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.
During the lockdown, I was experimenting with food and one day found a small bunch of spinach and another small bunch of mint lying in the fridge. I usually make a chutney with the mint, but I didn’t have enough coriander leaves to make my usual chutney, so thought of combining the two. I used my Spinach Rice recipe as the basis of this one and it turned out super yummy! When the rice was cooking, the whole house was enveloped with this pleasant mint aroma and while eating this dish, I was eating with more than just my mouth! And the best part about this recipe is that it is a one pot meal dish. This is a great addition to a lunchbox and both GG & BB have asked me to add this to their lunch boxes.
Spinach Mint Rice
Ingredients: • 2 cups basmati rice • 1 bunch spinach • 1 bunch mint with the leaves plucked • 2-3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves • 10-15 curry leaves • 1 medium sized onion, chopped roughly • 1 bulb garlic, peeled • inch piece of ginger, peeled • 5-6 green chillies • 1 tsp cumin seeds • 10-12 pieces of cashewnuts, chopped into half • 2 tbsp oil or ghee • Salt to taste
Method: • Soak the rice in water for 20-30 minutes and then wash it thoroughly, drain and keep aside. • Take some water in a large pan and boil it. While the water is boiling, wash the spinach leaves thoroughly and keep aside. • Wash the mint, curry and coriander leaves and keep aside. • Blanch the spinach leaves, a few at a time for around 10-15 seconds in the boiling water and remove and keep aside. • In a blender, blend together the spinach, mint leaves, coriander leaves, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, green chillies and onion into a smooth paste. Keep aside. • Heat the ghee in a pan and when it warms up, add the cashewnuts and fry until they are brown and nicely toasted. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside. • In the same pan, with the remaining ghee, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. • Then add the blended paste and some salt and let the paste cook for around 5 minutes. The paste should start thickening and at this point add the rice. • Mix the rice well into the spinach mint paste and once each grain of rice is coated with the paste, remove it to a rice cooker and add the water needed to cook the rice. Cook until it is done and then let it sit for 10 minutes before opening the rice cooker. Fluff it with a fork and add the fried cashewnuts. • If you are cooking in a pan, when the rice is coated with the paste, add the water and let it cook until the rice is done. Switch off the gas and let it sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and then garnishing with the cashewnuts. • Serve hot with a raita and some chips. I served this with an onion pineapple raita. This raita is very simple. Beat some yoghurt in a bowl and add salt and pepper to it. Then add some finely chopped onions, finely chopped pineapples (either fresh or from a tin) and some finely chopped coriander leaves. Taste for seasoning and serve. For the chips, I fried some traditional vadam. • Vadam is traditionally made by drying a paste made of rice and other ingredients in the sun until all the water is leeched out. Then during days when vegetables are in short supply, you fry these in hot oil and use them as an accompaniment to any rice dish.
Dal Dhokli is a warm and comforting food from Gujarat. One day, during Singapore’s Circuit Breaker, I woke up with a craving for a dish I had never made. So I decided to make it and this dish pleasantly surprised me. It was warm and comforting and a wonderful addition to my repertoire. You can have this as a hearty soup like we did or over rice as some people do.
1 cup Toovar Dal, washed ½ tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp red chilli powder 1 tomato 4-5 cups water plus more, as needed 1 tsp jaggery 2-3 tbsp lemon juice 4 tbsp raw peanuts 1 cup whole wheat flour or atta 2 tbsp chickpea flour or besan 1 tsp caraway seeds or ajwain 2 tbsp ghee 1 tbsp oil 2 green chillies, slit lengthwise 1 tsp mustard seeds ¼ tsp asafoetida powder 1 sprig curry leaves Salt to taste Finely chopped coriander leaves to garnish
Soak about 2 tbsp of the raw peanuts in hot water for 15 minutes, drain and keep aside. Wash the dal thoroughly and cook it in the pressure cooker along with ¼ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 2 tbsp peanuts, the tomato which has a cross made on the stem and about 3-4 cups of water. Pressure cook it for some 4-5 whistles until the dal is completely mushed. If using the stove top, cook until the dal has broken down completely. Let the pressure be released and then once the cooker can be opened, carefully remove the tomato, peel the skin which should have started to come out and then put the tomato back into the dal. Whisk the dal until the dal, tomatoes and the peanuts are completely mixed into a mixture. Keep aside. Kneed the atta, besan, ajwain, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, oil and salt into a soft dough. Keep aside. Add the jaggery and another cup or two of water and mix well. Put this back into the flame and cook the dal on a slow simmer. Make small balls from the dough and roll it into a thin circle or chapati. Cut the chapatti into largish pieces or even strips. Add these pieces into the simmering dal and add more water if needed. Let the pieces cook for another 10 mins on a low flame on simmer. In a small pan heat the ghee and once the ghee is warm, add the mustard seeds and let it crackle. Then add the asafoetida and then the balance peanuts, the curry leaves and the green chilli let the leaves crackle and the chilli start to brown. When the peanuts become crisp, pour this tempering over the Dal Dhokli and switch off the gas. Add the lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.
