Navratri- An Experience

Navratri or Dusshera has got to be a festival that is celebrated with utmost joy in India. Like all other festivals of India, it is colorful, fun and filled with a lot of excitement. While the Gujjus dance their way through the ten days, the Bongs feed themselves scrumptious food from the various stalls at the pandals and not to forget our very own South Indian way of celebration, Golu or Gombe Habba. It is 10 days of utter enjoyment especially when you have both South Indian and North Indian friends as you get to have the best of both worlds. You get to go Pandal hopping as well as Golu hopping! 😉

Right from the assembly of the Golu, the mamis in the household “sweetly” order the mamas to bring the various dolls and the stands that are neatly packed away from the loft. There will always be the last minute errands to get new dolls because every mami always feels that there aren’t enough dolls even if the steps are completely filled. 😀 Every vendor has almost the same set of dolls but somehow the mothers in the house play the game of Spot-The-Differences the best when they go doll hunting. Once the dolls are bought after a lot of searching, bargaining and constant checking if the neighbor/rival mami have got the similarly themed ones, it is time to purchase the “gift” items! (Oh the woe to find the perfect one!) The gift given along with the thamboolam (Betel leaves, areca nuts, kunkum, turmeric and a coconut/fruit)  has got to be within the budget specified by the mama. (Although the mamis coax them into understanding why the purchasing exceeded wayyyy more than what it should have been thus making the mama’s wallet very light!) The gift cannot be the same as the other mamis or the same as the previous years and it must also show the level of creativity and intuitive thinking of the mami! xD

As soon as all the purchasing is done, the steps are assembled either with slotted angles or with the differently sized tables and cardboard boxes at home. Mind you, it has to be odd numbered. (All you OCD freaks might be mouthing WTH no!) Once the steps are erected, the assembly begins with the adornment of the steps by the brand new veshti (dhoti) or a pretty saree. Mamis tend to show their originality and try their best to encourage the rest of the members of the family to help her. Now the placement of dolls is very crucial, the tall, heavy dolls are usually placed on the highest step and then come to the various themed sets like Raasleela, marriage, fairs and even cricket stadium sets! In the end, there has to be a chettiyar and his wife, representing the business class people selling pulses and veggies and fruits etc. (or in my case, even pizza!) Not to forget, the best way for a mami to show her imagination, is by setting up a fancy “Park”. Deciding the theme of the park is a touchy subject! The rules are the same as applied for the gifts. Usually, the children take the initiative and build tiny ponds and hills and wait patiently for the grass to grow in their makeshift park. The more engineering inclined families end up having water-falls and automated parks and pull their collar up high when visitors look at it with awe!

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Once the invitations are sent to friends, family and extended families, the visiting drama begins! A fundamental rule is that every mami/child must sing at least one Carnatic song when they visit a house for Golu! A Golu visit is incomplete without giving chundal to the visitors. Most of the children go Golu hopping only for the gift and the different variety of chundal! Chundal is a traditional South Indian preparation for Prasad. Each variety is made using a particular legume and tossed with basic South Indian seasoning and a hint of coconut shavings finished with a squeeze of lemon. An essential component of the visit is a round of questions about the daughter or son of the house. A pair of Mamis is probably better detectives than the Sherlock-Watson duo! Gossip sessions are inevitable when you come to visit Golu! The mamas on the other side have no other go but to listen to the conversation or escape by binge-watching the daily news. (Poor mama, but hey! he gets to eat yummy chundal from different houses based on his Mamis social status!)

On the 9th day of Navratri, which is Saraswati pooja, the parents give complete authorization to not open your books as all of them are placed in front of the Golu in order to perform Pooja! (Best day for every kid!) Apart from this, the usual new clothes and yummy lunch follow, ending with the entire family watching a movie telecasted on TV for the first time.

