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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Travel Dairies: Jabel Shams


Hey guys !! 
I was going through my pictures today when i found a few of our trip to Jabel shams and i thought why not share these with you guys!
So here they are. I'll tell all about the place and how we spent the day !

We wanted to escape the hot weather here in Oman and go someplace cool, so on a whim we planned a trip to Jabel Shams
It was quite an adventure.

Jabel shams literally means 'Mountain of the Sun'. It is considered the Grand Canyon of Oman.
It is located in the north eastern region of Oman. The height of this mountain is 9934' (3028 m) (source: google)

So this is how the day went.
It was 22nd August. The day was Friday. 
It was a typical hot summer day in Oman, the sun was shining awfully bright and it was really hot, I remember sweating when i was going to the car, which, thankfully, my husband has already started 10 minutes earlier and cranked up the AC (best husband ever!)

Before we go any further, let me tell you where we live. Our house is in 'Al Wadi Al Kabir' which is about 8-10 minute drive from Muttrah.

So we packed up the things for Barbecue and left our house around 8:30 am.

It was a long drive. It took us about 4 and a half hours to reach there. But the stunning view and the weather was totally worth it ! 
It was 33-34 degree centigrade in Muscat, but there it was 22-23. It was incredible !

The most magnificent sight is this jaw dropping cliff, which is so incredibly deep (you cant really tell how deep it is from the picture, which i captured with my iPhone)
We walked around for a bit, than cooked food, ate and clicked pictures!(sharing a few)

THE SPECIFICS:
Distance (from Muscat to Jabel Shams): 273 km (source: google maps)

The Route We Took: We started on the Expressway from Qurm, took an exit for Nizwa (i dont know the exact kilometer to the exit, but it takes about 20 minutes to reach there). 
Followed the direction to Nizwa. Muscat to Nizwa is around 160 km (took about 2 hours to reach)
Once you enter in Nizwa City, Make your way to Al Hamra roundabout. Take a right from there.
After a while you will start your ascend. Some areas of the road are pretty steep, It is better if you have a 4WD, which we had. But i did see some 2WD on the way and on top as well. So i think it should not be a problem for experienced drivers.

There is 20-25 km of unpaved road in the middle. Which takes up about 45 minutes. it would take in a total of about 1 to 1 and half hours from Al Hamra roundabout to reach the top

Things to do: You can spend the day barbecuing, enjoying the view and the weather.
You can spend the night at Jabel Shams Resort which is about 2 minutes from the cliff.
Theres not much else to do.
But this in itself is enough. The quiet. Clean, cool air. and Stunning view!

Pros: Breathtaking scenery, Cool weather, Great place to spend the day.
Cons: Long drive. Steep and unpaved road (in one part)

Will I go again? : Absolutely! I'm already planning a trip in Winters !

So beautiful !

On the way to Nizwa



Going up !! 


Magnificent view !


Saw some slithery friends too !


About 20 km stretch of the road is unpaved.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Masala Dosa


Masala Dosa is a light and crispy savory pancake filled with masala and served with chutneys.
Me and my sister love this, we used to go eat it at a dhabba near our house.

I always wanted to try this at home, but my first attempt was a big fail, as i didnt leave it to ferment and that was 4 years back. I never had the guts to try it again. But last week I became obsessed with making the dosa again and this time i made sure that I gave it a lot of time to ferment. And it came out delicious.

The Onion and Tomato chutney on itself is so delicious, you can just have it with roti or puri.

You'll need:
(For The Dosa)
1/4 cup of Rice
3 tbsp of Urid Dal (or Mash dal)
1 tbsp of Channa dal
2 tbsp of Sago
1/4 tsp of Fenugreek seeds (Methi Dana)

(For Masala)
2 large Potatoes (boiled and coarsely mashed)
a few Fenugreek seeds
a pinch of Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of Urid Dal
a few Curry leaves
1/4 tsp of Cumin Seeds (Zeera)
1 Onion (chopped)
1 Green chili (chopped)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp of Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp of Red Chili Powder

(Tomato and Onion Chutney):
1 large Tomato
1 medium Onion
1 dried Red chili (optional)
a few Curry leaves
a pinch of Fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp of Urid dal
1 tsp of Red Chili Powder
Salt to taste
1 pinch of Sugar


Soak all the ingredients for the dosa in water. Leave for 3-4 house.

