Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mediterranean Style Lentil Soup

As mentioned in many posts before, I love mediterranean food. Its healthy and tasty too. I have had mediterranean lentil soup many times at a Turkish restaurant here in downtown Seattle, but never thought of making it at home. Ofcourse, I never knew it was so easy to make until a friend of mine made it at home and brought it for me.

Here is my friend's recipe for an easy, healty, tasty and filling mediterranean Lentil Soup. I bet you, once you try it, you will be addicted to it, and would like to eat it every single day. (Thats what I have been doing from past few days:))

1 Cup Red Lentils (Split Red Masoor Dal)
5 Cups Water
Salt to Taste
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil,
1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder (Powder made from Roasted Cumin)
2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice (or per Taste)

Method: Mix the lentils, onion, water and salt in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for 15 more minutes. Once the lentils are cooked properly, remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice, cumin powder and olive oil and serve hot.

Thats it, thats how easy it is. You should definetly try cooking this soup once. It tastes exactly the same as the restaurant made ones!!!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pav Bhaji (Bombay Style)

Pav bhaji is one of my fabourite bambiya foods. I am always surprised when I see people making pav bhaji with as many vegetables as they can. I have also seen some people using frozen mix veggies (green beans, carrots, corn, peas etc) for making bhaji. In Bombay, pav bhaji is made using very few veggies..not a whole lot of them:)

Here is the recipe for perfect Bombay style Pav Bhaji

3 Medium Size Potatoes, Boiled
3-4 Medium Juicy Tomatoes, Finley Chopped
1/2 Cup Green Peas, Boiled
1/4 Cup Cauliflower, Boiled, Optional (Gives nice texture to the bhaji)
1 Medium Capsicum (Green Bell Pepper), Finley Chopped
1 Large Onion, Finley Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Finley Chopped
2 Tablespoon Salted Butter
1 Teaspoon Ginger, Grated
2 Teaspoon Chili Powder (or per Taste)
2 Teaspoon Pav Bhjai Masala (I used Everest brand)
1 Teaspoon Chaat Masala
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice (or per taste)
Salt Per Taste
Water, As required

Breads (Pav):
Dinner Rolls
Salt...A pinch
Chili Powder..A Pinch

Topping (or on side)
1/4 Cup Chooped Onion
1 Teaspoon Oil
Salt to taste
1/4th Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4th Teaspoon Dhaniya Jeera Powder (Cumin-Coriander Powder), Optional
Lemon Juice to Taste

Heat the butter in a pan. When it is hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook on low flame until the onion turns transparent. Then add bell pepper and ginger. Cook on medium flame for 7-8 minutes. While the bell pepper is getting cooked, combine and mash the boiled potatoes, peas and cauliflower in another pan and keep aside. Make sure to mash the potatoes and cauliflower completely.
Now add the chopped tomatoes to the bell pepper (capsicum). Cook until the tomatoes start melting. With the help of the potato masher, mash the tomatoes in the pan, while it is on the stove. Add the pav bhaji masala, salt, chili powder, and chaat masala. Combine and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water. Cover and bring it to a boil. Now add the potato mixture. Turn the heat to low, otherwise you will see the tomato gravy splattering everywhere. After adding the potato mixture, stir and combine it well with the liquid. Cover with a splatter proof mesh and turn the heat to medium high. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Mix well.

Bread: Combine the salt and pepper powder in a small bowl. Make a horizontal slit 3/4th ways down on the dinner rolls, and keep aside. Heat the griddle. When its hot, spread some butter on the griddle. Now open up the dinner rolls and arrange on the griddle, cut side down. Apply butter on the top side of the breads. Cook for a minute and flip. Now sprinkle the salt and pepper powder on the bread and cook for a minute.

Side/Topping: Combine all the ingredients just before serving. Taste for salt and lemon.

Top the bhaji with a teaspoon of butter in individual plates. You can either add the onions as a topping or serve it on side. (I serve it on side.) Put hot dinner rolls on the plate and serve with freshly cut lemon piece.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fansi Dhokli Nu Shaak

This is an authentic Gujarati curry. Greens beans cooked with small chickpea flour dumplings, tastes great as is or with Roti/Paratha.

3 Teaspoon Chickpea Flour (Gram Flour)
1 Teaspoon Whole Wheat Flour
Salt to taste
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/8th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1/8th Teaspoon Ajwain (Caraway Seeds)
3-4 Teaspoon Water

Green Beans, Cut into Small Pieces
Salt to Taste
1/4th Teaspoon Sugar, Optional (I don’t add it).
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder (or to taste)
1 Teaspoon Dhaniya Jeera Powder (Coriander-Cumin Powder)
1/8th Teaspoon Asafoetida
1/4th Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1/8th Teaspoon Ajwain (Caraway Seeds)
1 Cup water
1 Teaspoon Oil

Dhoklis: Mix all ingredients and make dough out of it. Add more water if required. Make small ball and flatten them in between your palms. Keep aside.

