Aavakkai oorugai (Mango pickle)

AAvakkai Oorugai-(Mango Pickle)

My mom prepares tasty aavakkai oorugai for use for a year or two.

Her recipe is as follows;

Materials required:

Mango -cut pieces—3kgs. Matured green mango (unripe)- it should have sourness-“Rumani” variety is the best choice-inner seed and its coat should be removed – the pieces should be washed and surface dried with a cloth and air dried for an hour or two. -pic.1

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Chilli powder red-400 to 500gms-
Mustard powder(Kadugu)-200gms.
Fenugreek seeds(Vendhayam)-25gms.
Salt crystalline-(kal uppu) -500gms.
Oil-We use Gingelly(Til) oil. -1/2 lit or 500gms.-mustard oil can also be used instead.

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Mix chilli powder, mustard powder, fenugreek seeds and salt in a large plate and pour theoil and mix well to a paste .Use plastic hand glove for mixing.

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Now transfer two handful of the mango pieces over the paste and spread them with some paste
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and transfer the mango to storing container. Repeat the process until all the mango pieces are mixed with the paste and transfer to the container. Transfer the remaining paste to the container. Turn over the pieces in the container with a spoon 4 or 5 times, and close the container air tight.

Repeat the turning over process for 4 or 5days. The salt will dissolve in the moisture of the mango, and mix with the paste and mango pieces begin to soften and the oil will start floating over the surface.

After a week or two the pickle is ready for use. The turning over process should be done once in a week or two.

As long as the pieces are under the oil and the container is air tight, the pickle will remain unaffected for two years.

Sarada Anandi

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Swarajathi in carnatic music, a simple view

……………         Swarajathi  in  Carnatic  Music – a simple view

Swarajathi is a form of music, unique to carnatic music. It is a form of music in which each set of swara  combinations in a raga is followed by sahithya (stanza of words) or vice versa in the  charanam of the song, both exhibiting the bhava  of the raga and the  mood of the song.  Swarajathi is explained in plenty of texts, past and present and also in the internet,some relating  swarajathi to dance  jathis (steps).

My simple understanding of swarajathi is : swara – notes in the ladder of Aarohanam, (moving up) and Avarohana (moving down) of a raga and jathis – steps in the ladder. So,swara jathi, proper, will be a composition in which the charanam (pallavi/anupallavi/charanam) starts with a set of combinations of the 1st swara in the aarohana of the raga and  the corresponding  sahithya (words) maintaining the raga bhava in both, followed by the next swara in the aarohana and so on. This is best illustrated by the swarajathis  in the ragas,Bhairavi 1  and Yadhukulakambodhi 2  of Shyama Sastri. Forming  swarajathis with both aarohana and avarohana  swarams  will be too  lengthy  and unwieldy.

Swarajathi in the raga Bhairavi sung by :
1.Semmangudi  Srinivasa  iyer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwoSmX59ZbQ    part 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBhkcSxKQnA    part 2
2.M.D. Ramanathan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y44PdUdSoE
Swarajathi in the raga yadhukulakambodhi  sung by Bombay Jayashree
www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZqETgEyHnk
Shyama Sastri’s  swarajathis in these two ragas are brilliant, impressive , moving and enchanting. Many prominent  musicians have sung these swarajathis in their concerts and albums and here, I  cannot resist  the  temptation  to refer  viewers  to the recordings of the bhairavi swarajathi  by  1.Semmangudi  Srinivasa  iyer  and 2. M.D.Ramanathan,mentioned above..  Rendering of the song by both are brilliant, but, when listening to MDR, one gets a feeling that he is teaching  the intricacies of the raga bhava  to the listeners and at the same time instilling the mood of the composer.

The presentation of  yadhukulakambodhi  swarajathi by Bombay Jayashri , is so lucid and pleasing that ,after listening to her for  half a  dozen times, I am able to sing this  swarajathi.

I would like to know from  the  viewers/listeners of the existence of swarajathi  compositions similar to the above  pattern  in  any other raga, by composers other than Shyama Ssastry..

