Labneh

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The third and final dish of the Lebanese cuisine theme is Labneh which stands testimony to the fact that not all awesome dishes need to have a tough recipe. Labneh is seen as Lebanese cream cheese and is just as thick and creamy. And all you need to make yourself a batch of labneh is patience – lots of it. This is a no cook recipe and so it is very easy. But if you need a batch of labneh today, you need to have started making it two days ago. Yes, it takes that long but we know it is quite worth the wait.

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Makes one bowl of labneh

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Greek yogurt / thick curds                500gms

Fresh lemon juice                               1/4 tsp

Salt                                                          a pinch

Zaatar powder                                      1 tbsp

Olive oil                                                  2-3 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Take a cheesecloth and line it over a bowl
  • In another bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice and salt
  • Transfer the yogurt mixture onto the cheesecloth
  • Tie up the cheesecloth over a ladle or large spoon such that the cheesecloth does not touch the bottom of the bowl similar to how it is done to obtain hung curd
  • This ensures that the whey drained from the yogurt will not find its way back into the cheesecloth
  • Keep the yogurt with the bowl in the refrigerator for around 24 hours
  • After 12 hours, check the bowl and pour the whey out of the bowl 
  • After 24 hours, transfer the hung curd mixture to a bowl
  • Add the olive oil and zaatar powder
  • Serve cold with vegetable slices or warm pita bread
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Lebanese cuisine’.
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Bansi Rava Upma

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When the husband heard about this week’s theme and my first two dishes, he was pretty upset. He felt that by documenting those elaborate breakfasts alone, I was not being completely honest. Though I do make elaborate breakfasts for the weekend, it is not quite as often as he would like it to be. So, in the interest of transparency and honesty is this breakfast which also makes a regular appearance during weekend. I make this when we plan a lunch out. I make enough so that this doubles up as dinner too and I have that rare break from the kitchen.

The husband loves rava upma but I am not a huge fan because it is not so healthy. I came across this post on bansi rava upma and it fit with what we both wanted. So I modified it significantly to suit the husband’s taste and now we are all happy. Bansi rava is hugely popular in Karnataka and easily available across all stores. From what I understand, bansi rava is brown and coarser as compared to sooji which is white and very fine but it is not as coarse as semba rava / daliya. The nice part of making this upma is that we can roast the bansi rava along with the vegetables in the pan before adding hot water.

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Serves 3

WHAT WE NEED

Bansi Rava                                  1 cup

Onion, medium                         1

Green peas, shelled                  1/3 cup

Oil                                                2-3 tsp

Mustard seeds                           1 tsp

Curry leaves                              2 sprigs

Green chillies                            1-2

Chana dal                                   2 tsp

Urad dal                                      1 tsp

Ginger                                         1″

Grated coconut (optional)       2 tbsp

Water                                           3 cups

Salt

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds
  • Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the chana dal and urad dal
  • Once the dal starts browning, add the chopped curry leaves, green chillies and grated ginger
  • Then add the onions and fry till they turn translucent
  • In another vessel, boil the water
  • Then add the peas and fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the bansi rava and fry for 5-6 minutes
  • Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add it to the pan and mix it with the rava
  • Add salt and stir the mixture well
  • Simmer and close the pan for 1-2 minutes
  • Open it and stir it frequently till it absorbs all the water, for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the grated coconut and mix well
  • Serve hot with pickle or chutney of your choice
  • Enjoy!

I usually add coconut oil for this upma and it adds a lovely flavor.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Weekend Breakfast’.

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Bottle Gourd Juice & a refreshed morning

   

I have been meaning to post this recipe for ages but somehow I miss clicking a picture and so postpone writing about it.

Recipe, here, seems like a huge word for this drink. Just juice them all and drink up instantly. This was shared with me by a dietician I had visited over a decade ago. It is supposed to help you clean your system and refresh you, not to mention it’s amazing effects on your skin. But more than anything else, surprisingly it tastes so good that you hardly need another reason for a bottoms up! 

  

The best part is that even my two year old gulps this down in glee and saves me a lot of trouble to get some veggies down her throat.

So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED

1/2 of a large bottle gourd

1 large cucumber

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut the bottle gourd and cucumber into small cubes
  • Use a juicer to get the juice
  • Add salt and drink up

  

NOTES

  1. If you don’t have a juicer I think you can use mixer/ blender and then strain the juice . I haven’t tried it though.
  2. Drink up the juice at the earliest. If you leave it out for long it develops a brownish froth which is not so good.

This is my entry for the Cook from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

   

Eggless Awesome Banana Bread

This recipe holds a special place in my heart because it was the first one I baked. And also because it was the first one to taste so awesome and delicious and it made quite a few of my family and friends to sit up and take notice of me as some force to reckon with in the kitchen. Yay!
The best part of this recipe is that it is very easy and more importantly very forgiving. I have tried variations and substitutions but it has always come through for me.

Once I made a very bad cake which was airy and did not stick to the pan but it tasted very bad. Probably I did not measure out the ingredients properly. But I had put in so many ingredients that I felt bad wasting it like that. So I put the cake in a blender, powdered it and froze it. A few days later, I used that as the flour and added the bananas and sugar to make this banana bread. It tasted divine. Yes! It is that forgiving a recipe. So always have it close to your oven and heart and you can whip it up whenever you need either a quick fix dessert or some comfort food.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (Maida)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp baking soda
4-5 small ripe bananas
3/4 tsp salt

Directions
1. Pre heat the oven to 165C
2. Grease a pan with butter
3. Mash the bananas thoroughly so that there are no lumps left

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4. Mix flour, baking soda and salt

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5. Cream the sugar and butter to form a light and fluffy mixture

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6. Add the flour mix to the butter mix

7. Add the bananas and mix well.

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8. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50 minutes

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Notes
1. You can try adding nutmeg or cinnamon or raisins or walnuts to this recipe. Add it at the time when you add the bananas
2. This can be done with whole wheat flour as well. I did not want to take too many chances with my first recipe and so I have done it with plain flour
3. I have filled the batter up to the brim of my baking dish but that should not be done. The dish should only be 3/4 full of the batter so as to leave place for the bread to rise. That is why my bread is cracked in a couple of places.
4. As per the original recipe the butter and sugar need to be creamed till they are light and fluffy. I have found, over multiple attempts with this recipe that even if it is not creamed but just mixed thoroughly the bread turns out fine. It has a nice chewy texture at the top which I like.
5. The number of bananas depend on its size and sweetness. I add 5 small bananas. Also, it would be best if the bananas are extremely ripe. The bananas that are show above are ripe but not fully. You can wait for the skin to turn little more darker for a smooth and sweet banana bread.

Happy Baking!