Tabbouleh ~ Middle Eastern Parsley Salad

  This month, being Ramadan, for the MENA Cooking Challenge, we were given a free reign. We were asked to choose any recipe that is normally cooked during this holy month in the MENA region. The first thing that came into my mind was salad – and of course, what better than Tabbouleh!   One good thing about this region is the incorporation of a routine of soup and salad into their daily eating habits. You will see that before every meal, even in restaurants, a small serving of soup and salad is always provided. It is a mandatory part of their eating habit, unlike our Indian style of mostly having only onions as salad and never any soup! I have tried hard this Ramadan to introduce a soup and salad routine, but barring from a day or two, I wasn’t really successful, thanks to the heat in the kitchen… 

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Kaala Chana Chaat ~ Black Chickpeas Chaat

  HD has this annoying habit of bringing in fried snacks from the nearby restaurant just before Iftar time. His intention is good – to give me relief from having to make something for tea time. But normally, I never do unless there is a request from the girls for something. They are not too much into fried snacks, and their liking is very limited to a small variety. When he buys, he brings in quite a lot and you end up over eating without even realizing it. 😕 The only thing I used to like of what he brings was this simple Kala Chana Chaat, which I now end up making it at home when I crave for it. This year, after so much coaxing, he has almost stopped bringing in snacks – such a relief! – though a couple of times he decided he must get some. 😀  … 

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Patates Lemonate ~ Greek Lemon Potatoes

  Potatoes, being my personal favorite vegetable had to be my next choice for the third recipe – Greek White Bean Soup and Greek Pancakes being the other two – under the theme “Flavors of Greece” in the Blogging Marathon #76. You might be wondering why I did not choose any non-vegetarian dishes to make for Greece. In fact, they have a plethora of lip-smacking non-vegetarian fare especially with meat. However, respecting the general participants of the marathon group who happen to be majority vegetarian, we simply opt out of doing it. Also, it became an excuse for me to be making more vegetarian fare at home. I am trying to restrict our intake of poultry and meat to two days per week and somehow, I am getting some acceptance for it at home. 🙂     The main star of this potato bake is definitely the lemon. My folks… 

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Lefki Fasolada ~ Greek White Bean Soup

  Starting the next round of the Blogging Marathon #76… This time, I chose to explore Greek cuisine, under the theme “Flavors of Greece”. The only Greek recipe I have is an obvious Greek Salad! If you go through their food, the flavors are so similar to the Mediterranean cuisine that I was very sure I would have an accepting bunch at home for the food that I would cook from this cuisine. Considering my lack of time as I mentioned in this post, I decided to go for some very easy recipes to try. My pins kept growing since there were quite a lot of simple and straightforward recipes in this cuisine. Do search around for yourself for some amazing ideas!   The first recipe I chose to cook was this flavorful white bean soup, which I adapted from here. As I ran through the ingredients, I was wondering… 

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Salata Hara ~ Arabic Spicy Tomato Dip

  Many of us are fond of pickles, in some way or the other. I am not a pickle fan, though I have a little while eating biriyani. Hehe… If you buy rice from the Arab restaurants here, it comes with a runny and spicy tomato relish along with it. Since the rice is normally bland without much spices, this sauce gives it a nice kick. I never knew what it was called and thankfully, blogging has taught me its name.   “Salata Hara” literally means “hot salad”. But actually speaking from Indian tongue perspective, it isn’t really hot. It is mildly spiced but so flavorful that it can give a plain dish a much given boost. What more, it is no-cook! All you need to do is to blend all ingredients and store it up for the flavors to mingle. The main base of this relish is tomatoes, though… 

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Musaara Varakiyathu ~ Malabar Wheat and Bengal Gram Pudding

  The Muslim Food Blogger’s Challenge is 6 months old! Alhamdulillah… it feels great to be going on. The group maybe small but we have a really enthusiastic bunch, that keeps the challenge alive. I am sure you will all agree that enthusiasm and interest is what drives everything ahead, and I thank Him for this little bunch of bloggers who make my life so easier to go on… 🙂   This month, we reverted back to trying from a blog and we chose to cook from “Shab’s Cuisine“. This blog is one of them that I started following when the cooking bug hit me around 7 years ago – yes, my cooking passion is pretty young, you see! 😉 I totally love her blog since she had some very simple recipes plus her blog was a treasure of Malabar recipes. I guess I don’t need to mention the amazing… 

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Gulab Jamun Cheesecake Shots

  As the email from Srivalli came at the end of March, regarding participation for Blogging Marathon #76 for the month of May, I looked through excitedly and selected my themes. Once I confirmed to her, and got to planning how I go about cooking the dishes, a rude shock awaited me. I soon realized that I had hardly 16 days to finish cooking the dishes instead of more than a month, since we were having guests staying over at our house for a month and I wouldn’t be able to do too much of experimenting. You all know how it is when you have guests – you will have to stick to more routine cooking and do out-of-the-box only when they are willing to try. The first set of dates I selected, ie. from today to fifth would coincide with their stay. The second set of dates is immediately… 

