Jingle-Jangle o’ the Green-Bangles

For the two themes in WordPress’ ‘The Daily Post Photo Challenges‘ 

Security, Green

In the (Asian) Indian culture, green bangles are adorned by the bride at the sacred marriage ceremony- a blessing symbolizing prosperity and fertility. And she continues to wear green her entire married life. The gentle striking of glass produces a sound that is delightful, soft and feminine.

My maiden home would be filled with the cheerful sound from my mother’s or grandmother’s bangles. It seems to always be there in the background, the predictability gave us kids a strange sense of security, and you could tell those toiling hands were working somewhere in or around the house.

This jingle-jangle of the green bangles were sounds of love and care and motherly  warmth.

Green glass bangles with pearl - gold side bangles. Photography.
Green glass bangles with a pair of pearl-gold ones, set on traditional green Indian fabric.
OF SANDALWOOD ‘n fresh  mehendi hands
Mixed scents, like feelings; lonesome she stands
Dressed in silk, her gold jewelry dangles
Amidst the jingle-jangle o’ the green-bangles

SHE MAKES the house into a home
Cooking n’ cleaning n’ loving she roams
Making peace after any wrangles
Along the jingle-jangle o’ her green-bangles

HOLDING the little chin, combing hair
On fevered forehead, her hands of care
In a soft mulmul* embrace, their tears she lulls
All in the jingle-jangle o’ her green-bangles!

*Mulmul (pronounced muh-l muh-l as in mulberry) is a fine, soft cotton muslin from India. There are beautiful mulmul sarees for women in India.

For The Daily Post Photo Challenges theme for the week “It IS Easy Being Green!” and (Michelle said if the post is related to Ireland, the better it is. So, while taking this picture, I thought of Ireland. So related it in such an unrelated way 😬 )

Works for another theme for this week “Security” as well!

The ‘authentic’ Kande Pohe

Kande Pohe Kanda Poha
Kande Pohe or Kanda Poha

Kande Pohe (literally meaning Onion-ed flattened rice) are a staple breakfast dish in Maharashtra, India. Of all the variations I have had, the best is made by Aai (my mommy) hands down- not even exaggerating this time! I’m going to share her simple and yummy recipe here. This is the ‘authentic’ way to make it, per me.  And once I show you the rule, you can always appreciate the exceptions 😉

Pohe are flattened/ beaten rice that can be bought in Indian grocery stores. Since they are dried, they can be stored for long periods. They easily absorb liquids and become instantly edible. They come as thick and thin, and for this recipe you need the THICK ones. (Else you will end up with Pohe lumps).

In the Kande Pohe recipe, the fried onions add the sweetness, the peanuts give the crunch and protein, along with the peas to the savory soft Pohe. Lemon juice gives a dash of tanginess.

Trivia: I remember the “chaha-pohe” (Pohe with chai tea) ritual has been an integral part of the ‘bride-viewing’ ceremonies (where the boys family visits a prospective girl’s family in an arranged marriage)! So whats the basis of happy long lasting Maharashtrian marriages? Yes- you got it- savory soft buttery delicious Kande Pohe!

And here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups of THICK Poha / Pohe

1 medium onion- sliced

1 medium boiled potato- cubed (with or without skin)

1 medium-hot green chilly (depending on how much heat you can handle, add another).

6 curry leaves (also available fresh in Indian grocery stores)

1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

1 tbsp peanuts (make that 2 if you like the crunch in every bite!)


1 1/2 tbsp oil

1 tsp salt (or adjust to taste)

1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp lemon juice (or adjust to taste)

To garnish: Cilantro, grated coconut (preferably fresh)

Optional, but certainly a deal breaker in my recipe: 1 tbsp sour cream or 1 heaped tbsp plain yogurt. This prevents drying up and lends a soft texture and slight flavor. Try without it and you’ll know what I mean.


1. In half a cup water, add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp sugar, stir and add to dry Pohe in a bowl. Make sure no residual water is left out, yet all Pohe flakes are wet. Add the yogurt or sour cream. Set aside.

2. Heat oil, add peanuts and fry for a minute, take out and keep aside.

3. Once the oil is hot again, add curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds. Add chillies and fry for a minute. Add onions and fry until translucent.

4. Add turmeric followed by cubed potatoes. Stir until they are all yellow and lightly fried (1 minute). Add remaining salt and stir in peas. Add the Pohe and stir well without crushing until they are all yellow. Reduce the heat to minimum, add 1 tbsp water along the edge of the pan to generate steam and cover for 5 mins.

Add the lemon juice.Taste and adjust salt / lemon juice/sugar. Stir in peanuts. Garnish with cilantro and grated coconut. Serve HOT! Most like it with hot chai!

Book Review: The Hindi-Bindi Club

Hindi BindiFor the longest time, I have not read fiction. One sunny afternoon, I find a book that my brother shipped thinking I’d enjoy reading: The Hindi-Bindi Club by second generation Indian-American Monica Pradhan.

This book is about 3 women from India settled in the United States, and about each of their daughters. The way the book is written, each character speaks for herself.

There is Saroj Chawla from Punjab who is a great cook and runs a catering business. Her daughter is Preity, the Miss Perfect, as viewed by one and all. The other character is Meenal Deshpande who hails from Maharashtra. She is more philosophical than others and has learnt from the experiences she had to deal with. Her daughter is Kiran, a physician and a divorcee in her early thirties who comes across as smart and stubborn. And then its Uma Basu, a Bengali scholar and professor. Her daughter is Rani, a wild child growing up but now an artiste.

From the eyes of these three mothers and daughters, you get to experience their wonder years growing up, their challenges with motherhood/daughterhood in a foreign country and all the gossip of what the girls call “The Hindi-Bindi Club”. As I read on, at different points, I could identify with some, the goosebumps, the nostalgia. And above all laughed and laughed at the humor! Saroj has her roots in the cosmopolitan Lahore, a part of India before the horrifying Partition, to become a part of Pakistan. With the character, you go back to the days half a century back with the description of the beautiful city, the festivals, the cheer, the Basant (Spring) in Lahore. Its poetic. Reminded me of the old Hindi movies. Meenal represents the typical and realistic Marathi woman and her life as a girl in Mumbai. The Mumbai rains, the paper boats, the street food, the beach etc. Uma is from Kolkata – the city of so many shades and contrasts. She is an intellectual, has a tough past, how she deals with it and her triumphs, her perspective towards life- its all is very inspiring.

Then there is the second generation of the daughters and their lives and challenges. Thus, it is a seamless patchwork of old and new Bollywood movies into a spectacular melange; now who wouldn’t like that! The book is very entertaining and brings that warm and fuzzy feeling. Its one of those I didn’t want to end. I highly recommend it to women, especially women from the Indian subcontinent settled abroad. They can most identify with it. I will be surprised if no one makes a cross-over movie out of it.

The best part is, each chapter is followed by a recipe. That is a real treat in more ways than one! I actually tried out a few!

My last word: A delightful book that is a must read! 🙂