In a vegetarian diet, lentils or dals are a very important source of protein and most Indian households, especially those who follow a vegetarian diet try to incorporate some lentils in their diet daily. But then the problem comes that we end up eating the same three or four types of lentils daily. Fed up, a couple of weeks back, I tried a new recipe which was surprisingly easy to make and very yummy to boot. The addition of yoghurt and milk elevated the recipe and make it special.
½ cup Yellow Moong Dal
½ cup Masoor Dal or Orange Dal
2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ghee
½ tsp green chilli paste or 1 finely chopped green chilli
¼ tsp ginger paste or 1 inch finely chopped ginger
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 to 3 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp garam masala Powder
1 tbsp kasuri methi
3 tbsp beaten yoghurt
3 tbsp milk (either skimmed or full cream)
Salt to taste
1-2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Wash and soak masoor and moong dal in warm water for about 20 minutes.
After that, add half the turmeric powder and pressure cook the dals for about 3-5 whistles until the dals are very soft and mushy. This can also be done on the stovetop.
When the cooker has cooled down, open it and whisk the dals until they become a homogenous mass.
In a pan, heat half the ghee and add in the cumin seeds and let them splutter a bit.
Now add the green chillies and ginger and saute for a few seconds.
Then add the onions and saute till the onions become translucent in colour.
Once the onions are translucent, add in the tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes become soft and mushy.
At this point, add ½ the red chill powder, the balance turmeric powder, salt and garam masala and saute till the masalas are incorporated.
Pour this masala over the cooked and whisked dals and mix well.
Add the yoghurt and milk and water to bring it to the desired consistency. Keep it on a slow to medium flame until the dal comes to a rolling boil.
In the same pan that you made the masala, heat the balance ghee and once it heats up, crush the kasoori methi in the palms of your hands and add it as well as the remaining red chilli powder and saute for a few seconds before pouring it over the dal.
Cover for about 10 minutes before serving so that the flavours get time to infuse.
Enjoy with rice or any flatbread
Notes: The recipe called for fresh cream which I substituted with skim milk. It didn’t detract from the taste and you can add in 1-2 tbsp of cream instead of milk.
In another episode of no rice Sunday, I was wondering what to make. I had made soups and some roasted vegetables the last few weeks and wanted something different. I was thinking of making a vegetable stew,but didn’t want to make a Kerala-styled coconut milk one. So I decided to improvise and hope and pray it turned out to be edible!
The recipe turned out to be a cross between a soup and a gravy curry and was so flavourful. It is also very healthy with just a tbsp of oil used in the entire recipe. Another good thing about the recipe is that it is a one-pot recipe and would work beautifully for a slow cooker. It just cooks by itself and you need not sit around, stirring and adding ingredients.
My family loved it and I am blogging about it so I can add it to my reportoire and make it another day.
Hearty Vegetable Soup
3 medium sized onions, minced
2 carrots, chopped bigger than bite sized
2 potatoes, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small cup frozen green peas
3-4 medium sized tomatoes, minced
2 green apples, minced (optional)
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1-2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
15 cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes
15-20 peanuts, soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Water as required
Chop the vegetables into pieces larger than bite-sized. I chopped them roughly into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces. Just make sure all the vegetables, with the exception of the green peas are of roughly the same size. Wash and keep aside.
Mince the onions into small, fine pieces. I did this using my food processor which took me seconds as compared to chopping by hand.
Heat the oil in a large pan or dutch oven and when the oil warms up, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then add the fennel seeds and stir for a couple of seconds.
Now add the onions and stir well and let the onions soften and become translucent.
Once the onions are translucent, add the chopped green bell pepper and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Then add the dry spices – turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and stir well.
Now add the other chopped vegetables and stir well so the vegetables are covered with the spices. Cover and cook on a medium flame for about 5 minutes.
While this is cooking mince or grate the tomatoes and green apples and keep aside. I again used the food processor and minced both ingredients together.
Then add the minced tomatoes and green apple to the vegetables, lower the flame to a medium-low and let it cook till the vegetables are about 80% cooked. You can also add water to the vegetables at this point, because it will become quite thick with all the vegetables.
While the vegetables are cooking, blend the cashewnuts and peanuts into a smooth paste. Keep aside.
Once the vegetables are about 80% cooked, add the garam masala and the blended cashew-peanut paste and add any seasoning if needed.
Let it continue to cook on a low flame till the vegetables are completely cooked and serve hot with some crusty bread.
If you plan to make this ahead of time, then you may need to add some water when you heat it up before serving because it will thicken up because of the cashewnuts and peanuts. If you are going to add more water, then you will need to check seasoning also which may become diluted.
Dal is a staple in most indian households with some variety of the protein packed dish made across the country. So, in order that we don’t get bored with the same kind of dal, I am always on the lookout for interesting takes and variations.
I saw this dal in one of my friend’s Facebook posts and it looked interesting enough to try it. My version may not be the most authentic one, but I enjoyed making and eating the dal. This is a staple in most Gujarati households, but you won’t find this in most restaurants. So let’s see how this is made…
Gujarati Khatta Mung aka Whole Green Gram Dal in a Buttermilk Gravy
½ cup whole green moong dal, soaked for 4-6 hours
½ to 1 cup yoghurt
2-3 tbsp gram flour or besan
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp asafoetida
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
5-6 curry leaves
1-inch piece of minced ginger
2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves, finely chopped to garnish
Drain the soaked moong dal and in a large pan, cook the soaked and drained moong dal with just enough water to cover it for about 5-7 minutes until it is just cooked and tender. Make sure it does not get mushy.
