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Dragon Food Festival at Inzia Restaurant at Sheraton Bengaluru

This Thursday, a few of us bloggers got to sample the menu created by Jr Sous Chef Shishir Rai as part of the Dragon Food Festival at Sheraton Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre.

This Thursday, a few of us bloggers got to sample the menu created by Jr Sous Chef Shishir Rai as part of the Dragon Food Festival at Sheraton Bengaluru.
Jr Sous Chef – Shishir Rai

Chef de Cusine Rungtiwa Sorlae and Chef Shishir Rai, gave us a preview of the menu served at InAzia as part of the on-going Dragon Food Festival. The festival is on till the 30th September, 2018 and will showcase the menu specially curated by Chef Shishir Rai.

This Thursday, a few of us bloggers got to sample the menu created by Jr Sous Chef Shishir Rai as part of the Dragon Food Festival at Sheraton Bengaluru
Chef de Cuisine – Rungtiwa Sorlae

The menu has a good spread for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Here is a sample of what we had during the meet: ( I have mentioned only the vegetarian side of the menu )

Dim Sum

Vegetables Sichuan Style Pan fried Dimsum – These pan fried dimsums were stuffed with celery, carrot and asparagus and they were seasoned with garlic oil. I loved these, they had the right blend of spice and were perfectly seared.

This Thursday, a few of us bloggers got to sample the menu created by Jr Sous Chef Shishir Rai as part of the Dragon Food Festival at Sheraton Bengaluru
Assorted Mushrooms Truffle Blast

Assorted Mushrooms Truffle Blast – A melange of honshimeji enokitake and shitake mushrooms.

Small Bite

This Thursday, a few of us bloggers got to sample the menu created by Jr Sous Chef Shishir Rai as part of the Dragon Food Festival at Sheraton Bengaluru

Wok tossed Tofu Sichuan Style – Here the silken tofu was marinated, fried and then tossed in Sichuan chilli paste. Give me tofu and I am a very happy person. These were silken tofu, which were crispy on the outside and beautifully soft on the inside.

Soup

Cucumber and Cilantro Soup – A thick, shredded cucumber and cilantro soup. This soup was a little underwhelming and bland on a night where each dish was bursting with flavour.

Main Course

Tofu Asparagus and Water Chestnut Malak Paste – A side dish with silken tofu, asparagus, water chestnut and green onion with sesame and chilli paste. Another beautifully made tofu dish. The tofu was simply melt in the mouth.

Rice and Noodles

Traditional Moon Faan (Veg) – 5 spices flavored steamed rice topped with sesame flavored soy sauce

Dry Cooked Hoo Fun Noodles Vegetable – Napa cabbage and sweet pepper rice with flat rice noodles, bean sprouts. This dish was flavoured with sesame oil and seasoned with fermented bean sauce.

Deserts

Chilled mango Pudding – Though I loved the cream and fresh mangoes (yumm!!), I felt this chilled jelly pudding had a tad bit more of agar agar.

A big thanks to Melvin and Saravanan for having us.

Details on the Dragon Food Festival @ InAzia

Date: 19th – 30th September 2018

Time: 07:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Venue: InAzia, Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel and Convention Center

Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables and seeds

Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables and seeds, a simple and family friendly pasta to have on a relaxed weekend. It has  the goodness of vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, red bell peppers and my little twist of roasted seeds. 

Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables and seeds is a very simple kid friendly pasta recipe. The recipe has the goodness of vegetables and seeds

We as a family love pasta and are always looking at interesting recipes to try out. During one of my searches, i landed on Donna Hay’s page and there i saw crumb pasta video. The recipe was interesting, very new to me and very simple to make.

Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables and seeds is a very simple kid friendly pasta recipe. The recipe has the goodness of vegetables and seeds

I knew i had to make it and gave my own twist to it. I added some roasted veggies and some roasted seeds and voila a very yummy pasta recipe.

Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables and seeds is a very simple kid friendly pasta recipe. The recipe has the goodness of vegetables and seeds

What do you need to make the Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables

  • Pasta of your choice: Since this pasta is a little dry and needs to hold shape – Penne, spaghetti, farfelle or elbow would be a good choice for this recipe.
  • Vegetables : I have used zucchini, tomatoes, red bell peppers and mushroom. One could also use mushrooms, eggplant, yellow bell peppers or even jalapenos.
  • Seeds: This is completely optional, one can also use nuts such as almonds or walnuts. The seeds give a nice crunch to this recipe. Every mouthful has an explosion of flavour.
  • The main ingredient which brings together this entire recipe is bread crumbs.  You can buy panko crumbs or any other brand from the market or make one yourself. The breadcrumbs with a lovely basil give this crumb pasta with roasted vegetables an oomph that needs to be tasted right away.

 

This crumb pasta with roasted vegetables tastes good as a warm dish as well as a cold salad. Oh by the way, another cool thing that i tried later was to add some ketchup and put the pasta on some toast, you wouldn’t believe how yumm that turned out 🙂

Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables and seeds is a very simple kid friendly pasta recipe. The recipe has the goodness of vegetables and seeds

For other recipes similar to Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables and seeds –  visit my other pages to get recipes using similar ingredients:

  1. Nutty and Minty Pasta
  2. Pasta with creamy sauce and vegetables
  3. Roasted Tomatoes & Red Bell Pepper Soup
Print Recipe
Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables
Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables and seeds is a very simple kid friendly pasta recipe. The recipe has the goodness of vegetables and seeds
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 -25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 -25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Crumb pasta with roasted vegetables and seeds is a very simple kid friendly pasta recipe. The recipe has the goodness of vegetables and seeds
Instructions
  1. On a baking tray, scatter all the vegetables and drizzle some oil on top of it.
  2. Add some salt and pepper and mix them all
  3. In a preheated oven @ 200 deg C, roast the vegetables for 15 - 20 minutes or till the vegetables get a nice brown colour on them ( keep a watch, i have charred some veggies in my life)
  4. Meanwhile boil the pasta al dente and set aside
  5. Once the veggies are roasted, remove from the oven and set it to aside
  6. In the same tray, after removing the veggies, scatter the seeds and roasted them for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Heat some butter or oil in a pan and add the bread crumbs. Toss till they get a nice dry texture and gets a nutty smell
  8. Add the oregano, chopped basil, salt and chilli flakes and mix well. Once this is done, remove and set aside in a bowl to cool
  9. To assemble : add pasta to a bowl,then the roasted vegetables, seeds and then sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of pasta
  10. Mix well, adjust salt and pepper according to taste
  11. To finish : add some grated cheese on top

Dessert class at Academy of Pastry Arts | Vanilla Berry Gateuax

This sunday we learnt to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore. The entire session was very well organised and the chef taught and explained every step with great enthusiasm.

Step by step details were given by Chef Kimberly to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore.

The Academy of Pastry Arts, Bangalore this sunday hosted a special desert class and showed us step by step on making a Vanilla Berry Gateaux. Chef Kimberly very patiently took us through each recipe and each ingredient of the process while making the desert. As a home baker, while i am aware of the efforts that is need to make a baked goody, this dessert was at another level.

Step by step details were given by Chef Kimberly to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore.

Step by step details were given by Chef Kimberly to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore.

There were multiple recipes to be followed and each recipe had multiple steps to be followed. The Chef with her expertise, very nicely showed us each step and also gave us valuable insights / things that one should know while making any dessert. Some of the important points were:

Step by step details were given by Chef Kimberly to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore.

Step by step details were given by Chef Kimberly to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore.

1) Always use good quality and fresh ingredients.
2) Measuring the temperature is very critical and a good thermometer goes a long way in making a perfect desert.
3) Always add bloomed gelatin to a warm misture so that it can mix and melt easily.
4) Make the glaze ahaead of time and do not over heat the glaze before pulsing it.
5) While heating items such as marzipan, always cling wrap it to avoid it getting dry in the microwave.

Step by step details were given by Chef Kimberly to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore.

Step by step details were given by Chef Kimberly to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore.

