Posts Tagged ‘WIP’

The main character (MC) in my current WIP (Work-In-Progress) loves Mango Lassi. Her dad, who is the better cook in the family and who also happens to be putty in my MC’s hands, makes it for her whenever she craves it.

This version of the recipe has been customized for my MC’s tastes. Basically, it’s simpler to make, but tastes as good as the original. :=)

Owing to its colorful personality, this drink lends itself very well either for a lazy summer afternoon or a rollicking garden party.


Mango Lassi
(Mango Milkshake)



¼ cup Mango pulp (available in tins at specialty Indian grocery stores)
½ cup milk (skim or 1% will do)
½ cup buttermilk
a pinch of salt
a few cubes of ice


Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a blender. The mango pulp usually comes sweetened in the tins. In case it is not, you can sweeten the milkshake using half-a-tablespoon of sugar.

It is as simple as that and makes about 3 servings.

To make this less heavy and more like a punch, dilute it by adding ½ a cup of Sprite or Club Soda to the milkshake.


In case you’re interested, here’s the recipe for Aloo Subzi (Potato Curry), also from my WIP, that I posted last summer.

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Today, instead of posting a snippet from my WIP (Work-In-Progress), I’m posting something related to it. Below is the recipe for Aloo Subzi (a traditional, but simple, potato curry) that one of my protagonists loves.

Indian cuisine lends itself very naturally to customizations. This recipe is my own take on the age-old recipe of the same name. Even though I learned it by watching my mom cook, this recipe, along with many others that I use, has deviated from hers owing to restrictions in time and the availability of ingredients.

Aloo Subzi
(Potato Curry)


  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into two-inch cubes
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped into inch-long slices
  • 2 green chillies, cut length-wise
  • 1 stem of curry leaves, the leaves separated from the stem
  • 2 red, dried chillies, broken into two pieces each
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • salt, to taste

1. Place a skillet on a medium flame and add oil to it. Add cumin, the two kinds of chillies, curry leaves and garlic to the oil.

2. Leave the spices alone for a couple of minutes – they release their flavor when they warm up – and then add the onion to the skillet. Let it cook for about four to five minutes, or until the onion becomes golden brown and translucent.

3. Add tomatoes to this mixture and let them cook for a few minutes, until they become soft. Make sure you keep stirring, so that the ingredients do not stick to the bottom of the skillet.

4. Add potatoes now and stir them for a few minutes before adding salt and water. Place a heavy lid on the skillet to help the vegetables cook with the help of the steam that is released.

5. Keep stirring every few minutes so it doesn’t burn. It may take about 10 to 15 minutes for the curry to be ready. Basically, it is ready when there’s not much liquid left in the skillet and the potatoes break easily when touched with a spoon.

6. Remove from flame, transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro.

For additional color, flavor, and nutrition, a handful of carrots pieces (inch-size cubes), and a handful of fresh green peas can be tossed into this recipe in step 4.

The resulting curry will taste great when served hot either with roti or white rice.

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A few months ago, I posted an excerpt from my current WIP (Work-In-Progress), a  middle grade (multicultural) historical fantasy. That snippet had been a dialogue, an active exchange, among several characters in the novel.

This time, I thought I’d post a piece of narrative.

Opinions, critiques, suggestions? Please send them my way!


          I looked out the window and saw the sky still gathered close in an inky, dark cloak. A soft breeze entered into my room stealthily, and the sheer curtains at the windows billowed in response. The calming scent of raat ki rani – Night Queen – filled the room. Nani had planted that shrub underneath this bedroom’s window when Mom was a child.  

          Taking a deep breath, I began to plump up my pillow getting ready to go back to sleep, but my hands stopped in mid-air. I knew I was alone in the room, but I sensed another presence. Driving away the perfume of the Night Queen, a bitter, oily unpleasantness pervaded the room. Taking shallow breaths, I slowly turned.

          I could barely make out its form, leaning leisurely against the wall next to one of the bookshelves. I scrambled up to the head of my bed, and screamed. Only, no sound came out.

          Clutching the bed sheet to my chin, I waited, unable to peel my eyes away from my shadowed companion. Run! The more intelligent side of my instinct prodded, but my body couldn’t seem to obey. A soft whimper escaped my parted lips.

          A soft glow crept out of nowhere, joining me to the specter in a soft pool of light. It was as if the two of us were on stage in an eerie production and were being spotlighted for an unseen audience crouching in the gloom around us.

          A man, I realized, short and dark-skinned, stood leaning against the wall, arms folded against his chest and ankles crossed loosely. He seemed so much at ease, I wondered for a moment if I were the trespasser. My eyes took in the details, almost unwillingly, as if they had no control.

          He had a trim beard and a shaved upper lip. His hair was rolled into a bun at the nape of his neck and held in place by a small polished wooden stick. He was wearing a white dhoti – a long cloth wrapped around the waist that covers up the legs too – while a light robe, dyed a deep indigo, draped over his left shoulder, leaving his right one bare. He wore shiny beads in his ears. In short, he was dressed as if for a costume party, the theme being ancient India. The sense that I was starring in a drama intensified.

          The man’s body and hair were shining, as if they were oiled. He didn’t look bulky; in fact he was rather small. But one look at his shoulders and hands, with ropes of muscles sticking out, and I knew he could crush me like an empty coke can if he so wished.


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