Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Moving to a New City

Hotair Balloon Festival - Lancaster, PA, 04 : Photo by Vijay Singari
Lancaster, PA, 04 : Photo by Vijay Singari

I have to go now; take care. See you again in October (7th) from Seattle.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Thursday August 17, 2006 at 4:30 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Independence Day Food Parade Celebrations

On August 15th, 1947, our nation came in to our own hands. Finally we were free of uninvited people, at least physically. Since then August 15th became a day for feasts, festivities and for patriotic parades.

This year, I wanted to share the exhilarating feeling of joy and happiness through a fabulous food parade. Our food culture shows not only how diverse we are, but also shows how much patience, perseverance and perfection we have. With 40 or more food blogs (a budding new community in already well established blog medium), I thought we could all come together to celebrate this special day in a colorful way. Thanks for responding to my call with equal if not more enthusiasm and sending me these beautiful recipes from “The Land of Billion Recipes ~ Mother India”.

I’ve styled the food parade in a classic theme, with recipe photos for your viewing pleasure and complementing classical Indian music (you tube videos) for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

From Andhra Pradesh ~ The Rice Bowl of India

Endu Royalu Dosakaya Koora (Dried Shrimp and Dosakaya Curry)
From Kosta Region, From City of Victory ~ Vijayawada by Chandrika of Akshayapatra

Besan Chikki with Sorghum Roti
From Telengana Region by Pavani of Cook’s Hideout

Senaga-Pesara Payasam (Chana Dal~Moong Dal Dessert)
From Wanaparthy by Vidyanath Tirumala of Yadbhavishya

Hyderabadi Dum Biryani & Khubani Ka Meetha (With Apricots)
From Capital City Hyderabad by Radhika of Radhi’s Kitchen

Golden colored Majjiga Mirapa (Dahi Mirchi) with Rice and Dal
Traditional Andhra Meal From Me

From The Land of Nandis ~ From My Home in Nandyala
Peanut Pacchi Pulusu ~ A Refreshing No-Boil Peanut Rasam

Nannukanna by Thyagarajan

From Gorgeous Goa

Eggless Banana Rava Cake ~ From Shilpa of Aayi’s Recipes

From Gujarat ~ The Birthplace of Gandhiji

Khichado with Wheat Berries and Toor dal
Makara Sankranti Special and A Good Breakfast Porridge ~ By Priya of Foodtravails

From Jammu and Kashmir ~ A Heaven on Earth

Modur Polav (Sweet Rice Pulao) with Saffron and Sugar ~ Part of Wazwaan
An Authentic Kashmir Recipe from a Kashmiri ~ From Anita of Mad Tea Party

Heaven on a plate ~ Kashmiri Pulao – From Archana Thomas of Spicyana
“May freedom continue to inspire the country, peace & happiness return to the valley!”

Ustad Ahmed Jan Thirakwa (1892-1976) ~ Speaking the Language of Tabla

From Karnataka ~ The Land of Hampi

Badam Puri ~ Representing the Struggle for Independence
From Shankari of Stream of Consciousness

From Kerala ~ God’s Own County

Ela Ada ~ Rice Flour & Coconut Steam-Cooked Sweet
By Priya Baskaran of Priya’s Kitchen

Kaya Appam (Banana Fritters) ~ By Monisha of Coconut Chutney
Sweet fritters that are crisp to bite into and tender inside, bursting with the flavor of Bananas and Cardamom and sweetened with Jaggery.

Banana Halwa
Nenthra Pazham Haluva (Banana Halwa)
From Calicut/Kozhikode (land of Banana chips and Halwas) by Kerala Girl (KG)

Palappam (Lace, Milk Appam) From Gini of Salt and Pepper

Pal Payasam and Bonji (Rice Paysam and Lemon Juice)
Celebrating a Great Man’s Legacy, “My India and My Country” ~ From InjiPennu of Ginger and Mango

From Konkan ~ The Jewel of Western India

Gajbaje (Randayi or Mixed vegetable curry)
One of the Most Popular Dishes Among Konkanis ~ From Shilpa of Aayi’s Recipes:

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan ~ Khayal Presentation

From Maharashtra ~ The Land of Shivaji

Varan Phala ~ From Madhuli of My Food Court

From Vibrant Punjab

Paneer Tikka ~ From Krithika of Manpasand

From Tamilnadu ~ The Land of Temples

Appala Kozhambu (Papad Curry) ~ Celebrating the Charming City, Chennai
From Chandrika of Akshayapatra

