Beetroot and Carrot Cutlets

Cooking healthy snacks for a child who has almost zero interest in food is a herculean task. When none of the time-tested tricks of my mother work, nor do the tips from the Internet help salvage the situation, I choose to do what I am best at.

Hit and trial.

I have to admit that cooking the toughest, trickiest recipes never intimidate me, but serving them beautifully is where my culinary skills end. Artistic presentation to lure a child takes me more thought than trying multiple recipes a day.

This limitation has forced me to seek respite in the colorful foods. I try to play with colors in salads, sandwiches, cakes and more to make food look tempting for Pari. Mind you, I am talking about the natural colors of fruits and vegetables not the artificial ones. In one those attempts I tried this recipe.

The ravishing red of the beetroot when mixed with the playful orange of the carrots not only adds to the nutrition and tempting colors but also cuts down the potato ( which is nevertheless still present to help in binding and keep the authentic flavors intact).

Beetroot & Carrot Cutlets

Beetroot & Carrot Cutlets with Coriander Chutney
Beetroot & Carrot Cutlets with Coriander Chutney
Servings : 6

Difficulty level : Easy


  • Beetroot – 2 medium
  • Potatoes – 2 ( around 150 g)
  • Carrots – 2 ( medium to large)
  • Chat Masala – 2 tsp
  • Ginger ( chopped) – 2 tsp
  • Bread Crumbs – half cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Chana powder / Besan – 4 tsp (roasted in a hot pan for a few minutes)
  • Green Chilies – 2 ( de-seeded and finely chopped)
  • Mozzarella cheese – half cup
  • Oil – 1 tbsp


  1. In a large bowl grate boiled potatoes, beetroot and carrots.
    Boiled and grated beetroots, carrots & potatoes.
    Boiled and grated beetroots, carrots & potatoes.
  2. To this mixture add half of thee finely chopped ginger, chat masala, bread crumbs, salt and roasted chana powder ( prepared by grinding the dry roasted chana dal).
  3. Mix it all together and divide the mixture into small portions.
  4. In another small bowl mix the remaining hopped ginger, finely chopped green chilies and finely grated mozzarella cheese.
  5. Add the cheese mixture as a stuffing in the beetroot and carrot mix portions and gently shape the cutlets as thick discs.
  6. In a non-stick/ thick bottomed pan add 1 tbsp oil and shallow fry the prepared cutlets from both sides till they get a crisp, golden hue.
    Beetroot & Carrot Cutlets being shallow fried in a non-stick pan
    Beetroot & Carrot Cutlets being shallow fried in a non-stick pan
  7. Serve hot with a cheesy dip or coriander mint chutney or tomato ketchup. Beetroot & Carrot Cutlets (2)

Tip: The cutlets can be used to make healthy, finger licking good burgers that look gorgeous with the red and green ( salad leaves of your choice).

What I also do is stuff up the beetroot and carrot mixture with or without the mozzarella mixture to make sandwiches that Pari loves taking to school. So this recipe is a winner snack that can be used in many creative ways.

Beetroot, carrot & potato sandwich in the making
Beetroot, carrot & potato sandwich in the making
Beetroot, carrot & potato sandwich
Beetroot, carrot & potato sandwich

She: Ekla Cholo Re

  • Title –  She: Ekla Cholo ReShe-1
  • Author – Dr. Shayan Haq & Santosh Avvannavar
  • Publisher – Hoffen
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 58
  • Price – INR 50

Synopsis: Set in the backdrop of 1990 Calcutta, She is a story about finding one’s own identity in spite of all odds. The story spins around the life of Kusum, a brave heart whose identity is often untitled and blurred; it does not belong anywhere, definitely not under the ‘he’ or ‘she’ bracket, thanks to our social conditioning. Will she be successful in her mission?

Find out in She, an utterly absorbing read that derives inspiration from Tagore’s “Ekla Cholo Re” song, which urges everyone to move on despite the fear of abandonment from others.

Review: The book has a bold red cover hinting the book revolves around a taboo topic with the title bearing a silhouette of the Howrah Bridge indicating that the story is set in Calcutta. The title and the way it has been written (with an inverted S) on the cover, brilliantly captures the essence of the plot hinting at the gender issue being the crux of the plot.

One read of the synopsis of the book and I knew, I’d not only love to read it but also talk about it on my blog. The reason being, amidst the endless debate on defining ‘humanity’ and what ‘being human’really means our social conditioning stands tall, dictating our behavior, our actions and also how we should follow the rules set by the so-called society even if it implies being cruel to fellow human beings.