Than discard excess water and blend to make a paste. Use as little water as possible.
Leave this to ferment 8-10 hours. 
I left it overnight.

It will double up in size.

(For The Masala)
Heat a tbsp of oil in a pot. Add Urid dal, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds. When they start to splutter add curry leaves and Cumin seeds. Cook for 30 seconds or so.

Add onion and Green Chilies. Cook till transparent

Add salt and Red chili Powder...

and the mashed Potatoes. Add a little water. And let it cook for about 5-6 minutes.

When thick, turn off the heat and keep aside.

(For the Onion and Tomato Chutney)

Blend Onion, tomato and dried red chili with a little water to make a paste.

Heat oil. Add fenugreek seeds, urid dal. When they start to splutter, add curry leaves and cumin. cook for a minute.

Add the blended paste, salt, red chili powder and sugar.

Cook for about 10-15 minutes till thick and saucy. Taste and adjust seasoning.

(To Assemble)

In a non stick frying pan, pour a little batter with a ladle and spread it thinly and quickly in a round. let it cook on medium heat till it lightly browns. 

Flip. and let it cook for about a minute 

Turn it over again and add the masala in the center.

Fold from both sides.

Serve with Onion tomato chutney and the leftover masala.


Enjoy !





Sunday, 19 October 2014

Homemade Subway Sandwich



I love Subway Sandwiches. The contrast of crunchy lettuce, meat and sauces is incredible.

I never actually thought i'd ever make these at home. They are pretty cheap as it is, but there is some inner satisfaction in knowing how to make this sandwich from scratch.

The whole obsession with the sandwich started when we bought Salami (turkey and beef)
Ready-made french bread was pretty hard on the top, so i thought i'd just make the bread.
I search around on the internet and found this recipe, its incredible. the bread is so fragrant and really soft. 

This recipe makes 2 really big sandwiches.

For The Bread:
Recipe adapted from Melissa Griffiths
1 1/2 cup of Flour
2 tsp Yeast
2 tsp of Sugar
3-4 tbsp of Milk
1 tbsp of Oil
1/4 cup of warm water

Sauces :
(Honey Mustard):
2 tbsp of Mustard
1 tsp of Honey

(Onion Sauce):
2 tbsp of Mayonnaise 
1 tsp of ketchup
a few drops of Chili sauce
1 tbsp of finely chopped Onion
pinch of Salt
pinch of Black pepper
a few drops of White Vinegar
a few leaves of Coriander
a few drops of Lemon Juice 
a few drops of Olive oil (optional)

Other Ingredients:
Meat of any kind  (grilled chicken, roast chicken/mutton/beef, Salami, sausage, hot dogs)
I used Salami (beef and turkey)
Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
Gherkin (pickled cucumber)
Capsicum
Tomato
Iceberg Lettuce (Any lettuce would do)
Olives

Other Toppings that you can use :
Cucumber
Onion
Spring Onions
Roasted garlic
Caramelized Onions


To Make The Bread:

Add yeast and sugar to warm water. (water should be not be hot, just warm), Mix and leave for 5 minutes to foam up. Than add milk, oil and salt.

Add flour, mix to make a soft dough. Add more warm water if needed.

Leave to Rise for 30 minutes.

Grease baking sheet. Divide the dough in 2 (if you want big sandwiches) or 4 (if you want smaller ones) roll into a log. Place on the sheet and leave for 20 minutes to rise again. 
Meanwhile preheat oven at 200 degree centigrade,

See these beauties?
Pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Take them out when they are golden brown on top and bottom
They would have a hard crust on top.
To make them soft, rub the top with butter and cover with a dish towel. Leave for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile prep the toppings.

