Posts Tagged ‘Dal/Lentils’

Spicy Paddu


2010
09.23

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I always loved the lunches my best friend L got to school. Her Mom was a very good cook and I made sure L reserved a major portion of her lunch box for me. She was/is one of my closest of friends and there is no doubt I loved her company and always wished to hang out at her place irrespective of the food, that is. But, the fact that her Mom was an amazing cook only amplified the desire a tad bit more ;).
These fried dumplings called Paddu sometimes came in L’s lunches and were coveted by  not just me but, by many of  our other avaricious friends as well. So, my dearest pal L, bless her sweet sweet heart, always saved a few extra for me in a safe place before she opened her box to the wild hungry wolves around us. And though I knew that my portion existed elsewhere, I still fought with the rest to get my split in this share of the treat as well;).  You see, greed is a vice I’ve had tough timing dealing with all my life :(.  Anyway, what is worth mentioning here though is that, it was not just with food that L made sure that I got more than I deserve. She’s been there for me as a close confidant all through my life. My preteens, teens and now well into my adulthood. And though today we live across the globe from each other, every time either of us are having a plate of these yummy dumplings we never fail to think back of the good times we shared.

L in the last few years has been having more than her warranted share of problems in life. And to all or any of you who have taken the pains to read through my monologue here, I’d be grateful if you could spare a moment to send over some good thoughts, spirits and prayers her way. Not because L is my friend but because she is a genuinely nice person and totally totally deserves it.

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Ingredients

1/3 cup urad dal/black gram
1 cup raw rice
1 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
3 tbsp thin poha/parched (beaten) rice
3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 sprigs of finely chopped curry leaves
1 med sized onion finely chopped
2 green chilies finely chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger

Directions

  • Wash and soak dal, rice and fenugreek seeds for 5-6 hours.
  • Grind this mixture along with the parched rice to make a smooth batter.
  • Add salt and let the batter ferment overnight.
  • When adequately fermented the volume of the batter more than doubles its original volume
  • Add all the remaining ingredients into the batter and mix well.
  • On high flame grease the appakara (the mold used in making these dumplings) with oil.
  • Pour  1.5 tbsp full of batter  into each mold.
  • Reduce the flame to medium and let it cook for 3 – 4 minutes
  • When the bottom side is done, turn it over to the other side.
  • Drizzle a few drops of oil gain.
  • Let it cook for another 2 – 3 minutes
  • Remove from the pan and server hot with your choice of chutneys.
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    Gongura Dal


    2010
    08.12

    These lemony tart leaves are my all time favorite greens. There has not been a single time I’ve been to an Indian store and not bought them if they were available. And considering that I go to the Indian store every other weekend and also keeping in mind the fact that these perennial greens are often found all through the year, you can imagine how frequently I make it. Gongura or Sorrel/Kenaf as they are called in English are widely used in Andhra cuisines to complement flavors in dals and chutneys and to tenderize meats in non-vegetarian preparations. I‘m a big fan of them in the dals but, I go head of heals in love with them when they are fried with shrimp. No kidding. Wait till I post my Shrimp Gongura recipe. You’ll begin to accept that I hardly exaggerate ;).

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    The Gongura dal is popularly made with Tuvar or Masoor Dal. But if  you ask me I’d say use any dal you like and trust me every combination of these leaves and the dals give you a different flavor. So try all combinations before you decide on which kind you’d like to stick. You might end up liking them all just like I did.

    Ingredients

    ½ cup tuvar /toor dal 
    3 cups finely chopped gongura leaves 
    3 green chilies
    ½ cup chopped onions
    ¼ tsp turmeric powder
    ½ tsp red chili powder
    3 tbsp peanuts
    2 tbsp oil/ghee
    ½ tsp powdered roasted fenugreek seeds
    ½ tsp mustard
    1 dried red chili torn into two
    a pinch of asafoetida 
    1 tsp ginger-garlic paste (the authentic version calls only for garlic but i like the ginger-garlic flavor better)
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Pressure cook dal and gongura along with turmeric, chili powder and salt and keep aside.
  • Dry roast peanuts and powder coarsely and set aside.
  • Heat ghee in a pan, add asafoetida, fenugreek powder, dried red chili and mustard.
  • When the mustard pops, add onions and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add green chilies, ginger-garlic and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add the powdered peanut and sauté for 30 secs.
  • Add this to the cooked dal mixture, add water to desired consistency and bring to boil.
  • Serve hot with white rice.
  • Parippu Cheera Curry / Lentils with Greens (Amaranth Leaves)


    2010
    07.19

    The earliest memory I have of these red and green Amaranth are from my Mom’s vegetable garden, where they grew like wild weeds. As a child I often squinted at them from a distance, pretending  they were rubies and emeralds strewn around my palace during my make believe games of an Empress and her empire. Every time my Mom went on a spree of de-weeding we had Amaranth for lunch and my empire turned poor over night :(.

