Saturday, May 9, 2009


What happens when you talk less and listen more...We normally don't do it, but its amazing what you can learn by listening more. We are always told to listen before speaking. This is right, but being silent or in a state of silence is mouch more than listening. When you listen, you want to understand what the other person is talking so that you can respond effictively. However, when you are silent, you are not only listening you are observing with out judgeing. That is a kind of meditation. You need to remember one thing: Do not judge any one or the situation...Just observe and enjoy the silence. It may look easy, but one of the most difficult thing to do....

Some times in order to be heard, you need to be silent. I found lot of people who silently passed on the message to thousands and the thought became a revolution. When you talk more, protest, argue you will not be heard. When you remain silent and carry on with your work, demonstrate by living your thoughts, you will touch thousands.

Enjoy the silence...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Prawn Biriyani - Quick and Tasty

I tried making Prawn Biriyani yesterday and it came out really good. It was quick and tasty as well. Though I love to cook, I am not a writer and you will not find the receipes written in a typical cook book way. I will describe the process of the way I cooked. I learned cooking by experimenting and looking at people cooking. Each time you try cooking a dish, it will come out differently. You will also find that with little change in process the taste differ. I encourage you to experiment and who knows, you will have your own receipe. My preparation is for two people and you can calculate your ingredients as per your requirements.

1. Marinate the prawns in Lime Juice or use Curd, Turmeric Powder, Chilli Powder, Salt. You may add little oil if you are not using Lime Juice or Curd. Keep it for some time.
2. Cut an large onion into thin long slices. Fry half of the cut onions till dark golden brown. This is used for dressing at the end.
3. Now cook the rice till its almost done. we need to cook it again for 5-10 mins in low heat with Prawns.
4. Now take a table spoon of oil in a pan. Add little cumin seeds, Piece of cinnnamon, few cloves and cardamom, one or two dry red chillis.
5. Then add the onions and start frying till golden brown.
6. Add a spoon of ginger/garlic paste if you have.
7. Add a spoon each of cumin and coriander powder.
8. Now add the marinated prawns and cook it for 3-4 mins till its cooked.

In the same pan, now add the rice which is almost cooked (I some times try with cooked rice also to make it quick) If you are cooking for more people, you can layer the rice and prawn. Garnish the fried onions, chopped coiander leaves, one or two sliced green chillies and fried cashew if you have. Now ensure the lid is closed tightly and keep the pan on low flame for 5 to 10 mins.

Thats all... now serve it hot with raita if you have. However, you can also eat only biriyani for the meal. Try it, make some mistakes and you will master the receipe. Take a look at the hot steaming biriyani....

Do schools kill creativity?

Why don't we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it's because we've been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. Watch the talk on creativity in TED Talks:

You can also visit the site to check out details on the talk:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

John Francis: I walk the Earth

For almost three decades, John Francis has been a planetwalker, traveling the globe by foot and sail with a message of environmental respect and responsibility (for 17 of those years without speaking). A funny, thoughtful talk with occasional banjo. John Francis walks the Earth, carrying a message of careful, truly sustainable development and respect for our planet. One day in 1983, John Francis stepped out on a walk. For the next 22 years, he trekked and sailed around North and South America, carrying a message of respect for the Earth -- for 17 of those years, without speaking. During his monumental, silent trek, he earned an MA in environmental studies and a PhD in land resources. Today his Planetwalk foundation consults on sustainable development and works with educational groups to teach kids about the environment."Part of the mystery of walking is that the destination is inside us and we really don't know when we arrive until we arrive." - John Francis

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cob House - The Natural Building

