixture, few drops of ghee if desired and cook for a few more minutes with the lid closed.
8. Add the corriander leaves and cook till the cabbage is soft.

The Cabbage kootu goes well with Rice or Paratas. They tasted wonderful with the Beetroot paratas. I used a slight variation in making the paratas, I mixed all the ingredients with the flour and then rolled them out. As you can see my skills do not extend to rolling out good looking perfect shaped paratas but all the same the taste is mouth watering.

Beetroot Parathas



1. Whole Wheat Flour 2 Cups
2. Beetroot grated
3. 1/2 onion finely chopped
4. 3 green chillies seeded and finely chopped
5. corriander leaves finely chopped
6. Flax Seed Meal 2 tbsp (this is high in Omega fatty acids and makes the parathas soft)
6. salt to taste

Mix all the above ingredients, and roll out the parathas and fry on a pan. Here are two do I have to say Absolutely Gorgeous blogs showing how to make Parathas.
Mahanandhi Indira's "Master at Work" Parathas
Saffron Hut's "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder" Parathas

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bok Choy Stir Fry




On my visits to Asian Grocery stores I have always admired the rows and rows of green leafy vegetables thet have, alwasy fresh and available almost round the year but I had no idea how they can be cooked and never tasted them before. So on a recent visit to my friends house when I heard her mention about Bok Choy poriyal my ears perked up. Here is her recipe and I am glad to report that it tasted good, a little sour perhaps but all of us liked it. Thanks mol. It is a good source of Calcium so if you find drinking milk a chore like it is for her, this is a good way to get the much needed Calcium to your diet. They have several different varieties of Bok Choy, the one I have used is the Baby Bok Choy.


Bok Choy Stir Fry

1. Baby Bok Choy 3
2. garlic 2 pods (diced fine)
3. Red Pepper flakes 1/2 tsp (add more or less to your taste)
4. 1 tsp soy sauce (optional)
5. 1/4 tsp oil
6. salt to taste



Bok Choy (Cutting and Cleaning)

1. Make sure to clean the bok choy really well, it has a lot of fine sand.
2. Remove the leaflets one by one and cut them lengthwise can use both the white and the green part, chop just the bottom part.

Method:
1. Heat oil in a wok/pan and saute the garlic.
2. Add the cut bok choy with a little bit of salt.
3. Add the pepper flakes, cover the pan and let them cook a little bit.
4. Towards the end add the soy sauce.
5. Cook till tender about 8-10 minutes.

I liked it a little tender so cooked it a litle longer but if you like it crispy reduce the cooking time.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Paruppu Chutney and Squash Poriyal (Stir Fry)

Chutney is very common side dish in South Indian cooking. It goes well with idli,dosai,rice and sometimes even chappathi's. Ingredients varied slightly makes it a suitable side dish for the particular main course. Growing up, though I have tasted several kinds of chutneys I did not pay special attention to their taste or the method of preparation. But now I am simply fascinated by them.

Chutneys ground using aatu oral are far tastier than anything we can whip up using the blender. I have heard even idlis made from idli mavu(dough) ground with the stone one tasted much better than the electric grinders. But in this fast paced world the age old utensils probably would end up in museums, I don't see anybody using them anymore.

Here is a slight twist to the original thuvaram paruppu (toor dal) chutney. I added kozhu paruppu (horse gram dal). Lot of people have not heard of this dal and I cannot get this in grocery stores here, have to bring them from India, it is very tasty and is supposed to be very good antidote for common cold.

Paruppu Chutney



rice, squash poriyal and chutney

Ingredients:
1. Toor Dal - 3 tbsp
2. Horse Gram Dal - 3 tbsp
3. Red Chillies - 4
4. cumin and pepper few
5. a small piece of tamarind
6. 4-5 curry leaves
7. Coconut -2 Table spoons
8. salt to taste.




Method:
1. In a pan dry roast the dals, red chillies, cumin, pepper, tamarind, curry leaves.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients after the dals have been roasted and the toor dal has a slightly brown tinge.
3. Add the coconut and salt in the end and remove from the fire after a quick toss.
4. Now blend the mixture adding very little water. The chutney should have a thick consistensy so add water sparingly.