Somass ~ A Famous Sweet from Tamilnadu ~ From Sudha Vinodh of Samayal

Legend of Legends ~ Srimati M.S.Subbulaxmi

From West Bengal ~ The Land of Exotic Charms

Rasmalai ~ From Mandira of Ahaar

Hari Prasad Chaurasia ~ Traditional Indian Flute

Saluting the Flag with Tiranga Entries

Congress Curry ~ Three Cheers to Independent, Progressive, Democratic India
From Menu Today

Tiranga Rice ~ A Pan-Indian Recipe Inspired by the Tri-Coloured Indian Flag
From Lulu of Lulu Loves London

Psychedelic:) Tiranga Raita ~ From RP of My Work Shop

Tiranga Spiral Parathas ~ From Roopa of Crazy About Food, From Bangalore

Tiranga Puri ~ From Sudha of Food Newbie
Beetroot, Spinach and Wheat Flour ~ Representing the Tiranga of Indian Flag

Mysore Masala Dosa
Mysore Masala Dosa in Tiranga
By Madhu Raj of Ruchi, From City of Palaces, Mysore City

Tiranga Doodh Peda ~ From Vineela of Vineela’s Kitchen
Carrot, Coconut and Pistachios for Beautiful Flag Colors of India

Vande Mataram ~ For Fireworks

Independence Day Fireworks

Sweet Candy For Your Ride/Cubicle Home

Sweet, Tangy and Fragrant Candy from India ~ For Your Ride Home From The Parade

Thank you all for coming and congratulations to all the participants for the gorgeous recipe floats. Hope you had a wonderful time at the food parade.

Swatantra Din Subhakamana!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in ID Food Parade (Tuesday August 15, 2006 at 12:01 am- permalink)
Comments (87)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Banana Halwa (Nenthra Pazham Haluva)

For Independence Day Food Parade, following recipe is contributed by the regular comment poster at “Mahanandi”, always entertaining ‘Kerala Girl (KG)’:

Banana Painting  - From My Home
Oil Painting of Bananas

I have chosen a dish from my hometown – Calicut/Kozhikode (land of Banana chips and Halwas) from Kerala for IDFP. Kerala – the God’s own country is also land of Kera (coconut). To a malayalee, banana or the plantains probably come next to coconut but still it’s importance is written all over the malayalee’s life. Banana is one plant whose every part is useful in one or the other form. In addition to the banana fruit we also eat it’s flowers and the softer inner trunk. The leaves of the banana plant are the less sophisticated version of today’s disposable plates. Traditional Kerala cuisine is incomplete without the pleasant taste of bananas.

Another reason why I have chosen banana as ingredient for this event is I hail from Calicut – the land famous for Calicut Halwa and one of the best halwa’s I have tasted there is banana halwa (a hard jelly like sweet). Calicut is very famous for its sweets and one the famous places in Calicut is Sweet Meat Street (SM Street). It is the busiest street in Calicut and derives its name from the times when the street was lined with sweetmeat stalls. So I thought of celebrating our independence with my favorite sweet – Banana Halwa (Nenthra Pazham Haluva). The recipe source is one of the old recipe books by the great cookbook author Mrs.K.M.Mathew. Here’s the recipe:


Ripe Bananas – 1 and 1/2 Bananas
Sugar – 2 and 1/2 cups
Water – 1/2 cup
Lemon juice – 1/4 cup
Ghee – 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Cashews roasted or plain – handful for decoration
All purpose flour – 3 tsp


Pressure-cook the bananas until soft. Remove the outer skin and deseed (remove the black layer inside). Mash the bananas to a paste in a food processor or blender.

Make syrup of sugar by dissolving in 1/2 cup of water. It should be of string consistency. When this consistency is reached add the lemon juice and again allow it to reach the same thick consistency. To this add the mashed bananas.

To thicken the halwa, at this stage add flour dissolved in 1/4 cup water. Keep on stirring the mix to attain a thick mass. Add ghee little by little. When this becomes a thick mass add the cardamom powder. Mix well and pour into a pan greased with ghee. Decorate with cashews.
When cool cut and enjoy. This can be stored in refrigerator for a week minimum.

A Toast to our independence with this sweet dish!

