Evocative Press

Insights and inspirations of a homeschooling mother and a full-time homemaker


Jan 10 2012
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This recipe is no authentic way of making biryani. But it works and tastes really good! This recipe is a combination of my mom-in law’s pulao and biryani as I knew it. Her pulao had such a strong biryani taste and flavor, that I thought, hmm, may be I need to flavor the rice this way. And guess what, this biryani is suffused with gutsiness!!!


5 large onions, chopped

3 large green chillies, slit

1 cinnamon stick

2 small bunches pudina/ mint leaves

1 small bunch coriander leaves

2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste

3 peppercorns

2 cloves

3- 4 tablespoons oil

Saute all the above ingredients in oil until onion turns light brown. Cool and puree. That’s the ground masala.

1-2 tablespoons chilly powder

400 gms curd

1 ½ – 2 Kg mutton (Depends on the mutton to rice proportion you prefer.)

Marinate the mutton in salt, curd, ground masala, and chilly powder for an hour in the vessel you desire to cook in. Cook the marinated mutton as is for an hour or till the meat is tender.



1 kg basmati rice (5 cups)

9 cups water ( a little less than needed)

2-3 drops kewra water

a pinch of saffron

2 small bunches mint leaves (pudina), cleaned and choped

3- 5 chillies, slit in 4 (number of chillies will depend on how spicy you like it)

2 onions, chopped

2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste

3 cardamoms

3-4 cloves

large stick of cinnamon or cassia

1 tablespoon ghee ( it does flavor the biryani)

1 tablespoon oil

  • Over medium heat, in a large pan with a lid, melt the ghee along with the oil and the garam masala (cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon), stirring a bit. Add the chillies, onions and mint leaves, frying each a bit before adding the other. Then the ginger and garlic paste. Stir a little.
  • Add the washed rice, stirring till lightly slicked with the oil. Pour the water and kewra water. Add the saffron. Clamp on the lid. Let it cook.



8-10 onions, thinly sliced in rings

8-10 potatoes (optional), cut in thick discs

200gm  cashews, split in half

Oil for deep frying


  • In a pan of hot oil, fry the onions in batches to get dark brown strands. Stash them on paper towel.
  • The potatoes can be grilled on a nonstick pan
  • Toast the cashews on a nonstick pan till lightly brown.


  • In a large vessel with a lid, layer the bottom with potatoes. Spoon the rice to cover the bottom with a thin layer. Then pour some gravy and strew few mutton pieces. Add the second layer of rice. Scatter onion strands and cashew.
  • Then spread the mutton and gravy. Scatter few potatoes over the grayy layer. Then the rice…. Continue layering till you fill the vessel, the final layer being rice. For the garnish, a final smattering of onion strands and cashews. Clamp on the lid. Place it over a very low heat for 20 min., or till warmed through. Done


When serving, never mix the layers so that the gravy completely mingles with the rice. So spoon out delicately! Serve with raita!


God’s most important gift – the power of choice!

Jan 10 2012
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Points from the message in church, last sunday!


This new year can be seen as a clean slate to write my history. I can have the best marriage, be the best mother, have the best relationship, a deeper commitment with the Lord Jesus Christ. It depends on ME!!

Life is made of choices, not chances. We are our choices! Character is formed by the same. NEVER underestimate the power of choice. External circumstances do not take our power to choose.  Christians should never be victims, but victors.

“Victimization is a slap in the face of God”

As opposed to animals that have instinct, man has the freedom to choose his own destiny. So take hold of the wheel… direct yourself to the right destination!

The questions to ask in crucial decisions ( those that will determine the course of our life):

  • What does God say about a situation?
  • Is the choice in harmony with the word of God?
  • Is my standard based upon the word of God or my own wisdom, or upon what people think? Verses: Prov 3:5-6, Proverbs 28:26, Proverbs 20:24Rather side with legalism than lawlessness. We don’t have to pray about the clearly forbidden.

Then there are those decisions that are not spelled out in the bible. They are neither black nor white… the grey areas. The choices between what’s good and what’s best. (1cor 10: 23)

The questions to ask:

  1. Will it make me a better Christian? Will it build me up spiritually? Will it move me closer to God??
  2. How will my choices help others? Will it hurt others? We are not to be people pleasers but we are to consider others?
  3. Will your choices trouble your family?
  4. Will I want others to know what I’m about to do? Live your life in the light.
  5. Is this the best use of my time?
  6. Do I take counsel from others? Proverbs 13:10, 15:22, 19:20
  7. Do you think your decisions through? Don’t make your choice on a whim? Proverbs 14:8, 14:15.
  8. What will be the consequences of my choices?

There will be a judgement day! That’s why we need to make wise decisions. The day of reckoning is preceded by the day of reason.

Life has choices, choices have consequences. Therefore make the right choices.



Asthma concoction

Dec 17 2011
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An asthmatic attack can be quite an episode, especially for a child. Nathan, though not frequent, has them. I remember the first time… we were clueless! It started off like a cold- the snuffles, and then chest congestion leading to short breaths, and finally a state of lethargy. A year old child can hardly express much. Witnessing that was really hard for us! We took him to our pediatrician, a really good doctor. But let’s face it, for asthma, the only remedy conventional medicine can offer is asthalin. Administering it every four hours using either the inhaler or the nebulizer! And when severe, a steroid, Betnisol is given.

A year ago, Renu, my friend asked me to try a concoction. I wasn’t so eager to believe that this would really help… No more asthalin?? Impossible! Then when I finally gave in, forced two spoons of this magical concoction down his throat… voila! It worked!! The runny nose would not peak to a wheezing condition. This was such a relief to know there was another way!

