Monthly Archives: October 2012

Good Bye Holland!

Good Bye Holland!

So… now, it is bye bye time.

Saying bye to near and dear ones is never easy…

Shifting one’s home can be tremendously pain staking, loaded with the stress of packing things right and holding emotions tight.

I start writing this post from New Delhi Airport Lounge where we wait to board the flight.

The last few weeks have been very busy, not able to communicate with friends through dosaikal and telephone too. So busy that recording emotions and memories of holland in words also did not work out well.

Navratri passed by – no recipes on sundals!
Many special occasions to share and many more new trials on cooking went on and on but no recipes added!
A special post on Wassenaar- the elite city that we live(d) in for more than three years was planned – could not materialize..


Such is the physical and mental pressure one undergoes … or have I been too packocentric(!?)
Even when I first boarded the flight from Amsterdam, the physical pressure of working almost sleepless for nearly a week and planning and completion of important tasks that started nearly a month ago, overtook the reality of leaving a country.


Now, I sit in the Airport in India,  with the feel of really having shifted, presently homeless, yet to settle in a new place, might be after a month’s break!


Holland has been a wonderful country to live in!

dutch houses



A wonderful country why? A few of them –


a. The beautiful dutch houses;

b. A definite distinction between footpath, cycle path and the motor path that makes commutation so systematic;

c.  When one walks on the foot path of the city, whoever comes across, known or unknown would wish a good morgan (good morning) with a friendly smile;

d. Be it the super market or any shop, anyone would start with Dutch, the language of the country, but…. when one mentions that he or she does not know the language, the person would immediately shift to English;

e. Most of them who immediately shift to English would be well versed in many of the European languages;

f. If the forecast says it is a sunny day, they immediately plan to enjoy in the beach or any nearest destination to spend with family and friends;

g. Different kinds of multi geared bicycles and the passion not only to ride it but take to their holiday destination too;





h. The fascinating caravan – the different kinds of caravans one sees on the road in and around the country and around Europe;

i. The different varieties of milk, cheese, yoghurt and various other milk products;

j. The Dutch Blue Pottery;

k. The exclusive flowers in different seasons;

l. Sinterklaas and tulips;

m. The windmills and wind and especially the sky ever ready to rain




the list would go on and on – but…

We have been mesmerised by the Dutch Water Management Skill. They say


“God created Earth and the Dutch created Holland”.

Certainly, this phrase is true. The Dutch have reclaimed many of their cities and towns and they are the world leaders in Land Reclamation!



Today, approximately 27 percent of the Netherlands is actually below sea level. This area is home to over 60 percent of the country’s population of 15.8 million people. The Netherlands, which is approximately the size of the U.S. states Connecticut and Massachusetts combined, has an approximate average elevation of 11 meters (36 feet). The Netherlands ties Lemmefjord, Denmark for claim to the lowest point in Western Europe – Prince Alexander Polder lies at 23 feet (7 meters) below sea level.









The Dutch and their struggle against the sea has made them the true conquerors of their Land from Sea! Actually, there needs to be a special post on the Delta Works and Afsluitdijk – both considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world. For more details see –



The Afsluitdijk is a 32kilometer long dike, which connects the province of North Holland with the province of Friesland. It was constructed between 1927 and 1933 as a fundamental part in a larger plan called the Zuiderzee Works. With the completion of the Afsluitdijk the Zuiderzee (‘Southern Sea’) became the fresh water lake of IJsselmeer.




I shall not stop my Dutch Diary until I have shared my captivated memories on Holland!


So, here I am, ready for the relentless travel that is in front of me… Visiting family  and friends in the south of India, learning more authentic dishes from amma and aachi and not to mention the big and small list of shopping for the new place!


For now, it is bye bye Holland and bye bye friends… Thankyou for all those sweet memories and wonderful moments that made our life in this beautiful country a marvellous and an incredible journey to cherish.


Meet you all with my new post from India!

Kathirikkai Thuvayal/Brinjal Chutney

rice with brinjal chutney

Now, here comes a special recipe. Why special?

Because… this one belongs to one my friends’ grandmother. While talks about some of the traditional recipes I learnt peeping into my grandma’s kitchen, and ofcourse also trying my hands at cooking with mama and grandmama – amma and aachi, I feel delighted to try some of those precious recipes that the elders of your household have left behind for you!

Thank you so much ‘A’ for sharing this, from your treasured cookbook – your grandmother’s recipe.

Kathirikkai is Eggplant to Americans and Brinjal to the British, if I am right.

It is supposed to possess many medicinal properties and is used as a remedy for cancer, hypertension and diabetes. Brinjal is high in water content and potassium. This is an excellent cholesterol regulator. Speaking of heart health, eggplant is also naturally low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

A very simple and easy recipe. ‘A’ also informed me that hot rice and thuvayal is incomplete without a kootu to go with it. Kootu is a stew of vegetables. Mixing the thuvayal/chutney with rice would make it a thick mix and the stewy kootu would aid in bringing in a balanced consistency during the travel of the food towards digestion. Kootu which is cooked with lentil also helps in the protein intake in a meal. Shall try to post ‘kootu’ in the near future.


Kathirikkai Thuvayal/Brinjal Chutney

kathirikkai thuvayal

Ingredients (serves approximately 6)

  • kathirikkai/Brinjals – 3 no.s if medium sized (I used one long brinjal)
  • oil – 3 tblsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • seeragam/cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • perungayam/asafoetida powder – 1 tsp
  • manjal podi/turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – a few
  • puli/tamarind – about 25 gms soaked in 1/2 cup warm water


cut brinjal in water




  • oil (preferably gingelly oil) – 1 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • red chillies – 1 long chilli split to halves

left to cool in a plate

smooth paste in blender

Method of Preparation

  • Clean brinjals and cut to small pieces
  • Always keep cut brinjals in water to avoid discoloration
  • Soak tamarind in warm water and leave aside
  • Heat oil in pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and saute for a while
  • Now add asafoetida powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder (I used 1 long red chilli in place of powder)
  • Mix the cut brinjals and fry them till soft
  • When the brinjals are soft, transfer to a plate or bowl and cool the ingredients
  • After brinjal is cooled, add the tamarind with water and grind in a blender to a smooth paste
  • For the thaalippu/seasoning, take 1 tsp in a pan – add mustard seeds – when they splutter, add red chillies – when they turn a bit darker pour into the thuvayal/chutney
  • Thuvayal/Chutney is ready
  • Serve with hot rice and kootu or just enjoy hot rice and chutney.

kootu – lentil and vegetable