Some of the items which we made before constructing or assembling the desert were Chocolate Almond sponge, Berry Jelly, Rich red glaze and Vanilla Mousse. Let me give you a teaser – The recipe Vanilla mousse, which was the center of this dessert :

Ingredients – ( in grams)

Milk – 150
Whipping cream – 120
Vanilla pod – 1/2 stick
Egg yolk – 120
Sugar – 90
Gelatin – 8
Italian meringue – 120
Cold water – 40
Whipping cream – 135
Procedure

– Dissolve gelatin with cold water.
– Bring cream,milk and vanilla pod to boil.
– Mix egg yolk and sugar and gradually add into hot mixture.
– Continue to bain-marie until 83 degree centigrade with spatula. Add in gelatin, wait until slightly cool down,strain and fold in Italian meringue.
– Lastly fold in whipped cream.

Step by step details were given by Chef Kimberly to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore.

Now that i have made you curious about the institute, here are some more details about The Academy of Pastry Arts.
The Academy of Pastry Arts has three branches in India, Bangalore, Delhi NCR and Gurgaon. Other than India, they are also present internationally in Malaysia and Philippines as well. They provide to students, both short term and long term courses in Culinary and pastry arts.

Step by step details were given by Chef Kimberly to make Vanilla Berry Gateuax at the Academy of Pastry Arts in Bangalore.

Some of their course details are as below:

Their are many course available at the Academy and you can choose the one you want, few listed below –

CULINARY DIPLOMA PROGRAM
Duration: 6 Months

CULINARY ADVANCED DIPLOMA PROGRAM
Duration: 9 Months

CULINARY PART TIME PROGRAM
Duration: 12 Week session

PASTRY DIPLOMA PROGRAM
Duration: 6 Months

PASTRY ADVANCED DIPLOMA PROGRAM
Duration: 9 Months

PASTRY PART TIME PROGRAM
Duration: 12 Week session

One can reach out to them at the following address:

Bangalore Center
9, 1ST BLOCK SARJAPUR MAIN ROAD,
JAKKASANDRA,
KORAMANGALA,
BANGALORE
+91-8095719222
+91-8095442277
+91-8025505222
info@academyofpastryartsindia.com

Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen, Bangalore (Malleswaram)

Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.
Thali

My introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. There is always a first time for tasting food isnt it??

Sai bhaji is the best thing to make if you want to get greens and vegetables into kids said Vandana aunty. She said the Sai means “green” and the Bhaji is traditionally made with 2 greens, 7 veggies and tomatoes. Also the Sai Bhaji is made during auspicious days to bring in prosperity to the household.  This ladies and gentlemen was my introduction to Sindhi food.

Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.

This Sunday for lunch, a few of us bloggers were invited to Sindh Kitchen (Malleswaram ) to sample the Sindhi cuisine offered by them.

Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.
Lime Mint Cooler Shot

Sindhi cuisine refers to food which originated from Sindh, Pakistan. The Sindhi cuisine also shows influences from states such as Gujarat and Rajasthan, which was very evident in the papdi chaat which was served as an appetizer on Sunday.

The Menu

Starters and chaats

After the lime and mint cooler shot, we got a chance to sample the papdi chaat and the palak pathe ki chaat. The Palak pathe chaat was my favourite thing to eat during the lunch. Palak (batter fried), served with a some imli chutney, curd, sev and pomegranate seeds was amazing. The papdi chaat with a dash of lime was also quite tasty.

The starters consisted of Dal pakwan and aloo tuk. The dal pakwan served with imli chutney and hari chutney was a meal by itself.

Aloo Tuk is potato mashed and double fried, what could be wrong with that?? Nothing, it was absolutely delicious when served with masalas on top ..

Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.
Papdi shot
Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.
Palak Pathe ki Chaat
Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.
Aloo Tuk

Mains

Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.
Koki Roti

The mains consisted for Sindhi kadhi, white rice and meethi boondi, this was a combination that I had never heard of. Every mouthful had a bit of savoury and sweet, totally different from what I am used to. The kadhi unlike the Gujarati version does not have curd but has dal, tomatoes and kokam to flavour it.

Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.
Vandana aunty talking to us about Sai Bhaji
Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.
Sai Bhaji

We also had Sai bhaji with Bhuga chawal ( onion flavoured rice with cardamom and cinnamon). The Sai Bhaji with greens, tomatoes and dal was just amazing with rice and rotis.

The rotis consisted of Koki (onion and spices flavoured flat bread),  Khameri (ajwain flavoured tandoori roti) and parathas.

