Shanthi KrishnaKumar: Blogs for social cause

NaariSakhi is proud to introduce our dear Sakhi, Shanthi KrishnaKumar, Great mother, homemaker, singer, with great positive attitude. She is owner of blogs http://tiruppati.blogspot.com/http://shanthisthaligai.blogspot.comhttp://andavantiruvadi.blogspot.com/, which are for social cause. Let us find out how Shanthi makes most out of her leisure time. 

1. Shanthi, can You please introduce yourself to Naarisakhi.

I express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Naarisakhi for inviting me & providing this wonderful opportunity. Basically, I love to learn everything possible and it is a continuous process. Cooking is my hobby from childhood.

2.Tell us something about your blogs

My sons suggested blogging as a good timepass for spending leisure time effectively. When I asked for guidance from them, they said to try it on my own. In their opinion it does not require any special technical skill. That is how I have started my first blog http://tiruppati.blogspot.com/. It features my writings and also some interesting articles I have read and interesting mail forwards. My interest and passion in cooking made me start my 2nd & cookery blog http://shanthisthaligai.blogspot.com. As my Ishta Deivam (God) is Lord Krishna, I started my 3rd blog http://andavantiruvadi.blogspot.com/ which is exclusively for my inner satisfaction. Here again, apart from my postings, there are contributions from my well wishers.

3. What motivated you to convert your blogs for social cause?

I am very much interested in social work and I am of the strong opinion that we must do as much good as we can and do good to others. But being a lady, it had its own disadvantages. I wanted to do something useful in my life. What matters is not what we do, but the way in which we do it. I felt that we have wasted many days in our valuable life which could have been used for helping people who are in need. It is good to know many things, but it is always better to make good use of whatever little we know. Blogging gives room for improvement. Blogging gives new ideas and now I am able to to put them in use in my lab. So, I dedicated my blogs for a social cause and hope it will definitely be of some use to others. We should try to do little acts of service everyday and the good we do will never let us down.

4. You are involved in so many activities like blogging, cooking, singing, social work apart from your routine work at house..How do u manage your time for everything and ensure satisfaction in each of the activity ?

Our life is a gift from GOD. So, we have to be perfect, sincere, punctual and dedicated. Nothing in life is difficult if proper and sincere attempts are made. Planning is important for achieving any goal. Planner is a winner. Losers never plan. As Gandhiji said, service should be with a smile. With regard to music, a teacher who showers affection and love towards students can do wonders. Learning music is over and above regular education. Cooking is our cup of tea. I use my leisure time for blogging and singing for websites. I keep myself busy without straining too much. Everyone does some work or other. There are so few who do it in the best way they can. Those are the one who achieve success. I am trying, to do the best of which I am capable.

5. Give some tips on marketing your blog and driving traffic?

Post compliments and comments on other blogs. Participate in the events conducted by other bloggers. Leave alone the traffic boosting, we get many friends worldwide and we feel they are closer to our heart.

6. You are involved in so many activities and blogs, which is your favorite and why?

Music. It is a vast ocean. It is my passion.

7. Who is your motivating force behind your success?

My children encouraged me to start a blog and they are the main source of motivation/inspiration in blogging. My husband is very courageous. He appreciates and encourages me a lot . He always says “ For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why ? Why not ? Why not me ? & Why not now ?”. He is my inspiration.
Last but not the least, the sites and forums like you who feature me & the friends in blogging. Thank you sakhis.

8. What is one thing you have learned from your life that you think others will benefit from knowing?

Don’t be idle. Do the best of which you are capable. Then accept whatever happens. Have this in mind as the “Tharaka Mantra”. “ A person should be known by the way he spends his leisure. ” Prove yourself in life, not on how long you live , but how you live and how useful you spend your time.

9. Tell us your favourite recipe.

My favourite recipe is medhu vadai. Here is the recipe and the picture is attached.

This is made on all festivals and functions in South India. Can be had with chutney, sambar and also can be dropped in rasam when hot. Yummy dish when had even without side dishes.

INGREDIENTS:

Whole white urad dhal – 1 cup
Green chillies – 2 0r 3
Ginger – 1/2″ piece
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coriander leaves – few
Pepper crushed – 1/2 tsp.
Salt – as per taste (or approx.1/2 tsp.)
Oil – 1 cup

METHOD:

Soak dhal in water for an hour.

Chop green chillies, ginger, curry leaves and crush pepper.

Grind the soaked dhal in a grinder to a smooth paste using very little water. The batter when dropped in water should float and that is the consistency. When smooth and slightly frothy, add salt and also the chopped and crushed items and grind again for two more minutes.

Take out the batter and add chopped coriander leaves.

Heat oil . Meanwhile, wet your palms with water, take out a ball from the batter and flatten it using your hand and put a hole in the centre. (OR) can use a plastic cover (OR) banana leaf.

Carefully drop them into the oil and turn it on both sides and cook till golden brown.

NOTE:

Ensure medium heat of oil. If oil is smoking, the vadai will become red but will not be cooked.

Do not add salt in the beginning. The batter doesn’t double if added in the beginning. Add salt only when the batter is smooth.

Wet your palms,or fingers or plastic cover or banana leaf for each vadai and the vadai doesn’t stick to your hands.

——————————–Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt,
Editor, www.naarisakhi.com

Multitasker: Rinku Battacharya

Naarisakhi is proud to introduce Multitasker: Rinku Battacharya, who manages her family, work, blogs, cooking classes, writing, … list is endless.
Let us find out more from Rinku Battacharya

1. Rinku, Tell us something about yourself?
I am a very spontaneous person, I love to try new things and explore different cultures. I am a mother of two beautiful children. I am trained as a financial professional and I work with non-profit organizations helping them work out their business and operational needs.
Cooking and working with food is a hobby for me and something that comes naturally to me. This first started with my food blog, cooking in Westchester http://www.cookinginwestchester.com
Over time this led to the birth of my Indian culinary workshops and teaching school – Cooking with Rinku. http:www.cookingwithrinku.com. These workshops have become very popular and I look forward to growing the school further and help people learn more about home-style Indian cooking. I mainly teach classes in 4 steady ongoing class formats – An initiation to Indian Cooking and A practical approach to Indian cooking in small hands-on groups.
Outside of these classes I do special events like birthdays, showers, team building events.