“As I grew up, I realized that it’s so difficult to interact with a person without knowing the gender. May be we are programmed like that! A program that runs to mention the social aspects of one’s biological sex and behaviors associated with it.”

In a society where the roles of a man and woman are dictated to be followed with exactitude, there is no room left for those who don’t fall in either of these genders. A patriarchal society that fails to treat women as living beings (forget the talk of empowerment or equality being practiced) this book dares to touch upon the dilemma, the anguish,  the befuddlement of a person who was by birth classified as a “he” but grew up with the sensibilities of being a “she”.

“He fancied being Debu’s girlfriend while he was seen as his younger brother.”

The story is about Kusum who is biologically created to be a boy but is a girl at heart. When she chooses to follow her heart, breaking free of the flagrant familial pressures that attempt at dictating her every move, she faces dire circumstances. The setting of the plot is simple and story has a natural flow that engages the reader, rouses curiosity and also fills our mind with thoughts about the futility of the societal norms that we follow.

The most daunting part of the book is, the book is set in 1990 but nothing much has changed as far as acceptability of all sections of human race are concerned in the 25 years that have flown past. The book is a success in highlighting the gender issues of transgenders and how they continue to lead a life of seclusion and non-acceptance.

“…he realized becoming a SHE from a he is a lonely path and it’s best to tread this path alone – Ekla Cholo Re!”

I wish to congratulate the authors on taking up the onus to write about this sensitive issue in an inspiring way. The book fills the readers heart with empathy for the sections of society who fail to fall in the clearly compartmentalized genders.

The language is simple, narration succinct and gripping that won’t let you put the book down until you read the end. The unpredictable ending adds to the charm of this book but the real charmer are the lines from “Ekla Cholo Re” the song written by Rabindra Nath Tagore written in Bangla with translation in English provided for the benefit of non – Bengali readers.

In his introduction of the book the author has mentioned that the motivation to write ‘She’ came from the song “Ekla Cholo Re” with the book touching upon the twists & tribulations of Kusum’s life in a powerful way.

The only suggestion I have is that the book would have benefited by making room for a little more dialogue in the plot. The interaction between Raj and Kusum could have been a little longer, the many issues touched at surface could have been talked about in detail adding to the experiences of Kusum to leave a lasting impact on the readers psyche.

“Make people and situation powerless by not reacting to reactions from the society.”

Nevertheless, the book is a commendable, bold attempt on talking about an issue that needs to be thought, talked and discussed about more openly and sensitively.

I highly recommend this book to be read by everyone whose heart bleeds at the discrimination humans face at the hands of other humans in the name of gender.

About the Authors: Dr. Shayan Haq: Shayan is a medical doctor and cosmetologist by profession working at Bijapur, Karnataka.

Santosh Avvannavar:  He started his career as a consultant and Soft Skills Trainer. After his college education from NITK, Surathkal, he worked as a researcher at University of Eindhoven, University of Twente, and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He was also the Placement President while working at IISC, Bangalore.

He has over twenty-five publications of mostly research documents in national and international journals. He has also authored sixteen conference papers and regularly writes articles for a national and worldwide daily paper. He also works as an advisor for different organisations.

Rating : 4/5

Awkwardness – 3

This series is unusually growing longer, much to my dislike.

I had wished for things to change for better sooner or later, but nothing much has changed in the past six months. Nina hasn’t warmed up and neither has her father. Though Pari and Nina do happily interact ( however limited it is ) during the time they travel to and from school. But, I am yet to see Nina being happy or her father being friendly while we all wait for the bus in the morning or meet in the afternoons.

In the past few months on at least 5 occasions, Nina’s father was late in arriving at the bus stop in the afternoon. Usually, the bus follows the policy to not drop the kid in the absence of a parent or a guardian, but the first time it happened, I took the onus on me ( I am still clueless why I did that) to drop Nina to her home that is hardly 800 meters from the bus stop. Thinking deeper, I know in my heart, I was guided by the harrowing experience Pari had when I had not been able to pick her from bus stop on her first day at school. I didn’t want Nina to go through something similar so I chose to call up her father and have him pick her in next ten minutes.

That wasn’t the last time though. On one instant I was asked (not requested) by Nina’s father to take Nina to my home saying he shall arrange for her to be picked from there, I couldn’t help but feel something churn in my stomach. It so happened that Nina’s father and mother had been caught up somewhere and had organised for a family member to pick Nina from the bus stop. The designated family member didn’t arrive till ten minutes past the bus dropped Nina and Pari.

