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Posts Tagged ‘Indian food’

I was lucky to have a short diversion and land in Hyderabad for a week. With no further ado, allow me to introduce my favorite spots:

*Temples. The two that were both beautiful, interesting, and served as a quiet place to rest from the bustling city:

Jagannath Temple

Located in the somewhat affluent neighborhood of Banjara Hills, a quiet part of town. I recommend visiting in the afternoon, before sun sets, when the colorful sculptures and intricate marble carvings are complimented by the lighting system. Also visit mid-week, when it’s not crowded. Take your time to sit, watch people, maybe meditate, then walk around and adore the characters in the little shrines.

Jagannath Temple at night

Jagannath Temple at night

So many colorful figures at Jagannath Temple

So many colorful figures at Jagannath Temple

Birla Mandir Temple

Located in a scenic environment at the top of a hill, the glistening white temple surroundings offer the best scenery of Hyderabad, as well as air and good breeze. The temple is a white beauty, with many artistic designs for the eye to take in. Be aware, that like many other temples in India, you will need to remove your shoes before entering, and leave them outside. Also, in this temple, phones and cameras are not allowed, and they are very strict about it.

Birla

A view of Birla temple, built on top of a rocky hill, Hyderabad

*Architecture and views. Hyderabad is a city of contrasts. Full of old, magnificent buildings from different eras, up to the ultimate, up-to-date modern architecture. That is why, even by driving around the city, one’s eyes simply can’t rest but devour the sights of old and new, marble and glass, domes and geometrical designs.

Charminar

One of Hyderabad’s musts, Charminar (stands for the “four towers) is a monument built in 1591 by Mohammed Qutub Shah, the fifth sultan of the Qutub Shahi dynasty of India. A climb up the narrow, winding, uneven steps is quite the experience: awkward as you’re squeezed between people, and climbing very, very slow. Yet, the views from the tower, as well as the many architectural details that the structure presents, are well worth it (and the money they’re collecting).

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Charminar= the “four towers” are clearly seen from afar, high above

Charminar, Hyderabad

curves and arches at Charminar

Charminar

Islamic arches

Golkonda Fort

Somewhat of a drive from city center, this old fort (approx. 800 years) is the epitome of engineering. Be sure to take the full english tour to learn the many secretes that the fort holds with the interesting bits of historical information. Do it during  the day and don’t be tempted to stay for the lights show during evening, which was meant as a gimmick, but not a very good one for a non-Indian.

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Stepping on 800 years old stones

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The famous acoustic effect: A hand clap below the dome can be heard clearly almost a kilometer away

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Arches corridor

HITEC City

A few years ago, a new, modern city emerged on the flat prairie near Hyderabad, all clean shaped, glass and steel, built for the world leading technology, pharma, and financial companies. With those, came residential buildings, campuses, and all the rest. I recommend driving around and noting the amazing differences, and the contrast that is still evolving between the old city and the contemporary landscape.

640px-Cyber_Towers_Madhapur_Hyderabad

An example of the modern new buildings in HITEC City, photo by Veera.sj.

*Shopping and food. Oh, where do I start? Shopping is all around. Shops and bazaars seem to be the arteries and veins that connect and make the city a whole. Each sari and fabric store is filled with gorgeous colors and patterns. Restaurants and food carts all looked equally inviting. My suggestions are these:

Laad bazaar right next to Charminar, for all the bangles you could dream of. Allow time to wonder around and view people and sellers.

laad bazaar

Glass, metal, fabric wrapped bangles. You ask, they have it. I’m in there somewhere…

Shopper’s Stop at GVK One mallFor ethnic clothes, there are the markets, and the endless shops everywhere, but I found it easy to eventually shop at one of the local malls, where I could try the kurta on, and the prices were very decent.

street

Of course there’s plenty of other stuff everywhere in the street

Bawarchi. Perhaps ze’ (french accent please) most tastiest Hyderabadi chicken biryani in Hyderabad.

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I asked for a fork, but I’ve learned to use my hand since then.

Minerva Coffee Shop. Despite the name, these guys’ specialty is their amazing thali, that kept on refilling itself. My kind of heaven.

thali

GREAT thali at Minerva Coffee

Of course, other kinds of street food were absolutely a delish: samosas being my top choice.

street

Hyderabad street life

*indulgence. Make time for a good Ayurvedic massage, especially the scalp and head warm oil massage, or even a full body oil massage, completed with hot steam sauna. I’ve been to Senses, and after the massage I emerged as a new person. It was so good, that I made my husband take the massage the day after. Please remember though, this is India, so don’t expect any western style or standard.

*Thanks. It’s always wonderful to travel with a local, not to mention warm, generous people, who become friends. I’d like to thank you guys, for the wealth of information, guidance, and efforts: Sharma, Indira, Justine, Priya, Srihari, Vivek, Vamshi, Mapu and mostly to Amrutha. Shukriya!

door

Hyderabad, 2015

 

 

 

 

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cooking them with lentils

collard greens

Temperatures are slightly up, but still kind of cold and gray. Especially today. It feels like London. misty, rainy. I can’t but help myself to a nice, heartwarming dish. Also, a great opportunity to use the pressure cooker.

So my dear friend Meenakshi, who is a talented cook, has at least three pressure cookers and she produces the most tasty food in no time. Along with the argument that it is much more friendlier to our environment, I was convinced to finally invest in a pressure cooker.

According to my faint memory, my family used to have one of those, many years ago (aka- grandma). I’ve heard horror stories about cooking that went beyond the pressure point, and a lid that went beyond the ceiling. Naturally, after purchasing that eco-friendly product, it was well kept and tucked away for a few months.

I guess it took me a while to mature into acceptance of the pressure cooker. I sat myself down and read ALL of the words in the little booklet that came with my shiny cooker. I also read ALL the warnings. long sigh.. It was time. That day I manged to make chicken pulao and a chickpeas with wheat berries dish for dinner. Ta Da. Mission accomplished.

So today, as I was examining the veggies at the store, this young collard green winked at me. I had to take a whole bunch. This is the result of Collard Greens + Orange Lentils + one pressure cooker:

indian collard greens and dal

I basically took the recipe from here, but adjusted it to my pressure cooker as follows.

you’ll need:

  • 1 cup orange lentil (“masoor dal” from the indian store)
  • 1 bunch of collard greens (about 7-8 large leaves)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • lemon

how-to:

  • Small preparations: To make things easier for me, I chop the onion and garlic together in my mini food processor. (mu ha ha). The collard greens are quickly rinsed, roll-folded together to be cut into strips. The lentils are washed under cold water.
  • Heat the oil in the pressure cooker, and add the onions and garlic. Saute a few minutes. Lower the  heat and add the lentils. Toss around for 2 minutes.
  • Add all other ingredients (but not the lemon). Close the lid tightly over the pressure cooker.
  • Increase heat and wait there to hear how the pressure builds up. Every pressure cooker is different, so read the manual. Once pressure has built, lower heat to somewhere between low and medium for 7 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat completely, and wait for the pressure cooker to cool down. I’m still learning this thing, so I waited 20 minutes.
  • Open the lid, carefully. Squeeze some fresh lemon on your tasty dish.

green and orange

fold- roll -cut

pressure cooker- a whole new world

My next pressure cooker project is

about to become tomato chutney

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