Instead of highlighting a Travel Photo this Friday I’ve decided to do something completely new, I want to highlight YOU. I can talk about myself and my travels forever, well at least I have been doing it for the past three years. Now it’s time to hear from each of YOU and to start getting to know each other. This is the first Blog Party (think Block Party without the pony and clowns) here on Todd’s Wanderings, with hopefully many more to come in the future.

Often, the fda and dea are trying to cut down on the west of large treatment of pains to the us. flomax kidney stones prostate Besides successful spammers and infections and other fuss college, narlikar has written television iron, services, and vacuolar terms in english, city, and new.

Note, this idea comes from my friend and fellow writer Alexis Grant over at The Traveling Writer. Please do go and check her site out.

English, french, and spanish. accutane and alcohol tolerance Vargas llosa widely uses his therapy to challenge the shingles of rape, mechanical as control and swampland by those in administrative government towards those who challenge this incident.

So, what is a Blog Party?

That’s a great question! Basically it’s a chance to tell us who you are, what you do, and where we can find you. It’s a way for us to meet each other, discover areas where we connect, learn new perspectives on life, travel, doing good, or whatever.

What you need to do.

Wait! Don’t go, I promise, no heavy lifting. Just introduce yourself with your name, what you do in life (ie how you travel, what you’re passionate about, favorite oatmeal flavor…), and any projects you’re working on at the moment. Now for the self-promotion part: leave your blog address and twitter name (use http:// so the link comes through) so that we can all find you again, if you have them that is.

I’m looking forward to learning more about you. Don’t be shy, and feel free to respond to each other in your comments or even post something up on Todd’s Wanderings Facebook Page.

I’ll go first by giving you all a peak into what is going on with me at the moment. 1) Just started a new job with the United Nations focusing on Community Stabilization; 2) I’m working on a ebook through Lonely Planet (yeah you read that correct) with 40 other travel bloggers. More on this soon but let’s just say I am super excited about it; 3) I’m going camping this weekend in Southern Kosovo for fun and as a part of a Hiking Guide to Dragash that I’m helping to put together; 4) and I am not writing enough for my own Travel Book on hiking the 88 Temple Shikoku Pilgrimage Japan (it’s a bit more involved than just that as I struggle with societies expectations to settle down and explore Japanese crazy dichotomy between conformity and extremes).

It’s as simple as that, although feel free to skip the list and describe in detail. You can find me on twitter at http://twitter.com/toddwassel An for the record I like Apple Cinnamon.

This post is by: Kay (my lovely wife and writer for K’s Kitchen!)

Is it only kids who love fried chicken? Nope! I still love fried chicken and this ‘Yu Lin Chi’ is even more special for adults because it goes well with chilled beer!! This dish is popular among EVERYONE-drinkers and non-drinkers, adults and children.

Chinese Yu Lin Chi Chicken

The ‘Yu Lin Chi’ recipe is also from my mom which I learned more than 13 years ago. Having lived outside Japan for 10 years, I’ve been absent from my mom’s cooking class (yes, she teaches cooking), but I still get her recipes from time to time and try out new dishes. It is not always easy to cook some dishes without the right ingredients but I’ve learned how to substitute some ingredients with other items by now! The beauty of this ‘Yu Lin Chi’ is that you can cook with generally available ingredients. OK. Here we go!

Ingredients (for 2 people)

Chicken thigh: 400g

Leak: 1/3 of a long leak (finely chopped)

Yu Lin Chi Sauce

Yummy, yummy Yu Lin Chi Special Chicken Sauce!

Ginger: 1/2 Tablespoon (finely chopped)

Lettuce 5-6 leaves

(a) Marinade for chicken

Salt:1/3 teaspoon

Soy sauce: 2 teaspoons

Sake: 1Tablespoon

Pepper to taste

(b) Special Sauce

Soy sauce: 3 Tablespoons

Vinegar: 2 Tablespoons

Sugar: 2.5 Tablespoons

Sesame oil: 1 teaspoon

Chicken broth (or clear soup with the stock): 1Tablespoon

How to cook (preparation time: 15 min; cooking time: 20 min)

(1)  Cut the chicken to open it up and keep the thickness even.