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Simple Quinoa Salad

  It is the month end and time for the Shh Cooking Secretly Challenge! This challenge was initiated by Priyaakka and then moved on to be managed by Mayuriji. I must say that she is doing a good job keeping everyone motivated to participate in the challenges, even though the group is small.   This month, the theme is “cool salads” since it is summer in almost everywhere in the world. I am teamed with Priya Satheesh (there are too many Priyas in the bloggy world! 😀 ). I admire her for all the innovative combinations that she comes up with, for almost all her recipes. This is the second time I am teamed with her, the last time being when I made the potato frittata.     The two ingredients she gave me was avocado and tomato. I was fine with the tomato but avocado always gives me nervous… 

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Semolina Mango Cake

  I hope you enjoyed the Mango Custard Verrines and Aamras posts in this month’s 3-back-to-back mango recipes. I have been wanting to bake with semolina since long but never got around it. My first attempt at making the basbousa, which is an Arab style semolina cake soaked in sugar syrup, was a dud, and I never got to making it again. Even though I have bookmarked several recipes that use up semolina, I have still kept it pending. There is so much that I am cooking and trying so some things do go off to the end of the list. 🙂   I made this cake to finish off a can of mango pulp that I had got at a deal. My mind went loitering at all options like ice cream and pudding but then I remembered the semolina mango cake recipe I had saved up very long ago…. 

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Kettle Popcorn

  I am trying to remember when did I get the idea of “kettle popcorn”. I just don’t remember… seriously! Kettle popcorn is nothing but popcorn with a slight sweetness. It isn’t caramel popcorn, yet not just the normal popcorn. This popcorn seems to have originated from the US, you can read a little bit on Wikipedia but more than that, I don’t know. 😀 I am still wondering about its name. It isn’t made in a kettle, yet, why is it called so? Hehe…   The process is just like normal popcorn, just that you add some sugar, which melts and covers over the popcorn giving it a slight sweetness. The sugar actually becomes one reason why you have to be extra careful while popping it, since there are high chances of the sugar getting burned. So do trust your ears and nose while making this popcorn! 😉 Just… 

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Aash-mal-Zaffran ~ Emirati Saffron Rice

  I have been wanting to post more Emirati recipes but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I had initially planned at doing one recipe per month, but things are not going as per plan. I try to keep a healthy mix of all kinds of recipes on the blog, and Alhamdulillah, I feel I am doing a fair enough job. 🙂 I am actually happy with it, since I don’t want to feel any pressure regarding concentrating on one cuisine, especially when you have to be extra careful as to how your folks would react to different flavors. 🙂  But, yes, this year, I have been trying to keep a tap on cooking more local recipes and I am sure I will be able to keep recording them at a good enough pace rather than keep them waiting. 😉   Today, I am sharing a very simple recipe but… 

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Aloo Paratha ~ Potato Stuffed Flatbread

  Most of the times, when I am at office, I order aloo paratha for breakfast. We have a little shop just across the street, that sells some amazing parathas. If we need to get the aloo parathas, we need to order them quite early or else we end up getting a gobhi (cauliflower) paratha or mooli (radish) paratha in its name. 😀   I have tried many versions of this favorite stuffed flatbread. However, once I tried this version, I have never gone to try any other recipe. The masala filling is so easy to make. The crushed spices give it a nice intermittent bites, that add to the taste of the parathas. I like it nice and simple, just with some yogurt to dunk in and some pickle. The best thing about this bread is that you don’t need any side to go with it. It is apt… 

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Cheera Upperi ~ Amaranth Stir Fry

  Moving to the final recipe for the Blogging Marathon #74 under the theme “Quick and Easy Stir fries”, I chose to post this super simple yet goodness loaded amaranth leaves stir fry aka “Cheera Upperi”.   I have always said that I feel blessed to stay in a country like UAE where you get abundant supply of produce any time of the year. Umma would wait to come here to have her share of amaranth leaves. Amaranth is said to be power house of iron and is have a lot of vitamins and minerals in it. Back home, she says that the leaves are so heavily sprayed with pesticides that you can’t eat them at all. Attempts to grow them in our backyard have been futile too. D is trying his best to turn the barren land around our house into a little patio. So far, he has had… 

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Vendakka Upperi ~ Ladyfinger Stir Fry

    In yesterday’s post, I explained the difference between an “upperi” and a “thoran”. While yesterday’s was a thoran, today’s is an upperi – a quick, simple stir fry of ladyfinger without any coconut. This is the second of the three back to back recipes, as a part of the Blogging Marathon #74, under the theme “Quick and Easy Stir Fries”.   The slimy ladyfinger is always a pain to cook. If there is a little water in it, it spoils up the entire appearance of the dish. What I normally do is wash the ladyfinger in warm water and then spread it out on a kitchen towel or handtowel. Once most of the water is drained, I wipe off each one of them individually. Yes, it is a lot of work, but you will thank yourself for doing it. 😀 Then I get to cutting it. This vegetable… 

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Achinga Payar Thoran ~ String Beans Stir Fry

  We are a family who loves stir fries. And I would say, Alhamdulillah for that. All the folks needs with rice is some simple curry to go with it and loads of “upperi”, as we call it.  When umma was here, she used to make lunch and she would ask D to cut the vegetables for making the stir fry, since a minimum of a kg would be required to be made and still it wouldn’t be enough. 😀 The girls don’t even need fish but they would eat their rice well if they have a vegetable stir fry by the side. Usually it is beetroot, carrot or cabbage and for me, it’s always got to be french beans!   In Malayalam terminology, “upperi” or “mezhukupuratti”, simply means stir fried vegetables in some oil, with minimal seasoning. It may or may not include coconut. But when you say “thoran”,… 

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