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A wonderful festival, with a lot of vibrant visitors, lively and curious children makes the 10 days the most awaited time of the year. Packing everything back into the boxes is a little disheartening but well, we have Diwali coming up soon! So, yayyy!

 

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Bandhan out of pyaar?

*Peppy music in playing in the background*

A pissed off brother-sister duo screamed, “Maa! issne shuru ki, maine nahi!”  and a tag line comes up in big bold letters, ‘THINGS BROTHERS AND SISTERS RELATE TO’, and the brother sister duo enact various scenarios and some of them, to be honest, are very hilarious. 

The advertisements made by Cadbury showcased their new range of products every year during one particular time and melted my heart every single time I watched them. Yes, you might have guessed by now that this post is dedicated to the infamous Indian festival Raksha Bandhan.

Weeks before the festival, shops on all streets are clad with colorful rakhis, hanging from the roof, gift cards neatly arranged on the racks and tables. Like every Indian festival, scrumptious food follows all the rituals. Social media will be filled videos and posts about the festival and common things which most siblings relate to. All in all, these make a memorable day for the entire family with a lot of filmy gestures in play.

You might have also guessed that these videos and posts caught my attention slightly more than every other person since I am an only child and I didn’t understand these feelings. Although I have a lot of cousins, nothing can match the affection showed by your own siblings. One of my friends pointed out saying “Your own sibling will never turn their back on you, given any kind of situation. They will always be your partner in crime.”

The first reaction every single child has towards is, “Raksha Bandhan is over hyped. I can ‘Raksha’ myself from the big bad world outside and I don’t need a brother to do so. Hmph!” because self-defense is always the first thing on our minds. But later when we watch those fun filled yet over dramatic fights of a brother and sister, our hearts long for that sweet gesture. The fun filled threats with a smug smile on one of the faces, and the sense of relief that on the other one’s face after pacifying his/her sibling by coercing them with chocolates, ice creams and the like. Any chores given by parents were always a huge fight regarding who is going to carry them out. Every brother loves irritating their sister by messing up his sister’s hair and touching each other’s things was out of bounds. You are dead meat if you are caught in the act! The wonderful cooking experiments which every sibling duo would have undergone and pretend puked the food just to annoy the other. Car/bike lessons from the older sibling are priceless and the ever green dialogue to the younger sibling, “You were adopted. Mom and dad saw you in the dustbin and they felt sad.”

The child inside me has always missed the company of an older brother, a soul who would have my back no matter what the situation is, shield you from your parents while receiving an earful. Someone who would be proud of me for becoming a strong independent woman from the irritating little sister that I would have been as a kid. Even though my friends have always said that I am very lucky to not have a sibling since I didn’t have to share anything with anyone while they had to, I have to say that life is always happier with a tiny bit of teasing and the joy of reluctant sharing.

Happy Raksha Bandhan to all those sibling duos around the world! 

Best Friends, Forever?

A chubby little three-year-old girl was playing with her building blocks in pre-school and the unusually tall three-year -old girl next to her needed a pointy shaped block to complete her house structure. The former passed one of hers to the latter and that was the beginning of their friendship. During snack break, the tall girl shared her slice of sandwich and that meant they were best friends! This was pretty much how most of us found our first best friend. All it required was a little bit of sharing and smiling. Is that really the case when you grow older? Is it easy to make friends or even hold on to the ones that you already have? (Oh, I wish it was!) There is a famous quote saying, “If you aren’t losing friends, then you aren’t growing up.” I didn’t want to believe this when I first read this quote when I was probably around 12 years old. It was then when I found my mom’s slam book. It wasn’t like the fancy ones we see now with all those different lines and segments. It was a plain tiny book made with colorful paper by my grandfather. Her friends had written sweet little quotes on friendship and everyone had this tag line which was “Forget me not.” I asked my mom if she was in contact with any of these friends and she nodded off and said, ” I have you and your dad.” I was really shocked that she wasn’t in touch with any of her school or college friends! I swore to myself that I’ll never be like that but years later I realized that I spoke too soon.