N.Narasimhan

SwSwarajathi in Carnatic Music

Creative swararagamaliga sung by Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan

This is a clipping of swararagamaliga after kalpana swara in “Koluvaiunnade“- Bairavi-Adi -, sung by T.N. Seshagopalan in a concert during ‘Isai Vizha‘ some 40 years back. It contains 21 ragas in swara form and the rendering is rhythmic, exemplary in bringing out the raga lakshana of each raga.  The 21 ragas in order of singing are:

  1. Nattai
  2. Bahudari
  3. Arabhi
  4. Amritavarshini
  5. Ahiri
  6. Bilahari
  7. Dhanyasi
  8. Darbar
  9. Reetigaula
  10. Athana
  11. Saranga
  12. Ranjani
  13. Saveri
  14. Hamsanandi
  15. Kuntalavarali
  16. Kathanakutuhalam
  17. Neelambari
  18. Bauli
  19. Revati
  20. Kapi
  21. Surutti

This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Che01jjGbe0 is a radio recording of the concert by Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan, during Decmber ‘Isai Vizha‘ some 40 years back.

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. The audio content doesn’t belong to me and I don’t make profit out of this content. This is a radio recording of a live concert (Isai Vizha) and the song belongs to it’s rightful owners. I uploaded the song for the completeness of my article and for viewers to enjoy the music of T.N.Seshagopalan.

Impact of Utthukadu Venkata Kavi’s music and thoughts of a 76+

For long, I used to indulge infrequently in debating within me the question –

“What is the purpose of this life?”. Pondering over the common answers like seeking ego-centric comfort, happiness, wealth and health (the last two are in inverse proportion), I come to the conclusion that all these are transient and lead to more desires and to loss of mental peace. My answer is simple – the purpose of life is to avoid further life or rebirth. One way to dismiss this question is to negate the concept of rebirth. In recent times, there have been reports of incidents proving rebirth. I remember an event some 45 years ago, to which, I along with hundreds like me was attending when Mr. N.Ravikiran, the present chitra – veena maestro, was on the stage in Krishna Gana Sabha crawling on his knees, as a 2 year old child and hardly capable of saying a few words, was answering questions put to him by many on carnatic music. Have look at ravikiranmusic.com for the above illustration. Some sang, keerthanas, arohana-avarohana swaras and the child would name the raga and the melakartha. Some would mention a raga and deliberately sing the wrong swaras. The child would promptly say it is wrong. He had to be coaxed to draw his attention It was amazing that a child could have such musical knowledge. People assembled there were saying “that the child is none other than his grandfather, Devakottai Narayana Iyengar, a gottuvadhyam player of yester years, reborn“. We all agreed, it is true.

I am not a philosopher, my answer implies that one can attain a state of mind where one is bereft of ego and is oblivious to his identity – the perishable body – and feel blissful. From our ancient sages, siddhas and scriptures, I understand that the way to attain this state of mind is to pursue the quest of knowledge of the truth – God or whatever you call it. There are two ways to follow to get this knowledge –

  • to think of the Brahmam, the all-pervading and Parabrahmam, the supreme god and to practice it in life, (a little digression here – the mathematical equivalent of parabrahmam would be infinity and so deriving brahmam from parabrahmam to be present in infinite things, animate and inanimate would retain parabrahmam’s infinity – “Poornath Poornam adhaya poornameva stithe”).
  • to adopt bakthi marga. To be successful, both methods require vairagya – staunch perseverance. My attempts to adopt these methods have been a total failure – pulls and distractions of family and society being the major stumbling blocks, in addition to failure to control the five senses. I was feeling dejected of my inability to have an iota of vairagya.

Am I a loner in this feeling ? No, I found a companion in Venkata Kavi when a couple of years ago, in a TV programme, I heard Aruna Sairam rendering the song “Aalavedhennalo” in raga Paras of Uththukkadu Venkatakavi – a great baktha,an enchanting poet and a beautiful and extraordinary composer in Carnatic music. Visit Alava dennalo to hear this song. In this song the poet expresses his inability to have vairagya. Aruna Siaram began with a couplet, which includes a line – ilamai thurakkavallen allen, meaning not like the lady who renounced her youth – alluding to Karaikkal Ammaiyar (ref. 1 below), and another line Kannizhandhum Kannappavallen allen, meaning not like the one who after having offered his one eye, offered his other eye-alluding to Kannappa Nayanar (ref. 2 below). Venkata kavi goes on to say in this song that he wants to forgo this birth and to get a ‘punya piravi’ like that of one of the following, namely, 63 nayanmars.

