Sometimes plans don’t go according to, um, plan.
I wanted to post something festive today. In time for Eid. Right before I slipped away.
But, alas. With all the happenings behind the screen, it’s been a bit difficult even to get on to my notebook. Even more so, I was feeling kinda restless at the thought of leaving without a word. Luckily, I have a few recipes in my draft. After much second… er, third, no-no, fourth thoughts, I decided to share this light and refreshing salad instead of a biryani recipe, as planned.
It’s been quite an eventful time since my last post. Just in case you were wondering, it was my baby’s birthday. August 13. I’m a memory keeper and those beautiful yesteryears are etched like pictures in the scrapbook of my cherished memories: the day he was born; the magical moments; the sense of pride. Ah.
Today, he’s so mature, so tall, so handsome. And I’m so proud. He’s one of the greatest gifts, ever.
There were more celebrations. My nephew, Ayaan’s, third birthday for one. Ayaan's parents--Reema and Faisal--wedding anniversary. And then, today, is my brother’s birthday.
In between, there was something that made me whoop for joy, though momentarily, despite the pounding head ache, sore throat and tiredness. What a lovely surprise it was to know that I am the lucky winner of a miniature post box shaped teapot from Whittard Chelsea. See, Jehanne from The Cooking Doctor had hosted a blog giveaway and I was in luck to be the recipient of her kind and generous gift. Thanks so much, Jehanne, for enlivening my battered spirits with this lovely news and the semiya payasam (vermicelli pudding) you cooked for me, albeit virtually—you are a sweetheart! Hey, those interested in trying your good luck, check out this post for another exciting giveaway. Now, didn't I say she's a sweetheart?!!
These days I’m all limp with exhaustion. Just tired. It’s been a year, and I just can’t wait. I’ve been looking forward to getting away for a while. And I’m glad it’s just a few sleeps away. Ah... beautiful.
I hear it’s still raining in Kerala. Memories of drenching in the downpour and splashing puddles so carefree come pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of the day. Aren't we all familiar with the quote, “I love walking in the rain, 'cause then no-one knows I'm crying.”? Yes, rain washes away your sorrows, quietly enough, and clenses your body and soul. And in all honesty, I’m so longing for a refreshing change of scene. Good rest, great food, plenty of rain, precious family moments and lots of celebration. That's my mantra for this season. The marriage in the family will make this trip home even more special. The whole family is out there, waiting. And here, I’m waiting for my hubby who’s been away for a while now. I’m waiting to leave the scorching sun and desert sandstorms. I'm waiting to hit the rainy weather of my homeland. Soon.
We’ll be gone for a few weeks. I’ll have a small break from working behind the range, the lens—really?—and this screen. In the meanwhile I hope to capture—oh yeah!—a bit of the happenings around me while I’m away. Like the intriguing patterns of the clouds against the bright blue sky, the silhouette of the city in the twilight, the washed away look of the trees and streets, the beautiful green landscapes, the fascinating bounty of nature… and much, much more. To share with you, on my return, indeed.
Okay, here’s a simple salad recipe with cream-colored chickpeas or garbanzo beans commonly known as kabuli channa. It makes a refreshingly light and healthy accompaniment to any meal. I particularly like its clean fresh taste and like to include it on our Iftar menu besides the essentials like fruit salads, fresh juices and other finger foods. It’s incredibly easy to make and a delicious mouthful too.
This simple recipe combines a bit of greens and plenty of legumes with a tangy, fragrant dressing. I love the intense burst of fragrance from the fresh kaffir lime leaves and the hint of heat from red chili and fresh galangal. Moreover, these ingredients add a lovely Thai accent to the dish. I also use veggies like tomatoes, lettuce leaf, bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, and coriander leaves. Sometimes I like to serve it with a crunchy topping like roasted peanuts. Other times I serve it with a dollop of Greek yoghurt (labneh). Most times, I enjoy it as it is.
For a spicy chickpea appetizer or snack, check out this recipe.
Kaffir lime and chickpeas salad
2 x 400g canned chickpeas (I usually use California Garden)
2 kaffir lime leaves, center veins removed and very finely shredded
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
½ small green bell pepper (capsicum), stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1 large romanie lettuce leaf, trimmed and shredded
few springs coriander leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh galangal, peeled and finely chopped (optional)
juice of 1 lemon
salt, to taste
1-2 red chili, seeded and sliced (depending on how spicy you like it)
greek yoghurt (labneh), to serve
greek yoghurt (labneh), to serve
Remove beans from can, place in a strainer and rinse to remove any additives; drain.
Tip all ingredients into a salad bowl and toss well to combine. Season to taste. Cover and rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Do a taste test and add more lemon/salt to adjust flavors, if needed.
Serve topped with a handful of roasted, chopped, peanuts, for a bit of crunch. You may also serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, for a cooling effect, if you like, or just enjoy as is. Serve immediately.
It is the last ten days of Ramadan. The most blessed of the month. I wish all my readers observing the fast a truly blessed time. May god accept our prayers and grant us our wishes. Ameen.
On another note, I’m so ready to relax, catch the drizzle on my face and enjoy good times with family and friends. Live, love and let go. I don't want to be too hard on myself. Not this time. Life is too short... and, zindagi na milegi dobara. (Hey anyone watched that movie? I loved it!).
Finally. I’m almost ready to board the flight. I still have bags to pack, I know. And shopping to do. I haven’t even selected a sari for the big event. Oh boy!