    Having come from the South of India where we ate some sort of greens every other day, the vegetable market in the US was a little disappointing to me initially. Other than spinach, a few other greens I found, I was not familiar with and had no clue how to cook them. The local Indian stores didn’t carry much either. They had the same spinach and sometimes the seasonal methi(fenugreek leaves) and the mustard leaves.  So when I discovered the Asian market that had ever so many varieties of greens all through the year, tons of them that I recognized and tons more that looked possible to cook with, I was Jubilant. And like I always do when I get excited I went overboard and bought so much of it that it took my flat mates and I several weeks before we could finish all that I’d purchased. Thank God for freezers, we didn’t have to trash any of it,  we chopped them and saved them in these cool life savers (literally huh??). For several weeks we looked green, talked green, yawned green, farted green and pooped green. You get the drift? But surprisingly we never tired of it.   After several weeks,  when we had managed to run through all that I’d bought, we went back and got more. Though obviously unlike the first over indulgent buy, I did hold myself back and bought just enough to last us a week. But the point is, in spite of the all those weeks of eating only greens we didn’t mind more. I guess that’s what is special about greens. They are so refreshingly tasty and healthy that your body just can’t seem to get enough of it!

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    My local Chinese market carries Amaranth all year round. So these are my fall back greens when I can’t find anything else I like. They are easy to cook with and blend quietly into any dish like spinach does. I mostly cook them with Mung dal in the traditional mallu style but they taste great with eggs and also when simply sautéed with coconut in a thoran style.

    Ingredients
    2 cup chopped Amaranth
    3/4  cup mung dal
    1/2 cup grated coconut
    4 finely sliced shallots
    1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
    1/2 tsp of chopped garlic
    1/2 cup chopped red onions
    1/4 tsp chili powder-1/4tsp
    1/4tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    2 green chilies
    2 dried red chilies
    Salt to taste
    1 tbsp coconut oil
    1 tbsp ghee
    1 sprig of curry leaves

    Directions

  • Grind coconut, half the shallots, green chilies, cumin and 2 curry leaves to a coarse paste and keep aside.
  • Pressure cook dal, greens, turmeric powder and chili powder in 2cups of water.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan and add 1/2 of the mustard seeds.
  • When they pop add the dried red chilies, onions, garlic and sauté until onions are translucent.
  • Add the cooked dal and greens to this and mix in the ground coconut mixture.
  • Add water to get the desired consistency and add salt to taste.
  • Mix well and bring to boil.
  • Heat ghee in a seasoning pan, add the remaining mustard and when they pop, add in the remaining shallots and curry leaves.
  • Fry the shallots until they are deep brown.
  • Turn off the flame and pour the seasoning over the dal.
  • Stir in the seasoning and turn off the flame.
  • Serve with rice, pickles and papadam.
  • Sweet Potato Dal / Lentils and Sweet Potato


    2010
    03.22

    In my forever quest to find healthy foods that my  little boy will like,  I’ve stumbled upon many recipes that have turned out to be my favorites too. This is one of them. I’ve always been a big fan of sweet potatoes. Both, the yellow kind we used to get in India, and the orange ones in the US. My Mother always served them steamed with a simple, crushed green chili chutney. I remembered that the sweetness from the spuds and the heat from the chilies always managed to excite my then young taste buds . Hoping for the remote possibility, that Nish might similarly like the hot and sweet combo (after all I furnished the ‘X’) I decided to make a dal out of it. Roy and I loved it so much that Nish liking it became just an added bonus ;).

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    Ingredients:

    1 cup bengal gram / channa dal soaked in water for an hour or 2
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 – 3 tbsp refined oil
    1 medium sized onion finely chopped
    1tsp dry roasted and crushed cumin, or 1 1/2 tsp whole cumin
    1tsp garlic finely chopped
    1tsp ginger finely grated
    2 –3 green chilies finely chopped
    2 tomatoes, finely diced
    2 tsp amchoor (powdered dry mango)
    1 tsp coriander powder
    2 –3 sprigs chopped cilantro
    2 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
    salt to taste

    Optional Final Seasoning
    2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
    1 tsp of cumin

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add, cumin and onions and sauté until onions are slightly caramelized.
  • Add crushed ginger and garlic and continue to sauté until oil separates.
  • Add tomatoes , green chilies, coriander powder and turmeric and sauté until tomatoes are mushy.
  • Add dal and sweet potatoes to the mixture in the pan.
  • Add 3 –4 cups of hot water, close the pot with a lid and let it cook. Stir occasionally. (I do this in a pressure cooker and allow it to whistle twice and let it simmer on low flame for 10 minutes)
  • When the dal is cooked the mixture gets creamy and thick. Add more hot water based on desired consistency.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro
  • Serve with Rice or Indian Breads.

