murder mysteries… and some cooking

June 17, 2008

i am already on the third novel from the list… i finished “the oxford murders” and am now reading “the distant echo”.  when i read or watch a murder mystery, i want to be able to predict “who dun it” but i do not like it to be deliberately shrouded in mystery when there is no intrigue (like the movie “taking lives” – maybe it was the actor – his act gave it away) or blatantly implied when it is deliberately misleading.  the clues have to be there… the story has to be logical even if not realistic.  and most of all it should not insult your intelligence.  it is rare for a plot to be perfect with no loose ends… but even that you can discount if the writing or the characterization or the story or something about it had the magic to capture your fancy.

i remember reading agatha christie’s “peril at the end house”***…. it was a complete surprise when the murderer was revealed.  i could never have guessed.  a twist like that is also quite welcome.  but then again, i was pretty young when i read that.  with age and, dare i say, experience and exposure, the cynic in you gets tougher and tougher to please or convince.  even then, you have a soft corner for some authors even if you have out-grown them.  many of poirot’s series do have the downsides that i mentioned earlier… but to me, they are enthralling, nevertheless.  when it comes to books, agatha christie is my first love.

i also managed to tear myself away from “the distant echo” long enough to make some dal and mess up the chilli gobi.


  • 1:1:1 of toor dal:channa dal:moong dal
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tomato sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 8 green chillies slit
  • 1/2 teaspoon asofoetida
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon channa dal
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon sambar powder (optional)
  • salt
  • coriander leaves

wash and soak the dal in warm water for 10 minutes.  then pressure cook the dal with the onion (3/4th of it), tomato, green chillies, garlic, asofoetida and a little of the turmeric powder for 10 minutes.  heat oil and add the mustard seeds, when they start sizzling, add the channa dal, urad dal, cumin seeds, red chillies and curry leaves.  stir, then add the rest of the onion and saute.  add the masala and stir for about 15 seconds.  add this to the cooked dal – you may add water if needed – add salt and simmer for 5-10 minutes till it reaches desired consistency.  garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

mixed dal









like i said, the chilli gobi was a wash-out.  my mother-in-law made phulka-like-chapathis… the chapathi was yummy and the dal was alright to go with it.  but for this kind of dal, i prefer rice!

well… i had better get back… the echo is beckoning. 

***UPDATE  i meant “endless night”, not “peril at end house”.  its been a looong time and i just remembered, so i googled to make sure that i got the name right this time around.


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