Once I moved to college, I was still stuck to my school gang and we made promises to meet every single year during the school “Annual day” function (That turned out to be a joke though! 😀 ).  But eventually, we all found other friends and did manage to meet each other whenever time permitted. But I realized that one does keep losing friends along the way even if it isn’t deliberately or consciously.  Being an emotional sucker this bothered me quite a lot. It just happens that one day you would have so much of a deep emotional engagement with another and a then you turn away for a while and by the time you look back you realized that you have both moved in different directions. The reason could be as simple as you outgrowing your childhood clothes. You tend to move away from each other when you outgrow situations and as you grow up. This doesn’t happen to all people but most of them experience this situation at least once in their lives. I have seen people who were very close in childhood, finding it so hard to spend even twenty minutes with each other as they grow up. The way we associate with a person may change over the years as you choose different activities to engage in, different careers to pursue, include other friends into the equation. Due to these changes you prefer to give less or more of yourself to a friend. The moment you sense a certain discomfort between you and your friend is the very first stage of your relationship fading. As we grow older we begin to understand the differences between our wants and needs and even our beliefs, some of which we may find totally absurd in the present in contrast to what we felt in our past. If things so simple like food preferences can change as we grow up, then how do you think we can stay hanging on to people in the same context as we used to?

Sometimes, friendships outlive their purpose after a period of time. This is definitely not an impression of the people involved because even if the communication remained strong it would be a dismal impression if neither of them grew in the direction of their dreams. Hence in some cases, you outgrow people and the time. However, this does not mean you break relationships, give up on people just to get ahead in your life. In my personal opinion, I would call that narcissistic. The worst part is when only one among the two of them feel this way. That’s when the trivial game of ‘Who can ignore the other better’ or ‘Who can pretend like the other doesn’t exist’, begins. A while later, a certain amount of guilt settles in and they realize they could have tried to make things work rather than moving away in different directions. That’s when you stop growing as a person because how do you expect to advance when you feel guilty about moving towards your dreams? Rather than breaking all ties and pushing people away, all you have to do is to reassess and reconnect in a way that both you and your friend enjoy. On the other hand, getting accused of pushing people away is the worst thing anyone can say when you try so hard to keep them in your life. When a person accuses you of the same, what they mean translates to, ‘ I don’t want you in my life, so please leave.’  That’s when you pluck up the courage and pick yourself up and move on in the most healthy way. Once you have grasped that you have become irrelevant to each other, it makes perfect logic in spending time with people who seem relevant to you.

 

I hope this post gave you the motivation you needed to fix a friendship that you let go. Find him/her and rekindle those wonderful memories that you had because we have all have a short span of life in this world, why live it with so much hatred and agony? 🙂  Friends are the family we get to choose and with them, we get to make memories which we can’t put into words. Spread the love! ❤ 

 

 

Mango Cheesecake Recipe (Eggless without oven)

I had received a lot of requests for the recipe of Mango Cheesecake, so I thought I’ll post this one before the mangoes go out of season. I usually make cheesecakes only once a year and that’s always in summer as fresh mango pulp tastes so much better than the fruit crushes or canned mangoes that are available in the stores.

A typical cheesecake is usually baked in an oven with eggs and you will need a springform tin or any baking dish with a detachable base. In case you don’t have these available a normal box or a bowl would work, but you won’t be able to slice the cake, hence you will have to scoop it out using a spoon.

