Home Cooking

Aliv Laddu

Aliv is a forgotten food. It is also known as Haleem seeds or Garden Cress seeds. Aliv seeds have many benefits: glowing skin, shiny hair, regularizes periods, reduces sweet cravings and is good for pregnant women, post delivery as well and women suffering from hormonal imbalance.

Aliv is available in super markets and online grocery stores.

You can also consume Aliv in many forms. As such it is quite tasteless. Soak a pinch of Aliv seeds and have it with hot milk at night. But the best way to consume it is in the form of laddu. One laddu per day and you can gain all the benefits mentioned above.

Here is the recipe for Aliv laddu:

Aliv Laddu
  1. Aliv seeds: ¼ cup
  2. Fresh ground coconut or dried coconut powder: 1 Cup
  3. Jaggery: 1 cup
  4. Cardamom: 3
  5. Badam: 6
  6. Butter: 1 tbsp
  1. Soak Aliv seeds in ½ cup of water for two hours.
  2. Take a pan. Add jaggery and a tbsp of water in it. Stir until it becomes syrup.
  3. Now add soaked Aliv seeds and mix well. Add ground coconut and keep mixing till it becomes a thick paste on low heat.
  4. In another pan, add butter and badam. Fry badam till they turn golden brown and add it to the paste. You can use any dry fruit of your choice.
  5. Add crushed cardamom to the paste as well and mix it thoroughly.
  6. Turn off the heat and make (bite-size) laddus. Store them in refrigerator to keep them fresh for longer periods of time.
Home Cooking

Spaghetti Pasta with Broccoli

When you love Italian food and cannot eat out due to the current circumstances. When you try to make the Italian dishes at home and they don’t turn out as they should. That is when I rely on my sister who also happens to be the best cook. And she makes the best pasta, better than the restaurant quality! I have dubbed it as the “otherworldly pasta”. Meaning: while eating the pasta, I right along with my niece have transported to another world!, We have thoroughly enjoyed the pasta while giving our thanks and compliments to my sister.

Since I loved this recipe so much, I wanted everybody who enjoys a good plate of pasta to give it a try.

Here is the recipe for the “otherworldly pasta“:


  1. Spaghetti pasta – quantity for two
  2. Tomatoes – 3 large size
  3. Garlic cloves – 5
  4. Broccoli – 100 gms
  5. Butter – 2 tbsp
  6. Salt as per taste
  7. Chillie flakes – 1 tsp
  8. Fresh Basil leaves – 10 (Dried Basil powder can be used as substitute)
  9. Cheese – 50 gms
  10. Freshly crushed pepper – 1/2 tsp


  • Take a pot and add water, a bit of butter, a pinch of salt and bring it to boil.
  • Add Pasta and cook till Al-dente.
  • In another pot blanch the broccoli for 10 minutes.
  • Make puree with the three tomatoes.
  • In a pan add butter and grated garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Add tomato puree to the sautéed garlic and cook it for 5 minutes.
  • Add crushed pepper, chopped basil leaves, chillie flakes and salt to the sauce and cook it for a couple of minutes.
  • Add drained pasta and blanched broccoli to the sauce along with grated cheese and stir till all the ingredients are mixed well.
  • Give it a taste and season it as required.
  • Serve the pasta with the garnish of cheese and basil leaves.
Movie Reviews

Prema Desam

This movie was blockbuster musical hit in 90’s. While watching the film I was wondering why. Not once, but many times.

Here are the reasons why I felt so:

