Happy moments when shared with near and dear ones doubles ones joy. It becomes threefold when it is shared along with a delicious treat. I am currently in Beaverton, Portland, visiting my son and daughter-in-law. A simple Mysorean way of sharing happiness is by giving an S K C treat to the dear ones. S K C stands for Sweet-Khara (savoury)- Coffee. Though there are a great variety of sweets and savouries to be picked from, the most commonly preferred dishes are the kharabath and kesaribath which are delicious, filling and simple to prepare as well. These twin dishes – one sweet and the other spicy, both prepared out of semolina – are together referred to as Chow-Chow bath. When the question arose as to what dish was to be prepared during our picnic, it was unanimously decided that we would prepare kharabath as it was quick to cook. The preparations went on with full swing on the eve of our great outing. Camp chairs, Camp stove, and all other picnic paraphernalia were compactly packed. On the kitchen side my daughter-in-law had prepared a cucumber and tomato thair pachadi and had left it in the refrigerator. An instant home made kharabath mix was prepared and stored in an air tight box. The next morning after a plain toast and coffee breakfast we set off towards the awesome picnic spot – The Trillium Lake.
It was an 80 mile drive from Beaverton via small places which had names like Welch, Sandy, Boring, Rhododendron, Zig Zag, and even Madras!! Finally we arrived at the lake with all our cooking paraphernalia compactly packed in two bags only. We parked the car and walked through one of the many trails which took us to the edge of the lake. And lo! What a sight! Trillium Lake is a vast lake surrounded on three sides by a thick emerald jungle with sky scraping trees called Doglus Fir Trees. As the ripples in the lake welcomed us with a cool breeze, bang stood the magnificent Mt.Hood on the opposite side of the lake staring at us with all its grandeur. Mt.Hood is one of the many dormant volcanoes which belong to the Cascade mountain ranges lining the west coast of the United States. The magnificent mountain looks like a symmetrical triangle when viewed from any side. The 13000 ft of awe is visible from Beaverton as well, as a solid pure white triangle or pyramid because it is thickly blanketed with snow most of the time.
We wondered at the colourful painting like scene, and immediately chided ourselves for having compared the Great Creator’s canvas to a mere picture post card! The forest was dotted with wooden tables and benches for the visitors to relax and enjoy their meal viewing the lake at the same time. There were hundreds of visitors thronging the place but there was pin drop silence everywhere. Old men sat on the edge of the lake relaxing on their camp chairs with their fishing rods. Many families with kids and even pets were sitting and enjoying their lunch. Many of them had brought along their fiberglass boats which were tied on to the roof carriers of their cars. Others had their colourful inflatable boats, and children played with floats in weird shapes like huge crabs and whales. On the whole it looked as if a colourful mela was going on in the lake.
My daughter-in-law lit the camp stove we had carried along, and water was boiled in a thick walled vessel. Our home-made instant kharabath mix was stirred in and our lunch was getting ready. Haldiram’s instant Bhel puri was prepared as well. In about fifteen minutes time lunch was set on the log table under the cool dark shades of the tall fir trees overlooking the tranquil waters of the Trillium Lake.
We enjoyed Kharabath, raitha, bhelpuri, mixture and finished off with juicy cherries, wedges of oranges and apples. Our lunch had never tasted so heavenly before!
After lunch, another 20 minutes of drive and we were at the base camp of Mt.Hood. The soft, thick white blanket of snow had large patches of gaping holes in it , exposing the pink grey rugged terrain full of rocks and gravel, as lots of snow had melted away due to the heat of summer. But still we could see columns of glaciers streaming down the cold mountain cap. We hopped out of the car with great excitement and walked towards the snow. S.R.R. kept sending warning signals – "CHITRAAAAA YOUR FOOT! "– from behind, as I had recently recovered from a nasty fracture! But I only pulled myself further up, not wanting to let go a once-in-a-life-time opportunity. My son held my hand and led me to the snow through loose boulders and slippery gravel. Fun! What fun! I was standing with 90 degrees of sun blazing over the head, and freezing cold ice below my feet! We made snow balls and flung them all around and at each other. If only I were a 10 years younger! I did not feel like leaving the place! My son and daughter-in-law had to grab my hands, and virtually carry me away after some time. :-)
We rested at The Timberline Lodge - a stone and timber structure built in the 1800s. There is a big circular fire place in the middle of the lounge and the whole set up looked like Mogambo’s den! We finished our trip with the C of S K C and had a comfortable and contented journey towards home.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE INSTANT KHARABATH MIX:
Semolina – 1 glass (approx two cups)
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Blackgram dal – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Sambar powder – 1tsp (Yes! I made some of my sambar powder as soon as I got here!)
Table salt – 1¼tsp
Green chilly - 1 ( Chopped finely)
Curry leaves - a few
Grated fresh ginger - 1tsp
Finely chopped onion - 4 tbsps
1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
2. When mustard splutters, add black gram dal and roast until golden in colour.
3. Add chopped green chillies, ginger, onion and curry leaves and sautee until onion becomes golden in colour. Make sure there is no moisture.
4. Add turmeric powder and stir.
5. Add semolina and roast till you get a pleasant aroma.
6. Add sambar powder and salt and roast till you get a pleasant aroma. (Careful not to burn the mixture!)
7. Cool thoroughly and store in an air tight box. Note: Since we made the kharabath mix just the previous night, and the mixture was completely dry there was no problem. I feel we can make the kharabath mix in bulk and store it in an airtight container. It can easily last for a week – perhaps more when stored in the refrigerator. It can come in very handy for a quick breakfast anytime!
OTHER INGREDIENTS TO BE PACKED FOR A PICNIC:
Tomatoes - 2 or 3 medium size.
Green peas – 4 tbsps
Chop the tomatoes and freeze with peas in a small box overnight.
Cooking oil – 3 tbsps- packed in a small bottle or container.TO PREPARE KHARABATH AT THE PICNIC SPOT:
2. Add chopped tomatoes and peas.
3. Add the oil and cook till the tomatoes and peas become soft.
4.Add the previously prepared kharabath ready mix.
5.Cover with lid and cook until done.
6. Set kharabath among the other dishes.