Recipe: Dal Fry

Dal Fry is such a ubiquitous dish that it finds a place in almost every menu that offers Indian food. However, and when I think back, it is quite strange that I’ve not made this dish ever for the children and S, considering it used to be a staple in my repertoire pre-marriage! So anyway, while planning on my menu last week, I decided to make this at last and it was very well liked by everyone at home. 

This is a fairly easy dish to make and makes the dal thick, unlike traditional dals. So when you cook the dal, make sure you do not add too much water while cooking, so it retains its thickness.

Dal Fry

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups toor dal, washed and soaked in warm water with a pinch of turmric powder for 30 minutes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large red tomato, finely chopped
  • 4-5 pods of garlic, grated or made into a paste
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated or made into a paste
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp carom seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder 
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • In a pressure cooker, cook the dal for 5-6 whistles. If using the stovetop to cook the dal, cook till it is very mushy and becomes whole and smooth with a paste-like consistency. Keep aside.
  • In another pan, heat the ghee and when it warms, add the cumin seeds and carom seeds one after the other, with a few seconds of stirring in between.
  • Now add the dried red chillies and stir for a few seconds. Next add the chopped onions and stir well, letting the onions become translucent.
  • When the onions become translucent, add the garlic and ginger and let them cook for a while.
  • Now add the dry ingredients – salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and stir for around 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture becomes mushy and the tomatoes lose their shape and become soft.
  • Now add the cooked dal and stir well. Check for seasoning and add what is missing. Add the garam masala and let it cook for around 5-10 minutes. You can add water to make it the consistency you like.
  • Switch off the gas and add the lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves. 

Serve hot with plain or jeera rice and a vegetable of your choice.

Recipes: Carrot Rice

When you are tired of making the same old food every day and you wish to try something new, this recipe is something you can make. This is exactly what happened the day I made Carrot Rice. We were bored of the same food day in and day out and so I decided to make this dish my mum used to make when we were in school.

This is a very easy dish to make and makes a great addition to your lunchbox or even to your little one’s school lunchbox. It’s very easy to make and hardly takes anytime in the morning when you are rushing to get everyone out of the house on time!

Carrot Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 cup rice, cooked and cooled completely
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • a handful of chopped cashew nuts
  • a handful of raisins
  •  1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1 tbsp Ghee or oil

Method:

  • When the rice is cooked, fluff it a bit and then let it cool completely.
  • In a pan, heat the ghee or oil and add the mustard seeds.
  • When the seeds pop, add the asafoetida and the chopped chillies and let them cook for a while till the chilli becomes crisp.
  • Add the chopped cashew nuts and let them brown.
  • Next, add the raisins and let them plump out.
  • Now add the carrots and salt and cook for a couple of minutes. You don’t want the carrot to cook too much, but retain some crispness.
  • Switch off the gas and add the lemon juice according to taste.
  • Stir well and then add the rice and mix well so that the carrots are completely mixed into the rice.
  • Check for seasoning and then garnish with coriander leaves and serve with a raita, yoghurt or even some chips or crisps.

Recipes: Ginger Pepper Rasam

GG had been on this Hallyu craze recently and wanted to eat Bingsu at a newly opened shop at the food court near our home. I accompanied her and BB. All I did was take a few bites from them but came down with a sore throat almost immediately! My solution was to make a traditional pepper rasam to which I added some ginger, both which are good for throats. You can also have this as a soothing soup when you are sick or when it is cold and rainy outside.

Ginger Pepper Rasam

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Toor dal, washed and cooked till it is soft and mushy
  • 1 small lime sized tamarind, soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes and then the juice extracted
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp jaggery (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • Blend together the peppercorns, dried red chillies, ginger and 1 tsp cumin seeds with 1 tomato into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • Smoosh the tamarind and drain the water into a pot along with the cooked dal.
  • Chop the other tomato into quarters or eights and drop it into the pan.
  • Boil for a while till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away, around 5-7 minutes.
  • Now add the blended paste along with salt and jaggery and let it boil till the tomatoes are completely cooked. Switch off the gas and start the tempering.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and when hot, add the mustard and balance cumin seeds. When they pop, add the curry leaves and asafoetida and stir before pouring it into the rasam.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot as an accompaniment to rice or as a soup

Notes:

  1. If you don’t have jaggery, you can use sugar instead or even omit it completely.
  2. If you don’t have tamarind, you can either use 1 tbsp tamarind paste (which you can get at any Indian store) or use lemon juice. If using lemon juice, add it according to taste at the very end, just before serving.
  3. If you are planning to have this as a soup, omit the dal and follow the rest of the recipe.