Deserts

Introduction to Sindhi Cuisine at Sindh Kitchen in Bangalore. From Sai Bhaji to dal pakwan and from palak pathe chaat to pragree, the food was yum.
Pragree with Rabree

Last but not the least, the deserts, we had Pragree with rabree and Gulab Jamun. Pragree is a flaky, crispy, multi layered sweet (like a puff pastry) and is traditionally filled with khoya.

Thank you Caroline and Akshay for introducing me to Sindhi cuisine.

Sindh Kitchen has two outlets in Bangalore, in Indranagar and Malleswaram. If you are newbie like me and love to try out new cuisines, Sindh Kitchen should feature in your list.

Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya | Dill leaves and lentil curry

This traditional and authentic Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya from Karnataka, was taught to me by my help. This recipe calls for multiple steps but the end result is so tasty and highly nutritious.

Step by step instruction on making Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya. This Karnataka style sambar / rasam is best served with Ragi mudde

Life with Ragi

I got married in 2003 and have been in Bangalore ever since. Before i write about anything else let me give you some details of the land : Karnataka that i call home. Karnataka formerly known as Mysore state was formed on November 1, 1956. The state has something for every person. It has a rich culture, has beaches, dense forests, hills and exciting cities. Other than rice, the staple for the people of Karnataka includes Ragi (finger millet). Ragi is also used in making ragi mudde, ragi kunji, laddoos and even cakes these days

Ragi kunji was a staple while growing up, but ragi mudde was a totally new food concept for me. I mean, one is supposed to gulp the ragi mudde with saaru and not bite into it?? How is that possible?? Having said that it is all about practice and we are getting there. For the past few years, our saturday lunch has been more or less the same, Ragi mudde with Saaru, many a times we have also switched the saaru with tamil style sambar or even dal. My help Nanjamma always says “ragi thin beku sakthi barum”, which translates to “eating ragi gives one strength”.

Step by step instruction on making Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya. This Karnataka style sambar / rasam is best served with Ragi mudde

Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya – how to make it ??

Recently my help showed us a very different variation of saaru, Bassaru. Bassaaru also roughly translates to “drained saaru” or “drained sambar or rasam”. This saaru is the perfect accompaniment to Ragi Mudde (finger millet flour balls). Bassaaru can be made with dill leaves, spinach leaves and averekkai also. For this recipe i have made Bassaaru with dill leaves and toor dal. This recipe has a series of steps and within those steps there is a lot of interlinking steps..sounds confusing isnt it but the end product is so good that the effort is all worth it.

Step by step instruction on making Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya. This Karnataka style sambar / rasam is best served with Ragi mudde

For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, us food bloggers are cooking recipes from Karnataka. This month i was paired with Amrita Iyer from The Food Samaritan and she gave me dill leaves and toor dal as my secret ingredients. This gave me the perfect opportunity to make Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya.

shhh-secretly-challenge-image

Couple of other posts that you might like to read:

1) Homemade Sambar Powder Recipe: South Indian style
2) Dantin Soppu (Greens with coconut)

Print Recipe
Ragi Mudde with Bassaru
Step by step instruction on making Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya. This Karnataka style sambar / rasam is best served with Ragi mudde
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Step by step instruction on making Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya. This Karnataka style sambar / rasam is best served with Ragi mudde
Instructions
Making the dal
  1. In a pressure cooker, add dill leaves, salt, some green chillies with 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles (here we ensure that the dal / lentil is just cooked and does not get mashed completely
  2. Once the pressure is released, drain just the liquid part of the dal mix into a different utensil and let it cool. Remove the dry dill leaves & undercooked dal into another vessel
Making the ground mixture
  1. Heat some oil in a kadhai and add jeera, garlic, oinions and little salt. Saute on low flame.
  2. Add sambar powder, jeera powder, coriander powder and chiili powder and mix gently
  3. To this add cinnamon, cloves, half of the coconut and tamarind paste and mix well
  4. Add corinader leaves to this mixture and remove from flame / gas and let the mixture cool
  5. Once cooled, grind the mixture into a smooth paste
  6. Portion into 3/4th and 1/4th quantities in two separate bowls
For tempering
  1. Heat oil in a kadhai, add mustard seeds and let it splutter
  2. To this, add jeera, garlic, hing, curry leaves, dried red chillies, onions and sautee till the onions turn pink and soft.
  3. Remove from flame / gas and let this cool
  4. Divide this into two portions
Making the Bassaaru
  1. To the liquid portion of the dal which we have separated, add one portion of the tempering and mix well
  2. To this liquid dal mix add 3/4th of the coconut groun mixture and bring the entire concoction to a boil
  3. Simmer for a couple of minutes and transfer to the serving bowl
Making the dill leaves dry dal
  1. In a kadhai, to the remaining tempering add the 1/4th ground mixture and mix well
  2. To the above mixture add the dry dill leaves and undercooked dal and mix well. Garnish with the remaining grated coconut
To serve
  1. .Check the salt in both the dry and the liquid dal and then serve as below
  2. In a plate, keep the ragi mudde in the centre, serve the liquid dal on one side and add the dry dill leaves - dall mix to another side
  3. Take a piece of the soft ragi mudde, dip it into the bassaaru ( liquid dal), take a small portion of dry dal mix and eat

