Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cooking Time!

I rode to the neighborhood Indian Grocer this morning and bought a bunch of goodies, with the intention to cook.
Little did I know, I would be cooking up a storm.


Look here for the recipes and the rest of the story!


Peace :)

Four Nice Dishes!

I haven't posted anything in quite a while now. I have been busy with other things and been a bit lazy in the cooking department. But, I made up for it today. I prepared 4 dishes. That's right, 4 dishes:

1) Refried Mung bean (sundal*), 2) Spinach Kootu**, 3) Onion and Tomato Sambar** and 4) Black Pepper Cabbage Curry.

*A Sundal is a dish from South India which is somewhat similar to re-fried beans.
**Kootu and sambar are also South Indian dishes which are similar to stews.


These dishes can be eaten by themselves or as great accompaniments to a bowl of rice or some Pita bread or chappati or Naan.

Here are my recipes!

Mung Bean Sundal (Payaru Sundal in Tamil)
For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with Mung Bean, it is a commonly available in many grocery stores. The Asian stores and the Indian Grocery store will definitely carry it.


Mung Beans need to be soaked in water overnight before cooking. I usually cook them in a Pressure Cooker, but I know you can cook on stove top in a regular pot. The latter will take longer, of course!


Ingredients:
8 cups of cooked Mung Bean
3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
4 Red Chilly Peppers
4 Tbsp shredded coconut (fresh/frozen/dry)
1 Tsp Mustard seeds
2 Tsp White Lentil (Urad Dal)
2 Tbsp shredded ginger
2 Tbsp shredded curry leaves
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of Asafoetida


Preparation:
Heat up the oil in a large pan.
When the oil is hot, turn down the heat.
Add the mustard seeds and let'em splutter.
After oil cools a bit, add the White lentils, asafoetida, cumin, shredded ginger, curry leaves, coconut.
Next, add the cooked Mung Bean. Stir, so the mixture doesn't stick to the pan.
Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro!
Add salt to taste!



PS. Some people do not like to overcook the Mung Beans as I have done. That's cool too. In fact, if you cooked the Mung Beans Al Dente, they do offer a different texture to the dish :)



Spinach Kootu (Keerai Kootu in Tamil)

NOTE: This recipe is slightly different from the recipe I posted earlier!

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked lentils (Toor dal)
2 Lbs frozen spinach
3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
5 Tbsp shredded coconut (fresh/frozen/dry)
1 Tsp cumin
5 Green Chili Peppers

1 Tsp White Lentil (Urad Dal)
1 Tbsp shredded ginger
2 Tbsp shredded curry leaves (split into 2 portions, 1 portion will be used as a garnish and the other will be used in creating the spice mix)
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cup filtered water
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of Asafoetida


Preparation:
Cook the Lentils and keep ready.

In a blender or a food processor, grind the green chilis, curry leaves, cumin and the coconut into a paste.

Heat up the oil in a large pan.
When the oil is hot, turn down the heat.
Add the asafoetida, frozen spinach, curry leaves, ginger.
Add the cooked lentils.
Add the spice paste.
Stir!

Cook until the mix is not too runny (until much of the added water has evaporated) and spinach is not raw anymore, stir frequently.

Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro!

Add salt to taste!


Black Pepper Cabbage Curry (Muttaikos Milagu Podi Curry in Tamil)


Ingredients:
Head of small cabbage shredded
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
3 Tbsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
3 Tbsp shredded coconut (fresh/frozen/dry)
1 Tsp Mustard seeds
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp White Lentil (Urad Dal)
1 Tbsp shredded ginger
1 Tbsp shredded curry leaves
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of Asafoetida

Preparation:
Heat up the oil in a large pan.
When the oil is hot, turn down the heat.
Add the mustard seeds and let'em splutter.
After oil cools a bit, add the White lentils, asafoetida, cumin, shredded ginger, curry leaves, coconut.
Add the cabbage, turmeric. Stir!
Turn down the heat to medium.
Stir occassionally, cook until the cabbage turns slightly brownish!
Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro!
Add salt to taste!


Onion and Tomato Sambar (Vengayam Thakkaali sambar)
There are two common ways of preparing sambar: a) use ready-made sambar powder/mix b) make your own sambar wet-mix. I consider the latter the real McCoy and I personally like the taste of sambar prepared using the latter technique.

