June 16, 2010

Kothmir-Pudina Zhunka/Pithla, Jowar Bhakri, Chana Dal-Carrot MW Dal, Besan-Semolina Laddoos

Happy Father's day on the 20th to all adorable daddies!
I would like you to watch something fun to make you all smile for dad's day! Have you heard few of Allan Sherman's hilarious songs "One Hippopotami" and a popular Camp song "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" before? He has more like these on YouTube to watch.
Enjoy them while I take a Summer blog break for few weeks! :)

Kothmir-Pudina Zhunka or Pithla/Cilantro-Mint Besan Chutney, my style! :)
Most of you know this recipe for Besan Chutney called "Zhunka (drier chutney) or Pithla (when it has some gravy)", a Maharashtrian delicacy which tastes fabulous with Jowar or Bajri, or mix of flours Bhakris or Pithla even tastes great with Pooris as I have found out. I had surplus of Cilantro leaves and Mint, so I thought I will smother this PithlaZhunka with Cilantro and enjoy it. It was really tasty with strong Cilantro flavor (I love Cilantro!) and hint of Mint, loved with Bhakri. Here is an video of Marathi lady making authentic Pithla and Bhakri.

Here is how I made Kothmir-Pudina Zhunka/Pithla:
1. Roast 1/4 cup Besan/Chickpea flour until it heats thru' or place it on wide plate and Microwave one minute at at time until it heats and cool. Add 1 cup thin Buttemilk or plain water if you don't like to use Buttermilk, 1/2 tsp salt to Besan, beat well until you get a smooth mix without lumps. Keep aside.
2. Heat 1tbsp ghee,1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds, pinch of Hing. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion, 1-2 green chilli minced, 1-2 garlic minced, saute well until onion is reddish, add 1 tsp grated ginger, 1/4 tsp chilli pd, stir fry for a few seconds.
3. Add 1/2 Turmeric, 1 cup packed chopped Cilantro, 1/4 cup minced Mint leaves, stir for few seconds until wilt.
4. Add Besan and Buttermilk mixture, simmer until it cooks, raw smells disappears and Zhunka thickens. Adjust the salt and heat, take off the heat. It gets thicker as it cools. Add more water and heat if it becomes too thick.
5. If you have used just plain water instead of Buttermilk with Besan, add 1-2 tsp of lemon juice to Pithla/Zhunka and mix well.

Jowar Bhakris:
This delicious Cilantro-Besan chutney can be paired with my Rajgaro flour -Wheat flour Bhakri, or just using Jowar flour like this Jowar Bhakri and this link in Marathi as shown in these video links or as shown below are made with the same method as this Bajra Bhakri I have made and posted before. Look at this roti making video, what a fabulous skill!!

To make Jowar Bhakri:You can also make Bhakri the easy way. Mix a cup or 2 of Jowar flour or Bajri flour or Ragi flour or mix of flours, 1/2 cup Wheat flour (Atta is optional addition for binding since these Bajri or Jowar flour don't have much gluten to bind and roll out easily to make circles. Adding wheat flour makes it easy to roll but not authentic Bhakri recipe which slapped by open palms into shape! :D), enough salt and very hot water to mix and make 6" rounds on a oiled aluminum foil and cook both sides on hot Tava/Griddle.

Microwaved Chana dal-Carrot Dal:

I made this yummy dal following the same recipe from Divya's "Dil Se" blog's "Kadalai Paruppu Kuzhambu" post except added some Carrots and a Tomato to Chana dal and did the whole cooking in the Microwave. This will go to Champa who is hosting "Tried and Tasted-Dilse" event which is the brain child of Zlamushka. Thanks to all of you girls! :)

To Microwave the dal:
1. Add 1/2 cup soaked Chana dal to a big bowl with water with 2 tsp ghee and Microwave first until dal is almost cooked.
2. Then add a cup of sliced Carrots (I had a pack of already sliced) and all the other ingredients as Divya says in her post except seasoning ingredients into dal, mix and microwave until Carrots are soft and cooked well but not mashed. Add salt and Cilantro.
3. Heat another small bowl with 1 tbsp oil, Microwave for 3 mins on high. Add all the other seasoning ingredients as Divya's post lists, keep MWing and mixing until the onions are reddish. Add to the cooked Carrot dal and mix.
Serve dal with plain rice, a raita and with that Besan chutney on the side with a Bhakri. Delicious dinner is ready! :)

I am also sending this Microwaved Chana dal-Carrot dal to this month's host PJ, to an event started by Silpa called "Vegetable Marathon-Carrots" and again sending this to Kamalika who is hosting "MEC-Dals", an event started by Srivalli. Enjoy hosting the events friends.