2. What made you choose cuisine as career? 
Cooking and teaching Indian cooking is a therapeutic passion for me. I got involved with this trying to find healthy options for my family and children. Over time I realized that people were very interested in learning how to cook Indian food and also understanding the variety that Indian cuisine offers, this led to the classes and subsequently my book. I currently have a newsletter for the classes where I share recipes and can be subscribed to through my newsletter.
About the book:
My book Eclectic Indian, allowed me to learn a lot about the diversity of cooking styles within India. The Indian culinary heritage is so amazingly rich that one can always find something new to learn. I had worked on this book trying to hope that it would offer something different for both regular Indian cooks as well as people who were unfamiliar to Indian Cooking. By the way, as a self-published book, it can be purchased from me at a discount. Just let me know.

3. How do you balance between your family life and career?
Most of the days, I actually think having something to do outside of work does help me keep the edge of work and vice-versa. I tend to find cooking very therapeutic and this helps! However, there are always challenges such as meeting deadlines, having conflicts with personal and professional schedules. I think staying very organized and sticking to a schedule helps, also trying to engage the family in activities help, for example the kids get enthusiastic about food pictures and press coverage!

4. Since you are working from home what are the advantages and disadvantages working from home.
The biggest advantage in my opinion is flexibility. I can often do things around my kid’s schedules and also combine testing recipes and preparing family meals at the same time to be efficient. I am very committed to trying to incorporate fresh locally grown ingredients, so I engage my children in things like visiting the farms, working with us in the garden in summer. This actually helps them try to get interested in local ingredients.
The disadvantages are sometimes the boundaries can be blurred and I get caught up with things and loose track of time.

5. Do you feel need to change Indian recipes to reach western world. 
I try to keep the general emphasis of my recipes close to their original roots. There are certain aspects that sometimes need adaptation. I cook as I think and generally am bad about writing up recipes. Western cooks are used to much greater precision, so I think there are times I need to adapt my style. I also like to use local produce for my recipes so sometimes my recipes are adapted for these ingredients. I would like to think that a lot of the adaptations are more to accommodate the fast-paced life that we live rather than simply because of reaching out to the western world.

6. What advice would you give to the women, who want to be a successful entrepreneur?
It is very important to work with something you are enthusiastic and passionate about since that is key to promoting and staying successful in your business. Initially starting up needs some financial planning and investment, it is important to plan and stay organized about this. The initial start-up phase can sometimes be challenging it is important to stay challenged.

8. Any tips on cooking for Sakhis. 
Keep it simple and cook with love!
Sample Recipe from Eclectic Indian
Anaras Malai Malpoa – Pineapple pancakes
Makes 6 servings
Ingredients
For the Syrup
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2-3 pods cardamom
For the Malpoa (pancakes)
1 can evaporated milk
1/3 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon powdered star anise
1 cup crushed pineapple
2/3 cup self-raising fl our
Oil for frying
Method of Preparation
1. Heat the water and sugar with the cardamoms until a
Thick syrup is formed. This takes about 25 minutes.
2. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Beat all the ingredients for the malpoa except the oil
into a thick batter and set this aside.
4. Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan.
5. Add ladlefuls of batter (about 3-4 at time) and fry.
6. The batter should puff up, turn light golden, with a
spongy center and golden crisp edges.
7. Turn and cook on both sides.
8. Drain the excess oil before removing from the frying
pan and place in the syrup for a few minutes before
serving. These pancakes are best served warm.

Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, www.naarisakhi.com

Sumanarthyskitchen born out of love for her hubby

Arthy born and bred in Malaysia, being the eldest in the family she was so much into studying but admired her mom’s cooking. Arthy wanted to be a multi-talented woman in her life. She has proved herself with her blog in spite of being from medical background. Whenever she got time to cook she would do it but never spent much time on learning how to cook. She used to observe her mom and aunt cooking and watch all sort of cooking channels but rarely cooked. Her interest on cooking was very prominent when she got married and started cooking for her lovely husband as he loves home cooked food. Her husband loves her mom’s cooking so much and that made her learn cooking very seriously, and she wanted to share her mom’s excellent recipes to the world. That’s how Sumanarthy’s Kitchen was born; it’s the combination of Arthy’s name and her husband’s name.

1. NS: What are few qualities needed to be successful blogger?
Arthy: To be a successful blogger one need to show your real interest and passion in cooking, not forgetting the attitude to try out new recipes worldwide. Another quality which is very much important is that you need to improve yourself every day and genuinely have the heart to share the ‘secret’ in cooking or baking.

2. NS: Which is one electronic item in the kitchen you think you can cook a meal without it and why?
Arthy: One electrical item that I don’t need in cooking will be cake beater, many cakes that I bake; I don’t use a beater but use traditional way of using wooden spoon and bowl. That’s how I learnt baking from my mom.

3. NS: Who is your motivating force behind your success?
Arthy: My family is my motivating force behind my success as they always love and admire my cooking.

4.NS: How did you develop a love for cooking and food? Did you cook with your parents while growing up?
Arthy: I have developed love for cooking and food from my mom definitely because she always cook what each and every one of us love to eat and she does it with full of love. She don’t mind even if I eat only a small portion but she would cook what I love to eat not what’s easy for her to cook. I used to cook while I was with my parents and I used to pick up new recipes from cooking shows and mess up big time but my family still appreciates the effort.