He groups the names of the 63 nayanmars in such a way to present a charanam of beautiful and rhythmic lines, interspersed with raga swaras.

Now the impact:

Like Venkatakavi, I want rebirths but in such a way that (I pray to God} whatever the number of births, in each birth, wherever I am, I should always able to think of parabhrahmam, in Siva, Sakthi and Narayana swaroopams and to be able to see these swaroopams in everything and everywhere – a tall unachievable desire.

Human desires have no norms and no limits.

Ref. 1&2 – http://www.dlshq.org/download/nayanar.htm

Raising and maintaining a terrace-jasmine garden.

I am having jasmine plants in containers in the terrace of my house for over 12 years and I have enjoyed the flowers, the plants produce aplenty. I adopt simple maintenance steps every year. City dwellers living in apartments can adopt this to have a pleasant and successful jasmine garden.

Steps to raise the Jasmine garden:
Jasmine grows well in full sun. Jasmine ,being a shrub, you need containers fairly large, say, 50 liters capacity or pots 1.5-2 feet tall and diameter 2-feet.You can buy suitable plastic containers from the market or you can make your own by cutting an old 80-100 lit capacity plastic barrels into two halves and making holes at the bottom for water to drain out. 4 or 6 containers can give you adequate no. of flowers and they occupy only less space. Fill the containers with sand or gravel to a depth of 2-3 inches, covering the holes with broken bits of clay pots, to enable water to drain out slowly. Then, fill up the container with a mix of equal parts of sand ,garden earth, and cattle manure or organic manure, leaving a space of 3-4 inches at the top. Buy jasmine plants of your choice but shrub variety. I have found Jasmine – Manmohan and Jasmine – Madurai Malli, successful and productive. Transfer the plants to the containers, preferably during rainy season. Water the plants when surface looks dry.

First year:

At the end of February or early March, remove the leaves and dried stems, apply rotten cattle manure or other organic manure and water the plants well. Fresh shoots will appear soon and flower buds will sprout. Spray with a growth hormone. I use my own preparation of fortified growth- hormone, which is available for sale also. Contact me through comments section of this blog for this. At the end of the flowering period, when no more buds appear, leave the plants for a month, watering only to sustain the plants, then repeat the process of de-leaving and removing dead stems, manuring and watering profusely for a fresh crop of flowers.

Second year and after:

At the end of February or early March, remove the leaves and dead wood. Remove soil with roots around the center to half the depth of the container using the sharp side of the trammel, and separate the roots from the soil. See pic 1a.

Picture 1a.

This step is necessary because the plant tends to be pot-bound,,i.e. roots fill up the pot with no room to grow further. Apply enough manure, mixing it with equal amount of earth and spreading it around the centre. Press well with hand and transfer the earth removed from the container back into the container. Water copiously. After a week or more fresh bout of flower buds will appear see pictures. 2 and 2a.

Picture 2.

Picture 2a.

Now spray a suitable growth promoting hormone. I have used my own preparation of fortified growth promoting hormone. The buds will open into large flowers.see pictures 3, 3a, 3b.

Picture 3.

Picture 3a.

One Of the two containers ,one is in the east and the other is in the west of the terrace.

Picture 3b. Flowers collected from two containers.

Pictures 4, 4a, 4b are of the plants and the flowers taken the next day.

Picture 4.

Picture 4a.

Picture 4b. Flowers collected from the same two containers.

When no more buds appear, leave the plants for a week or two and the repeat the process of de-leaving, applying manure and spraying growth hormone at the start of fresh shoots and again at the bud stage and water the plants. Jasmine produce crops of flowers 2 or 3 times a year.

Propagation:

Jasmine is propagated from cuttings or by layering. This is best done in rainy season. Jasmine is also multiplied as follows: A well grown side-stem emanating from below the ground is chosen for propagation.. It should have its own roots. Cut the stem chosen from the main stem, lift it with its roots and transplant it in separate well – prepared container and water sparingly. Transplantation is best done during rainy season.