Besan-Rava Laddoos, a dessert to finish off the meal:
My kids usually love any dessert with Vanilla or Chocolate flavors. Since I don't like sweets generally (except Jamuns and Tiramasu!), I try not to cook too many sweets at home. Whenever kids want any dessert like cakes and cookies, most of the time I just buy it for them at the store. However, Besan Laddoos are one of the few Indian sweets my daughter likes. As soon as she came back home from college after finishing the freshman year, she wanted these so I had made them for her. I made very few laddoos using just 1 cup of Besan and few tbsp of Rava/Semolina.

To make these Besan Laddoos:
1. Heat a non-stick pan, add 4 tbsp ghee. Add 2-3 tbsp fine grained Semolina (Chiroti Rava), roast until slightly reddish but not too much.
2. Turn down the heat. Add 1 cup Besan (Gram flour available in Indian stores, make sure it's fresh. I store it in the fridge in an airtight glass jar) and roast until the raw smell of Besan disappears and Besan roasts to a golden color while constantly stirring the flour.
Note: This process of roasting Besan on medium heat takes about 10-15mins, very imp to get the Besan aromatic and well roasted. If not well roasted, Laddoos taste slightly bitter. So make sure you roast it well. You can also Microwave Besan-Ghee mix on a wide plate, take care not to burn the Besan, keep checking after every 1-2 mins.
3. Add 3/4 cup (or more to your taste) of fine grained light brown sugar to the roasted flour, 3 tbsp finely crushed Almonds, mix well. Mix in 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder.
4. As soon as the sugar melts, flour is thickish, take the pan out of the heat. Mix well, let it cool for 4-5 mins and add 1 tsp of milk to it just to make it wet (add 1 tsp more milk if you find the Besan flour too dry but don't add too much milk) mix well, scoop 2 tbsp of flour and make small balls by squeezing gently with your palm to round shapes.
5. Let them cool, they get firmer. Enjoy.

Movies I watched:
We watched "The Gods must be crazy II", a second movie of the same name on Sunday night. It was hilarious as well but I prefer the the first movie. These 1-2 movies come in one box as "The Gods must be crazy 1 and II". I am not planning to buy any more of these movie series, these 2 are good enough!

"Invictus", on DVD, a movie based on the politics of South Africa and around Rugby World Cup in 1995, which was hosted by South Africa during and right after their internal national conflict and dissolving Apartheid, which united all South Africans as "one team, one country" for the love of the game with new hope for the country with Nelson Mandela as their president.
This movie is directed by Clint Eastwood and with actor Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, all are my favorite guys. Usually I don't watch any movie based on sports but this movie had all that I wanted even though a bit long for my liking (134mins), an interesting movie to watch about inside politics of South Africa even if you are not into game of Rugby. South Africa won the Rugby World cup that year, not without a controversy though! Here is a glimpse of that 1995 game on YouTube video and final highlights. "Invictus" means "Unconquered or undefeated" in Latin.

Books I plan to read this Summer:
"Half of a Yellow Sun" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
This book is quoted as "A masterly, haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as "the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe," Half of a Yellow Sun recreates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria, and the chilling violence that followed" here in this website. This interesting book was recommended to me by sra. Thanks my friend!:)

"The Bathhouse" by Farnoosh Moshiri.A story about how a Iranian teenage girl who was arrested and kept in an old Bathhouse endured the brutal hardship, narrowly escaped death and survived during the Iranian fundamentalist revolution.