Sattu Ka Paratha ( A protein rich indian flatbread)

Are you a vegetarian and looking for healthy preparations, which are full of protein and also tasty to eat?? then this Sattu ka Paratha is your answer. Sattu for the uninitiated is roasted channa dal powder and it packs a power punch with regards to protein in our diet.

A paratha very commonly made in Bihar and Jharkhand. This sattu ka paratha or savoury indian flatbread is very easy to make and rich in protein.

When Priya Suresh from Priya’s Versatile Recipes, gave me sattu ka atta and green chillies as my secret ingredients, i was stumped. I never realised that sattu ka atta was nothing but roasted channa dal ??? silly of me ..i went to the store and bought it :D. Anyways i started to look out for recipes which use this combination and came upon Sattu Ka Paratha.

Since this recipe is used in Jharkhand..i thought let me write a little bit about one of our newer and younger state. Jharkhand came into existence in November 2000, after it was shaped from the southern part of Bihar. Though relatively a small state, Jharkhand is known to have more than 40% of mineral reserves of India.

A paratha very commonly made in Bihar and Jharkhand. This sattu ka paratha or savoury indian flatbread is very easy to make and rich in protein.

Coming back to Sattu Ka Paratha, one can either buy the powder ready made from a store (like i did) or one can dry roast channa dal and powder it. For vegetarians getting protein into diet is not easy, we get our proteins from lentils, tofu and some diary products. This sattu ( roasted gram flour) is an excellent protein addition to our food. In our house we also use this powder to different dry curries, chutneys, or chutney powder. Did you know that this powder is also used by many a households to make ganji or malt powder to be mixed with milk. There is another very simple way to eat this…mix the sattu ka powder with some ghee and some sugar and that’s it…eat it as a desert…it tastes yumm..

A paratha very commonly made in Bihar and Jharkhand. This sattu ka paratha or savoury indian flatbread is very easy to make and rich in protein.

I made this Sattu ka Paratha for Ssshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

shhh-secretly-challenge-image

Print Recipe
Sattu Ka Paratha ( A protein rich indian flatbread)
A paratha very commonly made in Bihar and Jharkhand. This sattu ka paratha or savoury indian flatbread is very easy to make and rich in protein.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 -25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
For the dough
For the filling
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 -25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
For the dough
For the filling
A paratha very commonly made in Bihar and Jharkhand. This sattu ka paratha or savoury indian flatbread is very easy to make and rich in protein.
Instructions
  1. Form a soft dough with the given ingredients and let it rest covered in a warm place for 20 - 25 minutes
  2. Filling - add the oil to the sattu ka atta and rub it through so that the oil get equally mixed in the flour
  3. add rest of the ingredients to the sattu ka atta and mix well
  4. If the filling mixture feels too dry, add a little water to bring it all together
  5. Dough- equally portion the dough into 9 - 10 small balls
  6. Flatten the balls in your hand and add about 1 - 2 tbsp of the filling and close the dough edges to form a ball
  7. Rinse this ball in flour and make round flat bread ( like rotis or parathas)
  8. Heat a tava / skillet and add the paratha to it
  9. Once one side gets a little brown color, flip it it and cook the other side
  10. Add oil on both sides to get a nice brown colour on both sides.
  11. Repeat the process with the rest of the balls and filling.
  12. Serve hot with pickle or curd...we had it with rajma sabzi and curd

My first shipwreck dive In Sri Lanka and an Intro on diving

Do you remember the movie “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” (ZNMD) and do you also remember the scene where all the three main characters of the movie go scuba diving?? they learn all the signs, do a quick test under shallow water and boom…are scuba diving in the deep-sea. Scuba diving made easy doesn’t it?? well…the truth of the matter is….it isn’t that easy, at least not for me.. Here are the details of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka and a little intro to diving.

Scuba diving was one the main reasons that we did a road trip as a family to Sri Lanka, a couple of weeks back. You can read all about it here. Now before we start on my experience with scuba diving..let me tell you first about my snorkeling disaster the previous day … that Saturday, all of us ( 2 couples and 2 kids)..put on life jackets and started on the boat to the snorkeling site.

During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
Mommy, come back from snorkeling!!!

The guides / instructor jumped in first, then one by one each of us had to jump in. My brother went in and nicely floated in sea. Next it was my turn..I slowly got down into the sea using steps and tried floating and breathing through mouth ( yes that’s what we need to do)…breathing was okay, but I had not anticipated how choppy the water would be…I panicked and held on tight to the rope which was tied to the anchor and did not move!!! I just swayed in water and just swayed. Snorkeling is floating / swimming in seawater..whereas scuba diving is swimming into the sea. The instructor after seeing my condition, took my hand and guided me through the next 45 minutes of snorkeling.

During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
Brother and sister all set to dive to the shipwreck

Post my disaster in snorkeling in choppy waters, I was not too confident of my performance with scuba diving..but I did not lose hope and went ahead with my brother for the introduction testing in swimming pool waters, wearing the tanks and fins. Under water since one cannot communicate the usual way, were taught different signs. The sign language includes “Okay”, “Up”, “Down”, “Stop” etc. Whenever the instructor asked us these question under water we have to respond to him…this is how he understands whether we are doing okay under water. Once we understand these signs, he takes us slowly to the deeper end of the pool to equalize the pressure and to understand how we withstand the pressure going deeper into water. The pressure / pain in the ears is all normal ( very similar to flying in a plane) while one is going deeper into water and one has to pinch the nostrils and swallow at the same time for the ears to pop…

During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
All Okay

Since the swimming pool session was okay, I got back some hope and enthusiasm for scuba diving. The next day early in the morning, my brother, myself and our instructor Mahendran started out in a boat to for our first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka. Mahendran was an experienced diver, he had been diving for almost 16 years and had completed over 2000 dives. We went into the sea for about 15 – 20 minutes before Mahendran and another instructor geared up. The other instructor (don’t remember his name), jumped in first with our boats anchor. Once he had anchored our boat to the ship wreck…we all had to get into the sea one by one (not an easy task for me 🙂 esp after the snorkeling performance). Once you are all geared up with the fins, mask and tank..you can’t walk 😀 …all that you need to do is sit at the edge of the boat, back facing the sea and go back into the water..head first..plop!!! Thankfully I did that without too much effort..phew.

During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
Holding the yellow rope and going deeper to the shipwreck

Once into the water I struggled a little bit (the water was very choppy), hyperventilated also a little bit and held on to the instructors hand really tight. He was really understanding and slowly took me to the yellow rope connecting the anchor and the boat. We went down really slowly, Mahendran kept checking with me if I was “Okay” at all times. Half way to the shipwreck, my left ear started paining a lot and i signaled regarding that to Mahendran. We stayed put at this depth for a little while and once i was okay we slowly went deeper into the water.

During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
Fishes and more fishes…

The shipwreck was at depth of 7.5 metres, the four of us slowly swam around it. The water was quite murky and the visibility was not great, in spite of that we could see variety of fishes, corals and also the shipwreck.

I could only hear my breathing and the bubbles coming out through the tube and nothing else…total silence. It was a surreal experience, watching the fishes go by their own life as if we did not exist. The sheer colours on the fishes, colonies of fishes passing us ( I don’t know the names of the fishes) was amazing to see.