5. NS: Which is the important ingredient in cooking and why?

Arthy: Important ingredient in cooking for me would be the passion towards cooking, without it using even the most expensive ingredient in the world wouldn’t give a good result.

6. NS: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
Arthy: Being able to share wonderful recipes from my family and what I learnt from other fellow bloggers to others. Getting to know so many bloggers all around the world who share the same interest.

7. NS: Which is your favorite cuisine and why?
Arthy: My favorite cuisine will definitely be Indian cuisine as its infused with lots of flavour of our Indian spices and I grew up eating it most of my life. I just love the flavour and array of different cuisine from north and south India.

Arthy’s Favorite

Color: Blue, Orange, Black
Season: Spring
Movie: Vinnaithandi Varuvaya
Book: The Secret by Rhonda Bryne
Music: Fusion

Arthy’s favorite recipe would be her mom’s Spicy Chicken Sambal.

This is my family’s most favorite dish of all time; it uses dried red chilli and lots of onions to give it yummy flavour. It is a combination of Indian and Malay cuisine which is very popular in Malaysia.

Ingredients:
4pcs of chicken whole leg (cut into small pieces)
3 large onions (cut into thick slices)
25 pcs of dried chilli
1 tbsp. of chilli sauce
1 tsp. of brown sugar
1/2 tsp. of white vinegar
4 tbsp. of meat curry powder
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

Marinate the chicken pieces with salt and meat curry powder, add a little water and keep it aside.

Boil dried chilli for 10 minutes until its soft and drain the water, then blend with little water to form a smooth paste.

Heat oil and fry onions until translucent, now pour in the chilli paste with some water and let it boil until the raw smell of the chilli gone. Then add chilli sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar and salt to taste, let the sambal simmer and thicken.

Now our Spicy Chicken Sambal is ready to be served.
For more mouth watering recipes visit Sumanarthyskitchen

———————–Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, www.narisakhi.com

Proud Sindhi Food Blogger:Alka

Narisakhi is proud to introduce Alka Keswani of SindhiRasoi.com. Alka is proud wife of Java Guru, Deepak. She is ‘very-happy-to-be-a-homemaker’, a proud mother of 8 year adorable son Yash. Based in Mumbai, Alka started sindhirasoi food blog, in January 2008.The blog is all about her passionate love for Sindhi Food. Not being happy with the meagre presence of Sindhi food recipes and limited cookbooks and just handful of food joints serving Sindhi food, Alka and her husband Deepak decided to come up with this blog http://sindhirasoi.com. SindhiRasoi is nothing but a chronicle of her journey in kitchen from being a naive cook to a food blogger and beyond….

1.NS: What is the best part about being a food blogger?
Alka: Generally when we cook food, we follow certain recipe. It could be inspired from a cook book, or cookery show, from a discussion with a friend or after a SOS call to mother. The food is cooked, the experiment is successful, the applauds and appreciation from family, humbly accepted, but the recipe, generally written on a piece of paper, the exact amount of ingredients, and the handy hints, the tweaks and adjustments are forgotten by the next time we decide to cook similar recipe. Maintaining a blog, helps me to jot down everything with minute details so as to share with other people. Hence the blog acts as a wonderful source of reference for me (and for others too) and saves me from panic attacks when I need to cook the same food again

2.NS: What is your advice for amateur cooks?
Alka: I am not an expert to advice, but I can suggest few things for sure….cook with your heart, learn some basics of cooking, experiment with texture and flavors, spice levels and ingredients. Remember, that even most seasoned cooks have their share of bummer incidents in kitchen. So don’t get disheartened by the flops, refer recipes online, watch videos, go ahead and ‘halla bol’ on kitchen.

3.NS: What inspires you to write a food blog?
Alka: The unwavering support of my family, the continuous flow of ‘Thank you’ emails and flattering comments from the visitors of my blog keep me going! The queries from the bachelor cooks and newlyweds, the appreciation coming from Media and the Sindhi fraternity, and my awesome blogger friends inspires me a lot to continue working for my passion.

4.NS:Who was and is your greatest support(s) for SindhiRasoi blog?
Alka: Indubitably, my knight in shining armour, my better half, who is solely responsible for creating this blog, teaching me fine nuances about blogging and handing me his camera for the food clicks. He does not put his foot down when instead of serving him food straight from the kitchen; I rather plate it to click pictures, while he watches his crazy wife clicking food from various angles.

6.NS:Tell us something about Sindhi food? 
Alka: Sindhi Food is simplest cuisine when it comes to technical aspect of cooking. A very forgiving cuisine, where one can easily experiment to suit one’s palate. Not calling for exotic ingredients, the basic flavor of Sindhi food is generally not masked with the spices. The procedure is fairly simple and so are the ingredients generally used. From the famous king-sized breakfast ‘Dal pakwan’ to the most favorite of Sindhi Guests, Kadhi chaanwaran, from the immensely healthy and popular Saibhaji to the crunchy devilish fritters sanna pakora, there is something very mesmerizing about Sindhi food. The sweets like ‘Ghach ‘and ‘Praguree’ are unique, and so are the various fusion food or food adapted from other cuisines over a period of time. For eg. The macaroni,paranthas and Poha, though not originally from Sindhi roots of cuisine, but are beautifully incorporated in our menu, practically in every home.

7.NS:Which is your most trusted kitchen companion?
Alka: Right now I can think of my 12 year old Juicer Mixer grinder….it still helps me in a great way. Apart from that cookbooks, old pots and pans and Iron kadai. My life without these, in a kitchen will surely be tough.

