Monday, September 10, 2012

Janmashtami Celebration - Kutti Kal Kolam and Uppu Seedai


On Saturday Sep 8th, it was Janmashtami a.k.a Sri Jayanthi i.e Lord Krishna’s birthday.

‘Saturday? Was it not over a month ago?’ I can almost see all those eyebrows going up dubiously.

Well, it was celebrated in most parts of India a month ago and Facebook was teeming with pictures of little ones dressed up in dhotis and peacock feathers with tilaks on their foreheads. But for a selected few sects in India, including mine, Janmashtami was on Saturday. Now how can the same deity have his birthday on two different days that too a month apart? Well, I guess  only the deity Himself can answer that perplexing question. Anyways it was celebrated at my place on Saturday, period.

As soon as V got up in the morning, I told him , ‘Hey its Krishnar umaachi(God in toddler’s dictionary)’s birthday today.’ He thought for a second and responded ‘Birthday?Cake,Candles?’ Hmm, not a bad idea!

With a lot of enthusiasm I started my preparations for the evening pooja.

Task One I assigned to myself was a herculean and a very arduous and dangerous one. ‘The making of the Seedai’,  a savoury made of rice and urad dhall flour. Basically small balls of dough deep fried in oil.

Even experienced hands of twenty to thirty years can goof up when it comes to seedai.  On one hand, for various reasons, there is a high probability of it bursting while frying. The kitchen(it belongs to my landlord anyways) and my face (now that’s more personal) were at risk. Every recipe for the same would be accompanied by various tips for avoiding this explosion. On the other hand, if improperly cooked they can become so hard, that without a second thought they could be shipped to dentists all over the world. Tooth Extraction Made Easy!

Anyways I belong to the group that gets inspiration from Vijay films …’Once I decide, I don’t listen even to myself’ (Wanted has a similar dialogue I suppose).

After doing some research for the recipe(my maiden attempt), I prepared the dough strictly as per instructions.

Rolling the dough into small balls....Boy!  That was tiring….It seemed like an endless task which I somehow managed to complete. Someone please invent a machine for that!

Anyways, some sweet soul on the internet had mentioned that, if your pierce the dough balls with a needle they would not burst.

There is a section of the brain called ‘Stupid Idea Zone’. This section has the habit of disguising itself as the ‘Eureka Zone’ and ends up giving really dumb ideas which the remaining grey cells accept after a standing ovation. This section suddenly said ‘Hey, Y needle? You are the symbol of East-West fusion. Use a fork to prick them’. I took out this huge fork and pricked the balls making sure that three four proper holes had been made.

I said a small prayer ‘Look, I am making them for you. So please don’t let it burst!’

Then I started frying them and Wow! They were a darling bunch of seedais that came out perfectly. A beautiful golden brown in color and the lovely smells that came while frying made me nostalgic.  

The thing about the festival is that you get to taste what you have made only after the pooja got over in the evening.

I could not wait that long to display and telecast my pride and so wasting no time, I showed them to my husband with a perfect display of bragging and informed my mother-in-law back home that my seedais came out perfectly without any untoward occurrences.

It was soon evening and pertaining to the tradition I started drawing small feet patterns with rice flour paste on the floor (ezhai Kolam)starting  from the entrance and culminating at the pooja area. This is a tradition that symbolizes Krishna visiting our homes.

As I was doing so, V went to the kitchen, carried the mop much bigger than himself to the hall with all his strength and started vigorously rubbing off the kutti kaal(tiny feet).
’One is not supposed to dirty the floors and should clean it up in case something spills!’ After listening to this innumerable number of times, he could not reason out why mommy was bent upon making the floors untidy.
Finally it was pooja time and once done, I could hardly wait to taste the seedai of my success. 

My husband being an ardent fan of this savoury , quickly popped a few into his mouth.

I waited with an eager expression on my face like those participants of Master Chef awaiting the judges remarks. ‘Hmm, its nice and tasty but not very crispy or kara-kara’ was the verdict. ‘ Ideal for people without teeth’ he added with a wink.  I put a few in my mouth and they tasted like pakodas and vadas that had fallen into water…No crispness at all…and it required an imitation of the cud-chewing of cows and buffalos  to mince them before sending them down the food pipe!

There are moments in life when the memory section of the brain starts flashing proverbs and sayings. ‘Appearances are deceptive, Appearances are deceptive.’ A voice like that of Superstar Rajinikanth repeated in a punch dialogue fashion in my head.

My poor husband tried pacifying me saying that except for that the taste and smell were close to perfection. Anyways, lessons learnt.

1)      Don’t keep referring to the internet for tips

2)      If you do, follow them religiously. Don’t tweak them with your own ideas

3)      If you do that as well, don’t blow your horn, unless you are absolutely sure of the outcome.

