It is going to be almost a year (well, nine months to be precise) since we moved in to our new house. We’ve been enjoying the additional space, luxury and the sense of accomplishment every single day. It gives us so much of pleasure to decorate it, have friends over and build cherish-able memories one after the other. But, what could give you more happiness than having your parents travel all the way from your home country to share and add to your joy and pride?
Yes, it was a blessing to have my father travel from India earlier this year to spend time with us as we were getting settled in. Half a year is a long duration in general, but it flew by in no time when he was here. We had a wonderful and memorable time with him. Waking up to his “Good Morning” wish everyday with a smile and hug was so blissful. One couldn’t ask for a better start of the day.
While he spent a good part of his time with his books, pens and writing pad, he made sure that he was with me whenever I was home. I won’t be able to recall a time when I was alone in the kitchen during his stay. He always looked for opportunities to help me and make my days hassle free. He had his contribution in every chore, small or big; right from getting the fruits peeled and chopped for our breakfast all the way to cleaning the kitchen before we called it a day.
Besides having a big helper next to me, I also had a wonderful companion that had all his time to lovingly chat with me. Together, we ran our thoughts and conversations around a wide variety of things. Mom, siblings, kids, their future, my childhood, friends, relatives, our family home and garden, our home town, old neighbors, family food and recipes, weather, health, daily news, gardening, weekend plans and the list goes on and on and on. As you can see, we had so much to talk about and we only ran out of time and never the topics. Now that he is back in India, I’m sure you can imagine how much I’ll miss him and how handicapped I’ll feel without his help.
One of his all time favorite things to do is gardening. He loved to spend time every day in our backyard taking care of the lawn, baby apple trees and the vegetable patch. I have never seen anyone who loves nature the way he does. The affection he shows towards every plant, leaf, flower, fruit, seed, etc. is extraordinary and unimaginable. He extends his admiration towards birds, animals, oceans, mountains, rocks, soil etc. also the very same way.
I’ve written about the garden in our family home back in Southern India and about my father’s passion for gardening in one of my earlier blog posts. I have always dreamed about having such a garden of my own at some point in life. I’m so glad that it is starting to become a reality now. There is ample space in our backyard to grow plants and trees of different kinds. I feel so blessed that we were able to take our first step towards it with my father’s help and guidance this year.
Throughout the summer, Dad took care of each and every plant so dearly and nurtured them so lovingly. We now have little over half a dozen apples that are close to getting picked. The produce that came from the vegetable patch also has been quite satisfactory. We also have a few apple saplings that are a result of my Dad’s gardening experiments. He tried to grow them from the seeds of store bought apples and it’s turning out to be a great success. We have about a dozen saplings of different varieties (Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious etc.) that appear to have taken off well. The challenge for me is to continue to nurture them through the varying seasons until they can be on their own. Wish I were at least half as good as my father.
I’m his very own seed, but, I’m not even remotely closer to all that he is/has been. I really doubt if I will be able to care and provide for the garden as much as he did, but, I’m sure I’ll see his love, smiling face and blessing in each and every plant, leaf, fruit and seed around me. God bless him!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25-30 mins
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 cup okra (one inch pieces)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
For Mor Kozhambu Masala
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp chana dhal
1 tsp rice (uncooked)
2-4 green chilies
1/3 fresh grated coconut
1 tsp grated ginger
Soak coriander seeds, chana dhal and rice in water for an hour. Strain the water and grind all the masala ingredients together in a mixer/blender. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water while grinding to get a smooth paste. Set this aside.
Heat oil in a skillet, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Add the okra and curry leaves and saute under medium heat until the okra is cooked. It takes about 10 mins for the okra to get a charred look.
In a mixing bowl, whisk yogurt with turmeric and 1 1/2 cups of water. Now, add the ground masala and whisk well. Transfer this to a sauce pan and cook under low – medium heat for about 8-10 mins. Keep whisking while cooking to prevent the yogurt from curdling.
Now add the sauteed okra and turn off heat.
Serve warm over white rice. Roasted potatoes makes for an excellent combination with Mor Kozhambu rice.
- Adding rice to the masala helps give body to the Mor Kozhambu. This also gives a nice and creamy texture to it.
- I always use low fat yogurt for this recipe. You won’t need full fat yogurt to get a silky and creamy sauce.
- Do not let the yogurt sauce boil. This will curdle the yogurt and the creamy consistency of the kozhambu will be lost.
- Vendakkai (Okra)Mor Kozhambu is our family favorite. White Pumpkin (Poosanikkai)Mor Kozhambu, Masal Vadai / Paruppu Vadai Mor Kozhambu etc. are common varieties too.