Minty Strawberry Banana Smoothie~Lassi

I am so delighted and glad! The good news is that both zaaiqa(dot)net website has been closed down and the my recipe pictures has been removed by the blogger as they both had violated the copyright policy of my blog. I thank all those who helped me out in this cause. Cheers!

A few days back I had brought home some ripe bananas and fresh strawberries, and they were lying in the refrigerator waiting to be turned into something delicious. I thought of preparing a smoothie immediately as I am a huge fan of strawberry lassi/smoothies.

Enjoy this smoothie on a hot summer afternoon. Your kids will also love this drink. Its healthy and nutritious.

Minty Strawberry Banana Smoothie~Lassi

Makes – 5 small glasses

Ingredients:

  • Ripe Banana – 1
  • Whole Strawberries – 4 cups
  • Mint Leaves – 8, large
  • Yogurt – 1/2 cup
  • Honey – 8 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1/2 tbsp
  • Ice cubes – 1 cup

Method:

  • Halve the banana and strawberries, roughly tear the mint leaves with you hands and add with all the remaining ingredients into a food processor or a blender container. Blend till pureed. Add the few ice cubes and blend again till they are lightly crushed.
  • Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately. Do not store to serve at a later day.

For this smoothie, I used the mint from my Mint plant which I planted indoors in container. This goes as an entry to Grow Your Own Event hosted by Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi.

Some of my bloggers friends were kind enough to pass me some awards during the last few weeks. I am honored and feel delighted to recieve them. Now I have two more awards on my shelf to show off 😉

Silvana of UvAromatica has forwarded me the “Brilliant Weblog Prize”.

Brilliant Weblog is a prize given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design. The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogsphere. Here are the rules to follow:

  1. When you recieve the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back.
  2. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog’.
  3. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).

I furthur pass this award to Indira of Mahanandi, Asha of Aroma, Meeta of Whats For Lunch Honey, Elise’s Simply Recipes, Cinnamon of Cinnamon Trial, Shilpa of Aaayi’s Recipes and Nupur of One Hot Stove.

I also recieved the Inspiration Award from Zainab and Hameeda of Arabic Bites.

This is given to bloggers whose stories and recipes inspire us.Whether it’s to eat healthier, dive back into our past to conjure up something we ate as children, or just make the light bulbs in our brains go on with a new idea for a recipe. The rules of the award are: As recipients of this award, please share with us what inspires you and then pass on the Inspiration Award to 4 other deserving bloggers. Please let them know what the award means and what to do with it

My Mother’s simple and quick cooking, my readers and their comments is what inspires me.

I pass on this award to Kay of One Bite at a time, Priya of 365 Days of Pure Vegetarian, Sunita of Sunita’s World and JZ of Tasty Treats.

And last but not the least, I thank Foodbuzz for sending me the goodies which include Moo cards, an organic Tote bag and a personalised ‘Zaiqa’ site badge. I loved them all a lot.

Luv,
Mona

Plagiarism to what extent?!

Lately I have been seeing a lot of blog content being stolen everywhere in the food blogosphere, sometimes by some websites, blogs or forums, and sometimes by magazines and newapapers. Every other food blogger complains about their content, either in the form of text, or the pictures being stolen away by ‘thiefs’ blatantly. This has left me baffled, dissapointed and very frustrated.

Through sources, I had a few days back discovered a website through which people were coming to my website. I was horrified when I visited this website ‘www(dot)zaaiqa(dot)net’. My blog URL is http://www.zaiqa.net/ and the only difference between theirs and mine is an extra single ‘a’ in zaiqa. They have used my blog URL at the footer of their website, and also at their ‘Contact Us’ page, please visit their website to see it for yourselves. I tried contacting them through all possible ways they have mentioned on their website. It seems to be a bogus website using my URL, but how do I ask them why on earth are they using my blog URL at their ‘Contact Us’ page? And how do I report that website as spam? I do not know what and who they are? I need to remove my blog URL from their website as the real owner of my blog is me!, so why are they using my blog URL? Can anyone provide me with suggestions and help me in this regards?