8.NS:What advice would you give to the women, who want to be a successful blogger?
Alka: Keep it simple, be honest while sharing your views/recipes. Use the language that is easy to follow, the instructions being to the point. Keep yourself well informed about latest technical upgrades to make your blog more user friendly. Do take out time to reply to the comments and queries of the people. If a food blogger, try to capture the food pictures from different angles in natural sunlight. One doesn’t need to be a pro photographer, just make sure that you plate out little food on a decent plate (preferably porcelain, china clay or opalware.The food look fairly decent when plated on a white background.

9.NS: Would you like to share your favorite recipe and why it is your favorite?
Alka: Going with the mood of season (Monsoons in Mumbai), I can’t help but think of Sindhi’s signature fried snacks.the Sanna Pakoras, or the double fried fritters. Super crisp, easy to make and delicious to crunch crunch, chomp chomp, with a cup of hot tea. Enjoy!

Sanna Pakoras


Ingredients:
• 1 small cup gram flour
• 1 small onion (chopped)
• coriander leaves(chopped)
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tsp annardana ( Dry pomegranate seeds)
• 1 tsp Coriander seeds (akkha dhaniya)
• 2 Green chillies (finely chopped)
• Salt to taste
• Red chilly powder as per taste
• A generous pinch of baking soda
• Water
• Oil for frying
Method:
• Mix all the ingredients except oil for frying,and make a thick batter.
• Add a tbsp of hot oil to this batter, mix well
• Take a spoon full of this mixture and slide gently into hot oil, repeat for whole mixture, but do fry in batches. Do not crowd the pan or else the fritters will be soggy and oily.
• Fry them on medium flame till almost done.
• Take them out and break them further to small bite sized pieces.
• Fry again till dark golden brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen towel.
• Serve Immediately.

For many such simple and delicious traditional Sindhi Recipes, log on to http://sindhirasoi.com

———————————-Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, narisakhi.com

DishesFromMyKitchen by Pavithra

Pavithra and IT graduate from Tamilnadu is a proud owner of culinary journal dishesfrommykitchen.com. She wanted to go to a culinary school, but ended becoming an IT graduate. Pavithra’s love and passion for food has brought her to where she stands today.

Pavithra in her own words

“I am from Tamilnadu, which is in the southern part of India. It is the true home of Indian Vegetarianism. Tamilian Cookery has always had its own distinctive tradition. Because of my Telugu roots and Tamil heritage you can see lot of dishes from both the states.

My father is a food lover, he loves to explore food a lot and it’s because of him I am more interested in Food. I did not become a food lover or foodie in one day; it’s inherited from my family.

Throughout my culinary journey I have participated in several food competitions and won prizes. The competitions start from my school days and college days. When I lived in Singapore I participated in the “Enna Samayalo” food competition conducted by Vasantham Central the Singapore Tamil TV Channel and won the first prize for the Vegetarian dish.

“Dishes from My Kitchen” is to share my recipes with others and again it’s also my passion for food and cooking. I will be posting some of the recipes which I learned from my mother, mother-in-law, my family members and collection of recipes from magazines and some cook books which I tried in my kitchen that’s why it is ” Dishes from My Kitchen “.

1. NS: Do you blog about any specific cuisines

Pavithra: I lived in Singapore for 5 years and traveled along Asian countries and I have influence with those cuisines. I am a big food lover who loves to explore new ingredients and also passionate to try all types of cuisines. So you can see all kind of international cuisines which are tried and tasted by our family and Friends. You can see vast collection of vegetarian recipes with the exception of Egg. I am an “Eggetarian” 

I am very passionate about baking and love to bake. I am very proud to say I am a “Daring baker”.

2. NS: What motivated you to blog about food?

Pavithra: Simple – my passion towards food and wanted to share it with the world.

3. NS: Do you think IT background is needed to have a successful blog?

Pavithra: Not Really. Technology used for blogging is user friendly and does not need much of programming.

4. NS: What is one thing you have learned from your life that you think others will benefit from knowing?

Pavithra: Do the things which you love to do than the things which you want to do.

5. NS: What is the best part about being a food blogger?

Pavithra: I get to do my passion through food blogging and also have got a lot of wonderful friends.

6. NS: What is your advice for amateur cooks?

Pavithra: Enjoy while cooking, whether it is complicated or an easy dish. This makes a difference in the food you make.

7. NS: Which is your most trusted kitchen companion?

Pavithra: Sugar, salt and spices.

8. NS: Would you like to share your favorite recipes?

Pavithra: All recipes in my blog are my favorite. Yet here is my all time favorite and everyone favorite–“Restaurant style Gobi 65”

Pavithra’s favorite recipe
Restaurant style Gobi 65

Recipe:
Chicken 65 is one of the most popular dish in South India. The vegetarian versions are with Gobi (Cauliflower), Aloo, Mushroom and Paneer are equally popular in almost all restaurants. These are crispy snack made by dipping the main ingredient in the yogurt cornflour batter and adding some spices to make them very tasty. This is basically a kind of spicy fritters. Whatever it is Gobi (Cauliflower) 65, Paneer 65, Chicken 65, Aloo 65, Mushroom 65; all 65’s are most favorite appetizer from adults to Kids. This is also one of the requested and wanted recipes from many of my friends. This is absolutely crispy, tongue tickling appetizer and off course appealing to eyes as well. I think nobody needs much introduction about this anymore. Without any further delay let’s have a Visual treat for this exotic dish.

GOBI 65


Ingredients:

Cauliflower – 1 medium
Thick yogurt/curd – 1 cup
Good quality red food color – less then 1/4 tsp
Garam masala – 2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 3 tsp (Mine is less spicy chilli powder so please add according to your taste)
Lemon juice – 2 tsp
Garlic – 7 pods
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Cornflour – Approximately you need 350 gm cornflour for the whole cauliflower, 3 to 4 tbsp approximately for each batch of florets.
Salt – 3 tsp approximately
Curry leaves – for garnishing
Chaat masala – To sprinkle at the end
Oil for deep frying

Method:

We really want thick yogurt, if you think the yogurt is loose just tie them in the muslin cloth so the water drips away.
Make a paste out of garlic and ginger. Wash the curry leaves and keep it dry.

1. Cut and clean the cauliflower, drain without any water. Add the curd in the bowl.
2. Add Ginger garlic paste, color and garam masala.
3. Followed by chilli powder, Salt and lime juice.
4. Whisk the batter, add the florets, and mix well.
5. Check for salt, sourness and spice level in this stage.
6. While this ready. Parallely heat oil in the deep pan.
7. Now add handful of cauliflower in bowl add 3 tbsp of cornflour mix well. The whole floret has to be nicely coated with flour.
8. Add the florets in the oil, just add one by one, you can see the bubbles. When it starts to disappear at this stage add few curry leaves.
9. Remove from the oil drain them and put it in the kitchen towel.
10. Serve hot sprinkling chaat masala and ketchup.

Note:

1. When coating the florets with cornflour don’t do for whole batch. Dust them in batches.
2. The cornflour measurement is approximate, add less or more as you need.
3. The sourness, spice level all depends on your taste buds.
4. You can follow the same procedure for mushroom, paneer, Aloo. For all these instead of mixing them with the curd mixture make the batter by mixing the curd mixture and cornflour in Bajji batter consistency and dip the mushroom or paneer or Aloo sticks in the batter and Deep fry them in the oil.
5. After mixing the cauliflower in the yogurt mixture don’t keep them for long time as it leaves water and the whole thing becomes watery.
6. If you want to do this for party, just keep the yogurt mixture ready, mix with florets and flour the next day.
7. The deep fried one will retain its crispiness at least for 1hr, you can also reheat in the preheated oven when needed.

For stepwise instruction pictures, visit this link http://www.dishesfrommykitchen.com/2…-stepwise.html

Some of Pavithra’s favorites
Music: All melodies
Books: Love to read any kind of Cookbooks
Movie: Any movie that makes you feels happy
Kitchen Appliance: My small little blender and my kitchenaid stand mixer.
Cuisine: Italian, Asian, Mexican and off course Indian.

–Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, www.narisakhi.com

Women Enpowerment: Dr. Jyoti Gupta

Dr. Jyoti Gupta, running a successful fine arts institute named ISHA’S INSTITUTE OF ARTS AND ASTROPALMISTRY. Her priorities in order are she is a home maker first, a dedicated wife, and a mother to her little girl, then comes by professional life which she leads in leisure.
She finished higher secondary with St.Raphael’s school then did her masters degree in home management with the Government College in Indore, India. She did a diploma course in textile designing and commercial arts. She joined as a commercial artist with a reputed firm for advertising agency in Indore. She has earned doctorate in Para-psychology.

Let us find out more about Dr. Jyoti Gupta

1. NS: Dr. Jyoti Gupta, welcome to naarisakhi, when did you first discover your artistic talents?
Dr. Jyoti Gupta: Though I do not recollect when this fascination started but I was leading in my biology projects with drawing and coloring all animals and plants needed for the work. I also was very good at drawing on the black board and color them before the winter vacations and was appreciated a lot for the scenes I drew from children’s books with a chalk and my teacher especially used to praise me a lot.

2. NS: What would be your advice for modern day women how can they balance their professional life as well as family life with peace and harmony?
Dr. Jyoti Gupta: Motherhood is a very important role in any women’s life, she should be available to the child for the emotional bonding needed during the growing years simultaneously she should if possible try and accommodate her work in a manner where she could be available to her child a lot more and work at the same time for the financial freedom. May be take up coaching classes or choose a profession more suitable for her.

3. NS: What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?
Dr. Jyoti Gupta: There are times when it is disheartening to organize all at a go, still it is sheer will power and positive attitude that has kept me afloat in trying times. I try to do my best and leave it to god to guide me through as he knows what is best for me.

4. NS: Why did you choose astrology, what made you go to astrology? 
Dr. Jyoti Gupta: Astrology is a subject that helps to discover the soul of a person it can reveal the inner most characters well hidden from the world outside, my deep interest in occult science led me to take up the study of the subject when opportunity came my way. I am into research work with
Dr. Kirtiswaroop rawat a connoisseur in this field and has studied several re incarnation throughout the world. Though I am moving deeper into this subject still I feel I have done only 1% of work in astrology with many question remaining unanswered still.

5. NS: Do you think that according to astrology life is already preplanned for you or we can change our stars with hard work?
Dr. Jyoti Gupta: A very well learned person on this subject can sure guide a person about his future, a few astrologers expressed that I would be a fine arts person though I never could believe in them then, they also predicted my wedding at the age of 29 which both turned out to be true, then again I was informed I would have a child which was not to be so, only one astrologer said it is not possible but motherhood is mine to be, and how true it is now I have a child to take care with me. I became very curious about my future and one thing leading to the other I took this subject as a study; I would like to mention here that though destiny plays its role one can change it with a strong will power and hard work. Though you are served a plate it is you who eat it and this fulfils your aim in life.

6. NS: What advice would you like to give to women’s who wants to be an entrepreneur?
Dr. Jyoti Gupta: I feel where fine arts is concerned one can take up singing, instrumental and vocal coaching as a small scale industry, always start in a low profile and as you are developing with a good response. Employ trained faculties in the respective field and very slowly develop and do not lose heart but keep at it and you will be a well known entrepreneur soon, though it may be time consuming but worth the effort in the end. By the time your children have grown up and your are free, you would be having a full-fledged establishment which you will be proud about and where you work in a peaceful atmosphere.

