Daily Archives: October 10, 2008

Tomato and Basil Soup

We had soup for dinner this evening, because Noor has developed a cold.

I had picked up a large bunch of fresh basil yesterday because I wanted to use some for the soup today; they say this herb is beneficial when one has a cold.

It also, of course, adds the most amazing taste and aroma. Indira sniffed at her bowl as she sat down to eat and said “Ummm…I know, this has basil !!”

With french fries on the side, I had two content little faces at the table

tonight 🙂

Tomato and Basil Soup

3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 medium sized carrots, diced fine (optional)

1 large clove of garlic,roughly chopped

1 large leek, tough part cut off, and chopped fine

3 tbsp olive oil

salt to taste

1/2 of a large bunch of basil leaves, washed thoroughly

In a pressure cooker or a large casserole, warm the olive oil on a low heat and add the leek and garlic. Cover and cook till the leek is soft. Add the carrots if you are using them, cover again and cook for 6-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the salt, and cook till the tomatoes start to break down. Add 2-3 cups of water, and cook everything together till all the vegetables are very soft.

When the contents of the cooker/casserole have cooled a little bit, add the basil leaves and blend everything together. Strain the soup through a sieve. If the soup seems too thick, add some boiled water and then let the soup simmer again for a few minutes.

You could add the basil a little bit at a time while blending the vegetables; this way you could decide how much of its flavor you are happy with.

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Filed under Soups

Daal with vegetables

This is a recipe that evolved from the daals and khichris I used to cook for the girls when they were babies.

The format was usually the same – a couple of vegetables (one green, the other red or yellow) fried with some onion,garlic, sometimes ginger, and tomato, and then cooked together with one of the yellow daals. For a khichri I added rice to that combination.

Of the various combinations I cooked together then, the one I have continued to make over the years is of red lentils (masoor) cooked with spinach and squash/pumpkin.

This is one the girls eat without demur, and the leftover portion is very useful for making dough for puris and paranthas that are full of taste.

I also like the idea that I don’t have to cook a subzi separately, when I cook this daal for a meal,since there is a decent amount of vegetables in the daal.  So yesterday, when I made this daal for dinner, I made only some plain rice and peanut raita to go with it.

Daal with Vegetables

1 cup of masoor (red lentils), washed, and soaked for an hour or two

75-100 gms of very finely chopped fresh or frozen spinach

100-150 gms of finely diced pumpkin/butternut squash (or 2 medium sized carrots)

1 large tomato, finely chopped

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated

1/2 tsp of cumin seeds

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

1/2 tsp of coriander powder

1/2 tsp of garam masala (optional)

salt to taste

3 tbsp of sunflower oil

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil, add the cumin seeds, and fry the onion till it starts to turn a golden color. Add the garlic and the pumkpin, and fry till the onions start to turn brown and pumpkin starts to look quite soft.

Add the tomatoes, and fry till they are soft. Now add the spices, and fry for a couple of seconds.

Add the spinach and the salt, and fry for 3-4 minutes. Now add the daal, 3-4 cups of water, mix everything thoroughly and pressure cook  for 7-8 minutes, or till the vegetables are quite soft.

Add a little boiled water to thin the daal, if it seems to thick, and a tsp of ghee for flavor, if you like.

If you plan to make puris or paranthas with the leftover portion, do thicken the daal over heat first, else you’ll end up using too much flour to knead the dough.

let me know if you try/like this, since this recipe is truly my own 🙂

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Filed under Daals, Easy One Pot Cooking

Why,why are we like this?

While browsing the Times of India this morning I came across this story:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Jaipur_Woman_thrashed_for_witchcraft/articleshow/3578363.cmsIt is the story of a woman in a  village of Rajasthan who was accused of being a witch and bringing about two deaths in another family. The village panchayat apparently then insisted that she dip her hand in a vessel of boiling oil to try to take out a coin at the bottom of it. This, it seems, is a a common method of establishing the fact of a woman being a witch, or not.

This is something that is just beyond my comprehension, that people would do this to another human being.

As a woman, this makes me rage. As an Indian, it makes me feel ashamed. For all our success in industry, as a people it sometimes feels as if we still live in a more primitive age…

Problems like these are not limited to villages. Delhi, our capital city, was voted the most unsafe city of all in India in a recent industry survey, by women employed in industries that require them to work night shifts. Bangalore, our answer to Silicon valley, has the dubious distinction of being not far behind in that statistic, according to this survey.

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Delhi-most-unsafe-for-women-working-at-night-Survey/371368/

While the industry body has recommended that the companies in these industries should make the necessary security arrangements for their women employees, and steps such as making mandatory the installation of GPS units in cabs, none of this will address the basic issue. Which to my mind, is that as a civil society we seem to lack the respect for women that would allow them to feel secure outside their homes.

Go to work, yes, but at your own peril…

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Filed under NOT ABOUT FOOD