I have been busy. The last weekend, I worked really hard and the weekend was basically non-existent for me. Nevertheless no complaints, at times having a lot of work is good. It pushes you beyond your limits and in this case, earning extra cash was good with the crazy number of birthdays coming up. Every May and June, I empty my bank account. There are so many birthdays and occasions in these two months. It starts from the niece birthday to mother’s day followed by mom’s birthday a week after that. However, It doesn’t stop there. We then have my another niece birthday, my second brother’s birthday and then the sister-in-law birthday and yes again, it doesn’t stop here. There are more! Just thinking about it makes me tired. More than 10 birthdays/special occasion between May to June. Although this might sound like a complaint but I am really not complaining. Anything to celebrate the special day of my loved ones. <3 I would gladly bake 1000 cupcakes for them, provided I don’t end up eating 878 cupcakes myself.
So yes, It is about 3 weeks to my mom’s birthday and the excitement in me is building up. I am the only girl among three elder brothers, so most of the time, I am the one making the plans and buying the gifts. I do get the Cha-Ching$ from my brothers and they are generous and more than willing to spend on our mommie. Guys are mostly not into throwing surprises and all but they would pretty much follow along with whatever plans I would have made for our mom. Last year we had a surprise for mom and I even had customized paper bags and cards made specially for her. My mom is a gem of a person. Having lost my dad at the age of 5, my mom single-handedly brought all four of us up to be what we are today. We might not have turned out to be lawyers or doctors but we didn’t turn out that bad either. *LOL* I guess the most important thing is, she installed values in each of us that is worth much more than everything else. At the end of the day, you have to be a good human being first, before everything else comes.
My brothers have been equally amazing. There are times when I wondered, how would life be if my dad was still alive. I was his favorite girl just like how most dads would dote on their daughters more than their sons. Life would have been magnificent with him around and the family would feel “complete”. Then again my brothers pretty much made up for it. The things that a father would do for his daughter, like buying her the first computer, helping her with her art homework or buying a box of chocolates for her after work. In my case, my eldest brother who was still schooling back then has never failed to keep aside some money everyday from his pocket money so that he could buy me three of my favorite egg chocolates.
I used to wait for him to come back from school everyday, knowing that he would always be back with those little treats. At times, he would even come back with five chocolates for me! I would always be excitingly counting the number of chocolates in his hand Down the years, I have concluded that, GOD took my dad only because he knows both me and mom would be in safe, able hands. Till today, my brothers are very responsible towards me and mom, even though all of them have a family of their own now.
Back to my favorite topic. Food! As much as how I think I am pretty good with Italian cuisine but deep down I know that I am best with Indian cuisine. I am a Singaporean Indian. I am not exposed to the lifestyle of “true Indians” except for those I see in Bollywood movies, which is mostly rosy and glittering only. Villains not included. My Bff was saying that as much as how modern I seemed to be, at the end of the day, there are still certain “Indian traits in me”. That brings me to a classic Indian dish that my mother super – loves. This dal is delicious and it is a very famous vegetarian stew made from lentils. Dal can be made from different types of lentils. Among those you can use would be:
- Toor dal (yellow pigeon peas)
- Chana dal (chickpeas)
- Yellow split peas Mung dal (mung bean)
- Black eyed beans
- Urad dal
I love to add curry leaves in my dal as it adds that extra special fragrance to your dish. This lentil dal recipe is simple and it isperfect over plain rice, chapatis or any other rotis. Dal is rich in protein, iron and fiber, thus making it a favorite among vegetarians. It is also a budget friendly dish. You can always cook extra and keep it in the freezer. There are so many variations of dal and you can also add vegetables to the dal. Spinach goes really well with dal and so does the potatoes. We love to have our dal with naan and tandoori chicken with a raita (yogurt based condiment) by the side. We also would frequently make a side dish of Aloo Gobhi (Stir fry potatoes and cauliflower) Yumminess! Yes, the Italian in me in taking a back seat for now.
Lentil Dal Recipe
- 1 cup yellow split lentils - washed and drained
- 1 large onion - sliced
- 2-4 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 green chillies - sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp curry leaves
- 3-4 cups of water
- Salt to taste
- In a pot/wok, add oil.
- Once the oil is hot, drop in the curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add in cumin, fennel and mustard seeds in oil another 30 seconds.
- Add in sliced onions, green chilies and saute for about 90 seconds
- Transfer half of this mixture to a bowl and set aside.
- In the remaining mixture, add lentils, turmeric, water and salt to the pot/wok.
- Bring to a boil and keep the fire on medium heat, cover with lid, and cook until lentils are very soft and fall completely apart. Stir occasionally and If the dal is too thick, feel free to add more water to your desired consistency.
- Add in the remaining half of the saute ingredients.
- Traditionally dal has a thicker stew-like consistency but if you prefer it thinner, you just need to add more water.
- Make sure to stir the dal once in a while when cooking, so it does not burn at the bottom.