Jai Shri Krishna! J

78 comments:

  1. Great write-up. It reminded me of the time when I had attempted to make a dish following the recipe off the internet for the first time.
    I tried once and never ever after:-)

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    1. Thanks for the comment Snehal . I have tried quite a few times . And the results are of all kinds. Highly successful or utter flops :)

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  2. Lovely! ;) There was a girl Gayathri in my team who told me the meaning of "umaachi" else I would have been in the dark :) as for Vijay dialogue - pattaya kelapprel ponga! :D

    Do stop by my blog!! I'd love your visits & comments! - Kappu

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    1. Thanks kappu . That's y I left the translation in brackets . It's in the league of words like mam-mam for rice, Theetha for water etc :)

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  3. Nice write-up! Murukku and Seedai are probably the toughest of all Savories! It was really brave on your part to try making it at home. I ordered them from the Grand Sweets :)

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    1. I made Murukku also and that result is the other extreme . It has come out exceptionally well . No grand snacks at Singapore and somehow I prefer trying them at home rather than ordering irrespective of the outcome ! How cruel of me eh ? :D thanks a ton for stepping in :)

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  4. The point is u tried making them. Kudos to that. BTW i am the queen of failed first attempts. Thou I succeed the second time always.
    You can try for my crown ;)

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    1. If the second attempts always succeed the failed first ones are definitely worth the effort :) thanks for reading and for the comment Bhagyashree :)

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  5. So cute.... :o)

    My teacher who taught me Veena used to do similar preps...reminded me of her.

    Loved your attempt.. I am sure the next Janmasthami you will succeed!!

    TC

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    1. You play the Veena ! Wow ! Hmm , well there's a sort of mental battle going on between me and the seedai . So I don't think I will wait till next janmashtami to try again ha ha :) maybe in a week or two :D

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  6. Awww...better luck next time, Jayshree :))
    That made a lovely lovely read...!Didn't know that there was a second Janamashtami last Saturday once again...
    Good one!

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    1. Thanks Panchali. I definitely need all the luck in the world for this one :)

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  7. Ah! Jaish! As for that Vijay movie I remember him as saying, "En pechai naane kekka matten" instead of "En pechaiye naan kekka matten" - the former only means that even he would not listen to himself (so, who else will!). Been a great source of hilarity for me - unless of course my ears were playing tricks, in which case the joke is on me :)

    And, better your type of seedais than the ones where, when you are crunching it, you are not sure whether it is the seedai or a few of your teeth that you are grinding in your mouth :)

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    1. Oh that dialogue has so much to it eh? Guess after Vijay and the director/dialogue-writer of the movie , we both are the only souls to have done so much analysis on it :)

      Yes I agree, my seedais were a lot more harmless :)

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  8. hahaah....kept nodding my head through out till the end..:) sweet post..loved reading it..surprisingly for me, the first time any dish comes out excellently. But then, I don't cook it again..hehe..Many of these festive dishes, I haven't tried yet. You know Jaish, I had a fear of cooking things that we drop into oil like puris, vada, etc..now, I think am over it b cos I can cook vada easily...:P I know the Vijay's dialogue too..Mahesh Babu has a similar dialogue in pokiri..I could translate and laugh heartily..hhaha...btw, good job, even if the taste doesn't turn out as it should be, if I cook, I will eat them all up..

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    1. Almost everyone is a little scared of dishes that require deep frying in oil and that fear is good...it keeps you safe :) Thanks for the comment...and yes, even I do that 'eat them all up' part ha ha

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  9. Ha ha ....like that " I am making them for you. So please don’t let it burst!"

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  10. Nice writing. Vidyut ku vesham podliya!!

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    1. Nopes, leave alone vesham, when I asked if he wanted Chi-Chi he ran off saying No-No-No-No... :)

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    2. For the others chi-chi is what we call the orange/yellow line TamBrahm Vaishnavite men wear on their foreheads....! :)

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  11. Well ... I think that cooking is quite an experience esp if the outcome is not as expected. I still remember myself and my mom trying to cook the stuff they teach on the Tele, and everything going horribly wrong.

    You have a warm way of relating things. I visit your blog just for that.

    Happy Janmashtami... :)

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    1. Tele is worse....Unless you note down word-for-word what they say its tough to refer again unless you had some record feature on the television ha ha...Thanks for the lovely comment...Keep visiting :)

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  12. Replies
    1. ha ha No Rachna, my poor man kept re-assuring me that the smell and taste were perfect...For the texture he did not have to say anything...One seedai into my mouth gave me all the answers ha ha

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  13. (smiling) i am still to try my hands in cooking ,,,enjoyed every word of your post

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    1. You should definitely give it a try... Its a very enjoyable fun thing as per me :)

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  14. Totally agreed with point no. 2 in lessons learnt!!

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  15. hahah ....its a damn cute post ,loved it ........and about your sedai sob* sob * any how next krishna jayanthi would come out in a diffrent way -I hope* ;) :D

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    1. I hope too...There is a whole year left to master the art before the next Krishna Jayanti :D

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  16. Nice post Jaish and am sure the next time you make the Seedais it is going to perfect. "Practice maketh the man(woman)" . Well i do a bit of cooking as i am alone in Gulf and internet is the best place for recipes and yes i tweak it a bit in the name of personalization !!! :)

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    1. Oh Dear! Being alone in a foreign country can be really boring or extremely exciting...Hope its the latter for you :) Yeah, nobody buys recipe books these days I guess!