From – N. Narasimhan

Cabbage vegetarian soup (plain)

Cabbage like other members of the family Coniferae, contains, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, K, Folate in addition to Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Tryptophan etc.

Ingredients:

  1. Cabbage, shredded ..1 cup
  2. Onion , lemon- size ..1
  3. Tomato, medium- size .. 1
  4. Coriander .. 2 or 3 stalks , each with 4 or 6 leaves
  5. Red gram ( Thuvaramparuppu/ tur dal).. 1 table spoon
  6. Salt and Powdered black pepper to taste.
  7. Ghee .. 1 teaspoon.

Method:

  • Cut the onion into pieces and fry in ghee with powdered pepper and transfer to a cooking vessel.
  • Wash the cabbage well and transfer to the cooking vessel.
  • Cut the tomato, remove the seeds over a filter to collect the juice, remove the skin by boiling, and transfer to the cooking vessel.
  • Cook the red gram with 1-cup of water till it feels soft, and transfer to the cooking vessel.
  • Add the coriander to the vessel and add 2-cups of water.
  • Cook the mixture of, cabbage, onion , tomato, coriander and red-gram in a pressure-cooker to the first steam-sound. Let it cool naturally.
  • Remove the coriander and grind the mixture in a mixer-grinder to a fine slurry. Filter through a tea filter. Add salt to taste. The soup of 2-3 cups is ready to be served.

From – Sarada Anandi N

 

Pattani (or Green Peas) Soup

Ingredients:

  1. Pattani (Green peas)…1cup
  2. Onion 1 piece of medium size
  3. Tomato 1 piece large size.
  4. Thuvaram paruppu..(Red gram/Thur dhal)1/4 cup
  5. Milagu (Pepper) 1teaspoon
  6. Jeeragum (Cumin) 1/4 teaspoon
  7. Kotthamalli(Green corinader leaves) 1fistful
  8. Ghee..2teaspoon
  9. Salt .. a pinch or two

Method:

  • Cut the onion into small pieces and fry in a pan with 1 teaspoon of ghee, for a couple of minutes.(do not allow it to turn brown).
  • Wash the peas and transfer to cooking vessel along with the onion, add 1/2 cup of water and steam-cook in a pressure cooker.
  • Wash the the paruppu with water, add 1/2 cup of water and steam-cook to get a soft paste.
  • Cut the tomato into 4 pieces, remove the seed portion and fry with a little ghee to enable removal of the skin.
  • Transfer the cooked paruppu and the tomato pieces to a mixer-grinder, add a cup of water and mash into a slurry, adding more water if required. Filter through a coarse- filter into a large vessel.
  • Next transfer the cooked peas and the onion to the mixer-grinder, add a cup of water and mash into a slurry, adding more water, if required, filter through a coarse filter into the large vessel.
  • Powder the pepper and cumin and fry with pure-ghee and transfer to the large vessel.
  • Pluck the leaf portion alone of the coriander leaves, squeeze into small bits and add to the large vessel.
  • Now, add a cup of water to the large vessel, the salt and heat the contents to the first boil, adding some more water if required.
  • Filter through a coarse filter and the GREEN PEAS SOUP is now ready to be served.

Pattani-Soup

  • Depending on the consistency of the soup wanted, 4 or 5 cups of soup can be had.

From – Sarada Anandi N

Cauliflower vegetarian soup (plain) and without it’s stink.

Cauliflower has been found to be an excellent source , even after cooking, of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, K, Folate, in addition to Potassium, Phosphorus, Manganese and Tryptophan.

Some blogs have reported in the internet that the stink can be minimized by boiling for just 3 minutes.

Ingredients:

  1. Cauliflower florets … 1 cup
  2. Red –gram ( Thuvaramparuppu/Tur dal ) ¼ cup,
  3. Onion, one small lemon- size.
  4. Tomato, one medium size.
  5. Ginger, fresh.. 1/2 in. bit.
  6. Coriander leaves, 3 or 4 nos., with stalk, each having at least 4 or 6 leaves.
  7. Black pepper 4 or 5, powdered.