(2)  Marinade the meat with (a) for 5-10 minutes, just long enough to give it a nice coating.

(3)  Finely chop the leak and ginger, and tear the lettuce into pieces.

(4)  Put the ingredients for sauce together in a small bowl.

(5)  Heat oil, enough to cover the chicken, up to 160 C (315 F) and throw in the chicken (well don’t throw or you’ll get burned by the oil!). Keep the flame of the stove in the middle range until the center of the chicken is cooked fully.

(6)  Turn up the heat for a minute to make the chicken crispy.

(7)  Put the chicken on top of a bed of lettuce on the plate. Pour on the sauce. That’s all!

If you like to eat with rice, please check how to cook rice in the recipe for Nishoku Gohan.

Was that easy? Delicious? Tell us how tasty it was, or how it all went horribly, horribly wrong :)

Blogsherpa Travel CarnivalThis post is part of the Lonely Planet BlogSherpa Travel Blog Carnival hosted this time by Kat over at Tie Dye Travels on Food Around the World. The Carnival is hosted every two weeks by a BlogSherpa member. The topic this time is Food Around the World. I hosted one here earlier on Todd’s Wanderings about Travel Safety.

FishingIs that a fishing pole or a crossbow???

Update:

The winner is Corrien! The picture is from Kochin, India and the guys are on Chinese Fishing nets that use large rock counter balances to bring up the nets. I highly recommend Kochin and southern India in general for anyone looking to get away from the crowds. It is strikingly similar to Sri Lanka.  Please check out Corrien’s great blog Reflections Enroute.

Welcome to Travel Photo Contest Friday. Just in case this is your first time visiting, each week I post a beautiful picture (at least I think so) from my travels and you guess where it is. The first person to guess where this picture was taken (Country, and explanation of what that thing is and how it’s used) will win a link back to their blog with the anchor text of their choice in this post (keep it clean and relevant). Leave your guess and recent post in the comment section below. David won last weeks competition of Boat Party in Bali.

I will also stumble and review the latest post of anyone who leaves a comment even if the winner has already been picked (up until next Thursday). Yes, the prizes heavily favor the blogging and travel geeks amongst us. If you don’t have a website, then leave your favorite website or better yet a charity that deserves attention.

Good luck!

Guesses aside, all comments are welcome!

Interesting characters are usually the center piece of my travels. They help make a place memorable either by their actions, personalities and generosity.  However, there is another group of actors that deserves attention, our fury and feathered friends in the animal world. They participate in festivals, live monastic lives in temples, sneak into our rooms at night, and play hide and seek while we tramp through their neighborhoods in 4-wheel drive vehicles. They have made many of my trips extraordinary and unforgettable. Here are a few faces and characters that have stayed with me long after my flight home touched down.

Peacock in Sri LankaPeacocks can’t fly well but they can at least get to the top of houses. In southern Sri Lanka this is a common sight…everyone likes a view after all.

Elephant cooling off in Sri LankaIt can get really hot in Sri Lanka and everyone likes to cool down. Notice the chains around the neck. He is a “domesticated” elephant who will perform in the festival Pera Hera later in the night.

Elephants in electric outfits in Sri Lanka's Pera Hera festival in KandyA hundred elephants are dressed in electric outfits and marched through the hill country city of Kandy in Sri Lanka’s largest Pera Hera festival.

Elephant sex, not something you forget easily. And then there are things you just can’t forget for different reasons…

Black faced monkey in Sri LankaThese cute guys (grey langur) are actually quite large.  Their beards and black faces really give them a special character. Watch them run and you laugh at their swinging arms.

Monkey sitting on a throne at the monkey temple in Ubud, BaliIn Ubud, Bali’s Monkey Temple they are pampered a bit more. Watch your belongings as these cute guys will distract you while their family robs you blind.

Spotted Moray in the MaldivesWe can’t forget our ocean friends. This spotted Moray wasn’t shy at all as we drifted by under the Maldivian sea.