Ingredients:
Toor daal 2-3 cups
Tamarind paste - 1 Tsp
Tomatoes - about 4 diced/sliced
Onions - 2 cups - chopped
Coriander seeds - 1 Tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 Tsp
Red Chilies - 5-6
Fenugreek Seeds - 1 Tsp
Shredded Coconut - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1 Tsp
Sesame seed oil - 1 Tbsp
Garnish: chopped curry leaves and cilantro

Preparation:

  1. Cook the lentils until soft in a pressure-cooker or in a conventional sauce pan.
  2. In a sauce pan, roast the coriander seeds, cumin, red chilies. You may use a drop or two of oil if you like to roast these. I dry toast them.
  3. Grind the the ingredients from step 2 and the grated coconut in a blender. Use little water (the mix should be moist/wet but not runny).
  4. In a large sauce pan, heat up the sesame oil, saute the onions and the tomatoes until the tomatoes get softer.
  5. Add 2 cups of water. Once the water starts to boil, add the cooked daal and the spicy paste from step 3, to the water. Turn down the heat a notch or two. Add the tamarind paste, turmeric and a pinch of asafoetida. Stir the mix so the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the vessel.
  6. Add salt to taste and garnish with cilantro and the chopped curry leaves.


Bon appetit' :)

PS. If you are looking for a diabetic friendly meal, the Cabbage Curry and Spinach Kootu seem to not increase blood glucose levels drastically. I would take it easy on the Sambar and the Mung Bean Sundal.

PPS. Msg To my cousin: "Naalaikku kaathaala Idli Thakkaali sambar..." :)

Works for most!

I usually look at the recommendation for minimum and maximum tire pressure, every time I inflate my bicycle tires (actually for all tires). I aired the tires of the Raleigh Twenty today and I noticed that Schwalbe recommended a minimum of 45 PSI and maximum of 70 PSI for the 20x1.75 Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires I have on the Twenty.

With my other bikes, I usually pump the tires to 65 PSI, including the Thorn, which has Schwalbe Marathon Extreme HS 402 tires on it.
So, today, I decided I will put 65 PSI in Meera's tires.

Well, with that decision, things suddenly became much simpler. 65 PSI for all bikes!

Now, if only the rest of life was that simple ...

Hope you had a great day!

Peace :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let it Shine!

Before ...
Intervention ...
After ...
Love you, Brasso!

Peace :)

Health on Tap!

I ran three errands today, which require me to go three different places, all within 10 miles from Fort Chandra.

He first stop was at the Post Office in Coppell. As you can see, I too took my Hummer.

At the next stop, I loaded-up on some Protein Powder for my Veggie Shakes. The Protein Powder was on close-out, at roughly a third the regular price. Yowza!

If you haven't been to a Sprouts, check'em out! They do carry lotta good, healthy foods.

The last stop was at a friendly neighborhood Walgreens, where they always let me park my bike inside the store.

The total distance ridden was close to 11 miles. The nice thing about it is that the trip cost me zero dollars in gas, it was a "Free Workout". Plus, more importantly, I didn't pollute.

Hope your day was a great one!

Peace :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Good Times!


Spent some quality time on the Thorn a few weeks ago!
While I am not a big fan of swimming, I like to sit by the river and watch the water. It is very calming.

Hope your day was a great one!

Peace :)

The Wind Beneath My Spokes!


I hadn't ridden to work in a couple of weeks, until today. On my first day back on the saddle, the strong winds from the south kicked my rear. I changed my mind about riding southerly and headed north to get home!

Hope you had a pleasant day!

Peace :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another man’s trash is someone else’s treasure!

I found this supposedly dysfunctional Joe Blow Floor Pump at REI roughly one year ago. A customer brought it in and showed the guys that it was a piece of trash and exchanged it for a new one.

The folks at REI were about to throw it in the trash. Having repaired vintage English Raleigh hand pumps successfully in the past, I opted to take it home and revive it.
All I did was to bring the pump back home, inflate a few tires with it. I never repaired anything in the pump. It was in perfect working condition.

One year later, Joe Blow is still going strong! That its color matches that of the Thorn MKII is an added bonus!!

Peace :)

Determined and dedicated!

I saw this dad on the trail, a couple of weeks ago and I was quite impressed by his dedication to the good cause of teaching his kid how to ride his bike. One determined and dedicated dad he was. Good for you, sir!


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the number of Americans with diabetes may double or triple over the next 40 years (Source: Dr. Mercola).

Cycling is definitely one way to stay in shape and fight the awful disease. And, IMHO, it is a great hobby to introduce your child to!

Hope your day was a great one!

Peace :)

Pre and Post!

I can't honestly say I cleaned the Sturmey Archer hub on my Raleigh 20, since I got the bike. Here is a picture of the same.
It wasn't that I did not want to clean the dirty SA Hub, but I didn't know what cleaner to use. I finally talked to the boss lady, who suggested a cleaner made of Ammonia and Dawn. This is our own home-made version.

So, I sprayed the hub with the cleaning solution, scrubbed it using my Dollar Store nylon-bristled brush and also used a cotton swab to get to some tight corners.
The resulting clean hub was quite nice looking!

There is still some more cleaning to be done. I might do that as one of my winter projects.

Peace :)