Mango cheesecake in a bowl

INGREDIENTS:

For the cream cheese layer:

  • Pulp of Mangoes: 1 cup (about 2 medium size mangoes. Avoid using mangoes with fibrous texture. I have used good quality Alphonso mangoes)
  • Fresh Cream: 1/4th cup
  • Powdered Sugar: 1/2 cup
  • Agar-Agar: 1 sheet or 3-3.5 tbsp of powdered agar agar or gelatin
  •  200gm of cream cheese. (Pour 400gm of curd into a muslin cloth and hang it in a cool place overnight to drain the water. Scoop out the thick yogurt, this is your homemade cream cheese. You can use store bought Philadephia cream cheese in case you are in a hurry.)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 1 pinch elachi powder (cardamom)

For the biscuit base layer:

  • 20 Marie biscuits or 1 pack of Oreo Choco cream biscuits in case you like a chocolate base.
  • 5 tsp melted butter

For the glaze:

  • Pulp of mangoes: 1/2 cup
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water

PREP TIME: 45 min

SERVES: 4 to 5 slices

PROCEDURE:

  1. Blend the biscuits and the butter in a food processor. Ensure that the butter is at room temperature.
  2. Once the mixture becomes crumbly and fine in texture transfer it into a tin or a box and spread it evenly. This becomes the base of the cheesecake.

Powdered Oreo biscuits

3. Refrigerate the base for an hour.

4. To prepare the filling for the cheesecake, gently whisk the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla essence, elachi powder and the fresh cream until they are well mixed.

5. Soak the agar-agar in water for 10 min and drain the water. In a pan, Boil 50 ml of water and add the agar solution to it and mix until completely dissolved.

Mango puree

6. Simultaneously heat the mango pulp until lukewarm. Add the fully dissolved agar mixture immediately to the mango pulp and mix well. In case you do not like the taste of cooked mango pulp you can skip this step and directly add the agar solution but you will not get a smooth texture to the filling.

7. Now combine the cream cheese mixture and mango mixture and whisk well.

8. Pour this filling over the biscuit base and refrigerate for at least an hour or two.

9. To prepare the glaze for the cheesecake, heat the mango pulp and sugar and water and stir until the sugar dissolves.

10. Bring to a boil and mix until the sauce thickens. The color will change slightly into a pale orange showing that the sugar in the sauce has caramelized.

11. Remove from heat and let it cool down and spread it evenly over the set cake.

12. Refrigerate for half an hour and serve chilled with cubed mangoes as garnish.

 

 

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STOP. READ. NOW GO!

A usual October morning in Bangalore, slightly chilly yet pleasant. It was the kind of weather when one would just want to sleep in, grab a cup of coffee (or in my case, Bournvita), read a good book and spend the entire day oblivious to the world. But I was fidgety and extremely nervous as it was my first interview. It wasn’t for a job but it was something that I considered equally important then. I was nominated by my principal to represent my institution for a Leadership award and I was going to be interviewed by the board of directors and the founding members of my institution. I was told that the interview would be very casual and nothing out of the blue would be asked. But the 17-year-old me wasn’t ready to take that for a reply.

Soon it was my turn to walk into the room and the moment I walked in, a young lady with a warm smile welcomed me and asked me to take a seat. I became a little calm as I wasn’t being interviewed by the entire board. She ensured I was relaxed and comfortable and she began the interview process with a few basic questions and she asked me, “What is your passion in life?” The next words that popped out of my mouth even before she could finish her question were “Music and art.” She was impressed with the way that I hardly took any time to answer her question. I was surprised that she was very eager to hear about how much music and art meant to me. I spoke quite a lot about how they have changed me as a person and how they have influenced my priorities in life. She asked one last question, “What do you think is your purpose in this world?” I answered rather diplomatically assuming that it would be what my interviewee would have wanted to hear.

Regardless of what the outcome of the interview was, that last question made me search for a more convincing answer. (An answer that would convince me at least.) Although it made me uncomfortable when someone asked what I am doing with my life, it was high time I stopped avoiding these questions. It made me feel unfulfilled and lost not having known it. To my surprise, I found a very interesting outlook for the word “purpose” a few days ago.

