Monthly Archives: January 2012

Singapore Fried Noodles and/or Lahksa Curry

Another one of the recipes exchanged. I can’t get over how many delicious dishes I’m discovering this way.


  • Onion
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Rice Noodles
  • Mushrooms, Peas, Peppers, Broccoli and/or any other vegetables you fancy
  • Red Curry Paste (optional)
  • Eggs (optional)
  • Chillies (optional)
  • Coconut Milk (optional)
  • Fresh grated Ginger (optional)
  • Lemongrass (optional)
  • Fash Sauce (optional)
  • Chicken Stock (optional)


  1. Chop up onion and the stems of the coriander and fry in olive oil
  2. Add the chilli paste if you like it hot
  3. Add your choice of vegetables and chillies, ginger and lemongrass to taste and cook for about five minutes. It’s nice to keep some vegetables like peppers crunchy so add them later
  4. Soak the rice noodles in hot water until they are soft and pretty much edible. You can boil them if they are particularly thick noodles
  5. To add flavor soak or boil in stock
  6. Drain the noodles and add them to the mix. Stir fry for five minutes or to taste. The sender heartily recommends adding all the optional ingredients as this makes for a really tasty dish. Add fish sauce and/or soya sauce if you like
  7. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them briefly
  8. Make a hole in the middle of the noodley mixture and pour in the eggs. Add extra oil before this if necessary (with non-stick pan you need less oil)
  9. Stir the egg mix until it starts to resemble scrambled eggs, try to keep the eggs in the hole in the centre of the pan so they cook before they meet the veg
  10. Then stir all the noodley mix in with the eggs and cook until the eggs are firm

If you want to make this into a full-on Lahksa you leave out the eggs and add coconut milk and stock at step 6. The sender uses about 50/50. You then add the noodles (cooked or uncooked) once the liquids are in and cook until they are soft. In this version you may want to add crispy vegetables a few minutes before serving as they will retain their crunch.

Increase the ratio in favour of stock if you want a more soupy dish or in favour of the coconut milk if you want something thicker and more like a curry. Add fresh coriander to serve and feel free to add soya sauce to taste.

vsftpd on Ubuntu

To ease the headache of having to work using VNC on my server, I decided to use an FTP server. There were several choices, but vsftpd’s page had a strong sales pitch and I succumbed to it rather easily.

Installation was pretty easy using the Software Sources tool. I typed “ftp server” in the search box and clicked on “show technical terms” at the bottom. Once installed, I referred to the man page for specific items I wanted to add. Basically, I first made a backup copy of the vsftpd.conf file using the following command:

sudo cp /etc/vsftpd.conf /etc/vsftp.conf.original

Next, I edited the conf file using the following command:

sudo gedit /etc/vsftpd.conf &

That “&” at the end allows me to still use the same terminal window. Otherwise, it’d be locked until I close gedit. In case you find that the gedit window doesn’t launch immediately, try running it without the “&” and you’ll be prompted to enter your password.

So, simple changes to the file:

  • Uncommented the line “chown_username=myuser” and replaced myuser with a valid user. All files uploaded will now be owned on Linux by this user
  • Added the line “file_open_mode=0666” 0777 – this allows all the uploaded files to be accessed, and modified by all users

From my PC when I start FileZilla, I can browse to the folder where the files I want to work on are, or should be! Easy enough to create directories and upload files too. FileZilla has a imagecool option where you can add the current connection setting to the Site Manager.

In Site Manager, I set up the directories I want to open up automatically when I open this connection, both local and remote.


Learning CSS

In using WordPress (WP), I’ve a need to catch up with some web technologies. HTML is super-easy, but for almost every positional aspect of a site and its contents, CSS appears to be king. When working on a new template for the default Twenty Eleven theme on WP, I found that even with a duplicate copy of the template PHP file, text appears shifted. This was and remains extremely frustrating, and therefore educational.

I find that I can assimilate the information on CSS quite easily. It’s the debugging that’s daunting. Here’s the tutorial I used. Now, its back to WP Twenty Eleven debugging. Oh, there’s a really cool Firefox extension by the name of Firebug which was recommended in an article I was reading on building/redesigning WP themes.

Spinach Pie and Pav Bhaji!

More recipes from the exchange!

Here’s the one for Spinach Pie. I recently had Spinach quiche, made with whole wheat crust and that was delicious. I expect this one will taste great too.

One of my favorite veggie dishes is Pav Bhaji. I’ve got to try this one sometime soon, but my mom makes it amazingly well and I’ll get her recipe off her in February when she visits. In the meanwhile, here’s one that makes my mouth water just reading it!

PAV BHAJI – This recipe will serve 4 hungry stomachs.