Recipes: Pumpkin Dal

Pumpkin Dal 2The other day, it was just me and BB at home for dinner. S was eating out with friends and R was also out. GG had to stay back in school and so would not have lunch with us. I was wondering what to cook for just the two of us when I saw that a quarter of an orange pumpkin which was starting to go bad. After thinking about what to make, I decided to make a dal with the pumpkin. It turned out great and is super easy to make.  There’s hardly any cooking to be done once you cook the dal and then just lightly temper it.

Pumpkin Dal 3Pumpkin Dal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup orange pumpkin or squash, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup yellow split moong dal, washed and kept aside
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder

To temper:

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2-3 red dried red chillies (optional)
  • 2 tsp ghee

Method:

  • In a pressure cooker, add the moong dal and pumpkin and pressure cook it for 3 whistles or until the dal and pumpkin are fully cooked. and
  • If you are using the stove top to cook, cook it till the dal is soft and mushy and the pumpkin is fully cooked and starts to disintegrate.
  • When the pressure cooker cools down, open and mash the dal and pumpkin together till it becomes a homogenous mixture.and
  • Add salt and red chilli powder to taste and keep aside.and
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds. When it splutters, add the asafoetida and the dried red chillies (if using) and pour the tempering to the dal immediately. Cover the dal for five minutes to let the tempering infuse the dal.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or any flat bread

Pumpkin Dal 1

Recipe: Mysore Rasam

IMG_0639This a very typical rasam made in tambram households, yet at the same time, this is not something we usually make on a daily basis. You can call this a version of the arachavitta sambhar, only this is a rasam. In this recipe, you do not use the rasam powder at all, instead of making the masala paste fresh just before you start cooking.

I know of a friend, when she first got married, had a culture shock of sorts as she had to make the paste for sambhar and rasam on a daily basis as her in-laws did not like to use powders for the two items. So what we used to eat on special occasions, she had to cook daily. Now after years of marriage, she has converted her husband to liking rasams and sambhars made with powders, so things are a lot easier for her now.

I made this over the weekend when I was bored of making the same three-four things over and over. It does take a bit of time to make, but the end result is lip-smackingly delicious. You can also drink this as a spicy soup, especially when the weather is cold or rainy.

IMG_0641Mysore Rasam

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup toor dal, washed and cooked until done in a pressure cooker or on the stove. The dal has to be mushy and has to be completely disintegrated
  • 1 small, lime-sized ball of tamarind, soaked in warm water for 20-30 minutes and the pulp squeezed and water extracted. Alternatively, use 2-3 tbsps of tamarind paste
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered and halved again
  • 1 tsp jaggery. You can omit this or substitute brown or white sugar instead
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

To be ground into a paste

  • 4-5 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 1.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsps grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp ghee

To temper

  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 curry leaves

Method:

  • In a pan, heat the ghee and fry the dried red chillies, peppercorn, coriander seeds and chana dal till they start turning brown. Now add the grated coconut and fry until the coconut loses its moisture and turns brown. You need to keep stirring once you add the coconut, otherwise, the coconut will burn.
  • Cool this and when cool, grind this to a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • In a large vessel, add the tamarind water,  some water to reach the level of sourness you want, the chopped tomatoes, salt and asafoetida powder and let it boil.
  • Boil for a while till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away and then add the mashed dal and let it boil for a couple of minutes more.
  • Now add the blended masala paste and let it boil well till it comes together. Add the jaggery if you are using it this point.
  • The rasam will start frothing and at this point, add around 1/2 cup water and when it starts to boil again, switch off the flame and remove the rasam. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  • In a smaller skillet, heat the ghee and when it is warm, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the cumin seeds and the curry leaves. Pour this over the rasam. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with hot rice and a vegetable of your choice.

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