In my perspective, there are 4 different kinds of talents in the world

  • Things that you love
  • Things that you are good at
  • Things that you can be paid for
  • Things that the world needs

Now when you combine that what you love and that what you are good at, you get what is known as ‘passion’. Combine the things you are good at with the things that you can be paid for, you get to know your ‘profession’. The things that you can be paid for along with what the things that the world needs, you find a ‘vocation’. When the things that the world needs and that the things you love are put together you get your ‘mission’. Fuse passion, profession, vocation and mission you find your purpose in life.

Sounds very simple to work forward with, doesn’t it? Sadly, the world isn’t that open to all mindsets in order for us to find each of these and follow them with great zeal. Take passion, for instance. Most people find this one without much hassle, but pursuing it and taking it one step further is what they miss out on. If one believes in their passion, no matter what comes in their way, they’ll ensure they go after them. An inextinguishable fire will burn in your soul to quench your obsession for your interest. The way you work on your likes and interests brings out how you perceive yourself and a sense of peace automatically sets in and keeps you going to do more. Imagine you are 85 years old, what will you be proud of leaving behind? What would you want the world to remember you for? It can be as small as the inventor of the salt shaker or someone as big as every CEO you can think of. What makes you proud of being alive? Ask yourself; does this agree with my principles and values? Answers to these questions will help you find your passion.

There are other cases where a person is ready to pursue his/her passion but the typical Indian attitude of ‘log kya kahenge’ comes into the picture or something even worse, negativity from themselves which is a result of demotivation from their social circle. It is twice as hard to boost your enthusiasm to work towards your objective and further up to find your purpose in life when you have people trying to put you down and demoralizing your work.

Mark Twain has said, ” Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too can become great.”

Although I agree with his words,, I think the ones who put you down aren’t the only ones to be blamed. People learn how to treat you based on what you accept from them. Learn to say ‘no’ to people without having to explain yourself. Oh yeah, this is a biggie. But eventually, we’ll have to accept this and push ourselves to stop worrying about how much something matters to others. Know that you aren’t defined by your mistakes or criticism. Understand that your self-worth depends on you, and not what others say about you. Be ready to rake comments and criticism in a constructive way. It will help you understand yourself from the perspective of an unbiased person. At the same time, do not let these critics bring you down. Comprehend what is right and what goes alongside your values. No matter how hard we try, we cannot be liked by everyone. Let go of your approval seeking behavior and live life the way you want it to be. Cherish the tiny sparkles, the beautiful bubbles that float in occasionally. Put on a brave face and confront those fears and kick it right out of your life. Make this a habit and you’ll unequivocally agree that you have found your purpose in life.

I’m working on mine, will you join me in the race?

Sunshine is here!

The summer season hasn’t begun until you hear typical lines, ” Why is it SO hot?!” , “Don’t reduce the fan speed!” or this one perhaps “Chubti jalti garmi, chubti jalti garmi ka mausam aaya hai!” blaring on the TVs of every household in the afternoons especially.

Summer has never been my favorite time of the year for many reasons which most of us would share. But I thought why not give it a little more positive outlook during the time where our body burns from the scorching heat, the sun-kissed faces then which now looks more like sun-burnt face, the constant need of water to stay hydrated all the time, the constant cravings to eat bucket loads of ice-cream, eat a zillion discs of juicy, red watermelon and drink a gallon of Tang or in my case, the 6 year old in me prayed fervently to God that he turn me into a boy just until monsoon visited us. (Oh, the girls reading this article will understand what I mean.)

Bombay style mango kulfi

Amidst all these cringing thoughts, let’s step into a virtual time machine and walk through some of those beautiful memories that summer has created for each one of us.

