Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Adventures with "Cancer pagurus"

I know it has been a while since I wrote anything but for a long time either there was nothing worth writing about or i was drowning at work so, couldn't get to it.
As thanksgiving approaches, activity in the kitchen kicks up a notch. Starting with Halloween, all the way till Christmas, I start experimenting with various recipes.
For Halloween, my kitchen activity was limited to sweet dishes.
I went with meringue ghosts, chocolate truffles and oatmeal raisin/cranberry cookies.

All that aside, I discovered a whole new joy, malayali crab curry! I got the recipe from my mother in law. I must say she is quite fearless when it comes to sea food. I walked into Lions (local super market) with her and cringed when I saw giant glass boxes filled with crawling lobsters, fish and crabs. Anything with more than 4 legs makes me nervous. I almost fainted when the guy behind the counter grabbed a crab that mummy picked out from inside the tank. The 6 legs moved all over the place and the man skillfully kept his hands safe.

As the man dealt with the crab, cleaning it, cutting it up and packing it up, I thought of Julie and Julia when the Julie tried to cook lobster. Once i got over the initial feelings for the crab now sitting neatly packed on my kitchen counter, things were easy. Getting over the fear, and the general want to not touch it was not easy. Several minutes of staring, poking, spraying with water to make sure that the chopped up crab was indeed dead - and then I was ready to cook it.

The process of cooking was very rewarding. The chopping of the onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies resulting in a full minute of blurred vision, the saute process when the whole kitchen smells like heaven, the maturing of the masala and finally the addition of the crab. After 3 whistles from my trusted pressure cooker, my tiny apartment smelled like my aunt's place in Kollam (the smell of vacation) .

The whole crab vanished in 2 meals as Arvind and I attacked it.

The next chance I got, I bought more crab and surprisingly this time too I spend a lot of time convincing myself that it is truly dead.
I repeated the same recipe with slightly different components. First time i got raw blue crab with kashmiri chillie powder. This time i tried with pre-cooked wild crab and regular red chillie powder. It turned out much better (more meat, more heat).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Good Bye 2009, Welcome 2010!

An eventful year has gone by and I can only look back and sigh! Days of wonder, joy, sadness and struggle.
I can't seem to want to look at it as a start to a new decade. It's just too much to grasp. The thought of comparing the last 10 years to the 10 years to come is simply too much. So, 2009 is a year when a lot changed for me. I spend my first new year as a wife last year, I quit my job, moved to USA, spend about 7 months battling options of employment and college, started a new work, moved to a new home! whew!! that is too much.

I guess the 2 most sad moments in my life were leaving Madurai and then leaving Ernakulam. That is the hardest thing that I have ever done and it still hurts somewhere deep within me when my mind wanders to those days. I remember the night I shifted all my stuff out. The last bus ride from Madurai. The good byes I never said because I was afraid that I might break out in tears. I think my friends understood. I simply couldn't say good bye. And then leaving home- during the day, I rushed through packing and doing chores that needed to be done before I left and I didn't stop to reflect on my feelings till I sat alone in the airport terminal at Cochin waiting for my plane. It was overwhelming and only the thought of a new life with Arvind kept me going while I waited for the boarding call.

Now, it seems far away. Life is pleasant with moments of great fun. Happy moments that I will remember about the last year are how the year started at Casino with Arvind and his family, Delhi and Agra with Arvind, going back to work feeling married, my first letter addressed to me as Mrs Anu Chettur ( my mom wrote to me...), The trip to kodai with venki and the gang, the time I spend at home before I left, the trips I took with Arvind, the little parties that went on and on.... baking endless batches of cupcakes and goodies, thanksgiving at mom's place and then at ours and then Christmas and the day after that. All good times - blessed with friends and family.

I guess this year won't be as eventful as last year but I hope it brings me all the opportunities that I dream of. Good Luck to my friends Aisu and Ria who are starting this year with a new spin. Hope your marriages are wonderful experiences for both of you. I miss you girls a lot. Good Luck to Anish who too has exciting events lined up for him this year. Cheers to Dilip who has kept his vision defined and may you reach your goal by the end of the year! Congrats to Arun on his new job and Milan on her wonderful life overseas.

This year will be different for all you guys. So, so different. So Hurray to a year well spend and Welcome to the year 2010.