    Before garnishing with cilantro, to increase flavor roast 1 tsp of cumin  in 2 tsp of hot ghee and pour over Dal to season.

  • Moong Dal with Beans, Stir-Fry


    2010
    03.21

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    Another one of those vegetables that I like frozen over fresh, is French cut green beans.  I like beans cooked best, the South Indian way and the French cut beans fits perfectly in all of these recipes.

    Frozen spinach, beans, ivy gourd, peas and carrots are always stocked in my freezer. These are my fall back vegetable when I run out of fresh ones in the refrigerator side. So, why am I clearing up my freezer, you ask? Becaaauuuse., hold on to your horses,.ahem ..ahem,  I will be going to India in a weeks time. Woo Hoo!! Ok, that is all the excitement I’m allowed to show for right now. This is how it works in my cards of superstitions – Never get excited before you do anything exciting, and always expect the worst, because you NEVER get what you expected! Well, if you don’t believe me, try it just once. I can assure you, if it wont be for my recipes you are coming back, it will certainly be for ‘life’s valuable lessons’, I so willingly impart and never seem to be in short of ;)!!

    So, beating the excitement and coming back to the beans, this is a nice way to add proteins to your vegetable sides. You just need to soak the dal for an hour or two before hand, to allow them to cook easily along side the veggies. You can use any firm vegetable in this recipe like cabbage, spinach, beetroot etc. They all taste great.

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    Ingredients

    1 lb Beans, chopped fine
    1/2 cup split moong dal/mung bean
    2 -3 Green chilies, chopped
    1 tsp black mustard seeds
    1 tsp channa dal/ bengal gram
    a pinch of asafoetida 
    2 sprigs of curry leaves 
    11/2 tbsp refined vegetable oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Soak moong dal in water for an hour.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add mustard seeds, channa dal, asafoetida, and curry leaves
  • When the mustard pops, and dal turns brown, add green chilies and sauté for 15 – 20 seconds.
  • Add the beans  and the dal, minus the water (since it contains a lot of water soluble  vitamins, don’t throw away the water, use it for cooking something else where ever water is required )
  • Sauté till the beans cook. Make sure you don’t over cook them. They will be a tender vibrant green color when cooked just right.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Serve with white rice and sambar.
  • A Simple Indian Meal


    2010
    01.19

    My American neighbor L, like many of my other American friends, is always asking me how we Indians manage to keep so fit in spite of all the rich good food we seem to be hogging. She was (is?) under the impression that we always ate Samosas, Briyanis, creamy Koftas, fried Masala Chicken and stuffed Paranthas on a daily basis. It took me some work to convince her that though these elaborate delicacies were always in the menus at the parties we Indians kept throwing every so often, our everyday meals were very simple and down to earth.

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    Simple Indian Meal: Rice, Roti, Masoor Dal, Egg Masala, Paapad, Okra Masala & Sautéed Tindora

    The staple diet of most Indians consists of Rice or Roti (Indian bread made of whole wheat)  or both. They are usually eaten in combination with vegetables, lentils, yogurt &/or meat/poultry/seafood.

    Dal (Lentils)

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    Dal (pulses/legumes) can be made as simple or as complicated as possible. A simple Dal recipe mainly [read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Bhindi Masala (Okra Masala)

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    A perfect Bhindi Masala should not be slimy and sticky. And the only way to make it that way is to pat dry the Okras after washing them [read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     Jalapeno Tomato Onion Egg Masala

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    This delicately spicy dish serves very well with all kinds of breads. The secret to getting  the gravy really thick and just right, is to use a lot of onions. I’ve also used [read more]

     

     

      

     

     Sautéed Tindora – Sautéed Ivy Gourd

    TindooraThis is a favorite vegetable among most Keralites and they have a number of ways of cooking it. I like it best in this form [read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Simple Masoor Dal – Indian Lentils Recipe


    2010
    01.19

    Dal (pulses/legumes) can be made as simple or as complicated as possible. A simple Dal recipe mainly calls for pulses, tomatoes, onions and cumin.  Though this recipe talks of Masoor Dal (Orange Lentils),  it can be replaced by any other Dal like, whole or split Moong  Dal(Mung Bean), Tuvar Dal (Pigeon Pea) etc. However, the cooking time for different Dal vary. Dal that take longer to cook can be soaked for a couple of hours to let them soften and speed up cooking. Masoor Dal is one of the fastest cooking Dal and most commonly used as lentils in America.

