Recipes: Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

Carrot Sweet Corn Soup 2

Last week faced with an almost bare fridge and a family who didn’t want the usual lunch options, I was confused about making lunch. Then I remembered some organic fusilli that S had bought some time back and decided to make a simple Pasta salad. To go with that, I decided to put together the last bits of carrots and sweet potatoes I had and made a soup. The soup was a resounding success. BB loved it so much that he didn’t want dinner, but just had the soup again (this is notable because he does not like carrots nor sweet potatoes!)

Carrot Sweet Corn Soup 1

Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5-6 pods of garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 4-5 fresh red chilli, chopped
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water or stock as required
  • Ground pepper (optional)

Method:

  • In a large pan, heat the olive oil and when warm, add the garlic and fry till slightly golden brown. Then add the ginger and red chilli and fry for a few minutes.
  • Add the onions and fry for a while, letting it become translucent.
  • Now add the dry spices – salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and fry for a few minutes.
  • Then add the chopped carrots and sweet potatoes and saute till they are completely cooked. If needed, add water as required.
  • Cool completely and blend to fine paste either using an immersion blender or a conventional blender. Pour back into the pan and bring it to a boil.
  • Serve hot with croutons and some freshly ground pepper.

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Recipe: Moong Dal Khichdi

Moong Dal Khichdi 3This is one of BB’s favourite dishes. I too like to make this because this is a fairly easy dish to make and since it’s a one pot dish, you don’t have many dishes to wash post cooking. This is also good to make ahead and just cook it when you need to eat. It is also very versatile as you can play around with the ingredients, especially the vegetables.

Moong Dal Khichdi 4Moong Dal Khichdi

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice, soaked in water for 20-30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup yellow split moong dal, soaked in water for 20-30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts, soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tomato, chopped finely
  • 1/2 carrot, cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1 potato, cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Method:

  • Once the rice and dal have been soaked for 20-30 minutes, drain them and keep aside.
  • Drain the peanuts and keep aside.
  • In a pan, heat the oil and saute the cumin and fennel seeds. When they pop, add the garlic and saute for a few seconds and then the ginger and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add the sliced onions and let it brown. Once the onions start browning and start to become translucent, add the other vegetables one by one.
  • Now add all the dry spices – red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the peanuts and let it cook for a few minutes and then the dal, followed by the rice, stirring in-between.
  • Transfer this mixture to a rice cooker and add 1.5 cups of water and cook till done.
  • If you are cooking this on the stove top, keep an eye on the water levels and add more water, if needed to cook the rice and dal to the consistency you like.

Moong Dal Khichdi 2This is a complete meal in itself with carbs from the rice, protein from the dal and fibre from the vegetables.

You can add other vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, beans etc to increase the nutritive value of the meal as well as if you are planning to make for more people. The above recipe was perfect for a single meal for four adults.

This can be served with crisps or chips and a raita of your choice.

Moong Dal Khichdi 1

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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Recipes: Spinach Dal

IMG_0611A perennial favourite in our home, I make this quite often, sometimes as often as once a week! BB also loves this dal and even has it as a soup!

IMG_0612Spinach Dal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach (or any greens), chopped and washed well
  • 1 cup chana dal, soaked in water for 10 minutes and then drained
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger paste or 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp garlic paste or 5-6 pods of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp sambar or garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp amchur powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil

Method:

  • Heat a large pan (or even the pressure cooker you plan to cook the dal in) and add the oil to it.
  • When the oil warms, add the mustard seeds and let it pop. Then add the cumin seeds and turmeric powder and stir for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the ginger and garlic and stir each for a few seconds each before adding the other.
  • When the ginger and garlic start browning, add the onions and saute till they turn translucent.
  • Next, add the tomatoes and a bit of salt and let it cook. Add the dry masalas also at this point – red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, sambar or garam masala and amchur powder (if you are using it).
  • When the tomatoes start becoming mushy, add the spinach (or greens) and let them start wilting.
  • When the spinach starts wilting and cooking, add the soaked and drained dal and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of water and cover and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
  • If you are not using a pressure cooker, cover and cook till the dal is completely cooked and soft.
  • Chana dal will not lose it shape unlike other dals, so check when it is done.
  • When the pressure cools down, open the cooker and check for seasoning. Add what you feel is lacking and turn off the flame.
  • Serve with any rice or flatbread of your choice.

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