When I called up Nina’s father, he quite nonchalantly asked me to take Nina to my home (mind you, Nina has never been to my home before) and he’ll see how to have her picked from there. At this point, I wish to highlight that though there has been almost zero interaction between our families but we know each other’s houses and rough family history owing to living in the same locality. I am sure you can imagine how it is.

So off we went. Pari, Nina and myself on my scooter to my home. Within fifteen minutes of making Nina comfortable in our abode, which made Pari ecstatic because she loves playing a host to her friends, we had Nina’s uncle come and pick her up. The one thing that has left me dumbfounded is the coldness with which Nina’s family ( immediate and extended) reacts. Okay, it might be that I have unreasonable expectations, but, had Pari been in Nina’s shoes (may God forbid) I’d be panic struck and would have at least taken a moment to thank the person who’d helped my child in a courteous manner. But, this was far from what happened.

Nina’s uncle picked her up without saying anything much except a cursory nod which I assumed to be a hello and Nina waving a goodbye to Pari and my family. Neither did I see her parents take a moment to speak to me in the following days.

Time has moved on, but the ice hasn’t broken and I am at a point when this coldness has stopped bothering me because if there was any hope of us ( Nina’s father and myself) ever being cordial, it doesn’t exist any longer. We continue to behave as more-than-strangers waiting for the same school bus everyday. But, when it comes to taking care of Nina, I think I care for her the way I would care for any other child. I pray, whatever goes on at the bus-stop shouldn’t in any way change the way I treat her. Every child deserves to be protected and taken due care of, be it our offspring or anyone else.

In the meantime, besides the initial issue of packed snacks ( I wrote about here) there is relief because I have somehow succeeded in convincing Pari to binge on the healthy, fresh snacks I pack for her everyday. With the advent of winters, something unknown to my now-growing-old-mind has happened. Nina carries a small vanity kit that has a lip balm, a moisturizer, a comb, a mirror, a hand sanitizer ( these are the things that I am aware of) etc. in her school bag. Pari is in awe with the way she keeps her skin moisturized even in the bus and has been pestering me to arrange a similar vanity kit for her.

I am really curious, if it is just me or is it normal for moms with kids of Pari’s age to think of such cosmetics as not suitable to be carried to school. I am okay with a hand sanitizer, that even the school advocates but the rest are something I am yet to feel convinced about. I am really not sure if Pari can convince me to let her get her a vanity kit to be taken to school but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

The song on my mind: Teri duniya se hoke majbur chala 

Changed Perspective

In the past five years, if I had to point at one grievance that has been nagging my mind, heart and soul (among the plethora of others) it would be death of my career.

Despite the many emotional battles I was caught up in, I could never, even for a moment let go of the hurt to watch the career I had built with so much toil plummet from the sky to the sea bed. I have to confess, that hardly a couple of months ago, it would have hurt me to even type the words that I no longer had a career or any achievements to talk about.

What hurt me more was coming across at least 5 people who were exactly as old as I am (not counting the super-successful classmates) and have made their way to be pinnacles in their fields, having had a similar journey as me. The only exception being, my journey has ended. Quite sometime ago.

It has been the weight of the corpse of my now-dead-career that had been pulling me down in every ascent in life. I was constantly being weighed down by the low self-esteem this had been gifting me. In my heart, I knew I needed to move on, find a new road and embark on a new journey. But, somehow making it come true was not happening.

Every single time I’d receive payment of any freelance assignment, I couldn’t help wonder how I could have earned this amount in matter of an hour’s time had my day job persisted. It might come across as shallow thinking today, but it was an issue with roots far deeper than just monetary concerns.

One morning while gazing the rising sun, post a workout, a different thought paid me a visit. It was a realization that had never dawned on me before. In matter of ten minutes I felt an enormous load move off my chest. It was a feeling you get when you finally put the weight down that had been making your muscles scream in pain.

In my mind, I traveled to the time when I had a prolific career overseas. My salary was enviable, schedule busy and bank account sang the song,

 “Ask me for anything
I can give you everything”

but, I was not happy. That life had no contentment. That life wasn’t something that I enjoyed despite vacations to exotic locations. I can clearly remember feeling a huge void in my heart back then (because I have forever been in a habit of analyzing my life, I can always go back in time to compare my thoughts. It’s something I have always done).

Today, I was on the other side of the fence. I had everything I lacked back then just not the career or the bank balance. While the amount reflected in my bank account has never succeeded in making me feel happy or sad (maybe I’m wired wrong) so it boiled down to a career no longer being there.

On digging deeper, I asked myself the tough questions.

Was I really enjoying what I did?