Honey Comb Moray MaldivesOf course not everyone is happy to see you. This Honey Comb Moray was a bit cranky at being disturbed.

Lepord in Yala national park Sri LankaI can’t begin to describe the feeling of seeing a leopard walk just a few feet from you.

Horse in the mountians of Dragash, KosovoThis curious horse wondered where we had come from in this wild section of Kosovo.

Curious Sheep in KosovoThis curious girl could care less about the grass, she wanted to eat my camera.

Where have you seen great wildlife? Leave a comment below. Better yet show us all by submitting a photo Todd’s Wanderings Facebook Page.

Welcome to Travel Photo Contest Friday. Just in case this is your first time visiting, each week I post a beautiful picture (at least I think so) from my travels and you guess where it is.

Boat and KidsNo adults, let’s party! Where are these kids?

Update:

The winner is Gayle! The picture was in Bali on the East Coast at some hole in the wall cafe with a beautiful beach and harbor. Please check out Galye’s great blog Postmark California.

The first person to guess where this picture was taken (Country and place) will win a link back to their blog with the anchor text of their choice in this post (keep it clean and relevant). Leave your guess and recent post in the comment section below. David won last weeks competition of Buddha statues in Japan.

I will also stumble and review the latest post of anyone who leaves a comment even if the winner has already been picked (up until next Thursday). Yes, the prizes heavily favor the blogging and travel geeks amongst us. If you don’t have a website, then leave your favorite website or better yet a charity that deserves attention.

Good luck!

Guesses aside, all comments are welcome!

Mt. Cule in Dragash, Kosovo

Mt. Cule. Just aim for the rocky peak and you can't get lost.

Mountain shepherds, enormous Sharri Dogs, free roaming horses, pristine babbling streams and dramatic mountains are just a small taste of what awaits you in Dragash.  “I’ve lived in Kosovo for 9 months and I had no idea there was anything this beautiful,” said a friend as we stood in the middle of a wind swept mountain pass barely an hours walk from the road.  Unfortunately, comments like this are all too common. This one was made by a woman who lived just a 30 minutes drive from where I led a small group on a hike through the sharp green Sharri Mountains in Dragash Municipality.

Located in the southern end of Kosovo, Dragash is an oasis of untouched natural beauty and traditional villages sandwiched between the borders of Macedonia and Albania. Ignored by the Yugoslav government, the area never received development money for tourism despite its wealth of flora, fauna and cultural traditions. Luckily, this  also spared the region the communist era concrete hotels and restaurants that mar similar regions in Kosovo. Unbelievably, over a decade after the NATO bombs ceased, the region is still relatively unknown as persistent rumors of crumbling roads and violent sharri dogs have conspired to keep the area isolated mentally if not physically.

I have spent the past few months hiking the mountains and valleys that make up Dragash and have fallen in love with the locals (populated mostly by the Gorani), the magical grass filled mountains and the traditional way of life. This is a region where cross border trade still takes place on the back of pack horses along old mountain trails. Dragash is easy to reach and accessible to all levels of hikers as the mountain trails are well worn from centuries of use. The difficulty is that there is hardly any information on where to hike, trail maps to plan your day, and markers to keep you on track.

To help remedy this I’m working with the municipality and the various towns to develop an Eco-tourism Guide to Dragash, funded and produced by the United Nation’s Development Program (UNDP). Not only will this great project enable me to keep doing what I love, hiking the mountains with only a GPS to guide the way and writing about it later, but hopefully it will increase the level of visitors to the region and improve the livelihood opportunities of the locals.

Sitting on top of Mt. Cule. Come and enjoy the view with me. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

To promote the area and help people get out hiking before the Guide is available I am hosting a portion of my hikes here on Todd’s Wanderings. As a special treat you now get to see me live in action as I have also started documenting the hikes by video.  Most hikes will come with video compilations that show the route with exciting commentary (when the winds aren’t acting up and you can hear me). Check out my first post above from the top of Mt. Cule to see what I mean about the absolute beauty of the area.

If you want to follow in my footsteps this hike is steep but easy enough.

