Novi’s Recipes (Actually His Mum’s)

For unji (Amber Thomas)
We love you and miss you
and all the ways you made us smile

Masala Chai

1 cup of water
1 tsp of tea leaves/powder
Ginger, cardamom, tulsi (basil leaves)
Milk, sugar (optional)

  1. Add tea leaves/powder + sugar (optional) + ground mixture of ginger, cardamom and tulsi to boiling water.
  2. Add milk until it turns this shade of colour.


Serves two people:

1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 potato, 2 chillies, beans (optional)
Chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, pulao powder (“If you don’t know how to make this, ask my mum, because I don’t know either.“), rice, table salt, sesame seeds, sunflower oil, turmeric powder, water
Pressure cooker

  1. Chop all vegetables into tiny pieces, around 1 cm.
  2. Wash 1 cup of rice with water.
  3. Let’s begin! Place the pressure cooker on the stove, pour 2 tbsp of sunflower oil, add a few sesame seeds in it so you know when the oil is hot and ready. (Cue: The sesame seeds begin to pop)
  4. Add onion and chilli pieces. Stir. Let it fry.
  5. Add potato, carrots, beans (and any other vegetables you want to). Keep stirring.
  6. Add 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste. Keep stirring.
  7. Add 1 tsp of chilli powder, ½ tsp of turmeric powder, 1½ tsp of table salt and 1 tsp of pulao powder. Adjust quantity according to preference of spice consumption. Keep stirring so the powders and fried vegetables don’t stick to the bottom of the vessel.
  8. Add the washed rice. Keep stirring.
  9. Add 2¼ cup of water, stir some more and close the lid and mount the weight.
  10. Wait for 2 full whistles (around 10 minutes or less). Take the cooker off the stove.
  11. Let it cook. Wait until steam loses pressure (another 10 minutes or less).
  12. Open the lid and serve.


Asafoetida, curry leaves, garlic paste, ginger, 2 green chillies, table salt, sesame seeds, sunflower oil, toor dal (split pigeon peas), turmeric powder, water
Pressure cooker
Sauté pan

  1. Wash ½ cup of toor dal with water, and put it in a pressure cooker.
  2. Add a small piece of ginger, ¼ tsp of turmeric powder, chopped green chillies and a pinch of asafoetida.
  3. Add 1 cup of water, place the cooker on the stove, close the lid and mount the weight.
  4. Wait for 4-5 full whistles (about 15 minutes or less). Take the cooker off the stove.
  5. Let it cook. Wait until steam loses pressure (another 10 minutes or less).
  6. In a sauté pan, fry sesame seeds and some curry leaves in a pinch of sunflower oil and garlic paste.
  7. When the sesame seeds begin to pop, pour the contents of cooker into the pan.
  8. Add water and table salt as per quantity of dalitoy desired (about 300 ml and 1½ tsp respectively should do).
  9. Wait till it starts to boil. Take off the stove. Serve hot. (Tastes best when mixed with cooked rice)

Indian Fries

2 potatoes
Amchur powder, asafoetida, chilli powder, curry leaves, table salt, sesame seeds, sunflower oil, turmeric powder
Sauté pan

  1. Chop the potatoes in the shape of fingers. Add 1 tsp of table salt. Mix and let it be.
  2. Mount the sauté pan on the stove. Add 1 tbsp of sunflower oil, a few sesame seeds, a pinch of asafoetida and some curry leaves. Wait until sesame seeds begin to pop.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the water released by the potatoes. (“Osmosis. It’s science!“)
  4. Add 1 tsp of chilli powder, ½ tsp of turmeric powder, ¼ tsp of amchur powder, and a pinch of asafoetida to the potatoes, and mix.
  5. When the oil is ready (sesame seeds be poppin’), add the potato fingers in the pan.
  6. Close the lid and let it cook/fry. Stir occasionally.
  7. You can use a fork to poke at the potato fingers to check if they are properly cooked/softened.
  8. Open the lid to let the water evaporate, and make the potatoes crispy.
  9. Sprinkle some chutney powder. (optional)
  10. Take the pan off the stove. Serve hot.

Sardine Curry

1 potato
Canned sardines
Amchur powder, asafoetida, chilli powder, coconut powder, table salt, Sichuan pepper, water
Sauté pan

  1. Chop the potatoes into little pieces, and add them to 2 cups of water in the sauté pan. Add 2 tsp of table salt. Mount it on a stove and allow it to boil.
  2. In the meantime, take 4 tsp of coconut powder, 2 tsp of chilli powder, ¼ tsp of amchur powder, and a pinch of asafoetida in a blender. Add ½ cup of water. Blend until the masala turns into a paste.
  3. Add 6-7 Sichuan peppers and blend some more, but not too much. We want the Sichuan peppers to add flavour but not make it too bitter spicy.
  4. When the potatoes are cooked and the water begins to boil, add the masala paste to the sauté pan.
  5. Add the sardines. The sardines bring their own oil to the table.
  6. Let it boil. Stir occasionally.
  7. Serve hot. (Tastes best when mixed with cooked rice)

Mackerel Fry

Canned mackerel
Amchur powder, chilli powder, garlic paste, pepper, table salt
Frying pan

  1. Add ¼ tsp of chilli powder and a pinch of amchur powder to 1 tsp of garlic paste.
  2. Apply the mixture on to the mackerel.
  3. Fry in 1 tsp of sunflower oil.
  4. Sprinkle pepper and table salt according to taste.
M 20180929
Pulao and fried mackerel (29 September 2018)

Schade! What Just Happened?