While doing research on natural building techniques, I found this video on YouTube. The Cob Cottage is made of all natural materials by Meka Bunch in Wolf Creek, Oregon. Cob is a building material composed of clay, sand, and straw. Most of the old structures and houses were build with Cob, Stone and Wood. I lived for few years early in my life in a cob/mud house. However, now cement, concrete and bricks have taken over. All our cities have become concrete jungles. When temperature goes up during summers to 40-45C, it becomes difficult to live. However, with cob houses the temperature remains less than outside. The other misconception about Cob is that, its unstable and will dissolve in first rainstrom. Thats not true...If you look at the history of buildings the most ancient buildings are either made of stone or cob. They are still standing. The best examples can be found in buildings found in Mexico by native Indians, Africa, Middle East, Asia and of course in my country India. These structures are standing from hundreds of years. Thousands of cob houses have weathered rainy England for hundreds of years. You can have a look at the Eco-Building of Mrs & Mr Vishwanath in Bangalore, India. The building demonstrates that it is possible to live in a city in harmony with nature. The building was made of compressed earthen blocks. Now lets look at the Cob Cottage video.

Meka's Cob Cottage in Wolf Creek, Oregon:

People often think that Cob houses look old and you can't do much interior decoration with it. One gets a look at a sophisticated cob work of art that one can sculpt with one’s own hands, live in, and leave to one’s great great grandchildren. Cob is very durable and requires little upkeep. You can mould cob the way you want and create a space which is living and not only a living space. Take a look at the Cob Cottage designed by Meka.

While in India we still find houses made of Cob/Stone/Lime/Brick and other natural materials, concrete is taking over them slowly. Not only Cement/Concrete/Iron/Glass etc... are costly but non-sustainable and takes lot of energy(fossil fuel) to make. Developed nations are looking at alternate building and eco-friendly architecture as the solution for global warming. Third world and developing nations are going for morden building techniques which is not sustainable. It's time that we recognize this and start looking at integrating our traditional skills with morden science like solar power and wind power to create sustainable buildings.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Curry Chat

We had some leftover Pakoda curry. So I decided to make Curry Chat. It is very simple and tastes good. Use any curry which is leftover from the last meal. Add chopped onion, green chilli, codiander leaves and tomato. Add some chat masala. You can add some Yoghurt or Curd. Add some Mixture (fry lentil mix), we got some Madras Mixture last week. You can use any kind of Mixture. Mix it well and your Curry Chat is ready. Its very good for evening snack.


Pav Bhaji is fast food native to Maharashtra, but popular in most Indian cities. Mumbai is known for its delicious Pav Bhaji. Pav in Marathi means bread and Bhaji is a patato based curry. This was a popular dish for mill workers during lunch as it can be made faster and eaten also. We have been preparing Pav Bhaji for some time now and it comes out good and easy to make. So we thought to share the recipe with all. Our method is slightly different from the typical style of cooking in a hotel. However, its faster and can be made with less ingridents.

Prepare Bhaji or Curry:

1. You need to dice the Potatoes, Carrots, Curliflower, Beans, Green Peas, Bell Peppers. However, we used only Potatoes, Carrots and Green Peas. The more vegetables you can use the better will be the taste. Boil all the vegetables in a Pressure Cooker. Add little salt and turmeric powder with the veggies in the cooker.

2. Take a pan and melt two table spoon of butter or oil.
3. Add cumin seeds and chopped garlic, chilli and ginger.
4. Add some chopped onions fry till golden brown.
5. Add chopped tomato and cook for two mins.
6. Add cumin powder, coriander powder and chilli powder.
7. Add the cooked veggies and mesh them while cooking so that they become paste.
8. Add some Pav Bhaji masala if you have or you can also add some chat or garam masala.
9. Add a cup of water and allow it to cook for five mins.

Prepare Pav or Bread Roll:

1. Slit the bread roll or bun into two keeping the base intact.
2. On a frying pan, melt some butter and roast the bread from both sides.

Garnish the Bhaji or Curry with chopped onion, coriander leaves and dot with a few cubes of butter. To eat break off pieces of the bread and scoop up the Bhaji and ENJOY! My Bhaji may not look like what you eat outside. I have used very little oil, masala and chilli powder. You may use more of it, if you want.