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    Ingredients:

    2 cups masoor dal
    1 tsp turmeric powder
    2 – 3 tbsp refined oil
    1 large onion finely chopped
    1tsp dry roasted and crushed cumin, or 1 1/2 tsp whole cumin
    1tsp garlic finely chopped
    1tsp ginger finely grated
    2 –3 green chilies finely chopped
    2 tomatoes, finely diced
    couple of sprigs of cilantro finely chopped
    salt to taste

    Optional Final Seasoning
    2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
    1 tsp of cumin

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add, cumin and onions and sauté until onions are slightly caramelized.
  • Add crushed ginger and garlic and continue to sauté until oil separates.
  • Add tomatoes , green chilies and turmeric and sauté until tomatoes are mushy.
  • Rinse Dal thoroughly and add to the mixture in the pan.
  • Add 3 –4 cups of hot water, close the pot with a lid and let it cook. Stir occasionally. (I do this in a pressure cooker and allow it to whistle twice)
  • When the dal is cooked the mixture gets creamy and thick. Add more hot water based on desired consistency.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro
  • Serve with Rice or Indian Breads.
  • Before garnishing with cilantro, to increase flavor roast 1 tsp of cumin  in 2 tsp of hot ghee and pour over Dal to season.

    Bisibela Bath


    2010
    01.08

    Bisibela Bath (BB), a one pot meal of spiced rice, lentils and veggies, is a comfort food native to my hometown, Bangalore. I got this recipe from my sister S, an incredible cook (I’m one of her biggest fans), who picked it up from my cousin J, another astounding cook (yes, I come from a family of foodies, for us food is love :)), who begged it off her land lady, a native of Karnataka, who learnt it from her mother, who had all her life watched her own mother (my cousin’s land lady’s grandmother) cook. That’s as far into the history of this recipe I could get.

    Though this recipe has exchanged hands and traveled through time it has remained unaltered and unscathed because, according to me it is just perfect! The first time I tasted this recipe was during my first trimester while pregnant with N. I was visiting my sister then, and struggling with my mood swings and extreme nausea. I’d sworn off all foods until, my sister, trying her best to cheer me and coax me into eating (bless her patient heart!), placed this hot bowl of steaming BB with hot potato wafers, in front of me. If you have ever been pregnant or known of any woman pregnant, you might be able to guess what happened next, right? WRONG!!! Instead of running for the pot to do what all nauseous pregnant women do, I gulped down the whole bowl and asked for more!!! Yes, that’s how perfect this recipe is!
    BB can be served with a number of things. Boondi Raita, with spicy hot potato wafers, with Tomato Onion Raita or just plain by itself, drizzled with a little bit of ghee (clarified butter).

    bisibelabath

    Ingredients
    2 cups of rice
    1 cup tuvar dal/ lentils (pigeon pea)
    3 cups mixed vegetables chopped small (peas, carrot, beans, double beans, potato, groundnuts (a must), kohlrabi)
    4- 5 tomatoes
    1 large onion sliced fine
    1/2 tsp cinnamon clove spice mix
    10 -15 dry red chilies (these should be the kind that are not too hot, allowing you use a large number to give color to the dish and not make it too spicy)
    2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    tamarind, the size of lemon, soaked and removed off its paste
    5 to 6 sprigs of cilantro and curry leaves
    1 tsp black mustard
    big pinch asafoetida
    2 tbsp dessicated coconut (optional)

     

    Directions

  • Cook rice separately.
  • Pressure cook dal and all the vegetables.
  • Dry Roast red chilies and coriander till crisp and grind it to a fine powder.
  • If adding coconut, dry roast it to a golden brown and grind it along with the above powder. 
  • Heat a little oil in a pan add mustard seeds and curry leaves, add onions and sauté it till done.
  • Add all the ground masala,cinnamon clove spice mix, turmeric, tamarind paste and cook till the oil separates, add fresh chopped cilantro.
  • Add this mixture to the cooked vegetables and add salt to taste
  • Finally add in the rice and mix it all up.
  • Serve with spicy potato chips, or any form of yogurt salad.