Blog Break!!
That's all for this month. I am taking a blog break from 18th of June to plan and enjoy a Summer vacation with kids. I will be back to blogging around mid July or later. Have a wonderful time until then, take care and keep cool, see you all as soon as possible. Hugs to all you! :))

June 09, 2010

Matar-Paneer Makhani/Butter Masala, Layered Wheat flour and Flax Seeds Powder Parathas, Multi Dal Masala Vada, Mango-Ricotta Kalakand

We had the hottest 2 days of Spring season last weekend, blazing Sun with 94F and humid. We spent time in the Mall most of the time and then went to grocery shopping at 8pm after it cooled down a bit, we have never done that before even in Summer! Then it rained a bit on Sunday night, temp went down and we are breathing easy this week with lower 80F. But I read that it reached 110F in India in some states, so what am I complaining about, right? Hope you guys are well hydrated there in India. I think Indian kids are back in school while our kids will start the Summer holidays this week, time for me to plan for vacation soon and to take a short Summer blog break too.
Yes! I deep fried again last week. Somebody STOP me!!! ;D
But I did make very small amount of everything deep fried these days unlike before which used to last for 2 days, so it's not that bad. Just few something crunchy to snack on in the evening once a week on the weekend is okay I think.

Matar-Paneer Makhani(Greenpeas and Cheese in Butter masala):

I had bought a pack of Paneer last month, here is the second dish I made with leftover Paneer after I used it to make Paneer Omelet last time. Since it is a Makhnai/with butter dish, you have to add some butter, can't skip that. Although I like frozen Greenpeas for convenience and add a cup to Pulav etc, I prefer dried green or Yellow Peas to make side dishes with gravy, soaked and pressure cooked lightly which gives a whole different taste and texture than frozen Greenpeas. Makhani tastes great served with Parathas, Kulchas or Pooris. Here are Dal Maharani and Dal Bhukhara dishes I have posted before, I have posted Paneer Makhani too with slightly different recipe. This recipe is influenced slightly by Nita Mehta's "Amritsari Khaana" book with my own changes. Enjoy.

Prepare these first:
1. Soak 1 1/2 cup of dry green or Yellow Greenpeas overnight, drain the water, add 2 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt, gently pressure cook until Peas are cooked but mashed. Keep aside. Slice Paneer into 1" cubes to fill 1 cup or more (I don't fry or saute Paneer in oil usually, just add directly to the gravy few minutes before I turn off the heat), set aside.
2. Grind 1 tbsp each of roasted and cooled Cashews, Walnuts and Almonds with some hot milk to smooth paste. Make this Garam Masala or roast and powder 1/2 Cardamom seeds, 1" Cinnamon, 3 Cloves, 2 tsp Cumin seeds and 1 tbsp Coriander seeds for a simple Garam masala mix you can use all of this for Makhani gravy.
To Make:
1. Heat 1 tbsp Butter+1 tbsp oil, add 1-2 Bay leaves, 2 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste, saute. Add 1 cup finely minced onions, 1/4 tsp Turmeric and 1/2 tsp Sharwood brand Tandoori spice masala if you have it (optional) saute until soft.
2. Add 1/2 cup Tomato sauce, salt, 1 tsp sugar and enough Paprika or Kashmiri chili powder, stir on medium heat until butter shows up on top. Turn down the heat, add few tbsp of cold water.
3. Add in 1 cup fat free Half and half, simmer gently. Add cooked Greenpeas with it's water, simmer again until it bubbles, adjust the salt and chilli pd.
4. Add the ground Nut paste, 1 cup Paneer cubes, 2 tsp crushed Kasoori Methi, and 2 tsp Garam masala, mix gently and heat thru' for few more mins. Take the dish off the heat.
5. Sprinkle Cilantro and 1 tbsp Butter, let it melt on top before serving, tastes better the next day. You can reheat Makhani in the microwave.

Paneer-Matar Makhani
goes to Diana of "A little of Spain in Iowa" blog who is hosting "MLLA-24th helping" event this month which is started by Susan.
This dish also goes to Sara of "Sara's Corner"
and Sunita's event "Think Spice...Think-Garam Masala". Thanks to all of you for taking time.

Layered whole Wheat flour and Flax seeds powder Parathas:

Here is another way to fold Parathas. I always keep looking for new ways to fold the layered Parathas because they make Parathas so soft and it's fun to make them as well. Last month I found a pack powdered Flax seeds at the store, so I keep adding about 2-3 tbsps to Whole wheat/atta to make Parathas or to bread, makes them healthy. I love Flax seeds chutney powder and Flax seeds Parathas made with it too.