During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
Sea life around us
During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
The shipwreck

With my fear slowly going away, I started enjoying the dive, looking at the sea life, the different parts of the ship..I think we saw the propeller (the metal on the edge was still in shiny condition) and one long tube kind of thing. We also saw an adult and small baby fish swimming really close to us..this was something that i had not thought I would experience…pure joy.

During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
Just swimming casually

While on the beach Mahendran showed us a casing in which he could put his normal point and shoot camera to take pictures under water. Well…that was a great chance for us to get our pics under water, we immediately gave our SD card ….yay we were getting pictures of our first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka. Under water, I also spotted a “Nemo” fish (as my daughter would call it), commonly known as a clown fish..it was thrilling and yet very calming experience.

During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
coral life
During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
coral life

After about 45 minutes, we came back to the yellow rope and slowly started ascending to the boat. Once seated in the boat after, i remembered the scene when Hrithik Roshan completes his dive in ZNMD movie…i quite felt like that.

During our recent family trip, we decided to also attempt scuba diving. Here is an account of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka
Coral reef

Was I scared to get in choppy waters..yes of course….but did i love the experience of my first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka…of course yes…would i do it again and again…of course yes!!!

The sea water had gotten more choppy when we were returning after our first shipwreck dive….but i didn’t care. With my wet curly hair flying all over, all i could think was where i would go to do my next dive?? Time to figure out a place to do my PADI certification !!!

My Thoughts after our first shipwreck dive in Sri Lanka:

  1. Do not fear the water but be very respectful of it.
  2. Trust your diving partner / instructor.
  3. Try and get some pictures.
  4. Be calm and slowly get accustomed to breathing through the mouth.
  5. Last but not the least….enjoy every minute of the dive…

Scuba diving was a small part of our recent road trip in Sri lanka. It was a full on… fun trip…more trip posts coming up 🙂

 

Road trip in Sri Lanka with family

One leg in train or flight and one leg at home..yes that’s what best denotes my small family of 3 (myself, hubby and my almost 5 year old daughter), so when my cousin suggested Sri Lanka road trip with his family..well how could we say NO..a little bit of sightseeing, a whole lot of eating, spending time with kids was what we did during our road trip in Sri Lanka.

A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food
Roads of Sri Lanka

Why Sri Lanka??

It is raining everywhere in India in the month of July and lets face it two kids, shut in a hotel room is not great..so we decided to look at destination close to India and where obtaining visa would not be a major job and all this keeping in mind that we have to be in budget. Sri Lanka turned out to be the best bet..why you might ask? well for starters, the flight tickets were not expensive ( INR 10,000 per person – to and fro) and the most important part, the weather in Sri Lanka !!! This time of the year the east coast was dry with no rainfall but having cloudy days with lots of breeze…perfect.

The Journey for our Road trip in Sri Lanka

Using local transport of buses or trains would have been the cheaper mode of transportation but having our own vehicle gave us the flexibility to stop for fresh Litchis, taste local cuisine and drink lots of hot tea (very important :))

road tripping in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Map : Image courtesy http://younghoteliers.blogspot.com/

The mission – Road trip in Sri Lanka with family
Nos of km to cover – almost 265 km (One way)
Nos of passengers – 4 adults and 2 small kids with one very nice local driver (Piyal)
Nos of hours to cover the distance – 5 hours ( as google map showed us without any breaks…that did not happen 🙂 )
Food items carried – Homemade theplas, some biscuits and apples.

We landed in Sri Lanka late in the night and spent the night at Airport Tourist Hostel, a small family run home stay with very basic but clean facilities. After a good night’s sleep and really good breakfast (eggs, really soft bread, rice and dhal). We 4 adults and 2 kids set out in a van ( 8 seater) on our road trip in Sri lanka.

We started around 9 Am from Negambo (am really grateful that the weather cooperated), decided to reach Pasikuda via Dambulla. The places looked so similar to India, small towns followed by green paddy fields and that was followed by some more small towns..Through out the journey we saw locals selling a variety of fruits and vegetables, fresh Litchis, coconuts, dragon fruits, small round water melons etc etc… they were so fresh and beautiful. We bought Litchis from one of the vendors and oh my…they were red and so sweet. I knew from our previous trip here, that Sri Lanka does not have the big 4 -5 lane highways…but the roads that they do have were fantastic, people in general followed the traffic rules and rarely honked.