Notes: This dish does not keep well as the dough pieces tend to stick together after a while. If you plan on serving this later, then make the dal and about 10 minutes before serving, add the dough pieces and simmer before serving. Add more water if needed as the dough pieces will soak up the water in the dish.
I was feeling very lazy to cook last week and didn’t want to make something complicated. I thought of making some kind of a pulao, then zeroed on to this coriander rice. This is a one pot meal and is super yummy and delicious! It’s also very easy to make, even if you are a novice in the kitchen.
One Pot Coriander Rice
1 cup Basmati Rice, washed well and soaked in water for 20-30 minutes.
2 medium sized onions, sliced finely
1 small green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 carrot, cut into 2-inch strips
1 medium sized potato, cut into 2-inch strips
1/4 cup green peas
1/2 cup paneer, chopped into 2-inch strips
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
4-5 cloves of garlic
1-inch piece of ginger
5-6 green chillies
4 pieces of clove
4 pieces of cardamom
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
1 tbsp ghee or oil
Drain the rice and keep aside.
Blend together the coriander leaves, garlic pods, ginger and green chillies to make it into a fine paste and keep aside.
In a pan, heat the ghee or oil and when warm, add the cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the cloves, cardamom pods and the bay leaf.
Then add the onions and sauté till it becomes translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté.
Add the remaining vegetables (except the paneer) and sauté for around 5 minutes.
Now add the blended paste and the paneer and stir well. Add salt to taste and when the mixture starts to bubble, add the drained rice and check for seasoning.
If using a rice cooker, pour this with around 1 to 1.5 cups of water and cook till done.
If using the stove top continue to cook using water as required. The rice should be separate and well done.
I served this with my Sweet Corn Sundal which I repurposed as a salad for today and a pineapple and onion raita.
I love one pot meals. The chance to have a complete meal without getting many dishes and pots and pans dirty is great! The children love spinach and have been asking me to make spinach rice for a while now. So I decided to make it last week. This is slightly different from the way I usually make it, so thought to document it here.
1 cup spinach, washed and chopped
1 cup basmati rice
4-5 pods of garlic
1-1.5 inch ginger
1 large or 2 medium-sized onions
1 medium-sized green capsicum
4-6 green chillies (depending on the size and your spice tolerance)
1 bunch of coriander leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
4-5 cardamom pods
4-5 pieces of clove
2 inch piece of cinnamon
2-3 cashew nuts
1 Bay leaf
1 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste
Wash the spinach thoroughly and keep aside.
Wash the basmati rice well, soak it in water for 20-30 minutes and then drain and keep aside.
In a dry skillet, dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon till they are done and emit and nice aroma. Keep aside to cool.
Soak the cashew nuts in warm water or milk for 10 minutes to soften it up.
Chop the onion, green capsicum, green chillies, ginger and garlic and keep aside.
In a blender blend everything – the spinach, green capsicum, green chillies, coriander, onion, ginger, garlic, cashew nuts and spices to a smooth paste and keep aside.
Heat a pan with the ghee and when the ghee warms up, add the bay leaf and stir for a couple of seconds.
Then add the spinach paste and stir well. Season with salt and let it cook well, making sure it is still a vibrant green colour.
Take the washed and drained rice and add to this paste. Transfer to a rice cooker and cook with 3/4 cup (or as you need for your rice) of water. Once cooked, let it sit for a while before you take it out of the cooker.
Serve hot with some crisps and a raita of your choice.
If you are cooking in your stovetop when you add the rice to the spinach paste, let it mix for a minute, then add the water and any seasoning you want and cook covered on a low to medium flame till done. Let it sit for a while before opening the cover.
You can also make the paste in advance and store it in the fridge or freeze it. When you want to make the rice the next day, just add it to the rice in the rice cooker or on the stovetop and continue as above.
I didn’t have any coriander with me but had Green Chutney at home. So I substituted coriander with a couple of tbsps of this Chutney.