  • Nothing sets a good context like starting a movie with bad guys on bikes going after girls like savages! But that’s the only context this movie had in the entire movie.
  • There are two male leads in the movie: Lead # 1: Vineet’s opening scene – dreaming about a faceless girl when he has to go to college. Obviously he runs late and asks an equally jobless Vadivelu on a bicycle for a lift. Because no one else has that kind of time to spare to give him lift. Lead # 2: Abbas’s opening scene – he is an all rounder, hero of the college and a golden boy!
  • Tabu’s introduction scene in the movie – she avoids stepping on fallen flowers on footpath and we have endure Vineet’s poetry for couple of minutes for this insane act! I have good appreciation for poetry, but for whatever reason whenever Vineet starts with his lines, I could not contain my eye-rolls. It was plain cheesy! Tabu’s introduction won’t end there. She creates a ripple effect on the youth with series of catastrophes.
  • As the story progresses, both Abbas and Vineet fall for Tabu’s beauty and she is beautiful in the movie. I will give her that.
  • Vineet, given a free minute starts dreaming about the faceless girl, magically conjures Tabu and she quite literally falls in his lap!
  • While I love Prema prema song, I dint understand its purpose or timing in the movie. Such a waste of a beautiful song!
  • What’s a movie without few college students fighting with hockey sticks damaging public property and creating traffic jams? Somewhere during the fight, Abbas saves Vineet. Why fight in the first place only to be saved by the rivals later? Better story maybe. To stop the riots, however, we have a convoy of police vehicles coming to the place of disturbance as if they are going to arrest them all, only to impart “gyan” to the college students. (Did not see it going down like that!)
  • Back to Tabu, she is one hell of an uncoordinated person in the movie! Whatever problems she/Vineet/Abbas face in the movie is because of her stupid actions and her uncoordinated movements. She is the definition of living breathing disaster waiting to happen. Sometimes she falls on people’s laps and sometimes she throws books on people and makes them miss their bus. To top it off, she also forgets to do the homework! However she survives in the world! Luckily her books get swapped with Vineet and his godforsaken poetry saves her. All she likes to do is walk along the beaches in white dresses while guys stalk her, without her knowledge!
  • Back to the poetry class, the lecturer tells her students to fall in love to become poets! Does that mean people who have love for nature cannot possibly become poets?!
  • Tabu’s in-coordination does not end with just Vineet, she hits abbas in the face with a drafter! What possible use could a drafter be to a poetry student?
  • During Inter-college games, Vineet purposefully loses so Abbas can win the game, just because Abbas saved his life in the college riots. Now, Abbas wants to pay him back by buying him things Vineet could not afford, which leads to the start of their friendship followed by the iconic song: Mustafa Mustafa.
  • The back ground music when either of Abbas and Vineet is with Tabu is as if they are betraying the other just by hanging out with her.
  • Best friends Vineet and Abbas fight for a girl, to whom they haven’t even expressed their feelings and are not even sure if she is going to be with either of them.
  • Apart from being uncoordinated and stupid, she also is a magnet for trouble! She comes in the radar of bad guys. Not only that, loves courting trouble! She slaps the bad guy!!
  • Abbas literally faints at the sight of Tabu and in his faint induced dreams he sings and dances with Tabu. For whatever reason, Abbas has Vineet also dancing right beside him in the song. I’d rather enjoy my dream time alone with the girl dancing and singing, without competition! But hey! whatever helps Abbas.
  • Did I already the cover the part where Tabu is living breathing disaster waiting to happen? Well, just following up here: She takes tennis classes in the night, has a run-in with the bad guys, gets saved by Vineet and feels indebted to him for saving her. That very next day she walks on railway tracks while talking to Abbas. Who does that?? Well, she does! Anyway and her leg gets stuck, Abbas risks his like to save her from not one but two trains coming in her direction. Hope I made my point with Tabu’s role! And now she feels indebted to Abbas too!
  • Tabu’s Parents get a marriage alliance for her and she lashes out at them, saying she needs a friend in her husband. They tell her chose one of her friends, meaning: Vineet, Abbas. As usual Tabu is lost! Which is not a surprise, considering.
  • Abbas at this stage wants to let go of Tabu and writes Vineet a letter saying that he is leaving the city. Vineet chases him and talks sense into Abbas, saying that they should at least tell her how they feel and let her decide what she wants to do. Which they should have done when they realized they were in love with the same girl and save the blood bath!
  • After reading the letters from both guys and she accidentally discovers they are both friends, she wants them all to stay as friends. Such disappointment!
  • But the movie does not end there, the bad guys want pay back for the slap Tabu delivered earlier in the movie. They go after Tabu, both Vineet and Abbas save her from the bad guys after a dragged on fight sequence. And that’s the end of the story!

Incomplete, much?

Yeah, that’s how I felt too!

Why would anyone want to watch this film?

A – For entertainment? – You will get plenty if you enjoy watching:

(a) College guys going gaga over college girls. Back to Vineet’s opening sequence. This is what Vineet was running late for: going early to college and wait in bus stop for girls. As if this is not enough to digest, the makers throw in a song too, about how the guys are (there is no better way to put this) lusting after college girls!!!

(b) Hero going on with his cheesy poetry.

(c) Vadivelu’s comedy on girls was just plain raunchy! How did the makers get away with so much incriminating content? It was disgusting to watch.

(d) Guys going after the girl’s father to impress instead of impressing the girl.

B – Good story? – The makers could have made a short film and be done with it instead of dragging the story over two and half hours! It was torturous to watch two mindless guys pining over one hazardous girl!

The only thing I found worth in the entire film is A R Rahman’s music. And for that reason I am giving the following ratings if not for anything else.

My rating: 1/5.


Diwali Rangoli 2020

There is no better time to get your inspirations for Diwali Rangoli like right now. Even though the festival is a good month away. Better planning leads us to prepare better for the festivities. Here are some of the colorful & floral rangolis from my personal gallery, I have made over the years. Will try to share time lapse videos for these rangolis shortly. Stay tuned!

