RV Matters - 9 Sep 2018

Bats have always been spooky and thought to be harbingers of evil to humans. Just outside the Staff Study-2, in the dark corridor, in our senior school building, there are 5-6 bats roosting during the day. Their droppings on the floor below their roost area gives away their location.

These are Schneider's Leaf-nose bats (Hipposideros speoris), a species endemic to India, according Dr T. Ganesh, Ecologist at ATREE, Bangalore. Dr Ganesh and his team have been surveying temples in the southern Tamilnadu for their bat fauna and he has been seeing declines in their numbers. He feels rather than discouraging the bats, Rishi Valley School should take pride in supporting bats in their campus. He feels we could remove their excreta which makes an excellent manure regularly and use in our gardens.

Dr Santharam

Photo: V. Santharam

Kitchen Chronicles - Proso Millet Payasam

Proso Millet is grown in our Estate. This payasam is very tasty and healthy. 

Ingredient
Millet
Jaggery
Palm Jaggery
Condensed Milk
Ghee
Cashew Nut
Raisins
Cardamom (powder)
Dry Ginger (powder)
Coconut (grated for milk)

Qty (for 600)
9 Kgs
7 Kgs
2 Kgs
4 Kgs
3 Kgs
1 Kg
1 Kg
50 Gms
50 Gms
80 Nos

Qty (for 10)
200 Gms
150 Gms
50 Gms
1 Small tin
50 Gms
15 Gms
15 Gms
1 Tsp (5 gm)
1 Tsp (5 gm)
1 No

Coconut Milk Portions to keep aside: 1st – 10 ltr; 2nd - 15 ltr; 3rd – 35 ltr.

Soak the millets in water for one hour. Remove and strain. Roast in half of the ghee. When roasted 75%, cook in coconut extract (3rd milk). Grate both type of Jaggery together, add 5 ltr water, boil, strain and pour over the boiling millet. Stir till the Payasam is thick and millet is fully cooked. Add the second extract of coconut milk, stir continuously and add condensed milk, reduce the flame and stir for 5 minitues. Add the first extract of coconut milk and switch off the stove. In a small kadai, boil the balance ghee, add cashew nut and raisins, roast for a while, pour over the payasam and add cardomom and dry ginger powder.

Hareendran A K
Dining Hall Manager

RV Matters - 2 Sep 2018

The hoopoe is back! After a gap of nearly three months, this bird is back in the campus. I first saw it a week ago opposite the Green House. This morning, I woke to the calls of the “hud-hud-hud” calls of the bird. They are now getting ready for their next breeding cycle. Where does this bird diasppear after it raises its family of 2-3 chicks in a tree-hole or in a crevice in a building? I have seldom seen them in the campus, though on rare occasions they do turn up in the open spaces outside the campus in our valley between June and August.

An Asian Brown Flycatcher, a local migrant, too turned up near the Malli House last week. The season is changing and the birds are coming back. The first Himalayan migrants – the Grey Wagtail and the Greenish Warblers should be here anytime now. Paradise flycatchers too will soon turn up. Keep your eyes and ears open!

Dr Santharam

Kitchen Chronicles - Tomato Rice

This is one of the most favorite rice dishes in Rishivalley. Most of them prefer to have the combination of Tomato Rice, Onion raita, Egg Curry or Paneer Curry and Appalam. 

Ingredient
Rice (Sona Masoora)
Tomato (Sliced)
Onion (Sliced)
Garlic (Paste)
Ginger (Paste)
Green Chilli (Paste)
Chilli Powder
Coriander Powder
Turmeric Powder
Cardamom (crushed)
Cinnamon (crushed)
Cloves
Star
Aniseed (Bedi Somph)
Bay leaf (Tej patta)
Green coriander (chopped)
Mint (pudina)
Oil (we use Rice Bran)
Ghee (we use cow ghee)

Qty
40 Kgs
40 Kgs
10 Kgs
1/2 Kgs
1/2 Kgs
200 gms
400 gms
200 gms
50 gms
30 gms
40 gms
40 gms
30 gms
200 gms
20 gms
3 bundles
2 bundles
5 Kgs
2 Kgs

