Posted in Indian Curries, Recipes

Vegetable Kolhapuri – A Medley of Seasonal Vegetables tossed in a fiery spice mix!

Kolhapur in Southern Maharastra is famous for its hot, spicy delicacies such as Kolhapuri Missal and for its mutton based curries, namely Tambada Rassa and Pandhara Rassa. Being a vegetarian I have only tried Kolhapuri Missal so far and loved it! Not for the faint-hearted or someone with low tolerance to spice, I can assure you! Now I am not sure if Vegetable Kolhapuri was the curry that took shape in its present form as is, or it was made so that the vegetarians like me don’t have to stay hungry. Probably the later, but I am not complaining. It is entirely possible that it didn’t even originate from Kolhapur, but it shares the traits of being hot and spice heavy with the other recipes of Kolhapuri origin.

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Posted in Indian Curries, Recipes

Matar Paneer – Green Peas and Paneer in a simply spiced Tomato based gravy!

Matar Paneer ( literally translates to Green Peas and Paneer ) is longer a curry that we make on special occasions in our household. It is made instead on days when I am at my wit’s end and don’t want to cook something elaborate. You know, “take out is not a healthy option but I don’t want to get up from the couch either” kind of days. I usually have frozen peas and a pack of paneer in the freezer so this is a curry of convenience for us. As always, I don’t claim my version is authentic, it has evolved to this form over a couple of years, out of the necessity to keep it short and simple, rather than an attempt at perfection. But it is quick and you won’t need a lot of time of ingredients to rustle this one up. So, here you go, below is the recipe of my faux/no onion no garlic Matar Paneer curry.

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Posted in Fiction, ManBooker LongList 2017, My Bibliothèque

{ Book Review } – Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie!

Home FireHome Fire by Kamila Shamsie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Home Fire is a reimagining of the Greek Tragedy Antigone written by Sophocles in a contemporary setting. Like the original play which is divided into 5 acts, the novel is also divided into 5 parts, narrated by 5 characters of the novel, with each part set in five different locations. It explores the clashes that take place frequently between societal setup, familial attachment/ties of blood and faith/religious beliefs. Having not read the Greek play it would be completely unfair if I comment on whether the novel does justice to the original play or not and so will stick to how I feel about the novel. It focuses more on the emotional aspect of terrorism and its consequences, on the pull of familial ties in a new country, of culture shocks and the immigrant experience more than its political angles. The book’s ending is impactful, dramatic but still impactful. The reader sees it coming but it still grabs the reader’s complete attention and hooks you to the book with a strong sense of thrill and fear.

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Posted in Fiction, My Bibliothèque, Short Stories

{ Book Review } – What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah!

What It Means When a Man Falls from the SkyWhat It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky ( WITWAMFFTS henceforth, the name is a handful, or rather a mouthful, isn’t it? ) is a collection of short stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah and mostly brings to us stories of relationships, with a special focus on Nigerian families and expats. They are, for the most part, not tales of a cheery flavour but poignant and insightful, often weaving in the effects of separation, culture clash and strains on relationships that the timezones and the physical distance bring with it as one attempts to make a life in Uncle Sam’s land. I particularly like the fact that every story has a prominent female character even when the world doesn’t go easy on them.

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Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, ManBooker LongList 2017, My Bibliothèque

{ Book Review } – Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders!

Lincoln in the BardoLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is extremely bizarre, and yet so amazing. Well, at least it is amazing in my humble opinion. But I would not be surprised if not everyone finds it brilliant. Part fiction, part accurate recreation of historical events, this book is imagined as a series of events that took place in a bardo ( a state of existence between death and rebirth, as per Tibetan Buddhist beliefs ) after the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son William ‘Willie’ Lincoln. It is a collection of statements, citations, excerpts from written accounts and of course, a bunch of imaginary monologues and dialogues between the departed souls in the graveyard. This is the reason, I wanted to listen to the audiobook version of it, but of course, Audible is too expensive and too risky a choice to try out an experimental work of literature. But some amazing actors and noted personalities ( there are some 100+ different characters/voices ) have lent their voices for the narration, so I am still fixated on audio.

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Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, My Bibliothèque, WarTime Fiction

{ Book Review } – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak!

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Book Thief is one of the books I am certain I am going to reread. I don’t feel that way with all the books I read, not even with the good ones. The Book Thief has a strange narrator – Death. Yes, it is the voice of Death that introduces you to Liesel Meminger. I made close acquaintance with Leisel, shared the thrill of thievery, experienced utter hopelessness and marvelled at the indomitable spirit of human nature as Death goes about doing what he needs to. And trust me, it isn’t easy being Death in WWII ravaged Germany. “I carried them in my fingers, like suitcases”, he says. “Or I’d throw them over my shoulder. It was only the children that I carried in my arms.”, he says. There is plenty more I can say about the narrator, but I will just stop here and say that I found the manner narration as fascination as the plot, if not more. Like all the books that are based in times of war, you will experience every emotion that the characters experience, whether you want to or not, even Death.

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Posted in Fiction, ManBooker LongList 2017, My Bibliothèque

{ Book Review } – 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster!

4 3 2 14 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I will begin with a confession that I have never read anything like 4 3 2 1. And, that is what made reading it partly fascinating and partly exhausting for me, not to mention a bit confusing too on several occasions. The story sort of outlines the butterfly effect, or the belief that small causes can have larger effects. It starts a little before March 3, 1947,  in Newark, New Jersey, where Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson is born. And from here, the writer takes you along on the journey of 4 different Archi’s ( as our protagonist likes to be known ) lives and the way it takes varied twists and turns in response on the various triggers that lay in the path. The same boy with the same DNA and the same set of parents walks an entirely different path in his life as if the circumstances of his birth are fed into a random generator which produces out a new kind of life with every iteration.

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