Making raita

This recipe of mine was originally posted on A Bit of Foodsense. Go check it out, there is some great stuff on there!

The first time I was introduced to the idea of raita, I was grossed out. It, in what I knew to be it’s most common form, was a salad of yogurt and cucumber after all. How could they go together and taste good? Then I started eating and loving Tzatziki, a different type of yogurt and cucumber dish, so decided to give it a go. One taste and I was hooked. I was glad that I took the risk, as it soon became a favourite for our Indian dining.

I was particularly happy when a friend of my sister-in-law’s offered to teach us some Indian dishes and this was one of them. She was originally from eastern India but lived in Canada for a few years before moving to the UK. This recipe is largely based on what she taught us, but I have tweaked it to suit our tastes. Though I generally like my raita thicker than what you will see Bangalore, I feel that it is authentic in taste. The one small piece of Indian cuisine that I feel I have nailed!

Now that we live in India, there is a batch of raita in our fridge at all times. We all eat it on its own all the time, but have also gained a new appreciation for this side dish. Apparently it is for more than just dipping your naan or roti in! Raita helps to cool the really spicy dishes that we eat, and adds a really neat complexity to the flavour of biriyani when mixed into it. Many of the raitas here are also way more adventurous in their prepation with an assortment of vegetables – and fruits – thrown in. I’m a little more reserved.

2 small /1 large English cucumbers, seeded and grated
1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 really ripe medium tomato, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of thick, high fat plain yogurt*
2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
chopped fresh cilantro

Mix first six ingredients together. Top with cilantro immediately before serving.

*the Méditerranée yogurt by Liberté is the best yogurt for this salad. If I can’t find it, I will buy a larger quantity of a lower fat yogurt and strain it in cheesecloth for a couple of hours prior to adding it to the salad.

** This is best if made day of use, but left to sit and mellow in the fridge for few hours

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I will spoil your fun too

Apparently I am that mom. The one that sucks all of the fun out of life for the lils. I make them clean their hands before eating, tidy up after they have played, have a quiet time in the afternoon when no other kid in the world does! and I don’t let them pick through their food and ditch the vegetables or watch more than a smidge of TV. For the most part they barely notice these evil things that I do and make them do, but some days they let me know loudly and clearly how unfair I am.

It became apparent to me this week that it is not just their fun that I spoil.

The older girls who were rude to my lils by not saying hi to them and giggling and pointing at them? I let them know that that was not nice. My lils were trying to be friendly and make friends. I thought these girls needed to know that you don’t have to be rude to someone just because you don’t want to be their friend. It’s an important life skill. It wasn`t the first time that this scene had played out, and I didn`t want my lils or those girls to think it was OK. I stopped their giggles and fun.

The bigger kids that were hogging the free merry-go-round in the park this weekend? I told them to get off, so the much younger children, who were waiting patiently through multiple rides, could have a turn. When they told me that they wouldn’t get off and were “saving” the spot for some other friend who was not present, I just helped the small children into the saved seat, then asked my own two to get off so more lils could have a turn. It made them all wait an eternity of the three minute ride before they could hop on again.

The bigger girl that was forcing the smaller girls off the monkey bars in the park was told to stop. Her nanny wasn’t doing anything, and she was intimidating the little girls who were having a good time. They were getting nervous, and I didn’t want them to fall. She left shortly after I told her.

The worst offence of the week happened yesterday. The lils had the neighbours over and were playing upstairs. Well, our guests were playing, and my two were at war with each other. There were screams and punches, pinches and names called. I spent the better part of an hour giving time outs, and finally a warning that their friends would have to leave if it persisted. The lils weren’t having fun, our neighbours could not have been having fun, and I wasn’t getting supper made. They acted out a few more times, and I let neighbours know it was time to go home. This was apparently the end of the world as we know it. There were tears, yells and attempts to barricade the door, but I got them home and the lils seperated. They were quiet and sullen for a long time after this, and I was called the meanest mom ever.

I also make Willy do the dishes when all he wants to do is read or play a game. I might be getting grumpier in my old age.



Wordless Wednesday – Family Fun Day


Ready to start

Potato pickin'

Potato pickin'

Lil reward

Cotton Candy!

I've got you



A taste of freedom

We knew that this day was coming, the day when Woo would start going off on his own. I thought at first that he would go for little distances, but I knew that they would grow and get longer with each little taste. It started with a trip to the park. Willy and Goose had gone off on their own, I was cooking dinner and Woo really wanted to go to the park. I said “Sure, you can go to the park.” I held my breath and waited. He went up the streat, around the corner and out of sight. I knew he needed to walk through the clubhouse and past the pool, and he did, going straight into the park and starting to play. He bumped into Daddy and Goose, and when the three of them arrived home together 20 minutes later, I started breathing again. He did it though, he did what I asked, and went where he said he would.

