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Turkish Vegan Recipe: How To Cook Mercimek Koftesi (Lentil Balls)

There are a lot of traditional Turkish dishes that are vegetarian or vegan in their original form. A popular local dish I‘ve mentioned before is mercimek (mer-ji-mek) koftesi (kouf-te-si), which are spicy lentil balls with onions and a few other ingredients. Last time I had my mom join a live chat here on the site to show you tips on preparing lentil balls.

For this recipe, I figured it even better to make a video with my mom showing you how to make mercimek koftesi so you can cook them for yourself, friends, or family any time you like. You can see the entire process in the video here.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Adjust as needed, just make sure to keep the ratios in proportion.

  • 4 cups red lentils
  • 2 cups thin bulgur rice
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 onions
  • 3 bundles spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mint
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper paste (spicy)

Total Cooking Time

With preparation, about 3 hours.

Any Questions?

Overall these lentil balls are a good side dish you can make to go along with any meal. They’re completely vegan in their original recipe so if you’re traveling in Turkey, it’s a good best if you come across mercimek koftesi there will be no animal products in it.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below and if you’d like to see more recipes on YouTube!

How Bluetooth Trackers Work To Find Your Lost Luggage, Wallet, And Other Valuables

Personal Bluetooth trackers are small plastic devices smaller than a credit card you can use to find lost keys and other valuables. You may be wondering how these devices work, whether they’re worth using, and some of their limitations.

Here’s how Bluetooth trackers work and how you can use them to find lost items.

The Hardware

There are a couple of manufacturers of Bluetooth trackers, the largest being Tile and Chipolo. These are small devices ranging from a simple coin-sized square to the credit card shaped solar-powered Ekster you place in your purse, backpack, basically anything you don’t want lost. The only setup required is to pair them with your phone, an easy process shown in the video above.

Manufacturers tackle batteries differently; Chipolo uses small replaceable batteries, and Tile has a trade-in program for example. In both cases, batteries last at least up to a year, if not longer. Otherwise the setup of these trackers is simple, typically with a single button to pair the device and a smaller emitter for beeping sounds. Most Bluetooth trackers are designed to with in either short and long ranges.

Short Range Use

Depending on the version of Bluetooth, typically these trackers have a physical signal range of roughly 50 meters (150 feet). In these cases, you can trigger an alert using your phone to sound the beeps on the tracker to help you find your keys, for example. The associated app with most trackers will also let you visually locate the tracker when you’re in Bluetooth range and the process works in reverse too – you can use the tracker to set an alarm on your phone so you can locate it.

What Happens When You’re Out Of Range?

You might be thinking by now, “well, I often lose things that aren’t within 50 meters of me,” what now? In these cases you’ll use the Bluetooth tracker’s app to mark it as lost. Once a tracker is marked as lost, it will then activate its anonymous code so that the tracker app on everyone’s phone will be on the lookout for it.

This happens without the knowledge of the other users. So when someone else in the Bluetooth tracking app network (i.e. another user) walks past your lost keys in a cafe, they won’t know that their phone sent a signal back with its location. Once that happens, you’re notified and hopefully you can get to your lost items.

Network Importance

Outside of the short Bluetooth range, the size of the network is important. Tile has the largest network with 26 million users, Chipolo is the second largest (both have subscription fees). What that means is the chance of another Tile or Chipolo user walking past your lost stuff is higher on those networks. Densely populated areas like cities obviously will have better user coverage but in rural areas your chances diminish quite a bit.

Still, a Bluetooth tracker can help you find your lost keys or be setup to alert you if you get out of a customizable short range to prevent you from forgetting your backpack at a cafe or airport gate.

PacSafe’s LS450 Backpack Is Ultra-Secure And Pretty Useable Too

Combining storage and security isn’t easy when it comes to something that needs to be as portable as a backpack. The MetroSafe LS450 Anti-Theft Backpack gets closer than most in a very capable backpack with security features – still a divide in usability you’ll have to navigate.

You can watch my full review of the MetroSafe LS450 in the video above or read on.

Bag Basics

Made by PacSafe, a company known for making secure travel gear, the LS450 is on the bigger side of 25 liters. There are three compartments, one main and two smaller organizational pockets on the front. You won’t find a traditional quick grab pocket on this backpack, mainly because of the fortified design. All of the zippers can be latched to the bag to prevent pickpockets, although you’ll have to get used to the few extra moments it takes to get into your bag as well.

The exterior is made of 210D nylon, with a slash-proof mesh underneath. Still, despite the extra padding, the LS450 remains light at only 840 grams.

Comfort Conversion

In some ways the LS450 is a very comfortable backpack to wear. The straps are soft and padded with a contoured back to keep your back cool. It’s here where some of the security features interfere with pure design. To prevent slash and grabs, PacSafe have hidden the straps of the LS450 in a protective cushion. Those cushions make it so adjusting the straps while you’re wearing the LS450 isn’t really feasible. Also, the material used on the straps is a bit sticky to clothing and may cause pilling.