Method:

  • Collect a cupful l of the florets of the cauliflower without the stalks. Wash well and transfer to a cooking vessel.
  • Cook a table spoon of red gram until is soft, and transfer to the cooking vessel.
  • Cut the onion into pieces and fry it with powdered pepper with a teaspoon-full of ghee and transfer to the cooking vessel. Add the ginger bit, the coriander stalks.
  • Cut the tomato into four pieces, remove the seeds over a filter to collect the juice and remove the skin, by boiling and add to the cooking vessel.
  • Cook the mixture, containing, cauliflower, cooked red gram, onion , tomato, ginger, and coriander for just 3 minutes in a pressure- cooker, till the first steam-sound. Now let it cool, and remove the ginger and the coriander and grind in a mixer-grinder to a fine slurry. Filter the slurry through a tea filter, add salt as per your taste.
  • The soup of 2-3 cups is ready for serving.

Though the smell of cauliflower can be detected, there is no stink, since the smell of ginger is predominant. Those who do not like ginger smell can use a cardamom, powdered, instead.

The soup is found to have no stink even after a couple of days.

From – Sarada Anandi N

T.N. Seshagopalan Rendering Paasuram in Karnaranjani

Thirumangai alwar’s paasuram sung by Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan in raagam Karnaranjani: (Youtube link below…). Whenever I feel nothingness in and around me I listen to this song and the lyric and T.N.S’s rendering of the song in the apt raaga, Karnaranjani, lead me into a trance.

The lyrics:

Raaga nameKarnaranjani

This raga is a janyam of 22nd Melakartha-karaharapriya.

Aarohanam – sa ri ga ma ga pa da sa
Avarohanam – sa ni da pa ma ga ri sa

Sri Muthiah Bagavathar is said to be the first one to compose a song (name – “Vaancha Tholuna”) in this raaga. The name, Karnaranjani (Karna means ear, Ranjani means pleasing – i.e. pleasing to the ear) is apt for singing paasurams and viruththams. I feel, this raaga is suitable for bakthi expression. There are only a few compositions in this raaga and only a couple of them are popular.The most popular one is “Om Namo Narayana” of Ambujam Krishna. Back to senses and having found the “Narayana Ennum Namam”, I revel in saying the name, Narayana and listen to the song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYlvW39mBdc&feature=youtu.be

I’m eager to know the feeling & experience of rasikas of Carnatic music, after listening to this song.

From – Sarada Anandi N

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. The audio content doesn’t belong to me and I don’t make profit out of this content. This is a radio recording of a live concert (Isai Vizha) and the song belongs to it’s rightful owners. I uploaded the song for the completeness of my article.

Milagaippodi for Dosa & Idly

It is a common item used in every household of Tamil Nadu. People use different pulses (also called paruppu in Tamil), dry chillies and other ingredients. So the method I am giving here is not new. The proportions of the ingredients, I have chosen vary and have been arrived at after trials, and the milagaippodi from this, is tasty and with flavor.

Indgredients: (Photo-1)

1. Dry chillies (short or long variety, stalk removed) – 25 Nos.
2. Ulutthamparuppu (Urud-dhal/Black-gram) – 2 Cups
3. Salt – 1/2 Tablespoon
4. Perungaayam (asafetida) – 1/2 Teaspoon
5. Ellu (Seasame/Til seeds) [optional] – 25 Grams
6. Nallennai – ( Til/Gingelley oil)

Photo-1

Method: (Photo-2)

  • Roast the chillies with a teaspoonful of Nallennai until it starts fuming. Transfer to the plate.
  • Add ½ tablespoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of Asafoetida. Next roast Ullutthamparuppu with 2 teaspoons of oil until it becomes uniformly light-brown. Transfer to the plate.
  • Heat the Ellu (Til seeds) till it starts crackling.

Photo-2

  • Grind the chillies-salt mix. Transfer to the plate.
  • Next, grind the paruppu to a uniform powder, using high-speed of the grinder, if required. Transfer to the plate
  • Add the chilies-salt mix. (Photo-3)

Photo-3

Photo-3

  • Now, grind the chillies-salt-paruppu for uniform mixing.
  • Next, grind the Ellu (Til seeds) to a powder and add to the paruppu-chillies mixture (Photo-4) and
  • Finally grind for a uniform milagaippodi-powder.

Photo4-1

Photo4-2

Photo-4

From – Sarada Anandi N