7. What are your favorite memories you would like to share with Sakhis?
Dr. Jyoti Gupta: I am a person who lives in the present and forget my past bitter memories, my teenage times were no different than the boys I was equally mischief and this led to my parents getting fed up and putting me up in St.Joseph’s convent a boarding school, thinking I would improvise in my behavior only to find their weekend visits were very questioning as they would find me on a tree playing with my gang and squirrels around. In the end I passed out with grace marks in my 7th standard leaving them disappointed. So I travelled back to my home, which also turned out to be a turning point in my life. I had a class mate a very academic kind of person who took studies with a serious attitude and being with her my attitude also got influenced. Even now she is a great and best friend of mine and we still keep in touch with each other. I could never forget the one whole year of boarding which taught me independence in thought and action and I would consider it my golden days of my life.

8. NS: What are your future plans for your business?
Dr. Jyoti Gupta: We are expanding our institute to a college level, and have also applied for affiliation with the universities which may take another couple of years to culminate and become fruitful.
In the meantime I have my daughter to worry about too.
I am conducting diploma and certificate courses in fine art and astrology; we have also started a multimedia course with well trained faculty. It has been a 14yrs journey and may take a few more years for my dream to culminate into reality.

9. NS: If you can recall what did your first art work look like, and what is the most important thing you have learned since then?
Dr. Jyoti Gupta: I remember my caterpillar for my biology project where I got a VERY GOOD remark from my teacher who wanted to know whether it was a freehand work or a tracing, as it was that perfect in its presentation.
During my free time in 7th standard I just wrote a fiction which got circulated among my friends and all appreciated it, my class sister Rose knew something was amiss and got hold of the copy though she smiled after reading, she had to reprimand me either way so sent me out of the class, but that episode made me feel there is a writer in me too so my sketches of my friends as models and writing all took root during those years and has slowly developed in all these years.
Thanks a lot naarisakhi for providing me this platform to answer these questions here.
I would be honored even if one sakhi gets inspired by my life.

——————————————-Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, www.naarisakhi.com

Women Enpowerment: Sagarika Chakraborty

Sagarika Chakraborty is a corporate lawyer from National Law University (Jodhpur) who after a stint into the corporate world decided to broaden her horizons and thus landed up at the Indian School of Business (Hyderabad). She is now pursuing her latest passion of business development and strategy implementation in the corporate world.
Apart from the ‘corporate world’ tag Sagarika have been into research and policy writing for about 8 years now and have presented her ideas on gender studies and models governing transition economies on various forums and international journals including UNESCO and World Bank.

She is author of famous book “A Calendar Too Crowded” 
Buy “A Calendar Too Crowded”


Let us find out more about Sagarika.

1. NS: What made you choose Law? 

Sagarika: They say you can rummage through your genes to actually discover the way you are. My maternal grandfather was a lawyer, but he chose academia and never pursued it and ironically I never met him.
However, I think the dormant genes passed on through my mother to the active me. Thus right since childhood I was the “Jhansi ki Rani” or so my mother calls me till date, and an active speaker of rights. Also coming from a family where there were too many engineers to handle I decided to carve out a new path – law it was, for my passion for logic, reasoning and yes the gift of gab!

2. NS: Who is behind your success?

Sagarika: Needless to say family has always been my backbone. Everyone has had a role to play– and having grown up in a joint family setting there have been numerous roles. Amongst these my mother gifted me the love of writing – when she inspired me to pen a story at the age of 4, when I couldn’t even write. My grandmother inspired me to think like her – to grow up the ladder but be connected to the issues around us. My man on the other hand, held my fingers whenever I faltered and felt that there was no one to understand me. He made me see the silver lining during a lot many grey periods.


3. NS: What is one thing you have learned from your life that you think others will benefit from knowing?

Sagarika: There are no best friends in life till you fall in love with the person in the mirror. Self acceptance is the biggest thing and when you love the skin you are in, or the mind that ticks away inside your brain, world is a better place to live in for you. There is no scope for pretenses, cravings to be someone else and critiques about your personality doesn’t hurt you. Then at the end of the day you like the person you are and can go to sleep with a smile on your face.

4. NS: Your debut novel, “A Calendar Too Crowded”, revolves around the subject of women. What made you focus on women issues?

Sagarika: I am a woman and a proud one – do I need a better reason? *broad grin*
I have always been interested in gender studies. As a kid the words “girls don’t do that” never worked with me and as an adult “that is the way girls should behave” was smirked aside. During my various researches for my policy writing I met women from all spheres of life – from the unorganized labor class to the page 3 party animals. Each one however had a story to share when it came to the question of woman hood. These were real stories that they said – stories which we hear almost every day in news channels or read in newspapers but forget. Thus, I decided to tell them with a flavor of fiction so that they linger on and on, much after the newspaper that carried it was made into a boat for a monsoon puddle by a kid.


5. NS: Which is your favorite story in “A calendar Too Crowded” and why?

Sagarika: Each of the stories is special to me, for there’s a real life incident behind each of them. However, considering the times we live in and coming from Kolkata where rape cases and their dealings are making quite a stir these days I pick the story titled “Naked”. It is filed under the month of June (day against eve teasing and sexual harassment) where the society dissects a rape victim – her character, her clothes, her lifestyle everything is discussed, but nobody is bothered to know who she is and what her real story was.

6. NS: What are your future plans?

Sagarika: Writing, writing and more writing – I am an active blogger and blog regularly at www.endowedwithmetis.com. Apart from that, I am already on my second book, the third anthology of short stories already in print and researching for my fourth publication. However, writing for me is not a full time job. I am more of a story teller by observation thus I need to be active in the corporate and social world through my job and research writing in order to have story pecks which I can spin stories about.

7. NS: What advice would you give to Women who have the passion for writing? How do they groom themselves to be successful author?

Sagarika: For me two things worked – believing in the person in the mirror and before setting out to look for publishers promising myself not to be bogged down by rejections or bad critiques.
We all love what we write, but it’s important as an author that your target audience loves it too. Remember the entire world cannot be your target audience – thus it is very important to realize who belongs to that group and take feedback. Each feedback should strengthen you as an author – for the good ones keep your fingers crossed and for the bad ones smile and thank and then think about the pointers told to you.

