Procrastination – How To Cook Rice and a Simple Dhal

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Happy New Year everyone! Its better late than never…procrastination seems to be my most favourite word for this year if not with everything at least with respect to blog. I’m not hoping nor promising that it will get better, lets leave it for the days to decide. Anyhow, coming to this post, which has been sitting as draft for nearly two months gets finally a way out. The one question people most commonly ask is “how do you cook rice”…I mean in the beginning I used wonder this is crazy simple why are they are asking me in the first place?

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Vermicelli Upma/Semiya Upma

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After the whole cooking episode, I did realise there isn’t any basic or simple recipes in my blog. Over a cup of tea partially dreaming and going through my own pictures, I made up my mind to do some simple basic post, that beginners would find it easy. At least for the ones who follow my bog and for those who have asked for simple recipes, I’m going to come with simple, yet authentic indian food recipes!

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Quiescent – Baked Pumpkin Soup

Last whole month I was totally on move, up and down between Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Paris. It was exciting and wonderful trips but…..not that I’m going to complain about travelling, I thought I should have schedule at least 3 week breaks between each trip. Well, after the storm, I curled up into my den for couple of weeks recovering (much needed I say!).
During the days of recovery only thing I was eyeing, on the way to work through fields, was pumpkins. Belgium autumn so far has been bit nice, moist, humid and foggy. Every day the density of fog amazes me, wish there were some lakes here it would have been picturesque…..anyhow last weekend I walked to Saturday market, my most favourite activity during weekend to hunt for some fresh treasure. I did come back with last few honey melon, in season corn, pumpkin, peanut and fresh fresh walnut (This is delicious!) and lots more. Nothing makes my happier when my see my refrigerator filled with happy looking fruits and vegetable saying “eat me”. Very obediently pumpkin was transformed in to this delicious pumpkin soup. It did get some good grade from fellow colleagues. I’m totally in love with pumpkin soups, if you have any other version do drop a note would love to try!
Happy spooky autumn!

Basics – Sambar Powder and Brinjal, Okra Sambar

I typed, retyped and deleted already 5 times now, will not keep this post waiting for another day…all I have to say is I’m enjoying doing basic recipe’s. Fortunately or unfortunately I don’t get all required spice powder’s here, which has kicked the basic instinct in me to start everything from scratch. Thanks to coffee powder maker, it grounded my sambar powder beautifully. This post is heavly loaded with pictures…I did the shoot on a bright sunny day with good light diffusor (2 white curtains) and also made proper use of camera stand. Took the pictures in raw format and did minimal editing. Totally it was enjoyable recipe to make and to shoot!
Sambar powder recipe is from mom and aunt, it does’t taste like commercial or something from restaurants, but i can say it has simple, beautiful and fresh flavour. I’m proud of making sambar powder by myself, considering my limitations of vegetarian cooking ability!
Though there are so many varieties of sambar and every house has a unique way to prepare it, this is how its made at home. I prefer thicker consistency for rice and more runny for idly and vada.
Geek note: using camera stand brought great clarity and sharpness to pictures. Will stick to it from now on, can’t trust my wobbly hands anymore. Also thumbs up for pictures in raw formant, you can play a lot with it. Happy cooking peeps!

Spring time! Aviyal – Mixed Vegetable in Creamy Coconut Sauce

“People are like stained windows, they sparkle and shine when sun is out” – Elisabeth Kubler-Rose

Happy, spirited up are the day when vitamin D is activated. Yes much awaited Sun is finally here in my part of the world. Warmth, colourful blossoms and green “the” colour is just wonderful.  And all of sudden there was big shift, slipping to few 10’s of degree, rain and grey sky….I was said welcome to Belgium! But flowers are still smiling, dancing along with rain and green is getting intense!  The weather and nature are like artist and poems quite unpredictable yet beautiful! 

Spring time reminds me about fresh vegetable in India and this recipe is loaded with many vegetables in coconut sauce. This is very popular recipe from south India Kerala – God’s own country, which is usually is made with coconut paste, mum makes them with fresh thick coconut milk, more rich and creamy. When mum visited me in Finland in 2011, she smuggled brought all veggies and our home grown coconut and we prepared this recipe, yes two years back…I did tell you my hard drive cries most of the time for some fresh air! 

Till I enjoy the sun, rain and weekend…..you enjoy the aviyal (Mom’s version, not an authentic version) and glimpse of spring from my part of my world!! 

                 Airy light papads …or call it as flying breads

                 My mint plant is growing very happily at home!

Ingredients

Vegetables (All together you need 300 grams)
White pumpkin
Beans
Carrot
Yam
Raw Banana
Potato
Brinjal / Eggplant
Drumstick

100 ml Yoghurt
200 ml Thick Coconut milk (or coconut cream)
1/4 tspn Turmeric powder
1 spring of Curry leaves
4 to 5 Green chillies (ground to paste)
Salt according to taste

For Tempering 
2 tbspn Coconut oil
3/4 tspn Mustered seeds
A pinch Asafoetida
2 spring of Curry leaves

Method
Steam all vegetable along with some water, till it is half cooked, along with green chilli paste, turmeric, salt and one spring of curry leaves.
(You can steam all the vegetable in pressure cooker without weight, or pot boil till it is half cooked.)

After vegetable is half cooked, add coconut milk along with water from vegetables and slowly bring it a boil till it thickens, then add yoghurt and give it a boil for just two minutes. (Don’t over boil them, else the yoghurt will curdle)

Next do the tempering. Warm coconut oil, add muster seeds, let it splutter then add Asafoetida and curry leaves let it splutter. Then add to the vegetable mixture

Rich, flavourful aviyal is ready to serve with rice and crispy papad!