To knead:
1. Take 2 cups of Whole Wheat flour, 2-3tbsps of Flax seeds powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp oil in a bowl, mix well. Add warm water to knead and make a soft dough but not sticky dough.
2. Brush some oil on the dough, cover the bowl and let it rest for 2 hours. Make layered Parathas.
3. Heat a Tava/Griddle and bake Parathas. Brush some ghee on top when you take them out.

How to fold:

1. Divide the dough into 8-10 portions, make balls. Roll each one out to about 6-7" circles, brush with oil lightly, sprinkle some flour on top.
2. Follow the step by step pics to fold the parathas as shown in the collage to make them. Click on the photo to make it bigger. Roll out again to 6" circle and cook on Tava.
3. Enjoy them with any gravy dish.

Multi Dal Masala Vada:
Here they are, the dreaded(:D) deep fried multi-dal (ala Adai) masala vadas I loved! I used 4 kinds of dals together with other spices and used a American style food chopper grinder to make a very coarse paste like the size of Bulgar Wheat (did not use Indian grinder Sumeet this time which grinds to a very fine paste) to get a very crunchy texture and mixed the thick batter with some Besan later to hold them together into round shapes, something different than I usually make like this flat Chana dal-Dill vadas.

To make Multi-Dal Masala Vada:
Soak 2 tbsp each of Chana dal, Urad dal, Moong dal and Tuar dal for few hours, drain and add to the food processor, grind until you get a coarse textured mixture. Take out in a bowl.
2. Add 1/4 cup minced Onions, 2 tsp grated Ginger, 1/2 tsp dry red Chilli flakes, 2 green chillies minced, 1/4 tsp Ajwain, 1/2 tsp crushed Aniseeds, 2 tsp crushed Coriander seeds, minced Cilantro, minced curry leaves, 1tbsp or more if needed Besan/Gram flour just to bind them together, not too much, salt and few pinches of Baking soda and mix well.
3. Don't add water, dough should be thick enough to make balls. Heat oil to 375F, drop in medium sized balls of Vada dough and fry until golden and crunchy.
4. Serve with coconut chutney or just as they are with coffee.

Ricotta Mango Kalakand:

Looking at the (Indian) blogs these days with all those mango dishes they are posting making me feel like jumping on the plane and fly to India just to have few juicy Mangoes! Aroma of ripe Mangoes brings back lot of childhood memories for most of us who grew up in India.
But unfortunately Spanish Mangoes I get here are no match for what we are used to in India, best I can get close to that taste is canned Alphonso Mango Pulp.
I had made Mango Lassi weeks ago, had some Mango pulp leftover and when I saw the tub of Ricotta (bought it to make Rasmalai which never happened) in the fridge, I made this easy and delicious sweet called Kalakand which is made of thickened sweetened milk traditionally, a very popular dessert in North Karnataka but I used thick Ricotta cheese, added Mango pulp to it for easy Kalakand. My kids enjoyed these more since it involved Ricotta Cheese!! ;D

To make easy Ricotta-Mango Kalakand:
Get all these ingredients first and add to non-stick wide mouthed pan:
1. Place 2 tbsp ghee, 15oz tub of low fat Ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup or more Brown sugar as per your taste, 1 cup canned Alphonso Mango pulp, 1/2 tsp Powdered Cardamom, pinch of salt, Pinch of saffron threads, 2 tbsp slightly toasted, crushed Almond slivers or Pistachios.
2. Heat the mixture until bubbly, turn down the heat to medium low and keep on stirring until it's thick and creamy.
3. When it stars to leave the sides of the pan, add to a lightly buttered plate, let it cool and cut into pieces. Kalakand will be soft and moist, sometimes scoopable with a spoon if it's softer which is excellent to serve topped with a little whipped Cream. Enjoy.

Colorful Ricotta-Mango Kalakand goes to Srivalli of "Spice your life" blog's "Kid's delight-Natural colors" event.

We watched an old movie called "Mackenna's Gold" again which I had watched as a teenager, loved it. I have been planning to watch one old movie as a family every Sunday evening, so my kids can remember these times when they are all grown and middle aged! Haha!! With most handsome Gregory Peck, Telly Savalas, Omar Sheriff, this movie was so good to watch on the new digitally remastered DVD. All of these actors have passed away now but they live forever in our hearts and memories! :)

Watched "Shutter Island" on DVD yesterday. Movie is based on a novel by Dennis Lehane who is also the author of "Mystic River", which was also made into movie directed by Clint Eastwood, won an Oscar for actor Sean Penn few years ago.
Shutter Island is not such a bad movie over all, visually good, little weird plotwise, didn't make much money when it was released but good acting by Ben Kingsley and Leo DiCaprio. Okay to watch once I guess.