What is it that I don’t like about what I do today?

If I had the opportunity to go back to the life I had earlier what would I choose?

Answering these was tough. It hurt me to admit to myself that in the years gone by, I had adjusted to the idea of not having a day job and fallen in love with the flexibility I now enjoy. The freedom to be with my child to the maximum (something that I had missed as a child when my mom worked full-time) and the ease to fit in daily errands while chasing deadlines pretty easily.

In the cracks of my heart, lay the real reason of my pain. One that I knew all along but couldn’t muster enough courage to utter, even to myself. It hurt me when my child’s only parent is seen to be ‘good for nothing’ the term used for people who work from home. I dislike the way my family despises my earnings and try to belittle me by comparing it with the packages of my siblings & cousins ( comparing peanuts with 7 digit packages).

But, today, I feel inspired enough to accept my current life as it is. I am not saying I am content with what I am because I aspire to rise from here, put in as much work and time it calls for to realize my new dreams. Nevertheless, the immense peace I feel in my heart today is incentive enough to turn a deaf ear to what my old-self utters or what the world has to say.

I had been searching for answers for a long time and finally, they reached me riding the crisp, cold, morning air. I am glad I was ready to accept this realization with an open heart because today, I have come to love what I do, as I do and have a free mind to plan my life ahead without looking back.

The song on my mind: Ruk Jana Nahin Tu Kahin Haar Ke ~ Imtihaan

Unexpected Answers

There are moments when I sit by the widow gazing the sunshine warming up the tender plants, birds and animals enveloping it with a feeling of being loved. At such times, sometimes, I ponder, will Pari one day, be able to connect with me at a level where she’ll be able to understand the reasons why our life is the way it is? Will she be able to love me the way I love her once she knows all that lead us to where we are today?

Many such questions sometimes creep in my system without permission. Though my mind classifies them as futile and useless points of worry, my heart fails to see through them. It paces, panics and flutters. Then after sometime, I get back to the grind and these worries take a back seat.

One similar evening, while I was busy fixing dinner I heard Pari talk to her grandma (What she was asking mom, was a question that I learnt about an hour later) . But, my mind was too pre-occupied to pay any attention. An hour later at the dining table, it was just m and Pari as my parents had already had their dinner and retired to bed. I after having fed Pari started eating. Pari said,” Mumma why do you always eat your meals alone?”

I must admit, I took a couple of seconds to grasp the question and a second more to comprehend how to handle it.

In reply I asked her “Why do you think so?”

Pari said, ” I always see you eating alone, this is not good. From today, I will sit with you till you have eaten your meal.”

I was speechless. It has been so that I lay set the dining table for meals, get the food warmed up, serve and on my toes tending to one request or the other (despite having everything needed from pickles to salad to yogurt to Papad etc. already on the table) from Pari or my parents all the while they are eating away. This is one of the many ways patriarchal practices in my family affects me and makes me fight it back with all I have (details on this in future posts). When I finally sit down, I am busy trying hard to make my now-not-so-fussy eater child eat a full meal. By the time she is done, my parents have eaten and chosen to retire to their bedroom.

The result, soon after Pari is finished eating she tries to run away from the dining table because she is least interested in food to begin with. This leaves me on my own to finish the meal and then wind things up.

It has been almost 20 days since that incident but the sudden gush of a warm, fuzzy feeling those words had filled me with has lingered on. There are days when mischief or sleep makes Pari rush off the dining table but if she’s awake, she comes back saying, “I am around, you are not going to eat alone.”

Life has a way of gifting me surprises that remind me of the very fact why I love my imperfect life with all my heart and soul.

The song on my mind: Barishon ke pani se ~ Ijaazat


Chalte Chalte

Life is an ongoing journey where, memories of the past fade away if you are keen to keep moving ahead. I have walked past many milestones in my existence on this planet. But the past few years have been difficult. At times, the times were so trying that I had to drag myself out of the quicksand of self-pity to keep moving ahead.

I have missed out on recording many milestones in between, owing to my long absences from the blog. But the place I am at, today, is one which I never knew existed. Being here is an unusual feeling, but it is for real because I have been feeling the same for over a month now.

Last month, I embarked on a new journey in my newly found path of being more of me and less of whom the world expects me to be. On one of these occasions, I was driving the car, with my father sitting in the passenger seat at front.

We were driving past a rural area when suddenly, I felt a realization touch me. It was sudden but it chose to linger long enough for me to notice it. Though I was struggling to move ahead on the road with over a hundred goats running everywhere, the familiarity of the feeling made me queasy initially. Memories of similar times when I’d driven the car with my ex sitting in the passenger seat came fleeting, giving me sudden goosebumps.