Below is the recipe to this homemade potion:

Egg and brandy concoction:

For this you will need:

1 cup juice from unripened green limes

1 egg (preferably one that you are confident about)

Raw honey


  1. Immerse the egg in the lime juice. Let it sit for 24 hours. The egg shell and the lime amalgamates to form a frothy head. If the juice is tangy enough, the eggshell will dissolve leaving only the inner lining.
  2. Irrespective of how much of the shell dissolves, after a day bash it about and strain through a muslin cloth. You will get a golden molten mixture.
  3. The raw honey, brandy, and the egg mixture have to be in equal proportion. So add honey and brandy accordingly. Refrigerate.
  4. Have 2 tablespoons a day starting from the first signs of a cold or the onset of a climate change.

Howbeit, this doesn’t cure the condition, it helps you through it, that is, if you take it before it climaxes. I look at it as a good substitute for asthalin, if taken in time. This week, however, I missed and had to face the brunt!

There are so many wonderful ingredients that nature provides. The remedy to many problems may simply reside in the kitchen. These building-blocks within our reach can prove noble indeed! I hope to discover more of life’s goodness.

Nature’s Nobility, a category in this blog, sets to verify just that!


TALIMPOO? What is that?

Dec 10 2011
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Being married to an Andhrite, assisting my mother-in-law, a solicitor of recipes.. I conclude thus: One needs a passion for the picante to love Andhra food. Although there are many ways of cooking a simple subzi or curry as there are homes in Andhra, no dish is without braised chillies. By braised, I mean chopped chillies are fried along with diced onions before stewing them in the vegetable, dal, or meat in question.

This brings us to TALIMPU, a.k.a. bagar, an imperative step to give Andhra food its pungent punch! The trifecta of ingredients: onions, green chillies and curry leaves means you can make almost any dish taste from there. Chillies are cut in rings or slit in 4 and thrown in a well of hot oil that’s been spluttering with a tablespoon of TALIMPU GINJALU (mixture of mustard seeds, split urad dal, split gram dal, and cumin). The chillies have to be fried well before you add the onions and curry leaves. When cooking meats, substitute the GINJALU (seeds) with a small cinnamon or caccia stick.

So, ever wondered why Andhra food is smacked with fieriness? Thanks to karam podi (Andhra chilly powder) on top of braised green chillies!

Check out the recipe for rasam.


Dec 10 2011
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Since I did a post on TALIMPU, I thought I’ll give the recipe I learnt from atthayah (my mother-in-law). This will banish the snuffles!


3 medium sized tomatoes chopped

4 tablespoons tamarind

4-5 cups water

fresh coriander, finely chopped

1 tablespoon grated coconut

2- 4 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons talimpu ginjalu (mixture of mustard seeds, urad dal, gram dal, cumin)

2 large green chilles (cut in thick rings)

1 large onion (sliced)

2 sprigs curry leaves

1 – 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste

½ teaspoon turmeric

4 teaspoons MTR Rasam powder

¼ teaspoon karam (chilli powder)


1 Add tomatoes, tamarind and water in saucepan. Boil until reduced a bit and tomatoes are mushy. Strain through a rasam strainer, squeezing out as much as possible. Add a spoon of the strained pulp.

2 Talimpoo: Add the mustard mixture to a hot well of oil. Then throw-in the chillies, onions and curry leaves. Fry until lightly scorched. Then the ginger garlic paste. Bagar till it just starts to change color, then add the spices. Fry on low heat not burning the spices.

3 Add the strained tomato broth and salt. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 mins. Garnish with chopped coriander and grated coconut. Done.

Douse steamed rice with rasam. Enjoy!


Fragments to smile about

Dec 1 2011
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Couple of weeks ago… Probhita and I, dragging my son along, went to a hardware store. We were in the middle of a dialogue when the man at the shop chimed in, ‘One just a minute!’ Hindi speaking.. I don’t blame him.

Few days ago..

Me: “Nathan, can you get the pen from the table?”

Nathan: “One just a minute!”

Me (drawling): “I think you mean – Just a minute.”

Nathan: “Mummy, but that’s how they say it in Hindi.”

Was teaching him a little Hindi that morning.


Inspired to take the pledge

Nov 28 2011
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Yesterday, the message in church was on how privileged are the poor in spirit. What a great message! The verse in culmination blessed me the most- Isaiah 66: 1-2 , where God,  who has made the whole universe cares for nothing but for one with a contrite and meek spirit!!! Just think of it – How can God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, possibly have a relationship with someone thinking he knows better!

‘In church, the past few weeks have been very convicting for me. I have pledged to be far removed from laziness, sheer indolence of mind! I’m not waiting for the new year to make any resolution. Right now is the time! So, from taking notes in church ( a fundamental to intellectualism, as our Pastor put it) to putting it to practice, and home chores to raising children may diligence prevail!!!

‘Evocative Press’ Debut

Nov 28 2011
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Hi and welcome!

Evocative press has came about from a desire to reminisce over wonderful events of life as a mother. I am a mom of a three year old son, Nathan. I intend homeschooling him, which would entail a lot of work and input from others. And I have great friends going before me in this similar endeavor.

The everyday can be so tangled, busy and yet with glorious moments worth celebrating. I would like to chronicle  and share those joyous moments. It is always reassuring to have jotted down precedents in one’s life to make the future easy, especially as a domestic, homeschooling mother. And what’s even more encouraging is to be able to retrieve from a melange of forgotten ideas. My husband has always wanted me to start my own blog. BINGO!!! Here comes “Evocative Press”!!!