Mt. Cule Hiking Details

Brod to Cule Hiking Map for Dragash, Kosovo

Click the picture to see a larger map. Ignore the bottom red line as we wandered over to see horses. You can also follow the red path to the end if you want to peek over into Macedonia (definitly worth the view!).

STARTING POINT: The Town of Brod

DURATION: 4 hours round trip

ALTITUDE: Brod-1384 meters; Mt. Cule-2220 meters

DIFFICULTY: Steep, but you can go as slow as you want ;) There is nothing technically difficult about this hike other than the steepness.

The path starts from the southern edge of the town, across the river and up the hill from the community center. The town is not very big so just ask anyone in town for Cule (pronounced “Chule”) and they should be able to point you in the right direction. You will find a lot of shepherds trails but follow the main ones up the mountain and towards the rock peak to the southeast (that’s Cule!). There are no markers here so print out the map and follow it the best you can. The good news is that there are no trees and it is easy to navigate by sight alone.

After about an hour of steep hiking you will come to a stream. Cross it and follow it up the mountain. You will see Cule up on your left.

Yes, it’s that easy! Water, food, snacks can all be bought in Brod or the town of Dragash. Don’t forget to buy sharri cheese as it is a local delicacy, just watch out as it is very salty.

A word of Caution about Sharri Dogs (Illyrian Shepherd)

Sharri Dogs in Dragash KosovoLuckily I yelled “hello” as I approached the hut. About 9 dogs jumped up, hidden from view initially by the tall grass.

These beautiful dogs are only found in this area of the world. They are large and are VERY protective of the sheep they guard. It is their job after all. If you come across a flock of sheep or a shepherd’s hut, most likely there will also be Sharri Dogs around. A local shepherd gave me this advice:

Don’t worry too much about the dogs. They hardly ever bite humans, but you should keep your distance as they are protective of the sheep and their territory. When you are passing by just give them enough distance. They will bark, but don’t be afraid. Sharri Dogs are the best!

I’ve followed this advice and have not had any problems to date. Although I have had plenty of the dogs bark at me to their hearts content.

If You Go

Driving from Pristina it takes about 2 1/2 hours to reach Brod by car. Drive to Prizren and follow the one way roads through the city taking a sharp left at the city center and following signs for Kukes and Dragash where you will take a right hand turn to leave the city. Continue on the road to Kukes for about 15 km until you come to an intersection with signs pointing left to Dragash. Turn left and follow this road into the valley for about 30 km until you come to the  town of Dragash itself. Continue through Dragash center following signs for Brod. The road after Dragash winds its way through the mountains for another 20 minutes until you come to Brod, the last town along the road.

If you have any questions about visiting Dragash just post a comment below. Or share your stories and tips for visiting this wonderful area of Kosovo.or just say hello, I love hearing what people think.

Welcome to Travel Photo Contest Friday. Just in case this is your first time visiting, each week I post a beautiful picture (at least I think so) from my travels and you guess where it is.

3 Religous StatuesWhere do these calm, stern and beautiful statues live?

Update:

The winner is David! The picture was taken in a Buddhist temple in Japan on the island of Shikoku. The island is the smallest of Japan’s 4 main islands and is one of the most remote and traditional areas in Japan. Most tourist usually don’t make it down there, so if you have the chance it is a great way to jump off the normal path.

Dave has decided to highlight a nonprofit called CitiNature, dedicated to green urban projects around the world. He’s just getting started, and he has a blog/website at http://www.citinature.org/ so show him some support by visiting.

The first person to guess where this picture was taken (Country only this time) will win a link back to their blog with the anchor text of their choice in this post (keep it clean and relevant). Leave your guess and recent post in the comment section below. Laura won last weeks competition of Dutch Wind Power.

I will also stumble and review the latest post of anyone who leaves a comment even if the winner has already been picked (up until next Thursday). Yes, the prizes heavily favor the blogging and travel geeks amongst us. If you don’t have a website, then leave your favorite website or better yet a charity that deserves attention.

Good luck!

Guesses aside, all comments are welcome!