Banana Halwa
Banana Halwa for IDFP

~ Guest Post by Kerala Girl (KG)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bananas,Cashews,Fruits,Mitai,Sugar,Zen (Personal) (Monday August 14, 2006 at 2:21 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Jaggery~Tamarind~Cumin Candy

A food parade without candy, no way!

Here is my contribution to Independence Day Food Parade – a candy from my childhood. The main ingredients are jaggery, tamarind and cumin and the candy tastes sweet, tangy and fragrant. It’s one of those super good, can’t get enough types of candies and often prepared in our homes by loving parents.

This humble village candy is now flying high. You would see this candy often served on domestic flights in India as part of welcome kit at the beginning of the flight. The Hajmola candy they serve in flights is just like this candy and tastes similarly. Main purpose of course is to prevent nausea and jet sickness associated with air travel. Those three natural ingredients have some good ayurvedic properties that are healthy to us, that’s what my grandma says.

The recipe is simple. Jaggery, tamarind pieces, cumin and a pinch of salt – all pounded together in a mortar to smooth paste and then made into small balls. A stick is inserted for a lollipop style candy or wrapped in paper for a stylish presentation. Either way these sweet tangy candies are irresistible and lip smacking good.

Ingredients for the Candy ~ Jaggery, Tamarind and Cumin

Making the Candy ~ Pounding the ingredients together in a stone mortar with a pestle

Sweet, Tangy and Fragrant Candy from India
For the Independence Day Food Parade & For Indian Sweets 101

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Indian Sweets 101,Mitai (Monday August 14, 2006 at 10:49 am- permalink)
Comments (37)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Weekend This & That ~ Our School

School Library
Our School Update ~ New Library

One thing we always wanted to do for our school is build a decent, dedicated library. We were able to get it materialized this year and the opening ceremony will be on August 15th. About 20,000 rupees worth of books are purchased for the library, most of them are from this list. All sorts of books that would interest children are purchased in Telugu, Hindi and English languages.

The largest room in the school building is dedicated for library and what you see in this photo is a part of the library with bookshelves and seating arrangement. Other side of the library (not in the photo) is for smaller kids styled in small scale. The room and the furniture are designed keeping children’s needs in mind, with comfortable seating and good lighting.

Everyone in our family worked whole heartedly to complete this project. We have to say major thanks to our dear friends Lakshmi and Prasad Anandaraman for their interest and generous contributions for this cause.

This Independence Day on August 15th is going to be very special in our school because of this new addition and the school children voted for jangri to celebrate this sweet occasion after flag hoisting.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday August 13, 2006 at 5:25 pm- permalink)
Comments (10)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Weekend Kittaya Blogging

Darling Kittaya
Kittaya ~ The Keen Listener

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday August 12, 2006 at 6:07 pm- permalink)
Comments (5)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Majjiga Mirapa (Dahi Mirchi, Yogurt Chillies)

Chilli, Mirchi, mirapa kaayalu

Chillies are a religion in India! And in my home state Andhra Pradesh, the leading producer of chillies in the world, the chilli religion has a cult like following. The almighty, all-powerful chillies dictate and dominate almost every food item we consume. Our tongues are trained to accept and enjoy the fiery ruchi(flavor) of chillies from early on and the non-believers in chilli power and taste are considered wimps and babies by the believers. I tried to break away from this chilli cult, but it’s tough to do and the cravings haunted me. My taste buds cried saliva for a decent flavorful meal. They couldn’t tolerate the bland, tasteless food I was consuming in the name of suave and sophistication. “We are not babies, we are not wimps. Have mercy and have a chilli”, they salivated. I bowed and accepted the chilli power with my whole heart and now at my home, there won?t be a meal without having at least one dish where chilli – dry or fresh is added. Needless to say my taste buds are now one happy bunch.

Like us, humans, chillies also have a variety. There are lean, short, tall and stout chillies. There is mildly hot variety and there is super hot variety. Names of chillies vary from state to state and from country to country, with growers making up new names all the time. For that reason, I usually write either green chillies for fresh ones and dried red chillies for dried chillies. Using fancy, foreign sounding names for chillies is not my thing.

