Winters are here and I get a feel of Decembers' already. And unintentionally though, I have stayed away from baking from past couple of weeks, my reservations have been to make full use of my oven for Christmas and I definitely intend to post a few baked goodies for the year end celebrations. At the moment my kitchen has been busy churning out simple hot meals, mostly to satisfy our cravings for comfort home food.
I love my Sundays, don't we all do? Being home with family and enjoying a humble home cooked meal with them is the best way I love to spend my day off. While hectic week at work goes at a slow pace, my weekends seem to breeze through like a blink of an eye. Before I realize the weekend is over, Monday is already in... and I hate being hit by Monday Blues... Don't mistake me, I love my work, my job is great and my company treats me well, no complaints at all. What I dislike are those tiny tit-bit tasks at home I need to rush at and complete ahead of time... boil milk, pack lunch, clean up the kitchen, dress up my baby, see her off, they sound simple as if they don't buy any time, but indeed they do and fairly lot.
And that's probably the reason why I have learnt to value my weekends lot more. Late breakfast and lunch on weekends are a usual trend these days. I do my best to feel relaxed and thoroughly enjoy my Sundays by soaking up some sun, a morning chai, a brisk walk that leaves me fresh with some quality time for myself. Lunch has becomes a simple affair ever since my baby started off with her solids, solely because our focus right now is her growth. She demands an unswerving attention and it gets tough on our nerves to multitask constantly. By all means, I still try to make a simple meal sound exotic, like infusing the aromatic Jeera Samba rice with lightly ghee roasted cumins to transform it to flavorsome Jeera Chawal. I paired this with the healthy Moong ki Dal and Grilled Paneer (Cottage Cheese) which is mildly spiced and flavored with hints of mint, after all weekends ought to be different than usual.
Jeera Chawal with Moong ki Dal and Grilled Pudina Paneer
1 cup Jeera Sambha rice / Basmati rice
2 cups water
1 tbsp fresh clarified butter (ghee)
1 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
Salt to taste
Wash and clean the rice in flowing water and soak it in water for 15-30 mins. In a thick bottom pan, fry cumin seeds in a tablespoonful of ghee. Drain the water and add in soaked rice to this and fry lightly for about 3-4 minutes. Add in 2 portions liquid to every portion of rice. Add salt to taste. I use a rice cooker to cook my rice and in 20 minutes, the rice is perfectly done. Alternatively, you could use a heavy steel utensil and let the rice simmer for 20 minutes covered without disturbing it. Turn off the flame, keep it covered for sometime and use a fork to gently swirl the rice. Handle the rice gently, garnish with chopped coriander if required and serve hot.
Moong ki Dal
1 cup Moong dal
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 tsp hing
1 tsp jeera / cumin powder
1 tsp coriander / dhania powder
1 tsp fenugreek / methi powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Cook one cup moong dal in three cups of water till mushy. Add turmeric to this for faster cooking. Once the dal is cooked well, add in salt to taste.
Prepare the tempering for the dal. Heat some ghee in a wok/pan and add in the dry masalas mentioned above. Fry for a quick 30 seconds till the spices turn aromatic. Do not let them burn. Add this to the prepared dal and garnish with coriander leaves and lime if preferred. Serve hot with rice.
Grilled Pudina Paneer
200 gm Paneer (Cottage cheese)
1 tbsp Tomato chilli sauce
Handful of fresh mint leaves
1 tsp cornflour
In a wide bowl, crush handful of fresh mint leaves in tomato chilli sauce along with a teaspoon on cornflour. Add cubes of diced paneer to the prepared sauce and allow it marinate for a few minutes. Drizzle a little oil over the marinated cubes and grill it for 10-12 minutes or till they brown. Flip the cubes and grill the side to golden brown. If you don't have a grill pan/oven, you may use the regular tava to do this. Serve hot with Jeera Chawal and Moong ki Dal.