September 23, 2016

Weekend get together | an Update on Social Media Detox | Three Lentil Dal Recipe

Today I have so much to say and much to share with you all. This post is long (with lots of photographs) when compared to my other blogposts. If you are short of time and came here only for the three lentil dal recipe, then scroll down to the end of the post. :-)

Everyone has a wish list. Right? I have one too and am delighted to cross off one thing right now,  as I type this post - to leisurely sip a cup of hot beverage and write in a coffee shop. And what makes this experience even better is I get to do this on my birthday (which is today) and the Cafe Latte I am sipping is free. Thanks Starbucks!.

I can't believe that it has been exactly 23 days since I logged off my social media handles. When I started this 30 day social media detox, I really thought there was a good chance where I would crumble and give in. I am so proud of myself that I didn't (except for once when I couldn't contain the excitement and had to check out my best friend's new Instagram profile.)

I will not lie. It was grueling in the first few days. I could feel the urge to just take a quick peek into my FB timeline to see what's everyone up to. But, there was no means as I deleted the apps from my phone and blocked them on my laptop using BlockSite. I bravely fought the urge with determination and by the end of Week 1 I felt a sense of relief and freedom. I could do this. I thought to myself. I really can.

Then Week 2 rolled in. The days flew by with lots of work at office and with much anticipation at home front. I had invited my best pal - DK (of Chef In You) and her family for a Saturday lunch and all I could think of was to plan the menu and clean the house. Look at the picture below. It has been months since our apartment look this beautiful. Also, I feel obliged to say that right now, the same sofa is no way near this perfect and is covered with a heap of freshly laundered clothes that are to be folded asap. Sigh!

I kept the menu pretty simple. Chole, for DK's little kiddo H with absolutely no chilli powder. Fresh rotis were bought from a nearby Indian store and rice was a simply flavored with toasted cumin seeds and coriander.

I had a batch of sprouts ready to go. So, I tossed them with yellow bell pepper, cucumber, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 'Yogurt is a must', DK said to me, so I made a raita with sautéed bell pepper, onion, tomato, salt and coriander leaves.

Oh! I forgot about the desert. Store bought, colorful mini rasgullas. Tee-hee!

Early Saturday morning, when I was about to start my cooking it suddenly dawned on me that my kitchen is fit for every day cooking (more like a survivor kitchen) and not equipped well for any kind get togethers - big or small. All I had was cute little blog props and tons of glass/plastic storage boxes. LOL! To set the expectations right and hoping the food would compensate for the lack of pretty serving bowls, I shared the funny incident with DK. I didn't in my wildest dreams expect she would actually gift me an entire set of serving bowls. We were astounded at her thoughtful gesture. Good friends quietly do the unexpected and pleasantly make your life better. Isn't it? With Scooby-Doo playing on full volume in the background, the weekend lunch with DK turned out to be simply amazing and memorable. 

Then Week 3 of September rolled in and surprisingly the urge to check social media completely died down. I was spending my time much more wisely and doing things that really matter. For the first time, I finished reading 30 books before the year ended, did two Zentangle tiles and took copious notes on how to freeze Indian food. With a 3 hour commute to work, I think freezer cooking will turn out to be a time-saver. As a starter, I made double portions of Dal Makhani (without any diary), cooled it completely, portioned into containers, labeled with today's date and shoved them into my freezer. I will keep you posted on how my adventures of freezer meals goes.

One more week and then I am done with my social media detox challenge. All in all so far, it made me realize how important it is to safeguard our personal space and save the little energy we have daily to expend. Yes, social media keeps our lives interesting, but it is not healthy when it starts to rule the very same lives. I won't be completely quitting social media but I will definitely be more mindful of the amount time I spend on it. From October, I am contemplating on being active only on weekends and see how it goes.

Along with Chole, here is one more dish I made for DK's get together. A simple three lentil dal. Enjoy!

Three Lentil Dal Recipe

Category: Side dishes - Legumes
Time: 30 mins (+ optional 20 mins soaking time for dals)
Serves: 4


1/2 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
1/3 cup yellow moong dal
1/3 cup chana dal (split bengal gram)
about 3 cups of water

For spice paste:

2 green chillies
1 tsp ginger garlic paste (or use fresh ginger/garlic)
a handful of fresh coriander leaves
1 tomato, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt - as needed
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp amchur (dry mango) powder (optional)

For tempering:

1 tbsp oil or ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 dry red chilli, broken into two
a pinch of asafetida (hing)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)

For garnish: chopped coriander leaves and fresh lemon juice


If you have time, soak the washed dals together for 20 minutes. Then pressure cook them with water for 2-3 whistles or until a mushy consistency. Allow the pressure to release naturally and mash with the back of a ladle and set aside. The dal can also be cooked on a stove top on a medium heat. Make sure to occasionally remove the foam that forms on the top while cooking.

Meanwhile, grind the ingredients listed under spice paste: tomatoes + green chillies + ginger garlic paste + coriander leaves + turmeric + salt + garam masala + amchur powder (if using). No water is needed as the moisture from tomatoes is enough to form a smooth paste.

Heat ghee or oil in a pan. Once it is hot, reduce the flame to low and add mustard seeds. Then add cumin seeds, red chillies and asafetida. Give it a light stir and once they start to pop, add the tomato spice paste. Mix, cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes, (on a medium-low heat) until the tomato turns glossy and oil starts to separate from the edges. Slowly, tip the cooked dal into this mixture and give it a good mix. Adjust salt and optionally add some red chilli powder if you'd like. Cook for about 3 to 4 mins on a low flame.

Turn off heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and lemon juice. Serve as a side dish for warm rotis or flavored rice. Or adjust to a thinner consistency with water or stock and serve as soup with some bread.

Did you like this recipe? Are you craving for more? Keep in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for updates on books I read, artwork, future blog posts and much more. You can also Subscribe to Cooking With Siri feed for automatic notifications and if you are looking for some inspiration, check out Cooking With Siri Recipe Index which has more than 500 recipes, neatly categorized. Happy Cooking!

until next recipe,

1 comment :

  1. Congrats, Siri, on having kept away from the social media trap. It is very addictive and now, the spell is broken.
    That daal looks so good! The thick daal would go well even with crusty bread.
    Your sofa and mine are similar in the clutter aspect, except mine has school papers, legos, crayons, goldfish etc. on it. My husband just 'swoops' it all on one end and plonks on the sofa. Son does the same. Earlier I used to get mad, now I just pick up a book and retire to the bedroom, your mess, clean it or leave it. If you leave it, I trash it. Peace of mind!
    The yellow bowls look so cheerful. What a lovely gesture!


'Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it' ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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