The 31st of March of every year was the day my final exams got over when I was in school. We had special permission during the month of March to not wear the school tie as it was very uncomfortable and stuffy. (Thank you, principal and teachers!) The next important task at hand was the water-bottle fights that took place immediately after the exams to ease all the tension and welcome the next 2 months of vacation. Meticulous planning of vacations was an integral part in every child’s life. Mine was done entirely by my parents and it was always planned only after April 10th (Exam result day) in my house. You might be expecting me to put up a huge list of places that I visited during my summer holidays, but it was a series of temple visits in just south India along with the visits to the numerous paternal and maternal relatives’ houses at Tirunelveli. (Not that I complained about the latter because I have wonderful cousins who were the source of my entertainment or rather vice versa!) Countless visits to the river nearby and frolicking in the ever so cool and clear water followed by a yummy lunch made by my grandma was a typical day for us.

On days when the heat was unbearable, not so typical board games were our savior. “Pallanguzhi” was one of them. The game consisted of a rectangular wooden board with 2 rows and 7 columns. There are a total of 14 cups (kuzhi in Tamil) and 146 counters. The counters could be anything from tamarind seeds or shells. (Each of us had a huge collection in each type.) It tested our quick math skills, eye-hand coordination, concentration. The person with the most number of counters won and trust me there were major tournaments in the house.

pallankuzhi

Another game which the elders loved playing was “Daaya-Kattai”. The game has a pair of long dice that are shaped like long cuboids, called the DayakattaiThey are typically made of brass and have dots punched onto the long faces (1, 2, 3, 0). Each player starts with six coins at a ‘home’ in the center of the game board. (This game is very similar to Ludo if you add the dramatic expressions of the elders.) There wasn’t a single house in my village that didn’t have either of these!

daya kattai

Not to forget, I did miss my TV shows and the moment I found Cartoon Network or Pogo in my grandparent’s TV set was equivalent to any CBI officer finding the answer final clue to his murder mystery.

The next adventure was finding the most beautiful object found in abundance in summer. In shades of yellow mixed with a variety of shades of green, sometimes with a few spurts of red, glistening in the light in the most elegant and charming way and enticing all its onlookers was the king of fruits, the MANGO! The saying is true by the way, “Stolen mangoes are the sweetest!” Although a monkey stealing it from you is not a very happy sight. The drizzle of a pinch of salt and chilli powder over the thin slices of raw mango was a relishing sight to every member in the household. Probably because that was the only time there was silence.

Totapuri mango

Every visit to my native was incomplete without visiting the Agasthiyar falls. The cold water from the falls hits your head like rocks being thrown at you. But after two minutes into the water, you wouldn’t care! The scrumptious lunch consisting of huge boxes of Puliyogare, Naarthangai saadam (Citron rice), raw mango rice, and curd rice with Maavadu(Mango pickle) was the icing on the cake! A million happy memories are associated when reminiscing the days spent at your grandparents’ house, the tiny fights with your older cousins, the well-kept gardens with many trees bearing fresh and juicy fruits, the beautiful flowers with their sweet fragrance making its way throughout the house seem so close yet so distant. Speaking about fragrance, nothing can beat the smell of freshly made pickle. As summer brought many seasonal fruits and veggies my mother and grandmother busied themselves in making a huge variety of pickles and fryums to be stored for the entire year(which miraculously never happened). Over ten different kinds of pickle in mango alone, along with the mixed vegetable kind, lime, lemon, citron and what not! The process of making the vathal (fryums/ sandige) was a little tedious as the batter had to be made early in the morning so that they could be shaped and let to dry in the sun. (I was a fan of eating them when they were half dried in the sun.) But the moment you deep fry those tiny beauties and pop them into your mouth, it is pure bliss!

Sliced Raw mangoes with chilli powder

But there were a few summer vacations were these trips didn’t happen summer camps were our rescue and a few years later they were replaced with piles of textbooks around you. Yes, I’m talking about the 10th and 12th board exam scenarios. If only it had stopped with those two. It continued up to engineering where you have to attend college during this most unfortunate period when the kids are having the time of their lives on the streets running around with their cricket bats and footballs. (And to add up to this is the frustrating moment when the teachers switch off the fans in the class which in their defense is a method to silence our ever so loud murmuring. So what have we got to counter this tactic? Yes, we brought our own personal mini table fan.) Gone are the days when you could sip ice cold water along with yummy snacks in front of the idiot box under the pleasure of your living room fan without having to argue with anyone.

