Recipes: Dal Darbari

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.

Dal Darbari


  • 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.

Recipes: Bean Sprout Stir Fry

Common in our part of the world, mung bean sprouts are grown by sprouting mung beans and are extensively cultivated and consumed in East and Southeast Asia. I make this recipe quite often for S and the children and it’s a very healthy and easy recipe. Today, however, I am going to share the not healthy version of it. I’ll give the healthy version at the end.

Bean Sprout Stir Fry


  • 2 cups sprouted moong beans
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato (optional)
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Sunflower oil to deep fry
  • 1 large onion, sliced finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A dash of lemon juice (optional)


  • Peel the carrots, potato and sweet potato if using and chop them into thinnish sticks of about 1 inch length.
  • In a large pan, heat the oil and when the oil becomes hot enough, deep fry the carrot, potato and sweet potato sticks until they turn crisp. Remove and keep aside.
  • In another pan, heat the 1 tbsp oil and when the oil warms up, add the garlic paste and stir.
  • Add the onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  • Add the salt and pepper to taste
  • Now add the fried vegetables and stir well
  • When the vegetables and the onions are mixed well, add the bean sprouts and toss well. Let it cook for a few minutes and be careful not to overcook the bean sprouts.
  • Check for seasoning, switch off the gas and drizzle some lemon juice if using.
  • Serve hot.

To make the healthy version, you only need to use carrots and green bell peppers, not potatoes, they will take too long to cook. After the onions become translucent, add in the carrot and bell pepper sticks and saute on a medium to high flame until the vegetables get cooked. Add the salt and pepper and then the bean sprouts. Continue sauteing on a medium to high flame for a few more minutes until the vegetables and the bean sprouts are cooked. Serve hot.

Recipes: Gujarati Khatta Mung aka Whole Green Gram Dal in a Buttermilk Gravy

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.

Ven Pongal

During Navratri, I do not use either onion or garlic in my cooking and so finding different things to make daily is a bit of a challenge. After all, how many days can one make idli and dosa? Having two (actually make that three) fussy eaters in the house does not help.

I made Ven Pongal yesterday. This is a traditional South Indian breakfast dish which is incredibly filling. There are two versions of Ven Pongal – a sweet version called Sakara Pongal which is generally used as a neividhyam (offering) to God and the savoury version called Ven Pongal.This has a creamy buttery taste and it is traditionally served with coconut chutney. Here is my version of Ven Pongal.


2 cups rice

1 cup moong dal

2 tbsps ghee

2 tbsps broken pieces of cashewnuts

a small bunch of curry leaves

2 green chillies, chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

1 tsp pepper powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

salt to taste


In a pressure cooker, dry roast the moong dal for a few minutes till it lightly browns and a nice aroma is released. Then add the rice, water and salt and cook it for around 4 whistles or till it is finely cooked. Once the steam is released, open the cooker and mix well. At this point, check for the salt and add more, if needed.

In another small pan, heat the ghee and fry the cashewnuts till they are crisp and brown. Drain them and put them into the rice/lentil mixture and using the same ghee fry the cumin seeds, pepper corns, curry leaves, ginger, green chillies and pepper powder for a few seconds. Then add this to the rice, mix well and serve hot. I served this with coconut chutney.