Beans: Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the cumin and ajwain seeds. Once the cumin starts to crackle, add asafoetida. Immediately add the green beans and cover. Let it cook for 30 seconds or so. Uncover, add salt, sugar, and water, stir and cook until the beans are almost done. Now add the rest of the masala and dhoklis,. Add more water if required. Stir once to mix all the ingredients together. Cook covered for 10-15 minutes.

Serve hot with Roti.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Photography Challenge

As you might know, I try to take part in as many photography competetions I can (haven't won any yet:)). Here is my entry for Digital Photography's weekend Challenge BLUE.

This is the picture of  a air humidifier.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Taboulleh or Tabouli

This is one of my favourite meditteranian dishes. Without much description, I will go right to the recipe.

Here is what you will need:
1-1/2 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
1/4 Cup Bulgur (Cracked Wheat)
1/2 Cup Boiling Water
1/4 Cup Chopped Cucumber
1/4 Cup Chopped Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Chopped Mint
1/4 Cup Chopped Green Onions
2 Teaspoon Olive Oil
Salt to taste
2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice (or to taste)

Wash bulgur with cold water 2-3 times then add to the boiling water. Cover and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Drain it, then combine all ingredients together. Add salt and lemon juice per taste. Cover and refrigerate. It tastes best when you let the ingredients combine overnight in the fridge. Serve with pita bread. Thats it. So simple and healthy dish, easy to make and can be prepared in no time. Enjoy!!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My 2010 Vegetable Garden Planning

Last year, after having a moderate success with my little veggie patch, I have decided to plant and try new veggies this year. Also, after doing some research I found out that I can basically have two different veggie gardens i.e. Spring garden and Summer Garden. There are some vegetables that like cooler weather and cab be grown during spring time, and of course there are others that like hot summer weather and can be grown in summer.

Its already mid January, and I just can’t wait for spring to arrive. To give head start to my beet roots, I had already planted them in late fall (late Nov). Hopefully, I will see some signs of beet greens by the beginning of March. This year, I am thinking of being a little organized. So I have created a layout for my spring and summer veggie garden.

I have only one veggie patch, so I plan to utilize the same area for both of my gardens. Also, I have some leftover seeds from last summer, and got some seeds from friends so I think I won’t be buying many seed packets this year.

Here are my spring and summer garden plans.

I don’t know how much I will stick to this:), but I think starting with a plan in my mind is a good start. Oh also, the plans are made considering companion planting, so each plant will help the neighboring plant in its growth and also in some cases protect from harmful pests. You can find a lots of information on internet for companion planting.

I have also planted watermelon and eggplant seeds in little peat pots. Last year, I didn’t have any luck with my eggplants and watermelon plants, so this year I decided to start much earlier. This might be too early to start them indoors, but I plan to plant some more indoors in late march. Let’s see which plants do the best.

I will upload a photo of my garden, once I have things growing in full fledge:)

Apart from the garden patch, I will be growing other small plants in pots. Last year I had planted Chili, Lemon Grass, Mint, Meyers Lemon, Sweet Basil and Thai Basil in pots. All of these are surviving except the Thai Basil. I just can’t wait for the weather to warm up, when I will have a lush green veggie patch, and a part of my patio covered with planters.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

India Trip Pictures

I had wanted to go to Rajasthan for such a long time. I was finally able to go there during my recent trip to India in Dec-09. Since I had only 5 days for the Rajasthan trip, I only went to Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Intricate architecuture with colorful interior pleases your eyes in Jodhpur, while huge sand dunes is a pretty site to see in Jaisalmer.

These are just a few pictures. I still need to download the rest from my camera. I will update this post once I have the rest of the pictures.

A sunrise picture taken from moving car:)

I absolutley love this picture. I am going to enlarge it and frame it:)

This picture is taken by my husband. I was specifically told to put this up on my blog and mention that he has taken this picture:).
Sunset looks very beautiful on sand unes. Bright red sky that turns pink slowly, The change of colors is reflected on the dunes. This picture was taken wth the sun setting in the background.
We had booked an overnight safari at Jaisalmer.
You go about 60km away from the city by Jeep. Then from there you ride on a camel for about an hour and reach the sand dunes. The evening snack and dinner is prepared on an open fire. Then there is traditional singing and dancing. At night, you are provided with sleeping bags and comforters. No tents or any other coverings!!! You sleep under the open sky.  The desert looked very bright even at 10 at night. It felt as if it was early in the morning and sun was just going to rise. I have never seen a night so "bright".

Not very clear, but here is the picture of the desert at night.

Sunrise seen from the camping site.

This was a temple inside one of the havelis in Jodhpur.

Some camel pictures

Does any one know the names of any of these birds? These were all seen roaming wild either at Kaylana lake at Jodhpur or in the desert or at Desert national park in Jaisalmer.


More pictures to come. Stay tuned!!!

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