Image Source: Bong Moms Cookbook

I have also discovered an another blog which has stolen a picture from my blog. My recipe picture of Khichdi has been stolen by …. (Updated July 28th ’08:The blogger was sorry on her part and was apologetic to her mistakes. Link to her blog removed upon her request. She has replaced my khichdi photo with her own photo now, and is now posting her own pictures on her blog and doing a great job!)

Do people have no civility to ask before they use anyone’s content? This is not fair, not fair at all. This should be stopped, somehow. Ask us before you want to use our content. Read the Copyright Notice of the website first, seek approval to use the content, and only then, consider of using the material that is not yours! Dont you ask before you wish to use anyones belongings? Its ia common sense.

We food bloggers put in lot of efforts in maintaining a blog for the sake of our passion for food. We write about food, share our zeal, not for people to simply lift away our material. Have some decency people!

All this has left me very disheartened and demoralized.. I hope this shameless act of plagiarism ends soon.

Updated July 28th ’08: I am so delighted and glad! The good news is that both zaaiqa(dot)net website has been closed down and the my recipe pictures has been removed by the blogger as they both had violated the copyright policy of my blog. I thank all those who helped me out in this cause. Cheers!

Luv,
Mona

Sem Ki Phalli Ka Salan

Indian broad beans (also sometimes referred to as Valor papdi or Hyacinth Beans ), or Sem Ki Phalli as they are called in Urdu language, (Chikkudu kaya in Telugu) are are a kind of green bean, very commonly sold in Indian markets and are available fresh daily at the ‘Rythu Bazar’ or the Farmers Market in India where you get to see an array of fresh fruits, spices, nuts, herbs and vegetables in huge piles being sold at reasonable prices. I do not usually get to see Indian vegetables and herbs at the Farmers market here, but when I do, I do not hesitate to get some, cook and enjoy eating them to the late morsel. Try searching for these beans at the Indian or Chinese grocery stores and food markets, you will find them definitely.

Indian broad beans – Sem ki phalli

The last week, I found some of these beans at the market and prepared this very comforting and simple stir fry which brings along many memories of my dear Ammi and my childhood. After washing and pat drying them, I always used to sit along with my mother to remove the hard fibrous srtings from the sides, split each bean into two, remove the seeds from inside into a small cup, and make a small pile of the prepared beans, chatting away endlessly. She used to then chop them up and when all were done, I was always so eager to taste this mouth wateringly delicious simple vegetable stir fry preperaed by her at the meal. Faint nostalgic memories like these tears my heart out with an intense desire to go back and live those moments again.

Sem Ki Phalli – Indian broad beans, with strings removed, split and chopped

These beans have hard fibrous strings which are preferably removed always while preparing them to be cooked. Some choose not to remove these strings as it provides fibre to the diet. The method to remove these strings is to simply tear the tip of the bean with hand and pull away the string from each side in one motion. These beans are delicious and nutritious. Do try them if you find these at the stores anytime.

Sem Ki Phalli Ka Salan – Sauteed Indian broad beans

Ingredients:

  • Indian broad beans/Sem Ki Phalli – 500 gms
  • Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Yellow Onion – 2, large, sliced thin
  • Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • Salt – 2 tsp or to taste
  • Garam Masala – 1 tbsp
  • Dry Roasted Coriander seed powder/Dhaniya powder – 1 tsp
  • Tomato (fresh) – 1, medium, chopped fine

Sem Ki Phalli Ka Salan – Sauteed Indian broad beans

Method:

  • In a large frying pan at medium heat, pour oil and as soon as it gets warm add the sliced onion and salt and let it cook covered for 5-8 minutes, stirring it occasionally in between.
  • Add the beans, red chilli powder and water. Close the lid and let it cook for about 20 minutes, or until the beans are soft, stirring it occassionally. You can add more water if required.
  • Add garam masala, coriander seed powder and tomato. Close the lid and let it cook for 10 more minutes until the water is absorbed. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Serve warm with Rotis.

Luv,
Mona

Frozen Moment #2 – Cedar Waxing

My every morning in the Summer are woken up by the beautiful songs of this elagant and gorgeous flock of birds along with various others too. So, on one cloudy morning I decided to click a few pictures of them and they posed very well for me.

