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.

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Recipe: Spicy Mixed Dal

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One weekend, when vegetables were low and I was bored of making the same dishes all the time, I decided to make something different. So I found this mixed dal recipe from Tarla Dalal and made it with some slight tweaks, based on what I had available in my pantry.

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Spicy Mixed Dal

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsps split yellow moong dal
  • 2 tbsps urad dal
  • 2 tbsps chana dal
  • 2 tbsps toovar dal
  • 2 tbsp whole green moong dal
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of Garlic
  • 1-inch piece of Ginger
  • 4-5 fresh red chillies
  • 2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsps (more or less) red chilli powder
  • 2 tsps coriander powder
  • 2 tsps cumin powder
  • 2 tbsps Ghee or oil
  • 1 cup of beaten yoghurt
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • Wash all the dals. Soak them in hot water for 20 – 30 mins and then cook them in a pressure cooker along with 1/2 tsp turmeric powder until mashed well.Allow the steam to escape and then open the lid.
  • In the meantime, blend the ginger, garlic and red chillies into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • In a small pan, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds, then the onions and saute till the onions are slightly translucent.
  • Now add the ginger, garlic, chilli paste and saute till the oil starts coming out.
  • Then add the tomatoes and the dry spices (remainder of turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder) and saute for a while.
  • When the oil starts to come out, add the yoghurt and stir continuously on a medium flame till the mixture comes together.
  • Pour this gravy into the cooked dal and mix well. Check for seasoning and cook for around 10 minutes till the dal is completely mashed and mixed well.
  • Season with coriander leaves and serve with any rice or roti.

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Recipes: Stir-fry Potatoes

2A couple of weeks back when S’ cousins came home for dinner, I had made this potato dish which was inspired by the simple potato stir-fry from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. This is a very simple dish to make but is slightly heavy on the masalas used. It was super yummy and since then BB & GG have been asking me to keep making this. This dish is a keeper and goes very well with any rice and dal combination as well as with any roti or Indian flatbread. When I make it for lunch, BB also takes it with him to school, as a filling for a sandwich.

1Potato Stir-fry, UP inspired

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium sized potatoes, scrubbed and washed well
  • 2-3 tbsps oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp ajwain seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ to 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Amchur or dry mango powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder

Method:

  • Wash and scrub the potatoes well. Then slice them into thick slices and then cut vertically into 1 inch sticks and slice the sticks finely. Wash well and keep aside.
  • In a pan, heat the oil and when the oil is warm, put the dry masalas one by one – cumin seeds, then fennel seeds, caraway seeds and stir for a couple of seconds. Then add the salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida, dry mango powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and stir for a few seconds.
  • Then add the potatoes and stir and mix well so that the masalas mix well with the potatoes.
  • Cover and cook on a low flame for around 10-15 minutes or until it is almost done.
  • At this point, add the garam masala powder, stir well and cover to cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Check for seasoning and switch off the flame.
  • Enjoy the potato stir-fry with rice or any flat bread

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Recipes: Bhindi Do Pyaza aka Okra Onion Gravy

img_0254I’ve always seen Bhindi Do Pyaza in restaurant menus and have eaten it before also, but I’ve always wondered at the dish’s name and how they make it. Every restaurant has their own recipes and so this has been different in each restaurant I’ve eaten too.

The other day, fed up with cooking almost the same dishes every day and also facing rapidly diminishing refrigerator contents, I decided to make this, albeit slightly differently to go with a peas and corn pulao. Usually this recipe will be more dry than a gravy at restaurants, but since I was serving this with rice, decided to make it with a red tomato gravy. Bhindi Do Pyaza was a hit and everyone loved it and this will become part of our usual menu.

img_0251Bhindi Do Pyaza

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg bhindi or okra, washed and dried completely
  • 4-5 onions, cut into half and sliced finely lengthwise
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp onion seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • Make small x cuts in the top and bottom of each tomato and keep aside. Take some water in a pan and when the water starts boiling, put the tomatoes top down and let them cook. Keep an eye on them and turn occasionally.
  • In the meantime, cut the okra into 1 inch pieces.
  • Heat around 1 tbsp oil in a pan and when the oil heats up, put the okras to fry. Stir occasionally, shake the pan if needed. Cook the okras till they are three quarters done and remove from the pan and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and add the cumin and onion seeds and fry for a couple of seconds. Then add the ginger and stir for a minute. Next add the onions and fry them till they become translucent and start to brown.
  • When the tomatoes are done, remove them from the water, peel the skin away and blend the pulp into a smooth paste.
  • When the onions start to brown, add the dry spices one by one – turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin power and and a bit of salt.
  • If the mixture is very dry and starts to burn, add some of the water which you boiled the tomatoes.
  • When the mixture is completely cooked, add the fried okra and cook for a few minutes.
  • Now add the tomato paste and check for seasoning. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of garam masala if you want here.
  • Let the dish cook till it starts  bubbling and at this point, reduce the flame and let it cook for another 5 minutes. If you need to add water, use the water you used to boil the tomatoes. When you have the consistency you want, switch off the flame.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with a flatbread or rice of your choice.

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Recipes: No Onion No Garlic Matar Paneer

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Another recipe I made during the nine days of Navratri when I do not use either onions or garlic in my cooking. Again I replaced onions and garlic with a cashew and sesame paste and we did not miss the onions at all. This was a very quick recipe and I made it in less than 30 minutes, start to finish.

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No Onion, No Garlic Matar Paneer

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen paneer, refreshed in hot water for 15 minutes and then drained. Keep the water for the gravy
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8-10 cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seed powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 3-4 tbsps beaten yoghurt
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsps oil
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • Blend together the cashew nuts and sesame seeds into a fine paste and keep aside.
  • In the same blender, chop the tomatoes and blend well till it becomes a fine puree and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil and when warm, add the cumin seeds. When it starts to splutter, add the cashew nut, sesame paste and let it fry for a minute. Then add the tomato puree and let it fry for a minute.
  • Now add all the dry spices – turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and garam masala and stir well. Add a bit of water if needed and let the masala fry well till the oil starts to come out and it becomes a bit dry.
  • Now add around 1 cup of water (here, add the water used to soak the paneer and the cashew nuts) and let it come to a rolling boil.
  • When it starts to boil, add the frozen peas and let it continue to boil and cook. The peas should be cooked in around 5-7 minutes and at this point add the paneer.
  • Let it cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Check for salt and seasoning and add as required.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or any rotis.

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