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  17. so when you going to share the food then, I dont have any qualms how things turn up as long as one has fun and enjoy it :) if everything went perfect then whats the fun in that .. TRY it sometimes , making everything go perfect we spend so much time, we dont enjoy .. (if you know what i mean)

    but good lessons learnt :) he he he

    Bikram's

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    1. I agree Bikram. Trying and enjoying the whole exercise is more important and whats the fun if everything went as per plan? Well Said.

      By the time you visit Singapore or I visit London I would have mastered the art and then it will be seedai sharing time :)

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  18. Had a similar experience when I made seedai last month. Nice, but not crispy. But they didn't burst like last year. So I am happy for some progress :-)

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    1. Same pinch :) Lets hope both our next times are better :)

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  19. hahaha...I felt liking I was reading my story..I suck at making bakshanams and worse, even at Kolams :-(
    I am reluctant to even try out these savories 'cause of the mess and heartache they create later..:-)
    lovely write-up :-)

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    1. Thanks for the comment Uma. Oh yes talk about the mess. It takes years of practice before we can do a neat job there. :)

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  20. *like...
    eeks and sorry for the typo!

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  21. At least you took so many pains to celebrate the day-it i on the shoulders of folks like you that customs & traditions survive.

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    1. Whoa Indu. You are making me sound very important!! :) Thanks :D

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  22. Your hubby would do very well as a masterchef judge..! LOL
    Never mind, you will get them perfect next time :)

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    1. Yeah Ghazala, its a self imposed challenge now :)

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  23. ohooo :( but you tried... it will come out better next time.

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    1. Yeah Jas hopefully. Till perfect its gonna be Try Try Again! :)

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  24. I am gratified to see that you had a good time making the seedais and didn't load yourself making all the rest of the stuff. This is exactly what I had written in the rituals post. But where are the kutti kaals? Did the little one mop them up? :)

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    1. You know what Zephyr . I was actually thinking of you and that post when I was making the seedais :D Really . I did make Murukku additionally but that was a manageable task.As for the kutti kaal the little one did mop some of them and I had to draw again . But they were hardly visible on the white floor and so did not takeany pics :)

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  25. :) at least you tried ! And as long as you and the family enjoyed , nothing else matters ...and yeah good luck for the next attempt ...

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    1. Yeah nothing else matters I suppose :) thanks Ttt :)

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  26. ha..ha..Jaish,very sweet post..Enjoyed reading it..:-)

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  27. Very sweet post ends with lip smacking sweets :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting Naddy and thanks for the comment :D

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  28. That was well worth the effort, I'd say. Its happened to me also several number of times and I know how it feels when the outcome is not what one expects. But as everyone has said above - try, try and keep......... one day we will have a recipe post of seedais from you :))

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    1. Sure ha ha...Thanks for that lovely comment Arti.

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  29. I'm glad your face is intact. :)

    You're so right, there were so many pictures of little Krishnas, even a Radha on fb. Gosh, how cute. It made me wish we celebrated this festival. All I get to do is wrap a 'mundu' around my little, every Vishu. But hey, Halloween's fast approaching. ;)

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    1. I am also glad abt that Divya ha ha .You don't need a reason to dress up ur little one do u ?just enthu from mommy and the kiddo should do ... Krishna jayanti, vishu, Halloween or whatever :D Thanks for the comment :)

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  30. lol! all a part of the ardous learning process!

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    1. Yeah Deepak . Thirteen Times tables were probably a lot easier . All along I was thinking that things like that in math form arduous Learning ! Ha ha

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  31. Jai... an awesome writing... Well written... Practical strait from heart... so good...
    You inspire me a lot :) :) :)
    Keep ur good work up....

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    1. Thank you so much Gokul for such a lovely comment !

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  32. Haha :D A frightening thing for every one who prepares seedai!! Last Krishna Jayanthi my mom ended up with series of bursts and oil spilling around everywhere! My dad came silently and asked her "Has the diwali advanced? It isn't time yet!" We all ended up laughing out loud! Its a wonderful memory! Nice written :)

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    1. Light laughing moments and jokes like these make a home out of a house , right ? Hope ur mom suffered no injuries . That can be Really dangerous ! Phew ! Thanks for stepping in :)

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    2. Yeah these few moments make our lives exuberant :) Mom didn't not suffer any injuries but for a little pressure that seedai hadn't come well :D This time everything went on well but the seedai wasn't crispy :D Hahaaa...

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  33. So nice of your husband.
    What matters is that you tried. :)

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    1. Yeah Vinay, Guess what matters is the attempt! Thanks for the comment :D

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  34. Exactly what Vinay^ said.

    Your post had me chuckling, btw. :)

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  35. Reading this i feel like eating seedai but crispy one :).

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  36. well, you really don't have to let your MIL know about this, right?!! :D

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