Tag: comfort (page 2 of 3)

A Hefty Dose of Protein, Greens on the Side: Spinach and Moong Dal

Here is an adaptation of a recipe that I found in Madhur Jaffrey’s memoir Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India. Madhur Jaffrey’s version is more feisty with its inclusion of chickpea flour, green chillies and onion. I kept mine simpler. Also her version called for cooking the greens in the pressure cooker. I opted to chop them and add to the dal when it was boiling.

Spinach and Moong Dal

Ingredients (makes a meal for two when eaten with rice)
2/3 cup green moong
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 – 3 dashes of asafoetida (hing)
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 small bunch of fresh spinach, chopped fine
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5 – 6 slivers of fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ghee
2 – 3 squeezes of lime juice


Cook the moong with twice the quantity of water in the pressure cooker.

After cooked, open the lid of the pressure cooker. Add water to the cooked moong dal, bring to a slight boil.

Add the chopped spinach to the boiling moong dal.

Add salt to taste. Reduce the heat. Let it simmer.

In a small frying pan, warm ghee. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric, ginger and fenugreek seeds. When the seeds are brownish-red in color, add the dried fenugreek leaves.

Take off the heat. Add the ghee-spice mixture to the dal.

Turn off the heat.

Add a couple of squeezes of lime juice.

Serve with steaming brown basmati rice and a side of lime pickle… Yum!

A Steaming Bowl of Rasam

A steaming bowl of tomato-n-pepper rasam hits the spot on a cold winter day. It opens the sinuses, clears the nasal passage and throat, fires up the taste buds and creates a feeling of bonhomie that is so vital on a blustery and grey day in January. And my Mom’s recipe… A-ha, it is THE BEST. It is sweet and tangy, spicy (or mild) and piquant, verdant and attractive. Are you sold yet? No? Well, take a look.



Here is the recipe.

1/4 cup toor dal
1 large tomato, chopped into chunks
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon rasam powder (I use a local brand Madurai Foods. You can find many brands at your local Indian store)
freshly ground black pepper
Jaggery (to taste)
salt (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ghee (or less, if you prefer)


  • Wash the dal, cleaning it of dust, stones, etc. Place in a pressure cooker vessel with 1/2 cup of water.
  • In another pressure cooker vessel, place chopped tomatoes, turmeric, rasam powder, pepper, jaggery, salt, 1/4 teaspoon ghee and 1/2 cup water.
  • Place both vessels in the pressure cooker. Cook for two whistles.
  • Take out the vessel with the dal. Mash well so as to get a smooth liquid consistency. Pour into a cooking utensil.
  • Add the tomato mixture to the mashed dal. Stir.
  • Add a couple of cups of water. Bring to a boil.
  • In a little pan, warm 1/4 teaspoon of ghee. Add black mustard seeds. When the seeds begin spluttering, add cumin seeds. Wait until the cumin turns red-brown. Turn off the heat. Add the mix to the rasam.
  • Check for salt.
  • Finish with a squeeze of lime. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Top with a little (or large) dollop of ghee if you like.

Rasam can be enjoyed as a soup by itself or eaten with steaming white/brown rice. No matter what your choice, belly-warming deliciousness, a runny nose and a feeling of ‘all is well with the world’ are guaranteed!

A Cozy Afternoon at Roswell Tea House

A Thursday afternoon found me driving to Roswell Tea House (and losing my way multiple times en route, thanks to a mysterious and invisible street called Old Coleman Rd) to meet with R and her sister. I fell in love with the space instantly. Resembling a home converted into a little cafe, Roswell Tea House has a cozy presence, one that invites you to kick off your shoes, lean back into your chair and yawn languorously.

Roswell Tea House

Roswell Tea House

I perused the menu closely and decided to pick a bowl of the organic Carrot Ginger Soup and the Thai Coconut Rice Bowl with spinach, lentils and edamame. R and her sister opted to share the Vol-Au-Vent and an order of the Carrot Ginger Soup.

The food came quick. The Carrot Ginger Soup was a little too sharp for my taste. I wished that it had some sweet notes to round off the piquant ginger. The Thai Coconut Rice Bowl was a creamy delight featuring jasmine rice, coconut cream, lentils, spinach and edamame. The chef was a little too liberal with the edamame, I thought. Can’t recall tasting the lentils, or maybe I just don’t remember so well now. The rice bowl was perfectly portioned; a little larger and I would have had to ask for a to-go box.

Thai Rice Bowl/Carrot Ginger Soup

Thai Rice Bowl/Carrot Ginger Soup

Couldn’t pass up dessert, could we? After much deliberation, we opted to share the Belgian Chocolate Fondue with Summer Fruit and the Lavender Creme Brulee. That little bowl of chocolate packed a rich and decadent punch… gasp! Three of us put together were no match for its chocolate “strength” and we had to regretfully let the half-full bowl go… Sigh. The Lavender Creme Brulee was exquisite but I think we couldn’t clean up that serving either. No vegan desserts on the menu although there are a few with “GF” next to them. In fact, there is just one other vegetarian item on the menu. Hope that changes soon.



Roswell Tea House
108 Magnolia Street, Historic Roswell GA 30075


My feet are cold…

As determined as I am to not transform my journal (doesn't that sound a lot fancier than 'blog?') into a 'this-is-what-I-had-for-breakfast' and 'here-is-how-my-weekend-turned-out' kind of a place, the subject line has the exact same feeling to it. But yes, my feet are cold. I am wearing socks, yes. I think I should wear knee-length socks.

Inane, inane, inane!

You know that feeling of near-feverishness that plagues the mind and fingers, so they race in tandem through webpages, over the keyboard, typing out comments, dashing off emails, sending messages on Google Talk… and then I wonder – why was I in such a tearing hurry? There was no fire burning, no emergency. Yet, this hurry to get done with "stuff" was so tangible that I hardly sipped water this morning. Or paused for a break. It almost seems like I held my breath for the last three hours. Yes, I possibly did that. No wonder I feel so suffocated and cold, gasping.

Friday holds the promise of a fun-filled weekend, days of freedom and frolicking with friends and their little ones. Baah, I feel so drained this morning that only a warm cup of tea can revive me. That, and 'La's Orchestra Saves the World' by Alexander McCall Smith. I am turning into a grandmother at the ripe old age of 33. Warm socks, cups of tea, gentle books penned by gentle authors…