Satisfying Lunches

Living in a country where the standard lunch item seems to be rice or roti [wheat flatbread] in massive quanitities, which put me in a food coma within seconds of eating, I crave simple fresh meals more often. Don’t get me wrong, I love Indian food. All kinds of Indian food. North. South. East. West.… Continue reading Satisfying Lunches

Weekend in Colombo [Sri Lanka]

I rarely travel just for a few days, and that too without an agenda. But in March, I decided to take an impromptu weekend trip to Columbo. No, I didn’t need time away from #chennai. No, I didn’t need a break from work. No, there was no special occasion.

The real reason is that I needed to get a tan and enjoy time on the beach, in a bathing suit, without being gawked at. Life in Chennai was making me pale and pasty, I was loosing too much weight and starting to look even more non-Indian.

Colombo was the perfect destination – close to home, but far enough away…and you get a stamp and sticker in your passport. The beaches are clean[ish], the humans are very friends, the roads are wide and – Colombo [unexpectedly] is a foodie’s paradise.

I wish I could report on sightseeing or deep sea diving, but the only thing I can talk about from these 3 days is swimming and eating. When the only decision you need to make is pool first or ocean, life is truly amazing. And all the time in the water just makes you hungry. With two good eating companions at my side – we explored a number of joints in Colombo / Mt. Lavinia. Some standout places that I will recommend in a heartbeat – Ministry of Crab [go late afternoon and you’ll get a seat easy-peasy], La Viole Blanche [amazing cocktails], Shore by O [lovely views, breeze and fusion fare] and Buba [best seafood platter, 5 feet away from the water].

On my next visit to this lovely island nation, I aim to see more sights, but for now – I just leave you with delicious memories!


I wish I could say “there is nothing I enjoy more than a pretzel”, but unfortunately, I love all carbs. What I do enjoy, is a pretzel that is slightly chewy, crisp on the outside, and right out of the oven.

In days past <read, pre-India>, I would walk to my favorite Bavarian store in Pike Place Market, buy a pretzel and eat it on my walk home. But in Chennai, I have yet to chance upon a Bavarian store in walking distance from my home.

Luckily, I have no shortage of German friends, including a very dear grad-school mate from Bavaria. And while I tend towards not sharing any of my own recipes, I happily share those given to me by others’. Note: I’ve produced these successfully in gas, electric and even toaster ovens.

So here it goes: Hannah’s Pretzels

750 g flour
1 package yeast
½ table spoon sugar
2 table spoons salt
2 table spoons baking soda (for the bath)
some flour for the work area

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 100 ml warm water. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.
<You can buy yeast at Nilgiris or Amma Nanna in Chennai>

Mix the flour, yeast, and 300 ml warm water and salt. Knead dough for 8 minutes (on surface covered in flour). Place dough in bowl that’s dusted with flour, cover and let sit for one hour.

Cover a baking sheet with baking paper. Divide dough into 20 pieces (though I think last time I made these I divided it into fewer pieces). Shape into pretzels. Place the ‘raw’ Brezn on the baking sheet, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

Bring 1.6 l water to a boil. Remove from stove. Carefully add baking soda. Preheat oven to 200C (400F)

individually dip/submerge raw pretzels in the hot baking soda mixture for about 10 seconds. Place on baking sheet. Sprinkle coarse salt on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes.