Friday, February 19, 2021

Masalaydaar Moong and Masoor Daal

If you're a fan of a good Desi flavored Daal you've landed in the right place. Today I'm sharing a recipe that has stolen my heart and won over my senses with its simple and yet intense flavors. For some reason I've always been nervous about trying to cook daal. I've always had daal recipes saved to try eventually but when the 'eventually' comes I push the daals away for later and always end up cooking something else. Finally, I decided to try my hand at cooking a good desi daal and regardless of how nervous I was about ending up ruining something, this turned out extremely delicious.

It is a fairly easy recipe with not a lot of spices either and yet this is so so so flavorful. You start with lightly browning onions and then adding in the tomatoes and spices and finally the lentils. Then all you have to do is add water and wait for the daal to cook to the right consistency. This recipe makes a daal that has a risotto like consistency - it isn't liquidy like curry and it isn't dry, it's something soft and creamy in the middle. The taste is perfectly desi, warm, and comforting. I found myself wanting to gobble it all up with a spoon, leaving no leftovers. It was just SO delicious. You can pair it with naan, chapaati, any kind of roti you like really. Ohhh I think it would pair so well with boiled rice or zeera (cumin) fried rice too. Or if you're like me you won't be able to stop yourself and you'll just dig in with a spoon!

Mmmmm mmmmm ... Lets just dig in!

Ingredients:

  • Moong Daal (yellow lentils) - 1/2 cup soaked in water for at least two hours
  • Masoor Daal (red lentils) - 1/2 cup soaked in water for at least two hours
  • Oil - About 1/2 cup, more or less according to your liking
  • Onions - 1 large onion sliced thinly
  • Cumin Seeds (Zeera) - 1 tsp.
  • Tomatoes - 1 large or 2 medium sized chopped
  • Turmeric Powder (Haldi) - 1/2 tsp.
  • Red Chili Powder (Laal Mirach Powder) - 1/2 tsp. or according to taste
  • Crushed Red Chili - 1/4 tsp. or according to taste
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp. and then adjusted to taste in the end
  • All Spice Powder (Garam Masala Powder) - 1 tsp.
  • Green Chilies - according to taste, chopped and one green chili for the last step
  • Cilantro (Hara Dhanya) - generous handful chopped and more for optional garnish
Method:
Soak both Moong (yellow) and Masoor (red) daals/lentils in water for at least two hours. When I cooked this recipe my daals had soaked for about three to four hours.

Prepare your ingredients by measuring out the spices in a small bowl and chopping the onions, tomatoes, and green chilies. If you have the prep done this recipe takes no time at all.

Heat oil in a pan and add the Cumin Seeds (Zeera) along with the sliced onions. Fry the onions on medium high heat until they are lightly brown. Do not over brown the onions as they'll be cooking more in the next step as well.

Add the chopped tomatoes and the green chilies (if using). Add about a 1/2 cup of water and let the tomatoes cook on medium heat for about ten minutes. Keep an eye on them and if you find the water is drying up add a little more for them to cook in.

Add in the spices (Turmeric/Haldi, Red Chili Powder/Laal Mirach, Crushed Red Chili, Salt, and All Spice/Garam Masala). Mix everything together, cover with lid, and let it cook while covered for about five to ten more minutes until tomatoes are soft and cooked through.

After about ten minutes you'll find the tomatoes will have become softer and will resemble a curry like consistency. Add in the daals and add about 2 cups of water. Mix everything very well. Increase the heat to high, bring the daals to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low after about two minutes.

Let this cook covered with a lid on medium heat. Keep checking every few minutes to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan and the water doesn't entirely dry out. When you see the daal reaching a risotto like consistency with a little water remaining only, check to see if the daals have cooked through. They should hold their shape but not have a hard bite to them and if you press with your finger you should be able to easily break it. Taste to make sure they have softened and also to check for salt.

Add the chopped Cilantro/Hara Dhanya and mix well. At this point if your daal needs more time to cook add some water. Also add salt according to your taste. Drop in a green chili in your pan, cover with the lid, and let the flavors spread through, cooking on low heat for at least two minutes. I find this last step gives the daal a very delicious and appetizing green chili aroma. Mmmmm ... mouth watering!

Optional garnish with more Cilantro/Hara Dhanya and you're done! That was easy peasy, wasn't it!? Now do yourself a favor, grab a spoon, and let the flavors of this daal explode in your mouth. You will love it! I am sure of it!

I am thinking of so many ways this can be devoured; chapaati, naan, boiled rice or seasoned, by itself with a giant spoon, paratha ... I even enjoyed this the next day with a fresh hot poori! Mmmmmmm ... Even the leftovers are mind blowing! My nieces loved these too. Gubby said it was 'super delicious' and Chunky said 'wow, I like this!' I get extra Auntie points and a delicious Daal - win win ... hoorayyyyyy!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Let's Chill! Winter 2021 AwesomeBoard and Desk Decor

Now doesn't that look cute and jolly? It's time to show off my Winter 2021 AwesomeBoard!

Life has been busier than usual since the start of this year. However, I've also managed to stuff in some unreal and what seem to be completely impossible hours of me time every here and there. Like, how did that even happen? Me? Getting me time? Wow. Since these me time sessions are also so rare and difficult to arrange I have made sure I do a bit of everything when I do finally get some time to myself. Last year, I'd had my Winter board up on display for more than half of the year! Hahahahaha! I'd found no time to get to changing it to another season or even taking it down. So the first thing I did this time when I got some blessed time to relax was to remove my Fall 2020 AwesomeBoard decor and put together a beautiful Wintery set up!

I went with a super jolly vibe and wanted this to be as bright and happy and colorful and Wintery as possible. I wanted cozy and warm and snowy and Winter wonderland-y to be displayed inside my bedroom. It all came together to look so pretty and cute. Gingerbread cookies, snowmen, hot chocolate ... it was all there. I even threw in an ode to the good times when I could go out without fear of catching the virus and have a hot cup of Starbucks hot chocolate! I miss it so bad!

Time to show off my beautiful Winter AwesomeBoard for 2021! Check it out up close!


Tis' the season to be jolly,
Fala lala laa lalaa laalaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

In addition to the Board display I also added some really cute Winter decor on my desk right beneath the AwesomeBoard. You know when you find something and fall in love with it and know that you ABSOLUTELY have to get it? Yeah, that feeling. It happened to me when I saw the online ad flashing on my screen for this Gingerbread decor. The first time I actually tried buying it after having one million discussions with Abbie about it, it went out of stock, leaving me devastated. Then when I had lost all hopes of ever finding it again, it came back for me. You should have seen the urgency I had declared over Abbie about making sure we placed an order and had this shipped to me. It did not disappoint! It took ages to reach me but when it did I was in love! Look at how adorable it looks on my desk!

See the cutie pie snowman in the middle? I just got that this year too. It is the first time I've actually bought Winter decor items for my desk and I think I'm going to do the same for the other seasons too. Look how adorable everything looks. My BBWs candle, the jingle bells, the snowman slow globe (snow globes are my favorite by the way!), and my beautiful new gingerbread cookie. So cute and so Wintry! I love everything so much. It brightens up my mood each time I am in my bedroom!

How adorable! Now all I need to make sure is that this year I actually change my Winter display when the season changes. Hahaha! You know I had wanted to change for the month of February and turn it all pink and cute and girly and all about self-love. Then I decided I shouldn't because I wanted to keep Winter longer! If it were up to me I would never let Winter go and never allow Spring (and especially Summer!) to arrive in my world!

I love you Winter, please can you stay a bit longer? *sighs*

Friday, February 5, 2021

Baby It's Snow Wonderful Outside! Winter Storm Orlena and Loony the Snow Woman!

And when the heavens frosted the earth with a thick layer of beautiful bright snow, I stepped out to enjoy my serene winter wonderland ...
To a person who loves snow with all her heart, a Winter storm is always good news. Snow, I believe, is magical. It isn't like the mundane rainfall washing over everything. It isn't like the humdrum of every day's sunshine. It's something else, it's something more. It is quiet and yet it stirs up the heart. It is cold and yet it warms you up inside. It is peaceful and yet it excites the senses. It is, simply put, magical!  

January 2021 left me with a parting present as winter storm Orlena brought a load of snow to my side of the world. Like a goodbye hug, I woke up to the thirty first of January to find the skies snowing outside my window. It is one of my most favorite sights when snowflakes fall peacefully to the ground as it slowly turns white right before my eyes. January, thank you for a beautiful snow day.

Of course, unlike the rest of the year when I have no love for the outdoors, I just have to step outside when it snows. I love having the surreal all white wonderland around me like I'm in some fictional world of a well written book. I love the soft snow beneath my feet as if I'm afloat on a white cloud of happiness. I love the way snowflakes touch my face, sprinkling my cheeks with specks of cold. I love the way snow smells - light and sweet and cheerful. I love the way snow brightens me up inside, waking up every inch of my body, spreading an unreal Disney-like glee in my heart. *sighs* I just love snow so much!

Just as it always is, 2021's first snowfall was magical too. Everything was white and the world outside looked edible as if it had suddenly turned into a delectable dessert. Abbie was my snow buddy for the day. She was extra cold as always! Hahaha! But she couldn't resist the magic either. This was our first year without our nieces out in the backyard with us and I missed the fun we used to have. If I didn't have mama watching over me from her bedroom's window upstairs I would have considered walking down the street to surprise the babies in their backyard - crazy Beeya and her crazy ideas. I honestly would have loved a walk in the snowfall but doing so would have triggered an explosive reaction from her though, so of course I didn't even attempt mentioning it. 

Instead Abbie and I had super fun. We took pictures of us, we took pictures of the magic around us, we shot videos to relive the magic through our Instagrams later, we made a snow woman too (I did, while Abbie stood there frozen and refusing to touch the snow!)! It was so much fun! Get ready to say hello to LOONY, our snow woman of 2021!

Now isn't she a darling? *blows kissies in the air*
Extra points to you if you get the Spectrespecs and Loony reference by the way!

Oh and fun side note, we had some technical difficulties as well. Ahem! To keep warm I wore too many layers and the button on my jacket wouldn't stay shut. Each time I bent or moved too fast it would pop open and of course that was such a laughing point for Abbie! Hahahaha! I totally got Winnie the Pooh feels thanks to that. (Makes mental note of losing some weight to accommodate more layers in the limited space available! Hahaha!)

I love taking pictures and of course this was the perfect day to do just that, with everything so beautiful around me. I took a million shots and spent a million minutes short listing my favorites later ... but here are the ones I thought were the most stunning! 

I played with the panoramic settings on my phone for the last two pictures of the back and front yard of my house. Isn't that gazebo the most beautiful when it is covered in snow? Such Raj Aryan vibes from Mohabbatein!

When Abbie had finally frozen beyond control she gave up and we went inside! If she hadn't asked I would have stayed outside forever. Hahaha! And then we defrosted ourselves with a hot cup of chai and waited for the feeling in our toes and the warmth in our cheeks to return! Hedwig mug because I associate Hedwig with snow. That is how our beautiful snow day came to an end. It snowed for three days straight and even though I did not step outside each one of those days I stayed glued to the windows. I could spend hours watching the snow fall without getting bored. It is just so mesmerizing.

The sun has finally taken over now and it seems even more determined after being overshadowed and out of spotlight for a good number of days. It's like it has his game face on. The snow is melting and my all-white wonderland is slowly going away. The grass has started showing through again so that now it looks like someone dusted my front yard with icing sugar. Oh and here I am, warm and cozy inside my house, waiting for the next snow to fall from the skies so I can parade in my wonderland again. *sighs*

Friday, January 29, 2021

My Year 2020 In Books and the 2021 GoodReads Challenge

Look at that! That is my brilliant GoodReads Reading Challenge from 2020! I promised myself that I would read five books last year and I'm so proud of myself because I successfully completed the challenge. When the year began I had a plan for reading the Twilight series all over again. I'd been a teen when I'd read them and I loved the books but the not-so-good movies had tainted my Twilight memories. So a good re-read was long overdue. That meant four out of five books were sorted. Then what would be my fifth read?

Enter MIDNIGHT SUN.

How perfect for a fifth book of the Twilight series to coincide with my decision to re-read the books. Now obviously since I've been so crazy with my hectic life schedule I wasn't following book news enough to know when that promised fifth book was releasing. So this came as a BIG surprise and a very pleasant one too. For I loved, loved, LOVED Midnight Sun. I loved it so much I will definitely be re-reading this one again too. Oh and of course, I'm always Team Edward, for life!

Here's a summary of my year 2020 in books straight from my GoodReads profile!


It was an year of the Twilight Saga for me. I felt so awesome getting lost in the Twilight world again. It brought back so many memories and yet felt so new and different reading the books as a grown up this time. Beautiful books, beautiful writing, beautiful Edward hahahahahahahaaaaaa! I love Edward, I can't help it.

But anyhow, now it is a new year - 2021! So it is time to take up another GoodReads challenge. Once again I'm signing up and challenging myself to read five books this year. Knowing how busy I become five shall be more challenging this year I think. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows!? I just know I want to make sure I keep reading no matter how hectic life becomes because reading makes me so happy.


This year I have nothing planned. I'm not re-reading any series nor am I planning my five reads ahead of time. I'll just go with the flow and read whatever from my TBR pile. Hopefully I'll fit in a variety of genres but I'm not too worried as long as whatever I end up reading is good and lets me have fun. My first read for the year is the book called 'When Life Happened' by Jewel E. Ann. I've been reading it throughout January and so far I have mixed feelings about it. I don't like the language but it is still making an interesting read. I'm waiting for the big twist the book's reviews had promised and looking forward to figuring out what happens next!

Cheers to an year full of good books and great stories!
Oh and good luck to me with my reading goals for 2021!

Oh oh oh wait, before you leave! Are you on GoodReads too? Come and find me and follow me so we can stay connected! You can find my GoodReads profile here!
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