There are also preserved chillies – Dried chilli powder is the best-known method of preserving chillis. There is one more popular way of preserving chillies, from my home state, called “majjiga mirapa? in Telugu and ‘dahi mirchi’ in Hindi. Here fresh green chillies are slit vertically keeping the ends intact and soaked in salty, sour yogurt for about 4 to 6 days, giving time for the acid in both yogurt and chillies to work its magic of preservation. As a result, the color of chillies changes from green to light-green to creamy yellow with green tinge. At this stage, they are removed and sun dried until completely moisture free. The end result is creamy-white chillies that taste mildly hot, tangy (because of soaking in yogurt) and delicious. Usually we deep-fry these mirchis and have them as ‘middle of the meal’ kind of snack along with rice and dal. Combine rice and dal and have a small round, while eating it, in-between take a bite of majjiga mirapa. That’s how we enjoy this version of chilli.

I always hear people saying how much they would like to prepare the real deal, the ultra-authentic, home-style cuisine. Well, this is your chance to do just that. If you like chillies and if you live in an area of at least one week of super hot temperatures, then this recipe is for you.


20 fresh chillies
(Long, firm body with medium-thick skin ones are perfect for this recipe)
4 cups of day-old Indian homemade yogurt, add
4 teaspoons of salt and mix
Hot weather suitable for sun-drying the chillies

Day1: Green chillies washed and slit in the middle (keep the ends intact)

Day 1: Slit green chillies are soaked in yogurt-salt mixture. Keep them like that open(without lid cover) for at least 4 days.

Day 2: Closeup of slit green chillis soaking in yogurt-salt mixture

Day 5: Remove the chillies from yogurt and arrange them neatly in rows with space in-between on a big sheet/plate/pan suitable for sun-drying. (Notice the change in green chilli color.)

Day 8: Sun-dried Majjiga Mirapa. It took 3 days here in Ohio, for them to get completely moisture free and dry. When stored in tight lid box, they can stay fresh from 6 months to a year. To cook – deepfry them in oil until they turn to golden and serve immediately.

Golden colored Majjiga Mirapa (deep-fried) with Rice and Dal – Traditional Andhra Meal for Independence Day Food Parade

Dahi Mirchi is avialable in small packets at Indian grocery shops here in US.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Green Chillies,Peppers,Yogurt (Friday August 11, 2006 at 3:33 pm- permalink)
Comments (43)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Peanut Pachhi Pulusu (Peanut Cold Rasam)

For Independence Day Food Parade on August 15th, I’ve decided to write three recipes which are near and dear to my heart. One each from – my hometown, my state and my country. Today’s one is from my hometown. Some recipes are truly local, like a needlepoint, known and popular only in few homes in a town and surrounding villages. Peanut pachhi pulusu (pachhi =raw/unboiled, pulusu=rasam/soup) is one such recipe from “land of Nandis” – Nandyala, Rayalaseema region.

Peanuts are roasted to golden color, skins removed and then made into smooth paste along with salt, chilli powder, tamarind and jaggery. By adding water, the paste is made into rasam like consistency. Finely sliced onions are added and seasoning is done by popu/tadka. That’s it. This is sort of cold, no-boil rasam and perfect during hot summer days. Often prepared and served with pongal and potato curry, the whole combination tastes awesome and comforting.

Peanuts – Roasted and Golden (Skins Removed)


Roast Peanuts:
Take 2 cups of peanuts in a large skillet and on medium-high heat, roast them to golden color (see photo above) mixing and turning often to prevent scorching. Allow to cool. Rub them with hands to loosen the skins and remove the skins. (Roasting peanuts to golden color is important. Spend few minutes & pay attention to roasting process. Taste of this recipe depends on this step.)

Make a paste:
2 cups of Peanuts – roasted and skins removed (from above)
½ teaspoon of chilli powder
1 teaspoon of salt or to taste
1 tablespoon tamarind juice
2 tablespoons of powdered jaggery
Take all the above in a blender or in a mortar, crush them to smooth paste by adding 1 cup of water in between.

Finely Slice:
1 big onion – lengthwise, slice thinly and wash them in water to separate the onions pieces and to remove that raw onion smell.

Do the popu/tadka:
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a big vessel. Add and toast – few pieces of curry leaves, dried chillies and half teaspoon of mustard seeds and cumin. To this popu/tadka:
Add the smooth peanut paste.
Add the onions.
Stir in about 1 to 2 cups of cold water. Mix and serve.
Make the rasam like thick buttermilk consistency. Have a taste and adjust salt, sweet and sour levels to your taste.

Serve with pongal. This pachhi pulusu (cold rasam) has all 5 essential ruchulu (flavors) and is guaranteed to make one feel cool as a cucumber on a hot day.