I have been listening to Maya Angelou's CD books "Still I Rise" and "Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer". Her life, thoughts, poetry and her voice are all really inspiring.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends! :)

June 02, 2010

Mysore Masala Bonda with Dal Powder-Tomato Sambhar, Egg Theeyal Kootu, Spicy Masala Eggs

Hello everyone! It's that time of the week again and so soon too! I always think "once a week with multiple dishes" post is easy for me but every week I am huffing and puffing to catch up like a last person running in a Marathon! Haha!
Memorial weekend was so busy and fun too that I didn't have anything written for my post today. I just had these photos posted and haven't typed a word until yesterday afternoon! Anyway glad I caught up at last and here are some of the dishes I had cooked. Yes!! I deep fried again after those Baturas, enjoyed these Bondas after more than a year. That's some will power for a compulsive craver of savory snacks like me, let me tell ya ! ;D

Mysore Masala Bondas:
Most of you Indian foodies know about these Bondas of course. Some get confused between Mangalore Bondas/Bajjis (Goli Baje) which are made of Plain flour with these Mysore Bondas which are made with thick Urad dal batter. Mysore Bondas are the same as doughnut shaped Urad dal Vadas or Medhu vadas, only made of or rather batter dropped to oil in round balls without making the shapes, definitely much easier than making shaped ones if you ask me!
You can make these plain without adding any onion masala to the batter to make Mosaru Vade or Dahi Vadas soaked in spiced Yogurt or add masala to have them with spicy coconut chutney or dunked in spicy Sambhar.

Perfect timing to send some of these to two events which are just announced with Onions and Peppercorns too! I am sending Mysore Masala Bondas, Dal Sambhar and Egg Theeyal Kootu to Priya's and Siri's "Healing Foods-Onions" event and also to Padma who is hosting "Cooking with seeds-Peppercorns" which is started by Priya. Thanks to both of you! :)

To Make Mysore Bondas:

1. Soak 1 cup Urad dal in water for 4 hrs. Wash and drain water. Grind dal as thick as possible in a grinder to a smooth batter until fluffy (should float if a small amount dropped in water) with adding as less water as possible. Since we are dropping the batter in balls, it's okay if you have to make the batter little thinner than the Doughnut shaped Vadas but still keep the batter as thick as possible to make rounds.
Heat oil to 375F to deep fry. Get a big strainer, line it up with paper towels to place fried Bondas to keep them crisp draining as much oil as possible.
2. Take out the thick batter in a bowl, add the following masala to it, mix well.
Masala to add: 1/4 cup finely chopped Onions, 1 tsp Cumin seeds, 1 tsp grated Ginger, finely chopped 2 green chillies, 1 tsp crushed Peppercorns, chopped Cilantro, chopped Curry leaves, 2 tbsp Grated or slivers of fresh or dry Coconut, pinch of Hing,adding enough salt to taste and 1/4 tsp baking soda last, just before frying.
3. Drop round balls to hot oil, keep moving the Bondas in oil so they cook evenly until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel and serve with chutney or dunk them in thin spicy Sambhar.

Dal Powder and Tomato Sambhar:

As some of you know, I have a gazillion cookbooks of all kinds in my collection and bought more Kannada cookbooks from Bangalore last year when I was there. I found this unique Sambhar recipe made of powdered Dals in one of the books, decided to try and LOVED it. Simple, spicy, thinner gravy than the usual Sambhar and delicious to serve with these Bondas or even with Dill Vadas or Chana Dal Masala Vadas.

