Monday, October 20, 2014

Recipe: Spinach Dal

Spinach Dal is one of the healthiest recipes to come out of the Indian subcontinent. This dish is packed with superfoods like spinach, lentils, onions, tomatoes, and has minimal oil. I like to use Moong Dal because it has a more hearty flavour that parallels the spinach. We make this dish at least twice per week! It goes with absolutely everything.

Madh Mama's Spinach Dal

Serves 4-6 people


- 1 cup Moong Dal
- 1 onion
- 2 tomatoes
- 1.5 cups spinach
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder 
- 1 tsp salt

For tempering:
- 2 tbsp oil (sunflower or peanut oil)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- pinch of asefoetida

- pressure cooker
- small omelette pan


Wash the dal and drain it.

Chop the onions and tomatoes.

Add the dal, onions, tomatoes, spinach, ginger paste, chilli powder (1/4 tsp), turmeric, and 3.5 cups of water into the pressure cooker.

Put the pressure cooker on the stove and switch it up to medium-high heat. Wait until the pressure cooker gives 5 LONG whistles and then take it off the heat and let it cool down for 20 minutes.

Then, take the lid off the pressure cooker, stir, and place on medium heat and bring it to a boil. Add salt.

You can add up to 2 cups of water at this point, if you would like the dal more watery.

Mash the boiling dal every few minutes, for a total of 10 minutes.

For the tempering, put oil in the omelette pan on medium heat.

Put the cumin in the oil and when it starts to brown, add the garlic paste and stir. Be very careful not to burn the garlic. 

Take the omelette pan OFF the heat and add the chilli powder (1/4 tsp), asefoetida, and garam masala and stir it in.

Then, pour this mixture into the boiling dal and give it a big stir.  

And voila!

 Spinach Dal can be eaten as a soup, or with rice/roti and it goes with any vegetable side dish (such as Aloo Jeera or Carrots Poriyal).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Finished Vishnu Tattoo sleeve

Husband-ji recently had his second sitting with his tattoo artist to finish his left arm sleeve of Vishnu. 

Usually with large tattoo sleeves, you have to get it done in two sittings. The first sitting was 6 hours long, and husband-ji was in so much pain. The second sitting took another 6 hours, but it wasn't so painful for him because his pain tolerance was increased. Now it is finished (for the time being...) and it really looks fantastic. It is so detailed and intricate.

I took Maya to see him getting it done and she was absolutely fascinated. She was peering through this little window like a Peeping Tom!

Husband-ji can't wait to show it off on our next upcoming trip to India!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Last weekend we had Canadian Thanksgiving, and we were so happy to have the long weekend off work. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the second weekend of October, which is different than the Americans who celebrate it at the end of November. (See, we ARE different!)

It was really nice to have two whole days off work to spend as a family. But, as usual - we had a dilemma. Since we had the time off, I wanted us to do some seasonal family things like: a) take Maya to the Halloween ghost train ride, and b) take Maya to the pumpkin patch. Of course, husband-ji, the grumpy grandfather, wanted only "to relax" (aka watch TV for the whole weekend...snore!). We ended up compromising (yet again) by going to the Ghost Train on one day, and relaxing the next day. A win-win!

This year, the theme of the Stanley Park Ghost Train was "Mother Goose's Ghastly Garden", which was a haunted version of classic nursery rhymes. Maya loved it because she understood the songs she sings all the time. I thought it was actually quite scary, having Little Bo Peep randomly come up to the train screaming bloody murder. I think if it was dark out, I would have been totally creeped out! Maya didn't think it was scary at all, thank god! 

The next day, it ended up pouring torrential rain, so we didn't have a chance to go to the Pumpkin Patch. But I am totally going to drag husband-ji at the next available weekend! Husband-ji got a chance to catch up on his rest and also watch the Indiana Jones marathon on TV. For Thanksgiving dinner, we visited my aunt's house and had a delicious turkey dinner. As usual, poor husband-ji had boiled cauliflower and mashed potatoes!

It was a lovely long weekend and I'm glad we got the chance to spend it together. Now I am back on the daily grind of tiffin lunches...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The tiffin lunch project

Husband-ji has been very stressed in the past few months with work and has totally fallen off the wagon health-wise. Now that he is back home, I have had to help him with his health and eating habits, like a good Indian wifey...

Although husband-ji is skinny and slim, he never exercises and he doesn't eat very well. He doesn't eat breakfast, and he only eats a bag of chips at work for lunch (if he makes the time!!!) His day is non-stop, until he comes home like a big grumpy bear. Or "grump ass old man", as I affectionately like to call him! Not only that, but he is a picky eater. And he has MOODS. There are only certain fruit and vegetables that he will eat at certain times. And he cannot plan ahead. Basically, his eating habits are a total nightmare.

He came back from his business trips like a total mess, having had "too much outside food" all month. So, I made my personal mission to encourage him to eat better and more regularly. With some coaxing, he agreed to work on his health and that he will take a nice lunch to work and eat it.

To make it even more Indian home-style, I got him a 2 tiered tiffin lunchbox to take to work. Then, I asked husband-ji to go online and pin some recipes to my Pinterest. He then pinned 5 million different things that I have no idea how to cook, like Radish Sambhar and Dal Makhani (which takes 9 hours to make). 

What the heck. Total DIVA pampered prince!!!

Since he has been back, I have been back in the kitchen whipping up some magical stuff - I have been trying out a lot of different basic dal recipes that husband-ji has been going crazy over. The pressure cooker - previously the insane hissing snake with rabies - has become my tamed pet snake who hisses on command!

I have been filling the tiffin box with rice and leftover dal so he can have a hearty lunch. I must say, my inlaws are seriously impressed! I have promoted my Indian wife status by one point! And husband-ji looks so cute going out the door with his little shiny lunchbox. It makes me feel good to know that he is eating his lunch and then he won't come home so grumpy.

Of course, in India, the tiffin boxes are usually 4 tiered. They will fill each box with rice, a dal/liquid, 2-3 roti, and a curry. So, I am really just a novice with our tiffin box being 2 tiered. But I am getting there!

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