Batata Harra

Potato Potato Potato. There is no place where we cant find potatos. All grow up eating it on practically most of the dishes, from fries to boiled to mashed. Name it and its there. Needless to say how useful this versatile vegetable can be.

I came across this dish when I was looking for receipe for basbusa, a middle eastern dessert. The name of the dish is well to say, quite different but trust me it is something any amateur can cook.

Batata Harra is a Lebanese dish which is spicy and easy to make. A combination I love!

This dish goes well with anything. I like to pair it with a mildly spiced ghee rice and spiced lentils.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs Turmeric Powder
  • 1 ½ Tbs Coriander seeds
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • For Garnishing – Dill leaves, Coriander leaves, Cilantro

Instructions:

Peel potatoes and boil them in a pot with enough water to cover them. Potatoes should be cooked but still firm. Drain potatoes and let them cool briefly. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and coriander skills. After few minutes add turmeric powder. Add boiled potatoes and mix well. Once the potatoes are coated well with other ingredients switch off the heat. Add lemon juice, Dill leaves, Coriander leaves and Cilantro

The best part is it looks good on eyes and tastes good even at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian Problems

Initial days in a new place lets you dine out quite often. I see pizza Inn and decide to treat myself with proper food after  punishing myself with terrible airline sandwich and black tea( seriously! tea without milk?). I get in and as usual ask for the menu. And the man of the house smirks only then I notice this

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And I for the first time pity myself for being a vegetarian. My ordering then followed a pattern.

Vegetarian/No meat/No mushrooms.

Asking for vegetarian food in a land which is famous for Al Baik chicken leaves me with an alien like stare and honestly I am so used to it now. So looking for vegetarian food can sure account as a task to be accomplished.some failed attempts like driving thru to get McVeggie and coming out with McFlurry, longing for pasta only to find it with tuna and bacons. So restaurants with vegetarian food makes up to frequently visited sites in jazan.

Rasoi – It is run by keralites where I was greeted in tamil and it sure brings a smile(Well! Back home look up fluent English , Get out of country and search for native language. Ah!the irony). I got pretty good options for vegetarian here. Indian breads to curries, dosas to noodles most of the dishes are available. Vellappam with tomato fry is a must try here.

Red Bricks – Dal Makhni in Red bricks is the go-to dish for me. A perfect North indian restaurant with delicious panner receipes. Russian salad here is a must try. Few months in the city and I find the restaurant already increasing vegetarian dishes here.

Jia – Now this is my favourite. Located sea side it redefines class. Recently renovated I could find  delicious onion dum biriyani to samosas. I found more vegetarian dishes to choose from and that  makes me visit this restaurant so often.

India Gate – Its similar to Jia, a north indian restaurant offering delicious Hyderabad dum biriyani. Masala rice is a clear winner. I happen to visit only once since parking can be a nightmare.

And common outlets line McD, KFC, TGIF, Kudu, Pizza Hut are available. Well again! Being a vegetarian clearly leaves me with no option other than to cook.

Expat – A new tag

The journey to i-do-cook-well realization is nothing short of excitement. It gradually happened after spending months in cooking basic recipes.

Before that, days were spent learning more about the city, lifestyle of people, Indians in the region and restaurants offering vegetarian food. And those things are worth sharing.

Shifting to KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) brought in many changes to everyday routine as cultural differences are vast. Starting with becoming familiar with the tag ‘Expat’, Let me brief about few terms which are popular here

Iqama – It is a personal Identity card for expatriates who enter KSA for work. It’s mandatory to be taken along always. The man of the house (can’t help it! Thanks Twinkle Khanna. I am in love with this term) says, “Iqama?” while stepping out more than I-love-you.What more can explain the importance of taking it along than this.

Abaya – A long black cloak that all women  have to wear by law when out in public. As a matter of fact it can be quite a turn off but for someone like me who is termed fashionably disabled and prefers sulking rather than dressing up it is a blessing in disguise. I get ready in a jiffy and end up holding the door open and asking the man of the house to hurry up.

Salah – Setting aside everything to offer prayers is a common practice here. Shopping malls to small grocery shops remain closed at that particular time which is typically 5 times a day.

And last but definitely worth mentioning(not specific with KSA though, but this is my first experience) is the driving mode. Initially travelling in car was quite a funny scene since I was mentally accustomed to driving right (Well technically I was not the one who is in charge of the wheels but still). Every single time I would find it hard to control not-so-polite words when someone tries to get ahead in the wrong side (in my head obviously) only to understand how stupid I was at the end. What to expect! Just get over it with that sheepish grin and audio system to the rescue.

After initial settling down the next obvious pit stop is the restaurants in jazan. I wouldn’t miss a chance to write about it and it deserves a separate post 😀

 

Amateur Alert

I named the blog just right.

At this moment this is the only thing I am sure about.

My love for the place I am staying currently in KSA is not the one that happened first sight. when I stepped in for the first time at 9 PM, all I could sense was ”This place is so hot”. And a 40 mins ride from the airport to the place I stay had no big ”Wow! Its so beautiful” moment. It was as plain as a loaf of wheat bread, no butter,no filling.

Taking a break from my job and shifting here was not so easy honestly. There were genuine comments asking me to reconsider the decision. But I guess that was too late. I came here with no job, no plans and no special interests.

But that was 5 months back and right now somewhere in between experiencing first sandstorm and spending evenings watching sunsets in beach, small picnics in beautiful parks and late night long drives I cant deny but i fell in love with this place.

I am sure there are many things which i cant do here but that opened another door of possibilities. Never in my wildest dream did I imagine myself as a cook. I was terrible in differentiating the lentils let alone cooking. My love for food was confined only to the dining table. Over here I find that love take me to whole new phase and I cant complain.

Lets talk more!