To make, fry/Roast dals and spices first:
Dal Powder:
Heat 1 tsp in a pan on a medium heat. Add 1 tbsp each of Tuar dal, Channa dal and Moong dal together or separately and fry/roast these until they are reddish, raw smell of dals disappear and completely cooked from inside out. Do not burn the dals. Take your time with this frying/roasting process, otherwise Sambhar will smell like raw dals. Cool completely and powder finely. Mix well with 1/4 cup water to avoid lumps and keep aside.
Spice powder:
Heat a pan without oil, add 1 1/2 tbsp Coriander seeds, 1 tsp Peppercorns and 2 or more dry red chillies, cool and powder separately, keep aside.
To make Sambhar:
1. Heat 2 tsp oil and 1 tsp Ghee. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds, few curry leaves, 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds, pinch of Hing and 1 dry red chillies.
2. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onions, 1/4 tsp Turmeric, pinch of salt, saute until soft. Add 1/4 cup Tomato sauce, boil and then turn the heat down to simmer until thick.
3. Add 3-4 cups water, 1 tsp sugar or Jaggery to reduce the acidity of Tomato, powdered spices, salt and simmer for 10mins.
4. Add dal powder mixed with water to the Sambhar, mix well, simmer for 2 mins. If Sambhar is too thick, add more water. But once you add dals, don't boil too much.
5. Garnish with 2 tbsp finely chopped Cilantro and serve. Tastes even better the next day.

Egg Theeyal Kootu:
As I have said before, first dish I make whenever we come home from vacation is some spicy Pearl Onion Theeyal! I get very desperate to have some of this after eating bland food for a week or so! :D
Well..this time I made the smooth onion Theeyal gravy/Kootu style and added few hard boiled Eggs, kids loved it. This recipe may not have authentic Theeyal ingredients but tastes great, I must have written down from a magazine some years ago, don't really remember. You have to serve this some plain white rice, some ghee and a yogurt cucumber raita on the side for a perfect meal!

To make:
Hard boil 6 Eggs, shell them and slit the Eggs half way but don't split them in half, keep them whole. Set aside.
Ground masala: Fry each of these separately in few tsps of oil, cool them and make a smooth paste of these:
1 cup of Shallots, 2-3 Garlic, 1" Ginger, 2 tbsp Coriander seeds, 2 cloves and 1" Cinnamon, 2-3 red chillies, 1/4 cup fresh coconut and 1/2 to 1 tsp Peppercorns.
To make Theeyal:
1. Heat 2 tsp ghee and 1 tsp oil. Add 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, few curry leaves.
2. Turn down the heat, add ground coconut masala paste, 1/4 tsp Turmeric, 1/4 tsp thick Tamarind pulp, 1 cup or more water depending on the thickness you want, simmer gently for 10mins. Add chopped Cilantro.
3. Add Eggs. Tastes so much better the next day.

Spicy (Chana Masala) Eggs:

Want some yummy spicy Eggs to snack on, or to top a cool salad or for quick Sandwich stuffers for lunch? Here they are! I just hard boiled about 6-7 Eggs, shelled and cooled them, sliced each into half, and sauteed them with my own Chana masala powder I made last week, you can add any masala you have.

To make these:
1. Heat a wide mouthed non-stick pan, add 1 tbsp butter to coat the pan. Place halved Eggs in single layer, sprinkle salt, homemade Chana Masala or any masala powder you like, and fresh Pepper powder or red chilli powder.
2. Gently roast the Eggs on medium heat. Don't let the masala burn. When they are golden, flip them and sprinkle more masala and more Butter if you like until they are well roasted and coated with masala.
3. Serve on a salad or make Sandwiches or serve these just as snacks/appetizers. YUM!!

We went to "Prince of Persia" on Memorial day Monday, loved it. This movie is based on a Video game, so I wasn't that thrilled to go but Jake Gyllenhaal is one of fave actor. He definitely didn't disappoint me, movie very well made and he is so charming just like a (a street urchin really!) Prince Dastan should be and a perfect looking Princess called Tamina to boot! Movie is very entertaining, non-stop action, visually beautiful. As bonus, got to see a super Obese (from Hindu Kush region, now Afghanistan) Maharaja riding an Elephant, munching on Walnuts and few giggling Indian Princesses too! :D

On DVD, kids and I watched "Alice in Wonderland", new one with Johnny Depp. Weirdly funny movie but again, it was supposed to be that way, different than normal, so it was enjoyable and entertaining, waited to see this movie on DVD though.
Another very talented actor, we love Johnny Depp's movies like "Sweeney Todd" and "Pirates of The Caribbean" movies, but not so much his kiddie movies like this one and as "Willie Wonka....". I bet younger kids will enjoy these kid movies in theaters better, of course Johnny Depp is always great in any movie, loved him as Sweeney Todd!

That's all for now, enjoy the short week and the weekend! :)