Take out the Salami

Cut the vegetables

Mix the ingredients for Onion sauce. Keep aside.

Mix mustard and honey. Keep aside.

Cut the bread in half, keep it attached on one side.
Add cheese (either cheddar or mozzarella) I used shredded mozzarella.
Toast in the oven if you want.

Add the meat

Spread the Onion sauce on the upper part of the bun.
Spread vegetables on top.


Top it with sauces.
ketchup and honey sauce.
Use aluminium foil or butter paper to fold it close.



Its super juicy and so delicious.

Enjoy !! 




Monday, 13 October 2014

Caramel Popcorns


Caramel popcorn !!! 
This is something that you either love or hate, there no in-between for this. I happen to love these!
I look forward to going to the movies so that I can have these :D (life of a foodie, what can I say)

Didnt take step by step photos of this, but they are pretty easy to make.

Recipe adapted from: Gordon Ramsay
You'll need:
1/4 cup of Corn Kernels (or 1 packet of microwave popcorns)

For the Caramel :
1/4 cup of Sugar 
a pinch of salt
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp baking soda

Method:

If you are using corn kernels, Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, add the kernels and cover. They would start popping in a minute or two. Take off heat when no more popping sound comes.

If you are using microwavable popcorns, just follow packet instructions. 

Empty the popcorns in a big bowl.

To Make The Caramel:
Add sugar to a heavy bottomed pan. 
cook till melted. Dont stir while the sugar is melting, it will result in formation of crystals and we certainly dont want that.
Be very careful, as the sugar is very very very hot, it can burn you severely.
As soon as the sugar melts take it off the heat and add salt, butter and baking soda.
This will result in a little bubbling of the sugar, dont panic, its just the baking osda reacting with the sugar. 
Put it on heat for a second or two and then just pour it over the popcorns. Mix with a spoon.
When its warm to touch, separate it when your hands.
Thats it.
Super easy.
Enjoy !



Khausey


Khausey is a Burmese dish, which have been adopted by the Memon community of Pakistan, and modified to suit our palettes.
Its hearty and delicious.
It does require a bit of work, but its well worth the effort.

I got this recipe from my Sister-in-law, and she got it from somewhere on the internet.

It basically comprises of 3 components, Karhi (either gram flour karhi or coconut karhi), Chicken Masala and Noodles. I'm making gram flour karhi here.

Servings: 2 
So, for this you'll need:   
For The Karhi:
1-2 tbsp of Gram Flour (Besan)
250 grams of Yogurt
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp of Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp of Turmeric Powder 
1/4 tsp of Cumin (Zeera)
1/2 tsp of Lemon Juice

For Chicken Masala:
250-300 grams of boneless Chicken (cubed)
1 medium Onion sliced
1 tsp of Ginger Garlic Paste
1 tbsp of Tomato paste
Salt to taste
1 tsp of Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp of All Spice Powder (garam masala)
1/2 tsp of Coriander Powder
2 tbsp of Yogurt

Other Ingredients :
1/2 packet of Spaghetti
1 Medium Onion fried till golden brown
1-2 Spring Onion chopped
Lemon wedges
Potato crisps (i used doritos :D) 


Add all the ingredients, except lemon juice, for the Karhi in a heavy bottomed pan with 2-3 glass of water. Cook for 1 and a half to 2 hours on low flame. Add lemon juice in the end.

Heat a little oil in a pan, add Onions, Fry till light golden.

Add chicken, ginger garlic paste,

Tomato paste,

Salt, All spice, Red chili powder, Coriander powder. 
Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add a bit water and leave to cook for 30 minutes.

When the water evaporates. Add yogurt.

Cook on high flame till saucy and thick. Check seasoning.


Boil spaghetti.

Prepare Condiments.

To serve, Add noodles in the bottom of the bowl, pour karhi on top, place chicken masala in the center.


Top it off with condiments.

Super delicious !! 
Enjoy !!