Goes very well with rice.

Squash Poriyal
I used Butternut squash for this recipe. I have tried several varieties of squash, Butternust squash was the one that came close to the taste and texture of arsanikkai (Pumpkin). I have tried with Orange pumpkin (the ones that we see a lot during Halloween) but the texture is stringy. Acorn Squash depending on the ripeness(??) more ripe the better also tastes very similar to the butternut squash.



Ingredients:
1. Butternut Squash cubed
2. 1/4 onion diced
3 Red chillies halved seeds removed
4. seasoning - cumin,mustard, urad dal and curry leaves.





Method:
1. In a pan heat oil, add urad let them turn brown, add curry leaves, cumin and mustard
2. Add the onions and fry them till they turn slightly brown
3. Add the diced squash, salt
4. Cover the lid and cook till they turn soft.

It is slighty sweet and soft. It tastes yummy with yogurt rice.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mint Rice

I was'nt too keen on doing grocery on a rainy wet day (but we needed the rain everything had a green film of pollen and the plants were starting to look brown). But I had my mint plants handy. Using the pressure cooker which makes cooking even faster. Now that it is spring if you want to go to the park for a picnic lunch this dish is great. Serve with zuchinni Raita and some baked potato chips.





Mint Rice

Ingredients:

1. Mint 2 bunches (save a few of the leaves for the rice the rest is for the paste)
2. 1 red onion (half onion chopped roughly for the paste, the other half cut lengthwise)
3. 3 garlic diced
4. 5 green chillies, slit (3 for the paste, 2 for the Rice)
5. tamarind small piece
6. 1/4 inch ginger
7. 1 cup Veggies (Lima beans, peas)
8. 2 cups Basmati Rice
9. Seasoning - mustard, cumin, cinnamon, clove, curry leaves.
10. Oil and a little bit ghee.
11. Chopped corriander leaves
12. Salt to taste






Mint paste
1. In the pressure cooker take a little oil, fry the onions and when it starts to cook and become translucent add garlic and ginger and 3 green chillies.
2. Add the mint leaves and fry a little bit.
3. Add the tamarind piece.
4. Cool and blend the mixture





Rice
1. Now in the cooker add a little oil and a little bit of ghee. I add oil sparingly but you can add according to your taste. The few drops of ghee give the food great aroma and taste.
2. Add all the seasonings and when the mustard splutters add the onion and fry till cooked and add the green chillies
3. Add the saved chopped mint leaves and corriander leaves
3. Now add the Veggies with salt and mix well
4. Add the Mint Paste and salt and mix well
5. Add the rice and mix well and cook for a little bit.
6. In a separate vessel bring the required water (about 3 cups for 2 cups of basmati rice) to a boil. Add the water to the rice and mix well.
7. Let the rice cook till most of the water is gone, like so...




8. Now close the cooker put the weight and cook on low medium for 4 minutes. DO NOT have to wait till you get the whistle doing so will overcook the rice.

OR

If you do not want to do this in a cooker at this stage put it in a preheated (375F) for about 10 minutes. Check if rice is cooked and remove from the oven. If it is not done bake for another 5 minutes.

OR

Just put a lid on the pot and keep in a low medium heat for 5-8 minutes till rice is cooked.

There the rice is ready in almost record time and serve with Zuchinni Raita

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Farmers Markets


May 27, 2006 - Local Farmers Market Visit

A warm sunny day on a long weekend was a perfect day for some early in the season Farmer's Markets visiting and shopping. This will also be a submission to the Farmer's Markets Worldwide Parade cohosted by Cooking Diva Melissa. Till a generation ago my family members were farmers hence this is a topic dear to my heart and had blogged about it earlier. When I saw the link to Farmer's Market Worldwide Parade Event on Mahanandi I wanted to participate. Most open air Farmers Market in this area (Washington D.C and suburbs) do not open until June and the widest variety of fruits and vegetables found during July and August. Most of the Farmers Market around the area sell produce that have been locally grown. There are a few which are open as early as May, so armed with a camera and an enthusiastic helper we went Farmers Marketing.