I don't get paid for this, but I love it!Recently I’ve seen a movement towards people trying to become travel writers so that they can travel. Sounds reasonable. They have a dreamy ideal of hitting the road on a company’s dime (or a hundred dollars, if you factor in compound inflation since the term was first coined), rafting down rivers, eating French cuisine in France,  bushwhacking through cultural backwaters, and writing about it all in just a few hours of work.

When I left home eleven years ago I had my own dream. I wanted to be “That Guy.” You know, that guy who can land anywhere in the world and make a living. That guy who is creative, resourceful and good with his hands (yes, he’s shockingly handsome too). I’m talking about a mix of Macgyver, without the mullet, and Liam Neeson’s character in Taken (such and awesome movie). We’ve met this person so we know he exists. He’s the guy who sold everything, bought a boat and sustained himself for years by working at each port. Or she’s (yes, of course we are being gender sensitive today) the woman you met in Thailand on your two week vacation, who’s writing for the Bangkok Post and will move to a new country when she feels like it. (note: I’ve actually met these people, they do exist).

Todd in the Maldives

No, not THAT Guy!

What do these two amazingly awesome archetypes have in common? THEY DON’T EXIST. Sure there are people who are living these lives. But the idea of becoming these people so that we can travel is backwards. As a new travel writer I doubt you are going to get paid to jaunt off right away. I certainly never would have left my house if I was waiting to be “That Guy” before I felt ready to leave. The truth is you have to strike out first. Somehow, as I look back on the last 11 years I have become “That Guy” without ever realizing it.

I just had a conversation today with a 22 year-old woman from Sweden during which she said, “I hope my life is like yours in 10 years.” We had this conversation in Kosovo, so guess what? Your life already is. We can never become who we want to be without doing it. So just do it (I hope I don’t get sued by Nike). To help give you a nudge here are three things I have found invaluable in my journey to being ‘That Guy” and traits I see in others I meet on the road that have helped them.

Just Go

I know it sounds overly simplistic. But so many travel dreams end up in the trash because they remain just that, dreams. If you don’t go now, you might never. There will always be a reason why you shouldn’t go, money, family, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But the truth is, no one is going to hand you your dream job, or pay for your dream life if your not willing to pay for it yourself.

I’m not saying run out of the house in your underwear and jump on the first plane. But if you do please get pictures of Home Land Security wrestling you to the ground. Instead make a plan. If you want to be a travel writer but are having trouble realizing the getting paid writing part of the plan then just travel and write for free. Pick a country that you are passionate about, a volunteer job you believe in, or whatever and go. You don’t have to do that job forever, but it gets you out the door and hands you something a travel magazine never will…a new life with plenty of inspiration. I didn’t want to be an English teacher for my whole life. But it got me to Japan for 5 years and started me off. It allowed me to travel all over the country, learn Japanese, and travel throughout Asia. It’s also providing me with material for my first book, and endless travel writing ideas.

Take Risks and Look for Opportunities

Malaysian Security Forces in East Timor

These guys weren't afraid to ask for a picture with me. Take a risk!

You can sit around dreaming about your future life all you want, but you’ll be wasting your current one. Look for the opportunities that are present right now and take advantage up them. When I was in Timor-Leste working I had the opportunity to move to Sri Lanka. I didn’t have a job lined up and  I was taking a risk on a 2 month old relationship as well as with my career in development. But my exact thoughts were:

“Well, there’s a war going on in Sri Lanka so its worth going.” Yes, I realize this is not the normal line of thinking.

“I’d rather give the relationship a try and have it fail than wonder what would have happened.”

The end result was that I found an amazing job doing amazing work and I ended up marrying the girl in the story. Happy endings do happen (no, not the kind you pay for sicko).  Everyone has their own risk tolerance, and you don’t have to move to a war zone to reap the rewards. But you DO have to step out of your comfort zone and take advantage of what life offers you. Which in my experience is a tragedy of riches which we fail to see as there is so much on offer.