However, mostly believe that you can do it and leave no stone unturned. It is better to attempt everything and fail than to have an old age when you sit and wish you had attempted things in a different way and maybe succeeded.


8. NS: You have been playing challenging roles like an author, lawyer, speaker, blogger, etc. How do you manage to be successful at all of this?

Sagarika: My BFF says that I have 48 hours in my day! I am a workaholic and recluse by choice. You meet me and you’ll say that I am an extrovert with nothing to hide – whereas in reality people barely know what is happening in my life and I barely socialize. I am a meticulous planner and everything that I do – be it writing, cooking, speaker at a conference or working on excel in office I do it with a passion, thus I never feel that I am over worked.

Sagarika’s favorites

Cuisine: Chinese
Color: Pink and Purple (I was nicknamed Pinky in college – and proudly stick to the tag till date)
Movie: Serendipity
Book: An Equal Music (give me anything by Vikram Seth and I’ll forget the world)
Places to visit: Till date it has been Scotland. However my bucket list has Chena Hot Springs – Alaska with aurora borealis looking down over us!

—————Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, narisakhi.com

Bhavya’s Cuisine: Seasoned Flavours

Bhavya Reddy from Hyderabad, currently residing in Bangalore is a graduate in Engineering and worked in few corporate firms. She is owner of food blog Bhavya’s Cuisine. Apart from cooking, bhavya love travelling and music. She is blessed with lovely family and a bunch of friends who supports her in all her ventures. She loves to experience new tastes and experiment on the food her family likes. Mom, Granny, Mother in law and Aunt have always been the best cooks in her life and Bhavya keep experimenting on the recipes she jotted from them. All the recipes in Bhavya’s Cuisine are very simple and are very useful for beginners. It mainly focuses on Indian delicacies and is yet to experiment and come up with more.

Let us find more about Bhavya’s Cuisine

1. NS: You are a successful food blogger. How did you develop a love for cooking and food? Did you cook with your parents while growing up? 
Bhavya: While growing up, I never cooked anything except for Maggi :-). It all happened when once my mom had to go out of town, and I had to manage the kitchen and then I found its lot of fun to hang out in the kitchen and my passion for cooking started from then on.

2. NS: Who is motivating force behind your success?
Bhavya: Bhavya’s Cuisine was born on my best friend’s advice who is an excellent cook and to whom I owe this blog to. My family has always been my best critics and play an important role in my success.

3. NS: What is the important ingredient in cooking?
Bhavya: Onion, Indian Whole Spices, Ginger, Garlic, Curry leaves are the basic ingredients without which most of my recipes are incomplete.

4. NS: Which is one electronic item in the kitchen you think you can cook a meal without it and why?Bhavya: Except for the food processor I don’t rely much on any other electronic gadgets.

5. NS: Which is one thing you have learned from your life that you think others will benefit from knowing?
Bhavya: Humility – Life has taught me many lessons till now but the one thing that would benefit everyone is being humble and learning from ones mistakes. Experience is the best teacher, so it is very much important to analyse and learn from the mistakes.

6. NS: Please share your favourite recipe.

Bhavya: I love Chicken Liver Curry, prepare by my mom.

Ingredients:

1. Chicken Liver – 1/2 kg
2. Onions chopped – 3 medium
3. Dhaniya powder / Coriander powder – 1tsp
4. Red chili powder- 2tbsp or more
5. Ginger Garlic Paste – 1tbsp
6. Masala (grind to a paste)
Elaichi – 2
Lavang – 2
Dalchin – 1 inch piece
Gasalu/poppy seeds – 1/2tsp
Kaju and badaam – 2 each
7. Coriander Leaves for garnishing
8. Salt to taste.

Method:
Add oil and fry the onions till they turn light brown. Then, add ginger garlic paste and fry for some more time. Then, add Dhaniya powder, Red chilli powder and fry well again.
Then, add washed chicken liver pieces along with salt and mix well. Let it get well cooked. See that the water is evaporated and the liver pieces are soft. Once, done, add the ground masala and allow it to fry for some more time.
Then add cup water, mix well, close the lid and allow it to get cooked for some more time. Once, the desired gravy is obtained switch off the flame and garnish well with Coriander Leaves.

Bhavya’s Favourites:

Color: White & Red
Season: Winter
Movie: Humorous
Book: I love autobiographies.
Music: Melodies.

For mouth waterng recipes, check out Bhavya’s Cuisne.

—————————–Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, www.narisakhi.com

Nithya: Passion for cooking

Some people consider IT professionals to be geeks, who cannot think beyond bytes and bits. Instead, Web Developer Nithya, has a fourth sense in tasty bites proved by her blog www.4thsensecooking.com.
Apart from this Nithya also has interest in arts and crafts under www.nitsarts.blogspot.com
Let’s find more about Nithya. Nithya, welcome to naarisakhi.

1. NS: How did you come up with your blog name?
Nithya: While thinking of various options to call my space something struck me that “Taste” was one of the best sense that god has gifted us. Taste is something that drives us to cook interesting combinations. Since taste was the fourth sense out of our senses, I named it as “4th Sense Cooking” which simply translates as tasty cooking.

2. NS: Do you think IT background is needed to have a successful blog?
Nithya: No. You really don’t have to have an IT background at all to start a blog. There are ready made templates and blogger or wordpress platform which would make things a piece of cake for beginners. As one progresses with it, they will be able to find a lot of tutorials online to make changes to their blog and make it look more customized for them. “Where there is a will there is a way”

3. NS: What qualities one should have to be a multi tasker?
Nithya: “Passion” – it is the only quality that is needed to be a multi tasker. The urge to do things will drive them until they do it.