Peanut Pachhi Pulusu with Pongal and Potato Kurma ~ Our Fabulous Meal:) Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Jaggery,Onions,Peanuts (Thursday August 10, 2006 at 3:39 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Moongdal Aamti with Kokum & Goda Masala

I have two authentic ingredients from coastal Maharashtra – kokum and goda masala.

Native to western coastal region of India, Kokum is a dried fruit of dark purple color and prized for its piquant taste, often used as substitute for tamarind. Goda (Kala) masala is a special spice mixture, has well over 15 Indian spices in it including some unique spices like dagad phool, naag keshar, badal phool etc. Adding even a pinch of it gives dals and curries an unforgettable taste. When I wanted to cook something Maharashtrian using both these ingredients, my good friend Veena Parrikar kindly sent me an authentic Maharashtrian lentil recipe called aamti with moong dal where both goda masala and kokum are used for seasoning.

I am one of those people who think that everything tastes delicious, as long as it has lentils in it and this recipe is no exception. It was easy to prepare and has an exceptional taste. We had it like thick soup without rice, along with mixed berry smoothie – light lunch on a hot summer day.

Kokum, Goda Masala, Whole Moong Dal


Whole moong dal – 2 cups (soaked in water overnight)
Goda masala – 1 teaspoon
Kokum – 5 pieces of 2 inch length
(Soaked in half cup of warm water for about 15 minutes and juice squeezed)
Garlic – 4 cloves, finely chopped
Dry grated coconut – 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon, powder coarsely
Red chilli powder & turmeric – ½ teaspoon each
Salt and jaggery – To taste
For popu/tadka:
Oil – 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds, hing – ¼ teaspoon of each and few curry leaves
Chopped coriander leaves – A handful

Take soaked moong dal in a big pot. Add about 2 glasses of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook covered until they are soft and falling apart. This is the prep part.

Just before mealtime, heat oil in a vessel. Do the popu/tadka – add and toast garlic pieces in oil first and then add mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves. Add the cooked moong dal along with the water it was cooked in.

Stir in the seasoning – goda masala, kokum water, coconut powder, crushed cumin, red chilli powder and turmeric. Also add salt and jaggery to taste. Stir in some water if you feel the mixture is too thick.

Bring the whole mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes covered. Add water as necessary (the aamti should not be too thick or too thin). Just before turning off the heat, stir in fresh coriander leaves and remove from heat.

Kad-Dhaanyaachi Aamti (Moongdal Aamti) and Berry Smoothie ~ Our Afternoon Meal

Recipe Source: Veena Parrikar
(Adapted from Smt. Jayashree Deshpande’s Hamkhaas Paaksiddhi’s)
Goda Masala Recipe – Page Link
Kokum is available at Indian grocery shops here in US.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Moong Dal (whole) (Wednesday August 9, 2006 at 2:57 pm- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Puffy P Egg (Egg Puff with Paratha)

Jeanne of EoMEoTE fame invited me to participate in this month’s egg extravaganza, event dedicated to celebrate the goodness of eggs every month with colorful themes. This month theme is weaving a tabloid story around egg recipes. Celebrity gossip, na… but politics…oh boy, they are like hot popcorn to me. I can’t get enough of that gossip and can spend hours and hours reading all sorts of political tedious minutia. They fascinate me, its like following street theater, but with real people (?) who got the power to make decisions that would affect us all. The noise machine, money changing hands and hidden agendas, bad guys and good guys to root for, what’s not to love?:)

Well, this article is written in a political tabloid (=mainstream) story style. I know the saying out there, that people don’t like to spoil their beautiful brains with unpleasantries of politics. So I am cautioning you my gentle reader, what’s ahead of you is a pure political piece – US style.


A one powerful chicken egg whose campaign slogan is ‘incredible edible egg’ coming out of a relaxing sauna vacation. Very popular already and 50 percent of people like him left and right.

Journalists taking pictures and throwing out questions:

Sir, Mr. Egg, your slogan “incredible edible egg” is very catchy.
Thank you, thank you.

