It was Tour Downunder here a couple of weeks ago and Lance Armstrong was making his comeback. The final stage of the race was at the corner of my street, and it was a lot of fun to watch and be involved. It was very much a picnic type atmosphere – people with their wines and cheeses, chairs in the shade, bare chests (the men) and thongs (shoe wear – flipflops – not underwear, silly!).
I watched the race until the last 10 laps or so, then trotted home and watched the finish on TV. Fantastic! I took more photos than I care to mention.
Ok, back to food. A couple of things coincided for me this week. You know how it goes, unrelated things come together, arranged by the universe somehow, and the results are good.
I have needed new saucepans for a few years now. After a border that stayed with me for 2.5 years – a student from overseas. Bless her soul, she was fresh from the cosseted mother-managed life at home and did not know about such things as costs of phone calls or care of Very Expensive saucepans. However, my saucepans, rough around the edges though they had become, continued to serve me well, and although I salivated over various saucepans in the shops, I decided again and again to delay. However, this week they were 30% reduced. I could wait no longer.
Also this week I decided that I could no longer do without smoothies at home and purchased a blender after living without one for over a decade. In fact, the only blending type equipment I have had for quite a while is a hand held immersion blender. It was quite enough for most things, but does not make smoothies or crush ice. Yay! Now I can do both.
Quite unrelated to this, I was stressing over the number of cookbooks that I have and how I need to get rid of dozens some. Some are not much use now that I am vegetarian or because the little ones in my family live interstate and overseas so there is not such a call for cupcakes and train-shaped birthday cakes. But you know, I have an emotional attachment to them. They are for me like photo albums are for other people.
So it was as I saw a book in my cupboard and said, now definitely THAT one can go out. Passed on to me by my fried Nachi as he left to return to India. “A Guide to Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking and a Karma Free Diet”. Krishna Consciousness Book. It is a small paperback sort of book, few pictures, looking more like a novel than a cookbook. Half of it talks about vegetarianism, its role and our benefits not only saving the lives of animals by not eating them but also from not putting meat through our digestive system. All good reading.
The recipes themselves are diverse, from Chinese in style to Italian, from cheesecake to curry. Then I found it – a simple dal, quick and easy – a recipe to test drive my new saucepans even though it was 11pm.
Oh my goodness, this is so tasty, like most of the recipes of the ISKCON, unexpectedly tasty. The book is retrieved from the “give away” pile, and I am relieved, because it was given to me by a good friend. Hello Nachi. Happy birthday!
I have also made some Peppers cooked in Oil Italian Style, and some wonderful steelcut oats for breakfast this morning (even though it is mid summer here).
Oh and yes, I have been making smoothies, almond milk, crushed ice, and watermelon juice frappes in my blender, and planning many more things!
Easy ISKCON Mung Dal
Source : inspired by The Higher Taste: A Guide to Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking and a Karma-Free Diet
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 60 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
1 cup Yellow Mung Dal
7 cups water
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 zucchini, less if large. Peel them if they are older and the skin is tough. Otherwise, no need to peel.
5 Tblspn ghee
1.5 Tblspn ginger, minced
1 green chilli, diced small or minced
0.25 tspn hing (asaephotida powder)
1.5 tspn turmeric
2 – 3 tspn salt (the recipe says “1 Tblspn”, which sounds a lot. Interpret this as “salt to taste – it might take a little more salt than you would normally use.”
fresh coriander or other green fleshy herbs for garnish
1.5 Tblspn Cumin Seeds
1 Tblspn Black Mustard Seeds
In a large saucepan place 3 Tblspn of ghee, the turmeric, asaephotida powder, and mung beans. Fry for 30 seconds on medium heat, and add the vegetables. Fry for 1 minute more.
Add the water, salt, fresh chilli and diced ginger. Bring to the boil and then cover, lower the heat and let the dal simmer for 1 hour until the beans have dissolved into a thick soup.
In a small skillet add the remaining ghee. When hot, add the cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, wait some seconds to allow the mustard seeds to pop and pour the mixture into the pot of dal. Stir through, garnish with herbs and serve hot.
The Mung/Moong Dal Series