Kick starting my first Blogging Marathon at Foodie In Me.

For Blogging Marathon (BM) #1 I don't have a specific theme. Since this is my first marathon, I don't want to complicate it too much. The whole idea of blogging 1 recipe per day itself is quite challenging. So I would like to call it "Anything And Everything".

The theme Anything And Everything would include any recipes right from main course, to starters, to baked goods, to desserts, to dips. But for sure, you need to give out the recipe and post the pictures of that dish. In short anything that you cook, blog it. That's the mantra. Couldn't be simpler than this right?? :-) That's precisely the idea. I like to keep everything simple.

Blogging Marathons kind of discipline you to get to your blog everyday and post a new recipe.

A quick recap of the rules:

BM #1 - Anything And Everything
  1. From 1st Sep 2013 to 30th Sep 2013.
  2. 1 recipe per day for 30 days
  3. Cook - Photograph - Blog
  4. Last but not the least, challenge yourself and have lots of fun!!! 
If you wish to join me in the marathon, link back to this post in your blogs and run with me. 

All the best!!!
Yes you read it right! I have decided to blog everyday for the next 30 days!!! It was an impulsive decision I took 2 days ago, to put myself through this challenge. My blog has been completely neglected with all the other things taking priority in my life. I have so many pictures of food taken but never really got down to blogging them. And even if I did, it remained in my drafts folder.

So I thought, the best way to get all the older posts out and also try out some new cuisine everyday would be a good place to start. Followed by this, I decided to put that as a challenge to myself so that I am disciplined and focused towards my blogging.

I am calling this Blogging Marathon - 30 day Challenge where I would be posting 1 recipe everyday for the entire month.

I am super kicked about this...and All the Best to me.....yayyyyyyy :-)

Baingan Ka Bharta is just one of the several versions of how eggplant can be used in Indian cooking. The word 'Bharta' refers to dishes in which the ingredients are roughly mashed either before or after the dish is prepared. Bhartas are largely North Indian in origin and made from all sorts of vegetables. This version of Baingan Ka Bharta is also really easy to make.

Traditionally the eggplants are grilled over charcoal or direct fire, which gives the eggplants a beautiful smoky flavour. We don't use charcoal at home since we use a gas top, so I roast the eggplants straight on the gas top. They may be cooked on the outdoor grill on fire or done in the oven. 

In North India, traditionally, mustard oil is used for cooking this dish. The combination of charcoal grilled eggplant and mustard oil is the most ideal. However, in most parts of India, other cooking oils are preferred.

Serve it with hot rotis or parathas.

Ingredients: 

1 big eggplant,
1 big onion, finely chopped,
1 big tomato, finely chopped,
½ cup fresh green peas, (I have not used it this time)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste,
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped, (adjust according to taste),
1 tsp cumin seeds,
1 tsp red chilli powder,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
2 tbsp oil,
Salt to taste,

Method:
Roasting  the eggplants:

If you have a  gas cook top, smear some oil on the each eggplant and place each of them straight on the burner, at medium flame,  allowing the skin to get charred and blackened and turning them so all sides are done. The inside will be soft and mushy.  By just placing the eggplant straight on the burner and keeping the flame on low setting.  Watch out when the eggplant seems to “wilt”. It means it is done.

Eggplants may be grilled on the outdoor grill too. Smear oil on the skin and cook by turning the eggplants to cook all sides until the outside is charred and inside is cooked and soft.

To cook in the oven, preheat oven to 400 F. Slice eggplant in halves,  lengthwise and sprinkle some salt on the fleshy side. Smear some oil on both sides and roast flesh side down 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Broil it after it is roasted for about 5 – 7 minutes. This imparts the smoky flavor and also changes the color of the eggplants.

After the eggplants are cooked, place them in a ziploc bag or a bowl with a cover. Let them cool. Peel off and discard the charred skin. Mash or use the food processor to puree the roasted flesh and keep aside.



Cooking the Bharta:

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan. Add the rest of the oil and when its hot, add the cumin seeds. When they splutter, add the onion, ginger garlic paste, and green chillies. Cook at high heat for a couple of minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the tomatoes, the peas – if you are using them, turmeric, salt, red chilli powder and cook for 5 – 7 minutes in medium heat until tomatoes are cooked and the oil separates.
  3. Add the eggplants and stir and toss well. Add salt as per taste. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the mashed eggplants are well combined with the spice mix in the pan.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot
I cant believe it never occurred to me to share a simple recipe such as green chutney. Actually, I make this every week and its absolutely indispensable. I have been making green chutney (hari chutney) for years now. This mint coriander green chutney is very versatile and goes well with parathas, sandwichs, chats, and sometimes goes well even with a simple dal and rice.

Chutneys are a great way to add an extra something to your meal very easily and I make a large batch of this green chutney and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Try this chutney with crispy dosa...I'm sure you will love it :-)






Ingredients:

1 bunch of fresh green coriander, washed,
1/2 bunch of mint leaves,
8-10 cloves of garlic,
1" ginger,
6-7 green chilles, (more if you like it spicy)
1 small ball of tamarind,
2 tbsp fresh grated coconut,
Salt to taste


Method:
  1. Wash the coriander and mint leaves in running water and chop roughly.
  2. In the mixer, put all the ingredients except coconut and grind to a semi smooth paste.
  3. Add very little water at a time.
  4. In the end, put the coconut and blend it into a smooth paste.
  5. Add the salt to taste and mix well.


