Of karate kids and many “jogs”!

“Squeak, squeak, squeak… “

No response.

Slightly higher pitched, “Squeak, squeak, squeak… !”

This time there is a response – the six-foot, two inch karate coach looks around in puzzlement… some noise from somewhere? Could it be a cricket?

One small hand tugs at his leg… enlightenment dawns… and he smiles down at the two feet, six inch two-year old trying to attract his attention.

“Squeeeeeaak…” she goes.

But from a distance of four feet (in height) and a voice that could have served as a model for Agatha Christie in the mystery where the opera singer shatters the champagne glass (The Listerdale Mystery, I think), he can’t figure out what she’s saying… so the mountain bends down to Mahomet, “Yes, Kanchana?”

How many jogs shall I jog, Sir?” she asks him seriously, taking her two middle fingers out of her mouth (which is their permanent habitat) long enough to bring out the words.

The big man is Gopinath, the karate coach who teaches my older daughter, six-year old Archana. As I have to drive her to karate class and wait for her to finish while baby sitting Kanch, I ask if I could join the class too. There are a few other older people around so there is no problem. Kanch, at the age where she wants to do everything the elder sibling wants to do (wonder whether they ever grow out of it??!), maybe be the elder sibling even, also asks the coach if she can do “kalate“. Without the lisp, he might have been able to say no, she’s too young but the big guy is no proof against a strong-willed two-year old with big eyes, squeaky voice and a lisp! And so the whole family is now into karate! My first lesson, I knock the glasses off my opponent’s nose and break them – much to my embarrassment!

Kanch, on the other hand, has much more successful lessons. Not quite sure what to do with such a small child, he asks her to jog twice around the ground. For a child who seems to have learnt to run before she could walk, this is a sinecure. Tucking her fingers firmly into her mouth, she sets off, legs twinkling as she covers the ground before the coach can blink and she’s back… asking, “how many jogs should I jog, Sir?!!”

And while she does learn a few karate moves, that is acually the start of Kanchu’s athletics career.

Much of the early years with children is spent in figuring out tasty, healthy recipes which they always want more of! And just now, immobilised much of the time, these fat-free and low-fat recipes are what I seem to crave… I’m sure I’ll get back to vada and sweet cravings once I’m back on my feet 🙂 Till then, let’s eat healthy…


  • Red rice aval/poha/atukulu/beaten rice – 2 cups
  • Fresh grated coconut – 1/2 to 1 cup – depending on how guilty you’re feeling about fat!
  • Green chili – minced – 2
  • Sour yogurt – 2-3 tbsp
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs – crisped in the microwave for two minutes and crushed roughly (this way nobody spits them out!)
  • Salt
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Chana dal – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida – 1 large pinch
  • Chopped coriander – 2 tbsp
  • Majjiga mirapakaaya (green chilies soaked in yogurt and sundried)/moru mizhaga/majjige mensinkaaya – 2
  • Sesame or coconut oil – 2 tsp


  • Any raita, chutney, plain yogurt is great with this.


Soak the poha for about 20-30 minutes, squeeze and set aside. 

 Heat one tsp oil and fry the majjiga mirapakaaya. Cool and crush them with your fingers. Drop into the soaked poha

Heat another tsp oil, add the mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal. When the seeds pop and the dal turns golden, add the curry leaves, minced green chilies and asafoetida. Drop into the poha. Add salt, coriander and coconut.

Knead the poha well using your hands adding as much yogurt as necessary to make a soft dough.

Divide into lemon-sized balls and steam for 7-8 minutes till done.

Serve with any of the accompaniments above or jus pop ’em in your mouth plain.

Guaranteed to increase the pitch of your voice!