Don’t we all dream for a summer like this? The only tension we had sounded something like, will there be many power-cuts? Will our class be shuffled for the next academic year? Will there be enough mangoes to eat?

I wish I didn’t have to get down from this time machine! That’s all, for now, folks!

Enjoy your summer and also take a look at the alluring sight of trees on the Bangalore roads. You will have to wait another six months for this delightful view if you miss it now!

(P.S. Thank you for the cover image, Souvik.)

Cartoon Sun plastic decorative element

 

 

Eggless Marble Cake (Without Oven)

Hello, foodies!

I am not a baker, but a passionate cook with a lot of interest to bake without using an oven. The Tam-Brahms reading this post will totally understand what I mean when I say that my mom feels that using an oven will mix all the ‘patthu’ and ‘non patthu’ things hence the oven is simply a waste of money as it will have to be used only to boil milk and fry papad without oil. Ah! nevertheless, here is my version of a marble cake. The recipe for which I first found on Pinterest and it looked absolutely delicious and I had to give it a go! I made this about three times now and it has been soft and moist all the time. Go ahead and try this simple cake for your tea or your midnight dessert cravings when you cannot decide between chocolate and vanilla.img_20170108_193132808.jpg

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of Maida
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar( 3/4th a cup in case you aren’t a fan of very sweet cakes)
  • 1/2 a cup of unflavoured oil/butter(melted)
  • 1 tsp of Baking powder
  • 1/2 a tsp of Baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 3 tbsp of cocoa powder.

Steps:

  • Preheat a thick-bottomed pressure cooker with a layer of salt or sand for about 10 min on a low flame. Do not use the whistle. Place a wire rack on the layer of sand or salt. (This salt cannot be reused in making other dishes although you can use it to bake again. I used about 500gm of salt.)
  •  Grease a 6″ baking tin with butter and line it with butter paper and grease and dust with maida. This prevents the cake from sticking to the baking tin while unmoulding.
  • In a large bowl, beat the yogurt for 2-3 minutes or until it becomes lump-free. Add the sugar and beat until it has completely dissolved. Add the baking powder and baking soda once the sugar has dissolved. Beat this mixture until it becomes frothy.

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  • Add the oil/melted butter and the vanilla essence and mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Sift the measured flour twice and make sure there are no gritty lumps. Incorporate the flour slowly into the wet mixture and mix gently in the cut and fold method. Do not beat the mixture and ensure it is lump free.

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  • Remove 4 tbsp of this batter and add the cocoa powder to this portion and mix well.
  • Pour half the vanilla batter into the baking tin and drop a few spoonfuls of the chocolate batter on top. Make swirls or patterns as you wish.
  • Add the rest of the vanilla mixture and the chocolate batter in the similar fashion. There is no hard and fast rule to do this, alternate between the two mixtures. In case you have more time in hand, you can put each of the mixtures in two different piping bags and pipe the mixture in circles into the pan. This would look like the inside out zebra cake!

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  • Tap the tin on the counter a few times to make sure the batter spreads evenly. Place it in the cooker and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes. After the 30 min mark, insert a toothpick or a knife in the middle of the cake to check if the cake is cooked thoroughly. The knife/toothpick must come out clean if cooked completely.
  • Let the cake cool down completely and invert the cake onto a cooling rack or a plate and dig in!

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Note: Do not use pressure cookers that are less than 3lts to bake. The safety valve melts down as it cannot withstand the heat and you will have to get an earful from your mom. Use a bigger pressure cooker.

You do not have to ice this cake but in case you want to decorate it, a white chocolate ganache with sprinkles on top should do the trick or even a dust of powdered sugar will be good to go!

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