We lived in Wadala ( Mumbai) and my (late) Grandmother lived in Thane. A small distance that involved traveling by local train.
Every holiday, we would go to her home. The whole family would meet. My aunts lived within walking distance from my Grandmother and my Uncle, with her. It was an overflowing house when we all met.
Just the way we liked it.
We would start out early and walk to the station and get in the line to take tickets and then walk to the platform to wait for the train. I would walk to the 'Ladies' compartment with my Mom and that meant passing the Paper and Magazine stall.
I loved looking at the colorful books, papers and magazines,but what I used to be excited about was the story books and comics for children.
Some 30 plus years ago, Tinkle, Chandamama, Chacha Chaudhary, Phantom, Mandrake the Magician etc. were a rage and later Archie comics and of course Marvel comics. Though these (Archie and Marvel) were not so easily available on he station stands.
If we had about 4-5 minutes until the train arrived, my mother would look at the magazines ( Femina, Women's Era, yes!yes! those were popular and of course the filmy stuff, Stardust, Filmfare and in cheap print, Mayapuri ). I would inch towards the comics and touch them reverently, then I'd sidle up to my mom's side and tug at her saree pallav and gesture, smile and beg, beg, beg with my eyes. The tactic usually worked. she would usually buy me a comic I wanted.
To travel from Wadala to Thane, in those days, we used to change trains. Like a typical Bombay kid, I was used to traveling in the local trains and knew exactly what to do, I'd tuck the comic book under my arm ( if I was wearing a fancy frock) or into my jeans waist band ( not pocket, the waist was safer) and stand... waiting. As soon as the rain stopped ( and the ladies had exited) I'd JUMP in and scramble to get a seat, a window seat preferably, whip out my comic and place it either next to me or on the opposite seat to reserve it for my Mom. Once we were seated comfortably, I'd start reading and stop only when changing trains.
This week, when I went to the library to pick up some books, I saw a flyer for a book sale and decided I had to! go .
After spending a good amount of time walking thru the aisles and then at the cook book shelf (more on that later), I wandered to the kids section and after looking (and reading) the books on the table nearby, I found, to my delight, some of my childhood favorites!
I grabbed them and let me tell you, I'm still lovin' them!
Busy days and end of school term next week means the little one will be home all day. To all those who say, YAY! it's summer! Let's go out. I invite you to Dallas.
I'm going back to my safe, air conditioned, cocoon. Thank you. Enjoy your summer.
I have also decided to fatten up the little one. He is scrawny. when I see well nourished children, I sigh. When I see chubby kids, I often wonder, how? h-o-w??
He takes after his father. Scrawny.
I try various things on the Scrawny ones. In between I started giving Little S, fulkas and a vegetable stir-fry. He protests, of course he does. But I am well prepared. This will invite criticism, but I switch on the T.V and feed him. Calories are calories.
In all these after school snacks, I prefer making Dosas for him. Hot off the griddle , smeared with ghee (for him) sometimes I just spread cheese inside and serve it with some ketchup. He seems not to object.
Instant Dosas are a boon in such cases. I have loved Rava Dosa for as long as I remember. Lace like, crisp and paper thin. Oh! I recall eating them at restaurants ( my Mom used to order it and I'd 'share' with her). As I stand at the stove making these, there are a few things I have changed. My Rava dosa is not oily as those in restaurants and not as paper thin, as a result. And to kick up the health factor a bit, I add lightly roasted and powdered oats. These are more tummy filling than the original version.Ideal for a weekend breakfast or an after school snack.
2/3 cup Oats ( regular oats) , dry roast these- the color changes slightly and they smell toasty, cool and powder.
1/4 cup EACH Rice Flour and Rava / sooji
1/2 big or 1 medium Red Onion chopped, fine
Chiffonade a few Curry leaves
1 tsp Jeera / Cumin seeds
1-2 Tbsp finely chopped Cilantro
Salt to taste
1 tsp finely chopped Green chilies
3 Cups Water (or more as required to make a super thin batter)
Mix all the ingredients listed above and carefully add water, mixing well as you pour. This is important. dumping all the water in at once will lead to clumping, you can sort it out, but that s just a waste of time.
Taste and check the salt adequacy. Cover and keep aside for 10 mins.
When ready to make dosa, first heat the tawa / griddle , very well. If you are using a non stick griddle, like I do, just spray oil (PAM or similar) and wipe off with a clean tissue.
Stir the dosa batter well ( by this time, the solid has sunk to the bottom and it looks like muddy water, a good stir is needed) add more water if needed, while the batter is sitting, it absorbs water and becomes slightly thick. Remember you want a very thin batter.
To make this dosa, unlike the regular dosa, you will NOT drop batter in the middle of the griddle and spread it out into a circle. No ! What you will do instead is, scoop the batter in the ladle, start on the outside of the griddle and just 'pour' the batter in a circle. Go from the outside of the griddle in the middle. The batter spreads well and because the griddle is super hot, it becomes lacy.
Drizzle some oil ( or spray) / butter or ghee ( for the scrawny ones) as it cooks.
Most people stop the cooking as soon as the bottom is crisp and golden. I usually flip the dosa and cook briefly on the other side too.
These crisp golden lacy dosas are best served right off the griddle with a chutney of your choice and sambar. Sometimes I serve dosas with just chutney(s) and the second chutney usually is Molgha Podi with a drizzle of oil. To make these for dinner, stuff the dosa with potato masala.
- You can increase the amount of oats to 1 cup
- You can cook the onions before adding them to the batter. Heat a tsp oil, add some mustard seed , when they pop, add cumin, when the cumin sizzles, add the curry leaves, green chilies and onion and sprinkle a pinch of salt and cook till translucent. Add this to the batter and make dosas
-If you like, add 1/2 tsp of black pepper powder. Exclude for kids.
-You can skip the onion to make regular rava / rava-oats dosa.
Enjoy your Sunday, folks! Have a good week ahead.