A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food
Small little restaurant served us delicious spring rolls

Around 11 am we stopped at this small restaurant for tea and some snacks. Though they did not have any local dish available, we had a really good vegetable spring roll and the lightest rice crackles..This day also marked the start of our hunt for a good chai / tea ( we couldn’t get a kadak cup of tea ).

A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food
On top pf the mountain – Dambulla Cave Temple

After travelling for a couple of hours we reached Dambulla caves, a world heritage site, depicting the life of Buddha using paintings and sculpture. To reach the temple on top, one can use the steps or the paved slope road..since the weather was very nice with lots of breeze we decided to use the steps.

A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food
Dambulla Cave Temple

The Dambulla cave monastery is still functional and is a place of worship hence everyone has to adhere to the local dress code, which means shoulders and knees always need to be covered. Once inside, one gets to see the various sculptures and paintings of Buddha. The rooms are dimly lit and you get to see the flower offering that people have placed.

A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food
Excellent vegetarian Sinhalese buffet food at Sakura

Once we came down, our driver took us to Sakura Restaurant, which served the most delicious and fresh spread of vegetarian sinhalese food. The staff was very friendly and explained to us in detail about the ingredients used in our meal. Sakura is situated on the main road but amidst paddy fields..good food with a view..what else would we want.

The food served was simple yet delicious and costed us only Rs 900 (Srilankan Rs) per person. The best part of the feast was the desert, vanilla flavoured curd served with coconut treacle…oh yummm…i still remember the flavour.

Thankfully we did not have any more stops on the way and managed to reached Amethyst Resort by 5.30 pm. Even before we could finish check in formalities the kids were at the beach. The resort is on a very peaceful stretch of beach…a perfect place to unwind after a long tiring day.

A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food
Play time for mami and kids, Image courtesy my hubby : http://maheshdevarajan.blogspot.com/

The next two days was all about water and food. If we were not snorkeling, or playing in the swimming pool..we were out to have more delicious food.

A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food
Lone boat at Sea, Image courtesy my hubby : http://maheshdevarajan.blogspot.com/
A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food
Menu card at Amritham

It was during one of these trips outside the resort that we came across Amritham (a women run organisation), where the food served is simple, tasty and cheap. The really sweet ladies prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner at the this place.

<img src="http://www.at200deg.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/amritham-1-768x1024.jpg" alt="A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food" width="768" height="1024" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-1626" />
The ladies at Amritham showing the kids how string hoppers are made

We tried their, sinhalese limited meals for lunch, string hoppers, aapam and stew for dinner. On the last day, my brother and myself also attempted scuba diving to a ship wreck …oh what an experience that was..amazing is the only term that i can use.

<img src="http://www.at200deg.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/amritham-1-768x1024.jpg" alt="A simple account of my recent road trip in Sri Lanka with family. Sri lanka is a beautiful country with friendly people and delicious food" width="768" height="1024" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-1626" />
The elephants at Minneriya, Image courtesy my hubby : http://maheshdevarajan.blogspot.com/

From Pasikuda, we stared back towards Colombo and halted at the Gunners Club in Mineriya. At Minneriya we got to see one of the largest gathering of Asian elephants. What a sight it was, a lone tusker, multiple calf’s and a whole bunch of smaller elephants just kidding around. The kids enjoyed the national park thoroughly.

http://maheshdevarajan.blogspot.com/

One of the memorable moments of this road trip in Sri Lanka was to visit a vegetable garden of one of the locals who also had a small restaurant. Te vegetable garden had chillies, rampe ( almost like a Sinhalese variant of bay leaf or lemon grass), ambarella, billing ( a sour fruit like our own gooseberry) and kohilan….such interesting ingredients..

The return back to the airport was all about shopping souvenirs and some local ingredients..we picked up tea, cinnamon and fridge magnets to take home.

The journey of 5 hours was all about music and family..while listening to A.R. Rehman and Illayaraja songs, chitchatting, cracking jokes, we bid adieu to this beautiful country and the green pastures…we will be back soon !!!