4. NS: Which is one electronic item in the kitchen you think you can cook a meal without it and why? 
Nithya: One can literally manage to cook anything without electronic gadgets. I believe our ancestors didn’t have anything that we have now. Its sheer luxury that we enjoy through electronic items.
I can easily manage to beat my eggs and cake batter without a kitchen aid mixer or hand mixer. Whipping it manually gives me a good exercise and also doesn’t warm up the batter keeping it fine for baking.
On the lighter side, it’s even better to learn to cook without onions and tomatoes for their super high rates these days

5. NS: What advice would you give to the women, who want to be a successful blogger?
Nithya: Dedicate a good amount of time for the passion within you. Identify it and work for it. Blogging about your interest and talent can take you to places.
Make sure you give original and quality content and you would sure get readers and popularity follows.
Never shy over and just get going.

6. NS: What is one thing you have learned from your life that you think others will benefit from knowing?
Nithya: On personal experience I would like to share a small piece of advice to the readers. Never slog over something that doesn’t give you satisfaction and peace. Time never comes back. So just explore yourself and find you interests and passion. Do what you are best at and success and happiness will sure be the fruits of your work.

7. NS: Can you share your favorite recipe here.
Eggless Apple Cake

Ingredients:

Apple – 2
Tutti frutti (finely chopped) – 1/4 cup
All purpose flour(Maida) – 2 cups
Butter – 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar – 3/4 cup
Condensed milk – 6 tsp
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Baking soda – 2 tsp
Salt – a pinch
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Cardamom – 1
Cloves – 2

Method:

Sieve all purpose flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together and keep it aside.

Powder the clove, cardamom and Cinnamon together.

Melt butter and beat in the powdered sugar until it becomes fluffy. Now add the spice powder and vanilla essence to it and beat it until it mixes evenly.

Peel the skin of the apple and grate it.

Add the grated apple and tutti frutti to the batter and beat it for just a min.

now add the flour mixture and mix until it gets incorporated and forms a thick batter.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line a cake tin with parchment paper and grease it. Pour in the batter into the mould and bake in 180°C for 50-60 mins.

Remove from oven and allow the cake to cool on wire rack for a while.

Invert and decorate according to your wish.
Eggless Apple cake is ready to eat 

This quantity makes a 1/2 kg square cake.

Happy making and enjoy eating 
Decoration tips:

You can simply place a stencil on top of the cake and sprinkle icing sugar and remove the stencil back carefully.

You can use silver sugar balls to decorate too.

Top with some icing cream.

————————–Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, www.naarisakhi.com

Arti Agarwal: One person, many roles

NaariSakhi is proud to introduce our dear Sakhi, Arti Agarwal, Engineer by profession, wife of lovely husband Mr. Anurag Agarwal, mother of beautiful 3 year young princess Anshika and proud owner of blog breakfasttodinner. Let us find out how she manages all her roles successfully.

1. Arti, Tell us something about yourself 

I am Arti Agarwal. I belong to Jaipur (Rajasthan) and married to Mr. Anurag Agarwal settled in Hyderabad, currently I am in Gurgaon (Haryana). By GOD’s grace I am mother of little princess Anshika. She is 3 yrs old. On Academic I am Post Graduate in Engineering. My blog http://breakfasttodinner.blogspot.com is a food blog i.e. the result of my passion for cooking.

2. What made you start food blog?

My journey of blogging started at the time when I met my blogger friend. I was impressed with her work and thought to start something on my own. I love cooking and always experiment in my kitchen. I thought of turning my experiments in kitchen into food blog and breakfasttodinner was born in March 2009

3. Arti, How much time do you spend on blogging including cooking, photography, etc?
I usually spend 20 hrs on weekly basis. Whenever I cook any recipies, I have my camera ready to click the snaps.

4. Your blog has a complete list of five star hotel’s menu card, I could find every dish. Do you get help of someone to update your blog? Are you a professional, or working from home?

Firstly I am thankful for this wonderful and loving compliment. I am not a professional but always explore the cooking websites and cookery books to make my recipes tastier and presentable.

5. Who is motivating force behind your success? 

My motivating force is my friend who helped me in the starting of my blog. My family plays an important role in my success. Their appreciation and suggestions motivate me to improve my site.

7. Do you think contact with users is important in blogging, how do you maintain contact with your users?

Yes, I agree that contacts with users are very important. Like two sides of coin, the visitors post either compliments or comments. Compliments motivates you and similarly comments are like suggestions which force you to improve your site .I make contacts with others by posting on their site and participate in the events conducted by them. When we make contacts we feel they are like your friends and relatives.

8. Any advice for sakhis who wants to start their own blogs or website.

Though the blogging looks to be very jargonic, but the reality is one need not be very tech savvy to start blogging. Just commitment, dedication and patience make one a good blogger. Everybody has a unique talent which can be extracted by the way of blogging. There are lots of fields on which one can start blogging.

9. Would you like to share your favourite recipe and why it is your favourite? 

My favourite recipe is “Cheese Cutlet”. It’s not only my favourite rather it becomes everyone’s who eats it .It a very simple recipe and served as a starter.
Ingredients:
Bread Slices – 8
Cheese cubes- 4
Green capsicum-1
Carrot (orange)-1
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Black Pepper-1/2 tsp
Rawa(suzi)-2 tsp to roll cutlets
Oil for fry

Method:
1. Cut capsicum and carrot in small pieces.
2. Grate cheese.
3. Mix with cut capsicum, carrot.
4. Add salt and pepper and filling is ready.
5. Now remove the sides of bread and soak in the water for few seconds.
6. Squeeze water from bread and fill the prepared filling and pack it by giving heart shape.
7. Roll all the cutlets in suzi.
8. Deep fry till the golden brown.

——Interviewed by Sakhis of naarisakhi.com