Ok, this write up is going to have a lot of I's and me's, something I so so detest. I don't like using the letter "I" and would rather replace it with "we" everywhere possible. But sometimes the rantings are about myself and what I feel, so bear with me on this one.

Came across this wonderful write up where people spoke about what their sources of inspiration. Shane Snow, co-founder of Contently said "Personally, I'm inspired by people who overcome bad fortune or circumstance to fulfill their dreams. Professionally, I'm inspired by people and businesses that do incredible things despite glaring flaws or environmental disadvantages. I like flawed people and underdogs. They can't just work hard to overcome their obstacles, they have to work hard and smart. And that leads to amazing things."

I sat right there on the chair, thinking. Speechless. Numb. I was so so impressed by what he said. He hit the nail right on the head.

As I look back at my life, the people who have been underdogs, who have had very difficult times early on, have always intrigued me. I have always been attracted to such people (please don't read too much into that :-) ) and always wanted to know how did they make it to the top. Now to each their on, making it to the top or being successful is defined differently by everyone. I have never looked at it as "money + fame = success". I see it as "how many times you have fallen + how you fought back + changed your life = success".

Heard this somewhere, if there is no struggle in life, there is no story to tell. How true. Talk to any underdog-turned-successful person, you will see the passion with which they tell their stories of rejection, dejection, poverty, hardships, failures. They speak with passion because they want to tell the world that its ok to be an underdog but what matters is how you overcome those challenges. The mindset of such people is so strong. I get so attracted to someone with a strong and positive mindset. They don't work on a superficial level of ego. They work on a deeper level gut feeling and intuition. They work on the principle of work hard but work smart. Smartness becomes an acquired skill and not an inherent skill.

I am inspired by people who are always raising the bar higher for themselves. Continuously trying to work on improving themselves to be a better person than what they were. They compete with themselves and no one else. They are always open to feedback and look at every situation, however tough it might be, as an opportunity to learn and grow. I like people who don't have any hang ups in life. I like people who are constantly taking risks with a let-me-give-it-my-best-shot attitude.

I have a lot of flaws and I am proud of all of them. It give me an opportunity to work on myself. I like flawed people. They are the best source of learning for me. Seeing them deal with their flawness, gives me immense strenght. It gives me an opportunity to put myself in their shoes and see how bad I could look. I draw inspiration to change myself to a better human being.

I like people who are fearless. Daring. Raring to go. Always on the move. Not the one's who go in for cheap thrills. But the real people. Who stand right there and look at a problem on the face and say "bring it on". People who don't procrastinate that their life or situation will change someday, but who get up and make that change happen for themselves with their own actions and thoughts.

If I try to draw an analogy here, a person who is different always catches your attention. And you know they are different. These people have a certain attractiveness around their personality. The way they carry themselves, the way they talk, their clarity of thoughts, it all makes you wonder in awe about them. Most certainly at somepoint, such a person would have been an underdog or a victim of circumstances. They always stand out in the crowd. Why? How? I don't know. The underdog has this certain charisma around him. The fallen, beaten up, has a certain chemistry to him. He has this pure vulnerability to him which no one can see, yet its starkingly there. There is a certain innocence, yet the manipulativiness that they carry. What therefore catches our eye, I think, is this vulnerability and innocence along with humbleness and a strong mindset.  

Every person whom I have met in my life has inspired me. Every single person had a story to tell. I am thankful to all of them for inspiring me to be a better person everyday.
Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. 

Ready? Here we go.....

1. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO ALWAYS BE RIGHT
There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. GIVE UP YOUR NEED FOR CONTROL
Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.”

3. GIVE UP ON BLAME
Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

4. GIVE UP YOUR SELF-DEFEATING SELF-TALK
Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.”

5. GIVE UP YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS
about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind”

6. GIVE UP COMPLAINING
Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

7. GIVE UP THE LUXURY OF CRITICISM
Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

8. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO IMPRESS OTHERS
Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

9. GIVE UP YOUR RESISTANCE TO CHANGE
Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell

10. GIVE UP LABELS
Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”

11. GIVE UP ON YOUR FEARS
Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. GIVE UP YOUR EXCUSES
Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

13. GIVE UP THE PAST
I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

14. GIVE UP ATTACHMENT
This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

15. GIVE UP LIVING YOUR LIFE TO OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS
Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.
Anger is unjustified, for anger alone is merely your response to your failure to apply Knowledge. This engenders anger at its very source. But this need not happen, because anger is a response. As a response it can generate anger in others and stimulate a violent response internally and externally wherever it is applied. 

Knowledge, however, will redirect anger so that it has no destructive qualities, for what you wish to express is that which fortifies Knowledge in others. It is the strength of your conviction and not your desire to hurt yourself or others that is the true efficacy of the emotion that is the core of anger.

Thus, it may be said that your anger is a true communication that has been distorted by your own projections of blame and fear. Once these distortions have been cleared away, the true communication that is the seed of all anger can be expressed. This can only bring about good.