For 5-6 people
1/2 Kg
1/2 Kg
2 Nos
1 Tsp
1 Tsp
1 Tsp
20 gms
10 gms
1 Tsp
8 pcs
5 cm 1 pc
12 Nos
8 pcs
1 Tsp
2 Nos
1/4 bundle
1/6 bundle
1 Tsp
10 gms

Soak rice in the water for 30 minutes before cooking. Heat oil in the cooking vessel . Crackle Bedi Somph , add Tej patta, crushed Cardamom, Ginger paste and Garlic paste. Roast well and then sliced onion, green chilli paste and salt. Roast well till the onion is soft. Add turmeric powder, half of the chopped green coriander and mint.

Add coriander powder and chilli powder, roast well till the raw smell of Coriander powder is removed (we use roasted Coriander Powder). Add sliced tomato and roast till oil floats on top of the masala and make sure tomato is fully cooked. Add 60 ltr of hot water and boil. When the masala is fully boiled add washed rice and rest of garam masala, green coriander, and pudina. Mix well. Pour ghee on top, reduce the flame of the stove, keep a lid on the cooking vessel and cook for 15 minutes.

Hareendran A K
Dining Hall Manager

Bird Watching - 26 Aug 2018

TIME: 6.40 to 8.30 AM
ROUTE: DH to Lost Lake via Duranta Hills
PARTICIPANTS: Santharam, Jyothi, Yashvardan, Ishan, Pranav, Yash, Tanaya, Damini, Lalith

A Battle Lost and a Battle Won: Several bee-eaters were diving into the air from their tree perches and deftly catching their insect meal in mid-air. Below, the Sunday players were already on the playfield ‘battling different goals’. One beetle which was caught mid-air was spat out and landed at our feet in a dazed condition. Perhaps, its biochemical constitution did not agree with the bird’s palate. A different battle was going on in the Duranta Hills. Though we traversed much distance, our list was more or less completed near-abouts the foot hills. Santharam attributed the sparse bird population to the invasion of subabul on the hills...

BIRD LIST (INCLUDING CALLS)

15. Coucal
16. Laughing Dove
17. Crested Honey Buzzard
18. Black-shouldered kite
19. Feral Pigeon
20. Scaly breasted munia
21. Ashy prinia
22. Redvented bulbul
23. Indian Silverbill
24. Pond heron
25. Common Woodshrike
26. Small or White-cheeked Green barbet
27. Coppersmith

1. Whiteheaded (Yellowbilled) babbler
2. Common Mynah
3. Small green bee-eater
4. Loten’s sunbird
5. Tickell’s flowerpecker
6. Whitebrowed bulbul
7. Black Drongo
8. Roseringed parakeet
9. House swift
10. Rufous Treepie
11. Small minivet
12. Grey tit
13. Tailor bird
14. Grey Partridge

RV Matters - 26 Aug 2018

  What does this image remind you of? Look carefully! Yes, a bunch of RV students (“bats”) sitting on the benches at the assembly!

What does this image remind you of? Look carefully! Yes, a bunch of RV students (“bats”) sitting on the benches at the assembly!

Last week while on my walk to the mouth of the valley, I spotted two groups of ashy Wood-swallows, each numbering a dozen or so, sitting tightly huddled together on the High-tension wire. I have seen these birds only occasionally and that too at the mouth of the valley in small numbers, rarely exceeding half-a-dozen. These dull-colored birds often feed by pursuing insects caught in the mid-air. They have short nasal “chek-chek” call notes that often give away their presence. They have short tails and often the primaries of their wings extend beyond their tail feathers.

Elsewhere, in Chennai city, where this bird used to be common, I have even seen them nesting atop an electric pole in the middle of a crowded locality.

Dr Santharam

Kitchen Chronicles - Ragi Malt

This is one of the healthy beverage of Rishi Valley. Our Senior students are given this in the morning by 6.30 am in the hostels and for the Juniors at 4.30 pm after games. Here are the ingredients we use for making Ragi Malt powder (sufficient for 10 days).

