Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chowpatty Beach - Ganesha Immersion 2011

This weekend was the final days of Ganesh Chaturi, an eleven day festival celebration the Hindu God, Ganesha. Saturday morning, Greg and I got up early and took the train down to South Mumbai to get a tour of some of the larger Ganesh statues. We saw big ones and small ones, eco-friendly and plaster made, the cricket World Cup Ganesh, a Ganesh made out of over 80,000 buttones, a Ganesh made of plastic pearls, Ganesh with other Hindu gods and godesses, Ganesh in a many!

Then, Sunday afternoon, we jumped back
on the train with my friend, Claudia and her husband, and headed to Chowpatty Beach, where the largest immersion is held. It starts early afternoon, gaining momentum and one of the final immersions happens the next morning with the largest Ganesh statue. Chowpatty is known to be super crowded and have the largest Ganeshas in the city. We timed it right because after spending time on the beach, we started walking back against the crowds and saw four of the Ganeshas we saw the previous day being processed to the beach.

Enjoy the pictures. I've created a movie of the immersion photos which also includes some video clips. (Next post). Plus, the photo of me at the end with pink powder all over...this is the picture to go with my Facebook post. In the pictures you will see crowds, Ganeshas being carried into the water, floats used to carry the statues out as far as possible, puja (praying and chanting), and people just enjoying themselves. Remember, the water is very polluted and we scrubbed our feet thoroughly when we reached home and the thousands of plaster or paris statues only add to this nastiness. There is a campaign to encourage returning to using clay statues and eco-friendly paints. Some families now do a ceremonial immersion in a bucket at home and then keep the Ganesh for the next year. FOR PHOTO COLLAGE:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Delicious recipes

It's been raining and raining and raining here the past week and a half. I've been trying to keep my head above the clouds by staying social. I've been spending some more time with Pallavi, who I was introduced to last year when I wanted to have some kurtas made. She does a wonderful job with color and patterns and I have a hard time not buying new kurtas when I'm around her. Jenn, my upstairs neighbor and the person who introduced me to Pallavi, and I loved the idea of learning how to cook some tasty Indian dishes when Pallavi suggested it. So, yesterday, we gathered in Jenn's kitchen and started chopping and mixing. Originally, we were all going to the market to buy ingredients, but due to the soggy nature of outside, Pallavi suggested we pool our refrigerator and cupboard resources and make dishes from what we have. Our end products were delicious. In a little over an hour, we had created four dishes with Pallavi only buying some cabbage and corriander leaves. Greg and two other friends, Reid and Rachel, joined us for our feast.

Here are the recipes:



- Moong dal (small yellow)

- Ural dal (white)

- Toor dal (larger yellow)

- Masoor da (orange)

- Ghee

- 1 bay leaf

- Few peppercorns

- Few cloves

- Three small pieces of cinnamon stick

- Tsp cumin seeds

- ¾ c- 1c finley chopped onions

- 1 inch ginger ground into a paste or grate

- 1 tsp turmeric powder

- 1tsp Dhansak Masala

- Pinch of aseophida

- Two tomatoes chopped small

- Three cups of water plus 1 TBS

- Two pinches of salt

1) Combine all the dals with equal mixture of all except Ural dal, use 1-2 TBS, soak for a few minutes.

2) Heat a TBS of Ghee in a pressure cooker.

3) Combine the bay leaf, pepper corn, cloves, cinnamon, and cumin seeds together and add to ghee. Heat until the cumin seeds sputter and don’t let them turn black.

4) Add onions and cook until soft.

5) Add Ginger, let cook briefly and then add turmeric, Dhansak Masala, and aseophida, stir together.

6) Add tomatoes and 1 TBS of water. Cook for several minutes until there is a shine on the tomatoes from the oil. Mash.

7) Add two pinches of salt, stir.

8) Add the dal mix and twice as much water as dal. Ex: 1 and a half cups of dal and three cups of water. Cover and cook.

9) After five whistles, turn the heat down slightly and let cook for another 10 minutes. Turn up heat until there is another whistle. Turn off heat and let cool. Serve with coriander leaves as garnish and limes.


Ingredients: (Serves 10)

- 3 cups of rice and six cups of water

- 3 cups of mixed vegetables

- 2 TBS Ghee

- 3 bay leaves

- Several pieces of cinnamon stick

- Few cloves

- Few peppercorns

- 1 Tbs cumin seeds

- 1 cup onion, finely chopped

- Ginger and garlic paste, 1 TBS

- Salt to taste

1) Soak rice for several minutes and drain.

2) Heat Ghee in a large pot.

3) Add bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn, cumin seeds and onion. Stir and let cook until cumin sputters.

4) Add Vegetables, ginger and garlic, salt and cook for several minutes.

5) Add rice, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.

6) Add water, stir and cover.

7) stir occasionally as vegetables rise to top.

8) When rice is half way cooked, add coriander.

9) When water is gone, rice is cooked. Serve.



- 1-2 cabbages chopped

- 2 green chilis slit length wise

- Oil

- Curry leaves

- 1 TBS mustard seed

- 1 TBS cumin seed

- Pinch of aseophida

1) Heat oil in a pan. Oil needs to be very hot.

2) Add mustard seed and cook until mustard seed sputters.

3) Add cumin seed, stir

4) Add aseophida powder, chilis, curry leaves, and cabbage. Stir it all together.

5) Add a pinch of turmeric and TBS of salt, Stir.

6) Cook , stirring often, until cabbage reduces 1/3 to a half. 10-15 minutes.

7) Serve with coriander as a garnish.



- 8 small brinjals or round eggplants, cut in quarters, but still attached to stem.

- Oil

- 1 cup onions

- 2-3 potatoes chopped

- 2 tomatoes

- Coriander leaves

- Salt

- Coconut powder mixed with water (about 2 cups)

- 1 tsp Chili powder, 1 TBS coriander powder, pinch of turmeric powder

1) Heat oil in a pan

2) Add onions and sauté

3)Add brinjal and potatoes, stirp and cover to cook. 10 min

4) Add tomatoes, coriander leaves and salt to taste, stir and continue to cook until veggies are soft.

5) Add coconut water and stir.

6) Add chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Stir.

7 Serve.