But sir, people are saying edible is alright but the incredible part, that is a tad over hyped? What is your response?
Egg: aahh… oohh…

(The Egg is a puppet of course. The powerful puppet masters who have a stake in Egg success, the Egg council members come forward and answer.)
It’s no hype! Egg is not only edible but it is 100 percent incredible! You don’t believe it? Well, we are going to bombard you with advertisements until the slogan is ingrained in your brain. Got it? Ha…ha…

A journalist who can speak Indian languages:
Sir, I have tasted some eggs in India, precisely in Nandyala. They didn’t smell or tasted like you. Are you sure you are a real egg? Not a product of artificial hormones?
The Egg, huffing and puffing: Ya, we know you can speak foreign languages. What a showoff (snickers). I have fans that traveled all over the US. Well they say, I am the real thaa…ng.

Is it safe to eat you regularly?
That’s it folks, I have to go…

There are reports that your yellow is not good for health?
No comment… runs off.

Few hours later, the breaking news at a political scandal website:

Puffy P. Egg?
The Incredible Edible Egg Caught with Indian Paratha:

Our sources caught the Incredible Edible Egg wrapped up in Indian paratha and looking all red and puffed up at a home in small town USA. Our close sources who are following this story and who are also friends to The Incredible Edible Egg are saying that this is an unfortunate incident and mistaken identity. The Egg actually went into the house expecting a puff pastry wrap. Our sources are also saying that the homeowner deliberately planned to showcase Egg in a non-traditional, compromising wrap.

We interviewed some common people; they are saying that they

are disappointed in Incredible Edible Egg. “He should have followed the traditional method and should have wrapped himself in puff pastry. Indian paratha? Whoever heard of that?” That is the current buzz in the street, folks.

Will this latest scandal damage the squeaky clean Egg reputation?

We will let you know as soon as we find more information. For more updates of this breaking story and for more salacious Egg scandals, visit Jeanne’s EoMEoTE, your one stop gossip central of all things Egg.

Journalismistic:) Piece by Indira

Hard-boiled and shelled egg is wrapped in store-bought frozen paratha and baked at 350 F for about 20 minutes.

Golden and Flaky ‘Puffy P Egg’ (Egg Puff Prepared with Paratha) and Ketchup ~ My Entry to EoMEoTE

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Eggs (Monday August 7, 2006 at 8:28 am- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Bhakthi ~ Bhukthi (Vrindaban & Krishna Prasadam)

One of the places we visit whenever life overwhelms us here in US is the New Vrindaban Holy Dham. Located in beautiful and peaceful Appalachian mountain range in the rural West Virginia panhandle, in almost 500 acres, the place is serene and ideal for meditation and contemplation.

The main attraction for us is Radha Krishna temple, and then there is Palace of Gold – Sri Prabupada’s place. There are also small lakes, ponds, swans, peacocks and cows on the ground. To volunteer there is a cow-protection program, community organic vegetable garden and a fragrant rose garden. The temple also has decent cottages and rooms to rent, and they book up fast during summer times. Families with children and with old parents from India often come to this place to escape the everyday hustle and bustle. Though the drive to the place is like a thrill ride with sharp curves and 25 mph speed limit, the place is spectacular and spiritual. Even with all the difficulties of money shortage etc. for the temple, I am glad to see such a beautiful place existing in America for us to visit and to rejuvenate.

Here are some photos that I have taken during our recent trip to this temple as part of my bhakti~bhukti (divine and dine) series. Photos include temple and temple grounds along with Krishna prasadam (temple tradition – After the afternoon puja everyday, a full satvik meal is served in generous portions to the visitors, free of charge.)

New Vrindaban – Wheeling, West Virginia

Temple Entrance

Simha – Guarding the entrance

Temple Grounds

Appalachian Mountain Range

Permanent Residents of the Temple – Swan Couple with a Baby

Dancing Peacock

Temple Gift Shop

Serving Krishna Prasadam after the afternoon puja

Krishna Prasadam
Bajji, Spinach-Potato Curry, Chole, Lemon Rice, Coconut Chutney (Not shown in this photograph but they also served sambar, grape juice and payasam in small cups)

New Vrindaban – Homepage
Bhakti ~ Bhukti (Divine and Dine) – Sri Venkateswara Temple, Pittsburgh

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bhakthi~Bhukthi,Zen (Personal) (Sunday August 6, 2006 at 6:48 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Mahanandi in “The Hindu”

Mahanandi The Hindu - Logo

The Hindu, one of the premier newspapers from India has mentioned about ‘Mahanandi’ in one of its weekend articles.

Article Link – Here

The article is well written and interesting and is about how food blogs are filling an appetite for nostalgia and are catering to the cravings on the web with regional variety.