Home Cooking

Sorakaya (Bottle Gourd) Chutney

Never be afraid of experimenting with the vegetables in your kitchen. To find a way and incorporate healthy food in your daily meals. My sister recently tried Sorakaya pachadi and it tastes delicious. Here is the recipe.

It can be served with Idli and Dosa.


  1. Urad daal: 1 tbsp
  2. Jeera: 1tsp
  3. Methi Seeds: ¼ tsp
  4. Sesame Seeds: 2 tbsp
  5. Bottle Gourd: Quarter piece
  6. Tomatoes: 2 big
  7. Curry leaves: handful
  8. Coriander: handful
  9. Green Chillies: 2 Big
  10. Red Chillies: 3
  11. Tamarind: half lemon size
  12. Turmeric: ¼ tsp
  13. Garlic – 8
  14. Salt to taste
  15. Oil 2tbsp


  1. Dry roast urad daal, jeera and methi seeds until they turn aromatic.
  2. Dry roast sesame seeds and let them pop for a minute
  3. Add 2 tbsp of oil into a pan and add diced bottle gourd, green chillies, diced tomatoes, curry leaves, coriander, turmeric and red chillies.
  4. Let it cook until tomatoes are mushy. Now add tamarind and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and let the mixture come down to the room temperature.
  6. Before grinding the mixture, add the garlic and salt. Add a little water while grinding.
  7. Temper the chutney with traditional popu/ thalimpu.

Tasty and healthy Sorakaya Chutney is ready!

Movie Reviews

V – Review

After watching the trailer I am sure anybody would expect this movie to be a blockbuster hit. V not only set the expectations but met them too.

Disclaimer: Anyone with faint heart or low tolerance for bloody crime scenes should come prepared with worst case scenarios. Never in recent times had Tollywood shown gore at Game of Thrones level.

V has every aspect covered which you typically expect from a movie:

  1. A hero who has six pack abs and is not afraid to show off his body. In this case it was a bit much considering the profession of the said hero. Opening sequence packed with action just worked for Sudheer. In order to solve the serial murders, Sudheer keeps self-inviting himself to the high profile parties in and around Hyderabad. The only thing I found a little hard to digest is Sudheer’s arrogance through the major part of the movie.
  2. Another hero who is quite good with his humor even in the dire situations. Or maybe it is just his charm working, trying to impress a girl or the precision with which he kills people.
  3. A female lead who is headstrong and a straight shooter, knows what she wants from her life and gets it.
  4. Another female lead that is dainty, also headstrong. Puts others needs ahead of her’s.

If you are watching a crime movie, your vision should be able to take note of all the minute details if you wish to solve the murder as the story progresses. Or you will be left behind questioning what you have missed. Good thing this movie released through OTT, you can go back and re-watch the missed clues to catch up to speed.

Google Images

Multiple telephonic interactions between Nani and Sudheer, the clues Nani leaves behind for Sudheer for the next victim and the chasing sequence on Mumbai roads in the dead of night are few highlights of the movie.

Google Images

The flashback is a very brief one and to the point. Nani and Aditi Rao’s whirlwind romance and marriage was a sight to sore eyes having watched the gory scenes in the first half of the movie.

Google Images

More than the “why” Nani was killing few specific people, it is the reason behind Aditi’s murder and the “why” that keeps you hooked to the movie till the end.

It is a well edited movie. No additional scenes where included to increase the run time. Thaman’s BGM did complete justice to the movie and adds that extra suspense factor to the film. And you will simply fall in love with Amit Trivedi’s soundtracks from the film!

All in all it is an all round entertainer and a must watch film. And by the end of it, I was asking myself this question: would I do what Saheba did in the movie being in that situation? The answer my conscious gave left me more sad than scared.

 My rating for this movie: 4.5/5.

Home Cooking

Multi-Nut Laddu

This recipe is from my eldest sister who makes healthy snacks for her two boys quite frequently. Both of them are picky eaters. And she constantly tries to make snacks they can enjoy, which also has good amount of nutrition in them. Because my nephews only hog on snacks!

Here is the recipe for Multi nut laddu, takes under 10 minutes to prepare:

  1. Handful of Almonds
  2. Handful of Cashews
  3. Handful of Walnuts
  4. Handful of whole ragi (you can use powdered ragi if you are not comfortable with whole ragi)
  5. 2 tbsp of grated coconut
  6. Handful of Raisins
  7. 10 pitted Dates
  1. Dry roast all the ingredients expect for dates. Grated coconut will take a bit longer to roast.
  2. Blend all the roasted ingredients and pitted dates to a course powder and make laddus.
  3. Additional sugar is not required for this dish. Dates are substitute for sugar in this recipe and also act as binding component.
  4. And the taste of ragi and walnuts can easily be masked in this recipe.

This snack packs all the right nutrition and children will not complain to have them. Win-win situation for parents for are struggling to make tasty and healthy snacks for their kids. Do try this recipe and share your feedback!