A few days of stifling heat had led us to believe that summer is here ... bang in the middle of a beautiful February.
Soon the haze ... read pollution ... in the air cleared and Pune was sparkling again.
The air was so clean that the sun seemed brighter and the night sky was filled with the brightest of twinkling stars again.
We are the lucky few who still get to see the stars at night .... beyond eye piercing led lights and smog, that have taken the rest of the country by the throat.
We still have trees around here, which is why we can enjoy even the lightest of breeze and lots of chirping of birds.
I am loving sitting out in the balcony these evenings.
The sun turns a pink red as it prepares to set, the old peepal turns dark against it, the birds swoop down on my balcony for a last drink of water before returning to their nests as B hands me a cup of my favourite, light Darjeeling tea before sitting down beside me.
We sit there till it turns dark and the first few stars come out, taking in the cooling breeze and the birds' chirping, along with the smell of wet earth from my just watered plants.
I have been cooking regularly but since I have not clicked any photos, I cannot make posts.
Also, I am taking it a little easy these days.
The pressure of cooking a complete meal, along with other chores doubles when I have to click a photo.
All that laying out, arranging the food on the table, arranging curtains to let light in, cleaning up .... everything seems overwhelming at times.
Especially when we have a matter of vegetarian food and non vegetarian food at home.
So balancing B's lunch time, after which I bring out my fish to photograph, at times, throws me out of time balance.
And leaves me too drained to even look at what I am eating.
Therefore, at times, I just give up , breathe easy , enjoy my food and B's company during lunch.
Like on Thursday, I packed my freezer with some good Rohu and fresh water prawns.
And while doing that, my mind was buzzing with the number of recipes I can post with prawns.
But when I finally fried some yesterday, all I wanted was to sit down with my plate of food and that is just what I did.
No ... did not even click a photo for Instagram too.
And boy! did I love it!
Smooth, sweet life ... no pressure of showing off my plate or my food or my recipe.
At times, we do need to breathe easy and let time pass by.
And that is what I am doing these days .... breathing easy and watching time pass by me.
I may have taken this easy thing a tad too far when we decided to go out for lunch on Tuesday afternoon, instead of cooking at home. B looked up the net and we decided to try the branch of Bhagat Tarachand, a vegetarian restaurant that we had not tried before.
And my phase of disappointment took another step ahead.
We had asked for the thali as we were famished and did not want to go through a huge menu.
After what seemed like ages, we got our thalis.
Each plate had exactly 5 small bowls, two of which had one single little corn tikki and a gulab jamun respectively.
The other three had a mixed veg, that tasted stale, a palak paneer that tasted of raw greens and the last one held a few long dead and limp deep fried cauliflower and a few small potato pieces.
And every single thing was cold.
Except for the rotis that came hot, scrunched up and bleeding oil.
We were so disappointed that I am glad I did not click a photo before eating.
I have seen and eaten at better thali places .... even Sahare, near Pune staion, has better food than this place.
All this eating out at disappointing places made me gear up and cook a light lunch the next day.
Which was when I made this light Moong ki dal ... yellow lentils boiled and tempered mildly.
I do not roast the Moong dal, as Bengalis usually do. This is made in my Rajasthani family and I fell in love with the beautiful flavour of raw moong dal.
While it is usually eaten with rotis, it goes beautifully with plain rice too.
Yellow Moong dal - 1 cup
Water - 2½ cups ( use the same cup )
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste ( I keep it low )
How to :
Pressure cook the dal with water + salt + turmeric powder for two whistles on low flame.
( I do not soak the dal ... if you do then I think one whistle will be enough. )
Cool cooker and remove cover.
Heat the ghee in a pan.
Add the jeera.
When it starts to splutter, add the red chilli powder and immediately remove from heat.
Pour it in the dal and set it on heat again.
Give a good stir.
If needed, add some more water and simmer for a minute or two.
Remove from heat and serve hot.
We had it with roti, cabbage cooked with vadis, tomato chutney and gajar ka halwa on the side.