For a second, I felt as if I had been transported back in time to that very moment that happened almost 6 years ago. It felt as if I was hallucinating, I could feel the chill of autumn air of the moment from my past in the heat of today, I could see my ex sitting right where my father was seated. No wonder, I didn’t utter a word but the car came to a jerky halt. Though I brushed past the reverie in no time, but that moment has stayed with me like a firefly trapped under a glass bowl. Flickering, fighting to be set free, yet enjoying the attention I had been showering it with.

The strange bit wasn’t the flashback itself, but the emotions it evoked in me. I was unmoved. I could visualize that moment and many others of the time I was madly in love, without feeling any remorse, hurt, hatred or even pain. It was like a distant star that failed to give any warmth to my heart neither had a light to alter the illumination of my universe. But one that I knew exists in a far away land that was once my home. I was amazed at how peaceful I felt. It didn’t happen on one day alone. It has happened many times since but I feel no attachment or detachment to any of it.

In my attempts at moving on in life, I have reached a stage when I can look back at my life that I’ve left behind and can indulge in any of the memories without feeling the slightest bit of pain. Nor do feelings of revenge, hatred or rage touch me. It is a good place to be in as I prepare myself to answer some of the difficult questions Pari is beginning to ask me. Life has a way of shifting gears between being difficult from time to time but changing the form of difficulties we face, to keep life interesting and unpredictable.

I have been wishing to record this from over two months, finally today I made it. At this point, I am not sure if I make any sense with what I have written above, but this piece shall fit perfectly to complete the picture many days later when I’ll look back.

The song on my mind: Chalte Chalte ~ Chalte Chalte

The Green Thumb

If there’s one thing my entire family loves, it’s gardening. We often garner compliments on the lines that our passion for gardening has inspired many to have a garden of their own. We have many rare species of plants that have been brought from different corners of the country which we (especially my mother) know by their botanical names.

“Green fingers are the extension of a verdant heart.” ~ Russell Page

Learning love gardening with Mom
Pic Credit:

While I love spending my free time watering, pruning and weeding my plants, I have never seen Pari take any active interest in gardening. That is quite unusual given the fact that kids her age love playing in mud.  Usually, when I am busy with the plants, Pari enjoys playing around with the water sprinklers or learning names of the ferns, flowers, insects, birds and more.

On the eve of Pari’s birthday, I had stepped out to get things organized for her surprise birthday party. My friend’s 5 year old son, Aadit was at home to give Pari company, while my mother was keeping an eye on the kids as they were busy playing in the garden.

In the market, I was stuck trying to pick a gift for Pari so I called my mother up to ask her for suggestions. As mom got up to answer my call, moving to a spot with better network coverage, Pari & Aadit were busy playing hide and seek.

After almost two hours, when I returned home, my mom was unusually happy and full of praise for my princess. It is quite unusual, given the fact Pari is a very naughty child and never leaves an opportunity to play pranks on her grandmother. I was very excited about Pari’s birthday and thought that maybe that’s why she was also behaving well.

After a while, when I was a bit relaxed I was sharing my plans with my mother when she asked me to follow her into the garden. Puzzled, I followed her to the area where our flower pots are arranged.  An area around my favorite flower pots looked unusually clean. After looking a bit closer, I spotted two new pots amongst old ones. I gave mom a questioning look.


That was when my mother told me, that while she was busy speaking to me on the phone, Pari had accidentally pushed the two corner pots off the rack causing them to fall and break. Being well aware, how dear these Anthuriums were to me, she with the help of Aadit, re-potted the Anthuriums and also cleared up the mess while my mother was talking to me on phone.

I was amazed to see that the potting had been done pretty meticulously. She had carefully pressed the soil so that it would hold the plant better. And pieces of broken pots were cleared just the way I do it. I had never seen Pari take interest in gardening before. I couldn’t help but smile feeling a surge of happiness, finally my princess too had shown an interest in gardening, even if it involved broken pots and mud stains on her clothes.

Now when we garden she watches what I’m doing with a keen eye and does the same thing. It’s moments like these where you realize how closely your kids are observing you, and how for a child, doing the right thing is doing it with perfection, like mom.

Surf Excel Matic is celebrating moms and their ability to do things with absolute perfection. Do you remember an instance where your little one was trying to do something just like you? Share your story through pictures, videos or text.

Click here now, the best entries stand a chance to win exciting prizes including a front load washing machine. Conditions apply. You can send in your entries via Surf excel India Facebook or Twitter page.