These birds are called the Cedar Waxwing birds. I nicknamed them, ‘the batman birds’ for the black patch at their eyes 🙂 This one was looking at me while I was clicking it from my bedroom window. Pretty, arent they?!

Have a look at their beautiful feathers. They have a black eye patch lined with white, a creast of feathers on its head, pale yellow belly, a little cluster of bright red feathes on the tip of its wings and the tail, yellow or orange depending on its diet, black feet and a short black bill. 

They feed on the cherries on the tree day long just in front of my bedroom window. They literally destroy all the cherries, bursting them by picking on almost each of the ripe cherry if left unprotected. 

A group of them looking curiously at me,.. “What is this woman doing?!$#..”

Luv,
Mona

Masaaledaar Pudine wala Qimah

Spearmint growing in pot indoors in my kitchen

Mint or Pudina is my most preferred herb only next to Cilantro/Kothmir. They are so gorgeous to look at! I would have loved to dedicate a part of my garden to this herb if only there was no threat of the plants being destroyed by the rabbits or raccoons or the groundhog which I consider a menace! To grow them buy a small spearmint plant from a garden center or nursery and propogate them into as many plants as you like as they keep growing. I have them placed indoors in front of the windows in small pots and they grow very well and quite rapidly. Mint has a very pleasant, fresh and strong aroma with innumerable benefits. I add this herb, fresh and chopped mostly to all of my meat preperations as the last step just before I turn off the heat source for a refreshing aroma to the dish.

One such meat preperation in which I love to add lots of fresh chopped mint leaves is the dish I writing about today. The mint leaves enhance the flavor of the dish diffusing their minty and fresh aroma to the meat preparation and brightens it.

Masaaledaar Pudine wala Qimah – Minced Lamb/Veal meat with Mint and Spices

Qimah is one of the most loved dish in my house. It can be devoured upon as a side-dish along with a number of main dishes for a meal, or the leftovers, if any, can even be used as a filling for parathas or samosas, or between toasted bread with cheese slices as evening snacks with a warm cup of tea. I usually prepare qimah in large amounts and portion and store them in plastic microwavable and freezable food storage boxes for very long time, so that I can use this during the days I dont feel like cooking.

Masaaledaar Pudine wala Qimah – Minced Lamb/Veal meat with Mint and Spices

Ingredients:

Minced Lamb/Veal meat – 550 gms
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 heaped tbsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Hung Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Garam masala – 1 tbsp
Canola oil – 1/4 cup
Cloves – 3
Green Cardamom – 2
Cinnamon stick – 2 inch piece
Dried Bay leaf/Tej patta – 1
Yellow Onions – 2, finely sliced
Tomato paste – 3/4 cup
Small Green chillies – 4, chopped
Chopped Mint leaves – 1/2 cup

Method:

1. In a large mixing bowl, add the minced meat, red chilli powder, 2 tsp salt, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, hung yogurt and garam masala. Mix it all well with a wooden spoon and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan at medium heat and as soon as it warms up, add the cloves, cinnamon stick and green cardamoms. Saute them for about a minute. Add the sliced onions and remaining salt and stir fry them till they are golden brown in colour.
3. Add the marinated minced meat and mix well using a wooden spoon. Cover with a lid and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Later, open the lid and break up the lumps of meat using a wooden spoon and add the tomato paste and stir well to mix. Cover the lid and let it cook for 20 -30 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
4. Later, once the water has completely dried, add the sliced green chillies and chopped mint leaves. Let it cook covered for a minute more. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Warm Rotis or Parathas or Naan, or along with Basmato Chawal and a Vegetable side dish or just Khatti dal, or along with Khichdi and Khatta for a delicious and felling meal.

I am sending this as an entry to Grow Your Own event hosted by Andreas Recipes, and also to ‘Think Spice, Think Turmeric‘ event being hosted by Sudeshna.

And before I take my leave for today, here’s a very famous and touching song that I love, ‘Ye Galiyaan, Ye Chowbaara..’ from an excellent Bollywood movie Prem Rog. It never fails to bring tears in my eyes..

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Luv,
Mona