Ingredient
Finger Millet (Ragi)
Wheat
Pearl Millet
Green Gram (Whole Moong)

Qty
30 Kgs
10 Kgs
10 Kgs
10 Kgs

Dining Hall uses Organic Jaggery and millets sourced from our Estate.

Soak all these items separately overnight. Next morning wash and tie in separate cloth bags for sprouting. After sprouting, dry in shade separately. When fully dried roast separately, mix and powder.

To make 335 glasses of Ragi Malt, we use 5 kgs of Ragi Malt powder, 10 liters of milk, 6.5 kgs of jaggery, 65 liters of water and 30 grams cardamom. Boil water. Add grated jaggery. After jaggery is fully dissolved in water, strain to see the jaggery liquid is cleaned.

In the same vessel add the jaggery liquid and boil in slow fire. Mix Ragimalt powder in little water and pour over the boiling liquid. Mix continuously to avoid burning at the bottom of the vessel. Boil till malt is fully cooked. Add boiled milk and mix till the liquid is thick enough. Add cardamom powder.

If you want to make one glass of Ragi Malt at home, use 15 grams of Ragi Malt powder, 35 ml milk, 20 grams of jaggery, 160 ml water and a pinch of cardamom. 

Hareendran A K
Dining Hall Manager

RV Matters - 19 Aug 2018

Several reports of sightings of Chameleons have been coming in from students and colleagues after seeing the last week’s “RV Matters!”. I am happy that several eyes are now alert and on the looking out for these interesting animals.

Last Saturday as I was returning from my morning walk, I came across a specimen of the chameleon on the road, next to the second bridge. It was dull, brown, utterly lifeless and flattened as it was a run-over specimen. Roadkills are now increasingly threatening our wildlife all over the country and our little corner is not spared. I have been regularly seeing animals run over by vehicles that operate in our valley. The victims include several species of snakes, lizards, frogs and toads, snails, millipedes, gerbils ( a rodent), squirrels and occasionally birds that feed on the ground (like the coucal). Dr A.J.T. Johnsingh who spoke on the occasion of our Bird Preserve Anniversary last month had cited roadkills as one of the greatest threats to our wildlife.

We are now witnessing an explosion of vehicular population in our own campus and unlike in the past when there were restrictions on the movement of vehicles (there are still signs saying “No Cars beyond this point”), 2-wheeler and 4-wheeler vehicles are freely moving all across the campus (and sometimes even off the roads). It is not uncommon to find vehicles parked at odd places at different times of the day (and night).

I would like to appeal to everyone to be a little more sensitive not only to our children’s saftey but also have consideration for all the wildlife that is affected by this indiscriminate movement of vehicles in our campus which was declared a Bird Preserve 27 years ago.

Dr Santharam

Kitchen Chronicles - Mushroom Curry (with sprouted green gram)

This was the second popular dish in our Special Dinner on 28 July 18. Find below the recipe for 600 persons as well as for 10 persons.

Ingredient
Mushroom (cut 4 pcs)
Sprouted GreenGram
Choped Onions
Grated Fresh Coconut
Green Chilli Paste
Coriander Powder
Turmaric Powder
Pepper Powder
Cinnamon (Crushed)
Oil
Salt

At School
30 Kgs
5 Kgs
13 Kgs
10 Nos
100 Gms
400 Gms
50 Gms
250 Gms
40 Gms
One ltr
As needed

For 10
500 gm
200 gm
250 gm
1/2
10 gm
30 gm
10 gm
15 gm
One Pc
15 gm
As needed

Steam the sprouts (do not overcook). Keep kadai on the stove and add oil. When the oil is hot put crushed cinnamon pcs. Add chopped onions, garlic, and green chili paste. Roast well till the color of the onion changes to brown. Add coriander powder and turmeric powder. Roast till the raw smell of coriander goes off. Add cleaned, washed mushrooms and roast till dries up. Add steamed green gram sprouts, grated coconut, pepper powder, and salt. Mix well and sprinkle chopped fresh coriander.

In Rishi Valley we use Organic Coriander which is grown in Veg Garden and in Estate.

Hareendran A K
Dining Hall Manager