The next big step was when we removed his training wheels from his bicycle. All of a sudden he didn’t want to just ride on our little six street house anymore. He wanted to go around the corner and down the long stretch of the main road to the speedbump. It would more than quadruple the distance that he was able to ride, and would mean that he was out of our sight for a much longer period of time. We said yes. The first time he went I held my breath until he came back to circle in front of our house and go off again. He repeated this over and over. Eventually I stopped holding my breath. He loves to ride and he loves this little taste of freedom that we have given him. He has respected it so far.

This weekend our community had family fun days. We were in the park for long stretches of time, and the lils were left to run and play with new friends. We were watching them, but they were having fun playing with all the other children and were stayign close by. On Saturday afternoon Willy had a volleyball game, so he and Woo went to the park while I waited for Goose to wake from nap. We knew Woo didn’t want to watch, he mostly wanted to run and ride and play.

He quickly found the two little girls that live next door to us and the three of them raced around the park on their bicycles. Willy played his game, catching glimpses of the little boy as he raced by, happily and freely. As I left the house to join them, I noticed that Woo’s bike parked in front of our neighbors house. I guess he and the girls got tired of riding and headed there. When I got to the park Willy let me know that he had not asked to leave, but hadn’t been gone for long. We knew it was partially the excitement of play, and partially testing his boundaries, so we asked him more strongly to let us know when he wanted to leave the park. He agreed.

We met many new neighbours on Sunday, but one in particular stood out. As I introduced him to Woo, he said, “Oh, I know Woo. He and (the neighours) were in my house yesterday. I live over there.” He pointed to the far side of the community, a good distance from our house!! I think it is time to set a few more limits on that freedom, and maybe supervise a little closer!!

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Wordless Wednesday – I want to ride my bicycle

Last time.

Two wheeler

Take a deep breath

Ready to try!

Look, no hands!

Second trip up the street

Happy rider!



Off to the ER we go

We knew that it was bound to happen, that one of us would get sick and need to see a doctor. It might be for normal, run of the mill check up reasons, but it was just as likely to mean that one of us was really sick. We dodged it over Christmas, when Woo had a fever of 103 for three days that broke and stayed down as we were trying to arrange a doctor in Pudicherry. We dodged it when Woo finally stopped projectile vomiting after eight hours a couple of weeks ago, right after I said “we go to the hospital if he vomits one more time”. We weren’t so lucky tonight.

This is where it gets a little TMI. You can skip the next two paragraphs if you want.

Woo woke Willy up to poop early yesterday morning, then he pooped again and again. He said he wasn’t in any discomfort, and we thought nothing of it. At most we thought his body disagreed with something he ate, and it was just clearing everything out. He wasn’t sick, no fever, no other symptoms. Just poop. I sent him to school, and he was fine all day. He reported that he pooped a few more times and then pooped a few more before bed. I started to get worried, and made the “if he is not finished pooping now, we find a doctor first thing”. He was fine from then on, and went to school full of beans this morning. He had a great, poop-free day, and settled on to the back patio for snack when we got home.

Then his trips to the bathroom started. Each time he sat down, he was up again in minutes, or even seconds. He just kept going and going and… (you get the idea). I was starting to get really worried, but didn’t get a chance to voice my concern when Willy let me know that there was now blood in his stool. We didn’t need to think about it. Hospital time. The lil boy was clearly unhappy, and now he was bleeding.

That is mostly it for the bodily fluids talk, if you skipped ahead, you can resume here.

Luckily the close calls coupled with Woo’s and my food allergies and his asthma, have meant that we have thought about how we go about getting to a doctor/hospital if our driver, Subbu, has gone home for the night. A quick call to him, and a driver who lives in the area (and drives for another family on our street), was on the way. While we were waiting, Willy called the medical assistance hotline that we are able to use through membership from his work. They were able to tell us what hospital that we should go to, and called ahead and spoke to the ER to let them know that Woo was on his way, and what his symptoms were. Willy and Woo headed off.

At the hospital, they were directed to the area where foreigners check-in, and the desk was aware that they were coming, and knew what was going on. They were immediately moved into an observation area, and were thoroughly examined and diagnosed within 40 minutes of arriving. FORTY minutes. Willy had all of his questions answered and a prescription in hand. He was pleased with how smoothly it all went, and how well taken care of they were. There was a cost for this, of course, the consultation and the prescription. It amounted to less than $10.00 CAD. He filled the prescription right at the hospital then headed home. On the way he was called back by the emergency hotline to ensure that all his questions were answered, and got to speak to one of their doctors on the phone to make sure that he was comfortable.

The diagnosis? That intense vomitting from a few weeks ago was likely food poisoning, and it developped in to a bacterial infection. I really hoped they nailed it, because this was stressful enough and can end really, really soon.  At least now we know what to do.


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