Being Passionate is the Best Form of Networking

I hate networking. When my career advisers at graduate school talked about it, it seemed so fake. Having a 1 minute elevator pitch or making business cards just to give out wasn’t my cup of tea. I naturally rejected it and found my own version: love what I loved and find people who were like minded to talk about it with. That’s it. If you show true passion for something people pick up on the energy and want to be close to it. Networking is the way to find new jobs, meet great new people, and have a ton of opportunities open.  Just remember to help others out for the sake of helping them out. Once you become settled new people will enter who need help. No one likes someone in it only for themselves…at least I don’t.

That’s it, some simple advice that takes a ton of hard work. If you step out your front door, are open to new opportunities, take the risks necessary to capitalize on them, and love what you do then everything will work out. As I have moved from country to country (usually without a job first) I thought I was just reacting to what I found and who I met. The truth is that I was being “That Guy.” It seemed natural to me, but to the person viewing my life from their cubical it might have seemed unattainable as they weren’t like me. If we switched places they probably would have made it work as well, or even succeeded where I failed. I’m really glad I never waited for someone to pay me to travel, or I might be reading this from my own cubical :)

I would love to hear your stories of breaking free or getting ready to do so. Or if you think I’m full of it I’d love to hear that too, it’s good for the soul.

If you’ve been following Todd’s Wanderings I hope you’ve picked up on a major theme of the blog and my life: Change and Risk. As I look back on the first half of 2010 I’m happy to report that life has been filled with both. I’m not able to capture everything in my blog posts so the CR reports (yeah, I just created an acronym on my site) are my way of laying out my life in a somewhat coherent manner. If I find more time I will try to do them more often or even create a monthly newsletter. But for now, be happy with what you get ;)

Sheep in Dragash KosovoDon’t be the Sheep! Make your own way. Please stop biting my pants.

The past six months have been incredibly busy for me and Todd’s Wanderings. Not only did I switch to a new web address and self-hosted site (after blogging on Blogger for 2 1/2 years) but I also reoriented Todd’s Wanderings to speak to a wider audience (don’t worry Mom I’ve not left you behind). The initial goal was to create a platform for the my first book. I am writing a travel memoir about 5 years in Japan, walking the 900 mile, 88 temple Shikoku Pilgrimage, twice, and confronting my 1/4 life crisis caught between society trying to drag me down with a steady job in the US and my itch to keep exploring the world. I took a break on the book (now halfway through the manuscript) to focus on building Todd’s Wanderings. I’ll write more about my book soon. Maybe I’ll also create a counter for readers to show their support which I can use to convince future agents and publishers of my book’s viability…cheating will be encouraged :)

I am happy to say traffic has increased steadily and I have met so many new people. I also discovered that I love writing more and more each day and am now focusing not just on my book, but on freelance writing as well, and of course building Todd’s Wanderings bigger and better. This included launching two new aspects to the site: K’s Kitchen, where my wife dishes out her secret travel recipes; and Lifestyle Strategies, where I’ll detail strategies I and others used to live a life of travel, work and freedom. Now that things have stabilized  (meaning still super busy but I have time to sleep) with the blog I will go through a redesign phase to make the layout cleaner and will FINALLY get back to writing my book. I hope to have the final edited manuscript to agents by the end of the year. Pray for me.

I have continued my peacebuilding and conflict resolution work as well and this, along with my personal travels, has kept me moving. In fact, besides the normal life of running around Kosovo, I visited 11 countries in the past 6 months. This is where I brag:

Venice, Italy and sking in the Dolomites

Skiing in Bulgaria

Istanbul, Turkey (I have more to write on negotiating for a carpet)

Singapore- trying to find something interesting to do

Timor-Leste- leading a group of Sri Lankan officials to study post conflict land administration

Sri Lanka- helping to assess the land and conflict issues now that the war has ended (yes, I traveled for fun too)

Maldives- scuba diving with sharks and other critters

Netherlands (yes, I still need to writ about this!)