I greatly appreciate Vijaysree Venkataraman, the author of this article for saying good words about ‘Mahanandi’. It is truly an honor to be published in such an esteemed newspaper.

Congratulations also to The Green Jackfruit, Chai Pani, Gluttony is no sin and Aspiring Annapoorna, who are also equally featured in the article.

Vijaysree blogs at “Apropos of Nothing”.
Comment forum is closed at this moment. Thank you!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday August 6, 2006 at 6:45 pm- permalink)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Weekend Kittaya Blogging

Intense Kittaya

Cooling Off Summer Days

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday August 5, 2006 at 7:17 pm- permalink)
Comments (8)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Paramannam (Sweet Rice)

Paramannam Prasadam for Indian Sweets 101


6 cups of milk
2 cups of cooked rice
1 cup of sugar/powdered jaggery or to taste
¼ cup of – golden raisins and cashews together, roasted in ghee
4 cardamom pods – seeds powdered
1 tablespoon of ghee

In a large, thick-bottomed saucepan, combine milk and sugar (or jaggery). Cook until sugar melts and milk thickens (just a little bit). Add cooked rice, cashews, golden raisins, cardamom powder and ghee. Mix thoroughly and cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring in-between, until the whole thing comes together. Turn off the heat. Keep it covered for few minutes. Paramannam further thickens on cooling. Serve warm or for a cool refreshing taste, refrigerate for about one hour.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Biyyamu (Rice),Cashews,Golden Raisins,Indian Sweets 101,Milk,Naivedyam(Festival Sweets),Sona Masuri Rice (Friday August 4, 2006 at 2:55 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Cherry Tomato ~ Basmati Pulao

Tomatoes from My Container Garden

The past week before going on a weeklong working vacation to DC with Vijay, one thing I did was picking the cherry tomatoes from my container garden. There were almost two pounds of tomatoes from 4 plants. I picked even the unripe ones, thinking the plants were not going to survive this hot weather without getting water daily. By the time we returned, we were like fried puris all red and puffed up, whereas our plants were all shriveled up and looking tired because of extremely hot weather. I think there is one more crop in them, that’s all.

Cherry tomatoes have thin skin, filled with juice without lot of thick flesh, just like the tomatoes that I would find in India. That’s why I prefer them for planting for my container garden every year. They are perfect for curries, rasams, salads and for rice. And one of the best recipes that truly do justice to the incredible flavor of summer tomatoes is tomato pulao. I often prepare it during this season. Quite easy, a one-pot meal and always a crowd favorite, if you haven’t tried tomato pulao yet, trust me and give it a try. Juicy tomatoes and fragrant basmati rice cooked together is a taste that would make you whistle summer tunes.:)

Summer’s Tomato Bounty


Tomatoes and Veggies:
15 to 20 cherry tomatoes or 1 pound ripe tomatoes of any variety – chopped
1 onion and 6 green chillies – finely chopped lengthwise
½ cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup of frozen fresh chickpeas
(available as ‘Choleye’ in Indian grocery shops-frozen section. Green peas fresh or dried, or roasted cashews – they all taste good with this rice. Your choice.)

Basmati Rice:
1 cup of basmati rice and 2½ cups of water

For Masala:
2 each – cardamom pods and cloves
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon of black peppercorn
Coarsely grind these together.
Salt, bay leaf and ghee or oil to taste

1 In a large saucepan, heat ghee/oil. Add and saute the onions until soft and red.

2 Add the green chillies, masala powder, bay leaf and chickpeas, saute for few minutes.

3 Stir in the cut tomatoes, juice, seeds everything. Increase the heat to high, cook them covered until the tomatoes when pressed with a spatula turn to soft, concentrated mush.

4 Stir in the basmati rice and salt. Add water and mix. On high heat, bring the water to boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Mix only once and resist the temptation to stir frequently (frequent stirring breaks the rice and makes a soggy mess.) Turn off the heat and leave it to rest for about 5 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle fresh cilantro, gently mix taking care not to brake the basmati rice.

Serve with kurma and/or raita (yogurt is mixed with salt, finely chopped onions, green chillies and grated carrot, cucumber).

From Pot to Plate ~ Tomato : Basmati Pulao with Raita ~ For Green Blog Project”

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Basmati Rice,Biyyamu (Rice),Chickpeas-Black,Tomato (Thursday August 3, 2006 at 2:04 pm- permalink)
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