Thursday, January 16, 2020

Red lentil veggie soup

Every time I get on the blog to post, I promise myself to keep it regular. It is one thing or the other that has kept me away from posting. To start with I have started teaching photography online, which takes up a lot of time, scheduling classes, prepping class material. Not complaining, I just love it but it takes time. Then I also shoot a lot for Adobe, I must have read 8-10 books last year. I'm taking a few courses ( not photography). All that takes away time, but it is not an excuse. I will try to be regular.

Last two months (almost) I was in India, my mom turned eighty and she asked me to come and spend time with her, so I ended up spending a month with her. It was great because my sister was there as well, so it was three of us, I felt I had traveled back in time, school days. Sharing a few images, the one in the deep maroon sari is my mom. I think I look like my mom - my is the same nose. We ate, we shopped and we had so much fun.I'm so glad I spent time with her and she was so happy. Precious!

Then I was in Bengaluru for about three weeks, we had a family wedding. We had a wedding in the family after nearly twenty years, a total riot. We danced almost all night and it was a big fat Indian wedding. This time I met all my cousins and some of my v v close friends. I wanted to meet a few more people but just could not do everything. I also ran into my best friend who was visiting from Singapore and she was there only for two days. All in all, it was a fabulous trip.

I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by some amazing people. Now, back to Chicago, it is not that cold but it's cold. After the hustle-bustle of India, it really feels very quite here. Somedays I love the quite and somedays I really miss India. Thankfully, I love what I do and that keeps me happy-busy.

This is my go-to recipe for jet-lag days, quick and easy and also very light on the stomach. Red lentil or masoor is one of the lightest lentils to digest, so if you are going vegetarian or vegan - it's good to start with red lentil. It is sold as masoor in the Indian grocery store.



  • 1 cup cooked red lentil/masoor 
  • 2 cup veggies chopped (red bell pepper, carrots, red pumpkin)
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a pan add ghee, let it melt and add the veggies, let it roast. 
  • Add salt and cover it till it cooks a bit. 
  • Add it to the blender, add the cooked daal and ginger and grind. Add water if necessary. I do not like to add store-bought veggie stock as it has way too much salt. 
  • Serve hot with your favorite bread. Garnish with sweet bell pepper, toasted
    pumpkin seeds and roasted ajwain seed ( onion seed) 
It can't get easier than that. I love the vibrant color. 

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Muffin Tin Ice cream

Muffin Tin Ice cream - Simi Jois Photography

Muffin Tin Ice cream - Simi Jois Photography

It has been a whirlwind of a year so far. I had promised myself to update TNS at least once a month and I cannot believe that I have not had the time to do so. I was in India in April-May for almost a month and when I got back I was working on a spice project followed by online photography tutorials that were packed. If you are interested to register for my online class - click here. I now offer group lessons as well, the post has all the details and if you have further questions you can email me or send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment here.

About these super easy muffin tin ice cream. These are super easy and almost have a gourmet look about them. My sister and brother-in-law were visiting and my brother-in-law loves desserts, so I created this ahead of time so I could spend time with them and not be stuck in the kitchen.

Muffin Tin Ice cream - Simi Jois Photography

Muffin Tin Ice cream - Simi Jois Photography

Print Friendly and PDF

Online food photography and styling group lessons

Food Photography is not as overwhelming as it looks when you first pick up your camera. Not all genre of photography requires the same skill.  If you ask me to do sports photography, I would probably need not just different lenses but also some lessons in sports photography, where timing is everything.

Food and lifestyle photography is about storytelling. It is about colors, textures, light, shade, framing and a lot more. It can get overwhelming. In my last workshop, I had a student walk up to me and say..." Why are we doing all this? What is the purpose of it all?" You have to find your purpose, you have to find what urges you to pick up the camera and create. You have to find what makes your heart skip a beat and warm up. Just like a poet may not have any purpose to write about dancing daffodils, yet the only purpose is a calling from the heart. Photography is art, it is an expression of that voice in you that are looking for a canvas.

In the last few years, I have enjoyed conducting a hands-on workshop. The energy and creativity give me goosebumps. A lot of people don't like to learn in workshops, a lot of them are not in the same town and can't travel. This is a great opportunity for people like you, who want to learn at your own pace and in the convenience of your home. Online classes were limited to a one on one customized lesson plans, but now I am offering group lessons.

The first group lesson will be scheduled in the second week of August, depending on the time zone of the students who enroll, I will announce the date/time.  I will send out a few date/time and you can pick what works for you

Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime - again students can vote what they prefer.
3 session of 2 hours each 

Manual mode and storytelling.
You do not require to know how to shoot manual, but at the end of 3 days, you will start getting comfortable with using manual mode.
How to narrate a story and use the camera to work for you and not against you.

So if this is something that you have been wanting to learn and not done it yet. Here is your chance to enroll in this group lesson. I will be limiting the number of students to keep the class intimate.

If you are interested please fill this online form

$150 for the 3 sessions ( 2 hours each)

Thank you and looking forward to seeing you there.

*If you have financial hardships please email me and let me see how we can work things out.

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Blood orange upside down egg less cake - no sugar cake

It is still quite cold this side of the planet, snow on the ground with the promise of more. With all that cold, I wanted to bake a warm spicy cake for our wedding anniversary. Both S and I are not big frosting fans, and with Aish, at school, we really do not indulge in desserts as much as we used to. I wanted to make a simple no-sugar cake. I love the idea of dates in the cake, it adds moisture and mild sweetness, so if you have a keen sweet tooth, you will need to add some sugar to this.

This recipe is adapted from here. I incorporated some spices and made it a blood orange upside down cake. I also added a warm syrup to go with the cake, adding some sweetness and spiciness to the cake.

I'm doing a food photography and styling workshop in Bengaluru, India this May - click here for details. 

Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, February 18, 2019

Blood orange - pomegranate- cranberry khatta-meetha (sweet-sour) mocktail

KalaKhatta our very own chatpatta - videshi style

I grew up in India and every year during our summer break we would visit my uncle in Mumbai. Mumbai is known for street food and barf ka gola (shaved ice with syrup) is something that I just loved. A specific flavor was kala-khatta, an absolute favorite. This mocktail is inspired from it.

If you are not familiar with chaat masala, it is a must-have in every pantry. It is a spice blend that has a bit of sourness, saltiness, sweetness, a bit astringent. absolutely lip-smacking. Sprinkle it on anything and it brings the flavors to life. Don't miss making this one...


2-3 cups blood orange juiced
1 cup pomegranate juice
4-5 cranberries
some raw tamarind or juice of half lime
1-inch ginger juice
1 tsp chaat masala
1/2 tsp red chili powder
4 tbsp sugar
1 cup of water
2 cups club soda OR
1/2 cup vodka

Instructions :

  • Take the cranberries and blend with water 
  • Add sugar and make a simple syrup, to this add raw tamarind or lime juice
  • Let it cool then add chaat, red chili powder & ginger juice 
  • Mix with the juices
  • Add club soda and served chilled
If you add vodka omit the club soda. 

Print Friendly and PDF
Related Posts with Thumbnails