A thicker band around your neck too isn’t entire comfortable during hot weather – again another security design trade-off. One trade that’s pretty easy to make is the right strap being lockable. Basically allowing you to lock the strap around a chair, table, or other stationary point preventing someone walking off with the bag when you’re distracted.

Security Aside

Overall, the LS450 on its own is a good backpack. It’s large enough to be a capable day pack for school or work commutes. You can find comparable bags for less without the built-in safety features but for travelers who don’t carry a lot of electronics, the MetroSafe LS450 would make for a good everyday carry – especially if you’re looking for the added protection it provides.

WiFox Automatically Gives You Airport WiFi Passwords On Your Phone Upon Arrival

wifox

WiFox, the app that contains the airport wifi passwords to over 1,300 airports, has been updated so those passwords now automatically appear on your phone upon arrival. In the biggest update to WiFox since its launch, the app now notifies you of the wifi network name and password when you’re in an airport. And of course, WiFox still works completely offline.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
Land And Connect

Imagine all the times you’re on a flight and land for a layover. You’ve probably had the experience of fiddling around trying to find network connections, see which ones might be authentic, figure out what the password might be… only to just make it to your next connection. WiFox Premium will, as soon as you land, give you the best network name and wifi connection password so you’re ready to get online once you’re in the airport. Again, all of this works completely offline, without the need for an Internet connection.

New Upgrades And Rating System

WiFox has also been improved with a new connection rating system. The passwords delivered to your phone are automatically sorted by connection reliability and strength so you’re always connected to the fastest networks.

WiFox Premium users can also see individual network ratings as well as add their own upgraded feedback, in addition to the real-time information verified from other travelers, pilots, and other reliable sources.

This new rating system already improves upon the previous generation. When I developed WiFox I wanted to make sure the passwords were updated in real-time but also were as accurate as possible.

Other WiFox Features

WiFox is now faster than ever and comes with a number of other useful features.

wifox app

  • Copy Passwords Directly – You can choose between several networks in an airport to use lounge and other passwords to paste directly into your phone’s settings.
  • Unlock Time Restrictions – Access points with time limits are also shown but WiFox shows you how to get around time-based restrictions.
  • Updated In Real-Time – WiFox works completely offline but updates password information and connection information once you’re online.

WiFox And WiFox Premium Available Now For iOS (Android Version Coming Soon)

WiFox is now available available on iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) for the special price of free on the App Store! You can upgrade to WiFox Premium within the app, which unlocks all of the features described above and more. Your feedback is important to me so please send any feedback or feature requests you have for future updates. Ratings on the App Store are also important, so if you’re happy with WiFox, I would appreciate your 5-star ratings!

I’ve appreciated your support for WiFox (and an independent developer like me!) since its launch and look forward to hearing from you when the latest version is in your hands. As always, travel smarter. -Anil P.

Download WiFox, Available on the App Store Here

New Balance Made A Waist Pack For Runners That Actually Carries Your Stuff

Finding a waist pack that’s comfortable while running is one thing but most are ultra slim, making it hard to pack in a modern smartphone with anything else. The New Balance Performance Waist Pack… uh, balances both concerns surprisingly well as you can see in the video review above.

For those of you looking for a waist pack that can comfortably hold a wallet, keys, and large smartphone, with pockets to separate them to avoid scratching, take a close look at the Performance Waist Pack.

Best Way To Get A Taxi In Istanbul, Turkey

Finding a taxi in Istanbul, Turkey, isn’t difficult but just hailing any cab off the street is a risky move if you don’t want to get ripped off. Istanbul taxi drivers don’t have the best reputation and since Uber is virtually non-existent in the city, here’s how to make sure you get where you need to go without overpaying.

Use The Right App For The City

Free for Android and iOS, BiTaksi works similar to ride sharing apps you may be familiar with but is exclusive to registered taxis. You’ll want to set up BiTaksi before arriving in Turkey because the app requires a phone number for verification. (Probably easier to deal with in your home country.) After setup, you can then use BiTaksi to call a cab in Istanbul or Ankara, like you would using Lyft or Uber. You can see you driver’s rating and license plate to make sure you hop in the right car.

Once you call a cab, you’ll be shown a few different route options through BiTaksi, so you can watch to make sure your driver is taking the right route. You can also, through the app, specify the route you want the driver to take. Additionally, BiTaksi let’s you send your ride information to a friend or family, so they can watch your progress and know when you’ve arrived safely at a destination.

You can see the entire setup of BiTaksi in the video above and if you happen to be headed to Serbia, here’s the best way to order a cab in Belgrade.

About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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