Find any fresh vegetables which are around in your kitchen like:

  • 2 potatoes
  • 4 tomatoes, medium sized
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 1 med. sized carrot
  • 1 med. sized aubergine
  • 3 big onions finely cut, keep 1 cup raw onion aside
  • 4 cloves garlic and
  • 2 fresh chilies (or more – to taste)
  • 2" ginger root cut small
  • butter or ghee to fry the 4 to 8 hamburger or bread rolls,
    cut into two half’s. Toasted when Baji is ready


Get ready spice mixture "PAV BAJI" or mix it yourself.

  • Use one tsp. of each of the following:
    • Coriander powder
    • Cumin
    • Black Pepper, powdered
    • Dry Mango powder (aka Churan in India)
    • Cassia (similar to cinnamon)
    • Turmeric
    • Star Anise
    • Fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. black Cardamom
  • 1 bunch of Coriander green
  • Salt, to taste

The easy preparation for the Bhaji:

  1. Boil all vegetable (not too soft)
  2. Fry small cut onions to glazed looks in butter or ghee,
  3. Add garlic and chilies, fry another minute (you may cut the stems of coriander leaves to small rings and add as well)
  4. Add all ground spices and stir  for another half minute
  5. Add all boiled vegetables
  6. Use a hand blender to cut down large vegetable chunks. Keep this mix a bit chunky for a great texture
  7. Sprinkle cut coriander leaves and a blob of butter on top of the Bhaji and it’s ready to serve

For the buns:

Heat a pan, add the butter or ghee and fry each bun half so it becomes a bit brown and crispy  on both sides, if you burn it it tastes like charcoal. 

Spread Bhaji heavily on the bun and sprinkle raw onions over it. Best eaten while Baji and buns(PAV) are still hot.

Once cooked and eaten PAV BHAJI never leaves your mind. It is very simple and fast to prepare and on top its vegetarian.

Welcome to Prozac Nation, India!

Following the glorious manner in which the Rajasthani government dealt with Salman Rushdie, it was today Shiv Sena’s and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s (ABVP) turn. I think the government can serve as such a great role model. Let’s bow to some more of these hurt sentiments and perhaps, we should all stop being critical or informed, because of course learning more about real issues and challenges will  hurt some more sentiments. Yes, I think we should work towards sparing our sentiments a lot more. How about Prozac, or some such mood elevator? We should just mix it into our water supplies and be all happy that we live in such a beautiful perfect country where Kashmiris are all happy, the Army commits no atrocities and corruption doesn’t exist. Let’s get rid of any mention of poverty, inequality, brutality and all such things, after all, confronting them can be hurtful to our sentiments.

ABVP’s perception of Jashn-E-Azadi as anti-Indian, anti-Army and separatist may or may or may not be correct. Are we as Indians supposed to object to viewpoints with censorship? Calling for cancelling the screening of the movie, and the Symbiosis University’s giving into it are both acts of abject cowardice. If the documentary is based on flawed premises and presents false or incorrect information, the ABVP’s and Symbiosis’ stance should be raise a debate around the issue and sue the filmmaker for libel! There is a correct way of dealing with the issue.

What is anti-Indian? What is anti-Army? What is separatist? I say that the ABVP is anti-Indian, anti-Army and separatist! By their measure we would never take a critical look at India, our Army and the causes for the unrest in Kashmir. Leaving these issues unaddressed would be a disservice to our fellow countrymen, to the upstanding members of the Army and our Government who would see injustices corrected.

On the Shiv Sena’s ransacking, the BJP’s craven response is to condemn the attack and advise the media to be more responsible with the reportage even while the BJP continues to ally with them. Shiv Sena’s approach to political effectiveness (read page 3 in link) is aggression.  Their motivations are based in fear and in divisive politics. The broad condemnation of their action gives me hope, but condemnation should only be the starting point of dealing with a militant organization bent on using force to wrest power. This is the kind of politics that if allowed to grow, will ultimately undermine India. I suggest that the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad direct their agitations to the likes of Shiv Sena if they really want to serve our country.

Squid Logs are huge

I ran into trouble with Squid’s huge log files. By default the log outputs are set to the lowest level in the config file. So, obviously the issue was that they were just getting bigger and bigger unchecked. Running a search found me an FAQ on Squid’s log files.

Turns out I needed to run a cron job. Whatever that was. A bit more reading and it turns out that cron is similar to Windows’ task scheduler. So you can get your system to run jobs using a table file. Ubuntu’s how-to showed me what needed to be done and using the info in the Squid related FAQ, I was able to populate the file easily enough.

sudo crontab -e

The above command caused a prompt for choice of editor. I chose nano. At the bottom of the file, I appended the entry as follows:

0 0 * * * /usr/sbin/squid -k rotate

This means that under the root user, squid will be involved with the parameters “-k rotate” which should do the trick. I found that all the apps I’d installed on Ubuntu seemed to be in the /usr/sbin directory.

Changing environment variables in Ubuntu

I needed to change some environment variables in Ubuntu recently and I found that there are several ways of achieving that in Linux. Here’s a really important article that describes the prescribed ways of doing so with Ubuntu. I ended up changing the /etc/environment file – worked beautifully.