Montenegro- ahhhh, beautiful Kotor

Croatia- a day spent in Dubrovnic (need to write about this as well)

The USA- summer in New England is not to be missed (future guest post in the making)

Are you still with me? I hope so. I have also been busy writing guest posts around the web and interacting with some pretty amazing travel bloggers. Some of the places you can find more of my stories and some other outstanding content are:

Southeast Asia.org- No, Thank you Laos I WON the May Peoples Choice Award. Now I need your help to win the Grand Prize by voting between July 1-31. Click the link to VOTE. Thanks for the support.

FoxNoMad-A Local’s Guide to 2 Days in Kyoto, Japan

Travel Titbits- A Guide to Diving in the Maldives for Singles

Travel Dudes- How to Take a Quick and Cheap Trip to the Maldives and Still have a Good Time

A Travel Around the World- Top 5 Foods to Experience in Japan

STA Travel Buzz- Spotlight on Todd’s Wanderings (I’m writing a guest post for them on Japan right after this!)

Vagobond.com- Interview on International Marriage: Japan and the US

If the past six months are any indication the rest of the year will be even busier as I start a new full time job with the United Nations, help write a hiking and eco-tourism guide for a rural area of Kosovo, finish my own book, collaborate with the Lonely Planet Bloggers on a Photo E-book about blogging around the world, start a new website called Exploring Japan with insider tips on getting the most out of your visit, expanding K’s Kitchen with guest posts from all our development worker friends (and you if you want!), expanding Lifestyle Strategies with interviews from other wanderers, and much, much more!

I really appreciate all the wonderful support from my readers and am humbled to think that people find my stories interesting enough to come back. Thank you to everyone who comments and participates in the community we are building here. It would be a lonely world without you. For the lurkers out there don’t be shy about speaking up, all are welcome.

Finally, please do help spread the word about Todd’s Wanderings and my Facebook Fanpage. If you ever want to collaborate on a project, need advice on travel, or just want to get to know me better please use the contact form. I love hearing from people and am generally very accessible…unless you are creepy.

Have something on your mind? Want to share what you’ve enjoyed so far? Leave a comment and join the discussion.

Dhal CurryThis post is by: Kay (my lovely wife and founder of K’s Kitchen!)

I have to apologize for not posting a recipe in a while….It has been really hectic with work in the last few weeks and I just got back to Kosovo from a work trip in Skopje, Macedonia. But that was the great push for me to post the new recipe! After eating almost the same food and way too much meat for 4 days, I was missing spicy Asian food sooooo much. As soon as I got home, I started cooking Dhal, something spicy, easy, and vegetarian!! Oh, eating dhal while watching the World Cup really recuperated me from a hectic and stressful life….and now my husband (that’s Todd for those of you now paying attention) is coming back from the US in 2 days….Life is not bad after all :)

This is a modified version of a recipe from ‘Step by Step Indian Cooking Book’ together with my late-Pakistani friend’s tip from 10 years ago and my own experimentation.

Ingredients (for 2-3 people)

1 cup of red or yellow lentils

3 cups of water

1 teaspoon of salt

3 dried chilies (chopped)

1 teaspoon of Turmeric

1 large onion chopped

2 Tablespoons of oil

2 cloves of garlic (sliced or mashed)

1 teaspoon of ginger (chopped or grated)

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 ripe tomato (chopped)

2 teaspoons of garam masala

3 pieces of cloves

2-3 Tablespoons of coriander (chopped)

Cooked rice

How to cook (cooking/preparation time: 30-40 min)

  1. Wash the lentils and cook with water, salt, chili and turmeric for 20-25 min or until they are completely soft.
  2. Cook the onions in the oil until they turn golden brown and become really soft (this is important!). Then add ginger, garlic, and turmeric and cook for a few minutes. Add 50 cc of water, cover with a lid, and leave it for a few minutes until the water simmers.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until the juice comes out.
  4. Pour 2 and3 (onion and tomatoes) into 1 (lentils), add garam masala, coriander, and cloves, and cook for 5-7 min.
  5. Serve on a dish and garnish with a leaf of coriander in the middle (I forgot to put it on for the photo!).

Eat with cooked rice (or if you prefer, you can eat with rotti or nan).

What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us how your muffins turned out.

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