In a separate bowl, whisk the yoghurt well and add the gram flour, turmeric powder, asafoetida, some salt and about a cup of water and whisk till it is smooth with no lumps. Keep aside.
Heat oil in another pan and when the oil warms, add the mustard seeds and let the seeds crackle. Then add the cumin seeds and stir for a couple of seconds, followed by the curry leaves. Stir till the curry leaves start to become crisp. Then add the slit green chilles and the ginger and saute for about 30-40 seconds.
Now add the cooked moong dal into this tempering and then the yoghurt gram flour mixture and allow everything to come to a nice rolling boil. Let this simmer on a low flame for about 5 minutes.
Check for seasoning and add salt if needed.
Turn off the flame and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rice and a simple vegetable stir fry for a homely lunch.
A dish you find in pretty much every Indian restaurant, Matar Paneer, which means Peas and Paneer, is a yummy dish from the state of Punjab which has fresh or frozen green peas and cottage cheese or Paneer in a smooth onion tomato gravy, spiced with garam masala. Usually served with Indian flatbreads like rotis, you can also have it with steamed rice.
One Sunday, bored of making the same old dishes, I decided to make a super easy mater paneer. This version, which may not be the most authentic version, is very easy and doesn’t take much time to make. I used frozen peas, but if you have fresh peas, the dish will be even better.
Ingredients: – 2 cups frozen peas, thawed – 1 cup frozen paneer, soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes and then drained – 2 medium sized onions, chopped roughly – 4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped roughly – 1 bulb garlic, peeled – 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped – 10-12 almonds – 2 tsp cumin seeds – 1 tsp ajwain or caraway seeds – 1 tbsp coriander seeds – 2 cloves – 2 cardamom pods – ¼ tsp turmeric powder – 1 tsp red chilli powder – 1 tsp cumin powder – 1 tsp coriander powder – 1 tsp garam masala powder – 1 tbsp kasuri methi – Salt to taste – 2 tbsp ghee or oil – Chopped coriander leaves to garnish
Method: – Heat 1 tbsp ghee or oil in a pan and when it is warm, add 1 tsp cumin seeds and let them pop. – Then add the ajwain seeds, coriander seeds, cloves and cardamom pods and stir for a couple of seconds. – Now add the almonds and stir for a minute or two. Then add the garlic and ginger one by one and stir between adding the next ingredient. – When everything is stirred well, add the onions and stir until the onions are translucent. – Then add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt and stir until the tomatoes are completely cooked and mushy. Switch off the flame and let this cool. – When completely cool, blend together into a smooth paste. – In a separate pan, heat the balance ghee or oil and the balance cumin seeds and let the seeds pop – Then add the frozen peas and the turmeric powder and some salt and cover and cook on a low to medium flame until the peas are around 80% cooked. – Add in the blended masala paste and then the powder masalas – red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and let it come to a rolling boil. – At this point, add in the soaked and drained paneer and salt to taste. Add the garam masala powder and crush the kasuri methi in the palms of your hands and sprinkle it over the gravy. – Let everything come to a nice boil and put the flame on a simmer and cook for 10 minutes more. Thin it if needed at this point. – Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with any rotis or rice. I served it with a simple jeera rice made with basmati rice.
Dals are an integral part of an Indian household and whether it is a south Indian Sambar or a plain dal from Punjab, every state, in fact every household has some type of dal preparation which is unique to themselves. I usually make dal at least twice or thrice a week and sometimes when I can’t think of something to make, I just throw something together, hoping what ends up is something edible. This dal was the result of one of those experimentations. I had some spinach which was starting to go bad and so decided to make this power packed protein and iron filled dal. The other good thing about this recipe is that it is a one pot recipe!
Spinach Dal Medley
Ingredients: 1 cup chopped spinach 2 tbsp each of the following dals – toor dal, yellow moong dal, orange masoor dal and chana dal 1 tsp tamarind paste 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 onion, finely chopped 1 tsp ginger garlic paste 1 tsp red chilli powder 1 tsp garam masala powder Salt to taste 1 tbsp ghee or oil
Method: Wash the dals thoroughly and soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Wash the spinach thoroughly to remove all the dirt it may have. In the pressure cooker, heat the ghee or oil and and when the fat warms up, add the cumin seeds and let the seeds pop. After the cumin seeds pop, add in the ginger-garlic paste and stir for a couple of seconds. Now add the finely chopped onions and stir until the onions turn translucent. Now add thechopped and washed spinach and let it wilt. Then add the washed dals and stir for a bit. Add enough water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. When the pressure reduces, open the cooker and put it on the gas again and stir well. Add the tamarind paste, salt and red chilli powder as well as the garam masala powder and stir well and also check for seasoning. Let the dal come to a nice rolling boil. If it is too thick for your liking, thin it as per your taste. Serve hot over steamed rice with a stir fried vegetable of your choice. This also makes for a very tasty spinach lentil soup.