Main Streets Farmer's Market, Kentlands, Maryland is a small open air market in the newly built Kentlands town center and is open on Saturdays between 10AM - 2PM May thru Mid October. This early in the season there are spring greens, vegetable and flower plants and a few fruits and vegetables. We also found a stall selling wooden furniture. It is close to home and parking is usually not a problem.

Strawberries


Cucumbers


Tomatoes


Locally Made Furniture


Taking the camera over while I was shopping and chatting up with the farmers my daughter made sure every stall was covered.








We also visited the Rockville's Farmers Market in Rockville, Maryland. We found apples, seasonal greens, vegetable and flower plants and also a bakery stall with yummy baked goodies. We munched on cinnamon chip scones(the first time I have tasted them) while walking around the market.










This summer when we visit my hometown in India, I want to add pictures of farmers markets there called Uzhavar Sandai which are noisy, crowded, chaotic affairs compared to the orderely and organized atmosphere of the markets here in the US. But I loved visiting those as a child and am looking forward to taking my daughters there.

May 13, 2006 Original Post

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Vegetable Garden - Mint Story


Growing Mint
Growing Mint is probably the easiest and most satisfying. It rarely gets attacked by pests and the deer/rabbit population won't touch it and it comes back year after year. I started a little bit in a pot and it grew and grew and it spread to the ground and I am glad it did because it the pretty much the only plant the deer have not fooled around with. One of my friends remarked "you can make a briyani every day" and infact I cook Briyani a lot. Mint is used in a variety of food items and who can resist the yummy mint chutney. I have also heard that dried mint in the pantry or food cupboard will keep away food loving insects/pests atleast the creepy crawly kind. I have given up on planting any flowering plants in the front, Mint and corriander keep the front yard looking minty green. Aroung mid summer I start collecting the mint leaves, wash and freeze them so I have a supply all through winter.




How to start a Mint Plant?
Starting a mint plant is very easy. Have a pot of dirt handy. When you buy a bunch of mint, save the thick stems(remove the leaves) and bury them in the dirt. They form root in a week or so and there you go, fresh mint at your finger tips. Mint plants need a lot of sunshine, so if you are growing them indoors find a warm sunny spot.







The Mighty Fence
To protect my vegetable garden in the back yard we had to erect a fence. Other temporary arrangement like draping deer netting around did not help because the deer jumped in anyway. After much arguing back and forth we put up the fence 2 summers ago. I was jumping up and down with joy. But as it turns out the deer were not the only ones eyeing my tomato and pepper plants there was someone else waiting for them. Just as the tomatoes were turning and red and I was all pumped up to collect them they disappeared, sleuthing like a Green Sherlock Holmes figured out it was the ground hog who was enjoying them. So back to attack mode, we had to drape some deer netting on the lower part of the fence to keep them out. Anyway now that these problems are resolved I am back to spending my energies growing plants(touch wood). But we still try to enjoy the myriad wild life that roam the area, deer and once we saw an albino deer (all white), fox, groundhogs, turtle.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Vegetable Garden - 1



Vegetable Garden
A glorious picture of the blueberry plant my daughter planted 2 summers ago ready to bear fruit this year. Spring/Summer that glorious time of the year when everything is green and waking up to the sounds of birds singing. I am all pumped up and can't wait to plant my vegetable garden, garden patch is ready, the seeds having been started indoors and ready to be transplanted. I dropped by Home Depot on a warm April day and found a lot tomato plants, could not resist bought a few put them outside that day itself. Luckily there was no frost, and my tomato plants are looking healthy and starting to flower already! I am all pumped up now. Bitter gourd (Pavarkai) has by far been the best yeilding after the tomatoes. I finally succeeded in getting my eggplants to fruit last year. The trick is to keep them in pots rather than on the ground. I don't know what the logic is behind this but this worked. The best nutrition has been the waste water from cleaning the milk can, water from washing rice, dal etc. I am reluctant to add any fertilizers or pesticides. I do not buy pavarkai from the stores anymore I wait for summer so I can get my own fresh ones.

Garden Patch





Seedlings ready to be planted