The pit(s) I manage to dig myself in to. Wow. I seem to have gone ahead and pissed off a bunch of my dormies. How did that happen? I’ll tell you.

I happened to log into my Novellus Batman Facebook account after ages, and the first thing I see is this post:


So, naturally I think, “omg drama on HiH what’s new lel“, and I take a screenshot. First mistake.

Then I go ahead and post it in the only three group chats I am in (all HiH related) I hang out these days in the name of being active on social media, with a laughing emoji 😂Second mistake.

One of the three chats is the L42 Chatroom, of course. The other two are dormie-infiltrated (by Lurkelly, semmi, deve and emilie) too. Now, a handful of my dormies are still active on HiH, even running things behind-the-scenes, which I should have been sensitive of before posting that in the name of humour. Third mistake.

Of course they have other channels of communication amongst themselves invisible to me, considering I am no longer active on HiH. How stupid of me!

Claier and Lurkelly are the first to react. I talk to each of them in private chat, and fill myself in on what actually happened. Apparently, somebody pretended to be somebody else altogether for months on end, and when they were revealed, it came as a shock to all those who trusted them with, well, their trust. Feelings of being let down, betrayal and hurt… I get all that. Totally, I understand it. Betrayal and loss of trust sucks. It sucks that they are going through all that right now, and I cannot help them make it go away. I hope they get over it soon.

Posting that screenshot and thinking it was funny was wrong, I’ll admit that. I cannot undo it. It was tactless from me. BUT, what I hope my dormies will realise is the immediate thought that crossed my mind when I shared the screenshot was “deja vu? Rebecca Black?“, which is why I found it funny in the first place. I barely log into HiH or HiH-related Facebook anymore. I have nothing to do with what goes on on HiH, ever since I found out I am no longer Student Liaison of Ravenclaw. I would never have found it funny if I knew what went down. I immediately regretted my actions. I swear I did not know who posted it as Oshiro. It was entirely unintentional. I wish I could take it back. I’m so sorry, I did not mean to make it worse for them. 😔

I apologised in the group chats, and also personally to all those who took offence. I seem to have succeeded in my efforts at damage repair, for the most part. Except one. And it still eats at me every time I think of it. The worst part is not that I let her down (that’s close, because she’s one of my favourite people on the internet), neither is the most scathing text message she left me (boy, I didn’t know that side of her even existed. I got schooled!), in which she literally said-

you make me sick to the stomach now that it’s clear you don’t care who gets hurt as long as people think you’re cool and funny. You are not the person I thought you were. How dare you. We don’t talk much anymore, but I didn’t realize that meant you think my emotional and mental pain is funny. I thought we still had some sort of friendship (which is clearly all but over now)

The worst part is that she hasn’t replied to my texts. Yet.

It’s killing me.

Update (7 August 2018):
She replied! I would say this is the best day of the month if it weren’t my birthday month. I’m so happy she did, so we were able to work things out. Gotta love communication. Communication solves everything, kids.

All is well.

Remembering Amber Thomas

Novellus Batman: “I first met unji in the HiH GH chat a little over 4 years ago, before L42 existed. She was one of the first few internet friends I ever made. She was rather shy at first but very sweet, and fortunately, we got talking. I went back and read through our private conversations over the years, her posts and comments in this group, the selfies and videos, and I have tears as I type this… I’ll admit I’m going to miss unji bro (it used to be an inside joke that she was the dorm uncle and I was the dorm mummy, but anyway). I hope she knows how proud we all are of her, for the lives she touched and all she achieved in her unfairly short life. 

Claire McBride: “/* I’ll miss you, Onji! I’ll carry on as the old lady of the dorm.”

Holly Higgins: “Onji was one of my original chat mods. I never had to worry about her, and other than Nevi, she was a main factor of why I came to L42 in the first place. I’ll cherish her secret santa gift to me forever.”

Bronze Feather: “I lead her in Salvation prayer over two years ago. Unji and Kristy were the first two people I told about my pregnancy with Michael. We used to talk for hours and I’m so sad that we let those conversations fade.”

Rhiannon Fleetwood: “Amber and I used to be very close and I regret distancing myself from all my friends. Amber and I would have lots of conversations and she would be willing to lend an ear when I was going through hard times. I’ve been crying all yesterday and now this morning as I’ve woken up to this news of her passing. I’m going to miss her very much and I wish I could’ve talked to her one last time before this happened. I’ve been wrapped up in the throw rug she got me. Heaven gained an amazing new angel today.”

Cristina Trail: “We’ve been friends for 4 years now. She helped get me through some really bad patches. I was so proud of her when she announced she finished and was graduating. She worked really hard. Even through everything else she had going on.”

You were a beautiful person, the world knows that. But for the last four years, despite all that we saw you go through personally, we will remember you as the wonderful friend, always kind and encouraging, and a real fighter. If we are the cumulative sum of the influence that the people we meet during our lifetime have on us, then you are leaving behind 41 better human beings. You did well, unji bro. 

The only thing we regret is not knowing you for a longer time. Thank you for the memories, Amber Thomas. Rest in peace. 

-The League of 42