Thanjavur Broccoli and Chutzpah

Thanjavur Kootu is made with veggies cooked in milk. I tweaked the original recipe to use broccoli & made a dairy free sauce of coconut milk and no oil.

In the past 2 days I’ve been admired for my chutzpah by a couple of people in different contexts. This post is on how to cultivate the art of chutzpah. For me chutzpah, a hebrew word, means creative thinking, outside the box. refusing to be limited by imaginary boundaries.

An endearing quality of people from Thanjavur is their enterprising nature, their self confidence., their chutzpah. Watching my dad in a wheelchair without use of his lower limbs(due to diabetes), failing eyesight, and loss of vision, you’d think that he had lost it all. As the priests wrapped up a ceremony for our family, the senior priest came up to dad to bid goodbye. Dad reminded him that there was a balance due to us from the food contractor’ payment. The priest sighed & reached out into his pocket & pulled out a few rupees. Handing it to my dad, he smilingly hurried to the door. Dad smilingly called him back ‘I think you may have shortchanged me’. the priest started haggling demanding respect for his authority.

All the family negotiating bigwigs came out in full force to back up dad, and get our rightful due back to no avail. It was just a lot of chatter.

Dad, completely unfazed by authority and also full of integrity as he always was, which often got him into trouble said ‘if you dig deep in your pockets, I’m sure you will be able to come up with more’. I just LOVE, LOVE this lesson from my dad. The priest DID deep dig and came up with more money as there was no arguing wit combined with a no nonsense attitude that Dad displayed, His chutzpah or samarthyam in tamil was in full display.

When my wrist fractured in a car accident recently, a whole new world of auto insurance, rehab and forms opened up. Don’t mind the no-makeup, tousled hair(hard to brush with my less dominant hand). My car was totaled, so auto insurance made me a lowball offer. After some research with a bit of effort with arm in cast, I came up with a higher number. Insurance disagreed and we went back and forth a few times. Finally, I played them at their own game despite my migraine headaches with concussion.

They gave me a crazy 14 page sheet detailing 14 comparative cars within a 250 km radius and asked me only to use reputable car sales websites like

I responded with 10 comparative cars within a 160 km radius using autotrader and cargurus on a single page. I reminded them that 250 km was too far for me to go to purchase a car. and also that the top 10 list for used car sales didn’t acknowledge, but i still used it as they had suggested it 🙂 My come back offer was $1000 over what the insurer offered. What do you think happened? Did the insurer stand their ground? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I got a note from them today that they’ve upped their number by $1000. I’ve been able to get what I rightfully deserve by taking constructive action that simply cannot be debated. That my dear friend is CHUTZPAH. Not getting overwhelmed with the chatter of internal pain & external fear of what the insurer would come back with. But a strong sense that my car was worth more because of the research I did.

So go out there with unshaken self confidence like I did. Shake some chutzpah into what you do. and while you are at it, make yourself this amazing Broccoli which owes its origin to the smart and efficient people of Thanjavur.

You need

4 cups broccoli spears
1/2 cup shredded coconut
4 grains cumin
3 hot thai green chillies
1 tbsp rice flour(or cornflour or tapioca starch)

  • Steam broccoli spears till al dente
  • Puree coconut with cumin, green chillies and 1 cup water.
  • Heat the pureed coconut cream sauce into a pan together with steamed broccoli.
  • In a cup dilute the rice flour with 2 tbsp water and pour into the pan to thicken sauce. Add salt to taste.
  • Heat till sauce thickens. Remove from stove. Serve with steamed white rice.

Has chutzpah served you ever? post a comment to tell me how!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mohideen Ibramsha says:

    Dear Charu, October 11, 2020;
    May God restore your health soon. Under meditation please ask God to send stem cells to your fracture so that it heals fast and perfect.

    I saw your Thanksgiving recipe now.

    Let us thank God for all His Kindness and Mercy

    Your uncle,
    Mohideen Ibramsha
    Ex IIT DElhi

    1. CharuYoga says:

      thankyou so much Uncle for your blessings and wishes. hope everyone is well at home. with regards, charu

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