Dal Maharani

Dal Maharani

Dal maharani – I don’t know the reason for this name or origins of this dal but this is one of my favorite dals. Urad dal cooked with onion, tomato, and spices. This is an in house speciality at my home. Some dishes taste best when cooked by certain people and this is surely one of them. My aunt’s signature dish which I relish with hot parathas or bajra rotis.

Dal Maharani

A very simple dal but with a difference. It does not need any trips to the grocery store but yet will pack a punch on those cold rainy nights. I enjoy this mostly on its own with a dollop of ghee.  Bajra roti or parathas are the perfect companions for this nutritious treat.

Dal Maharani

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup urad dal soaked in plenty of water for 3 hours
  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp oil/butter
  • ¼ tsp tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1 big onion finely chopped
  • 1 big tomato finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala

Recipe

Wash and soak the urad dal in plenty of water for 3 hours. Drain the water and put dal in a pressure cooker.  Add 2 cups of water and some salt and cook for two whistles or until it is cooked. The dal is cooked when it gets mushy when you mix it. Keep it aside.

Grind ginger, garlic, and green chillies coarsely.

Heat 2 tbsp butter/oil in a kadhai or a thick bottomed pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the seeds pop, add curry leaves, and dry red chillies. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli paste and onions. Saute and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and little salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, and garam masala and mix well. Cook till oil separates and tomatoes are mushy. Add the cooked dal and mix well. Taste and adjust salt. Cook on slow gas for 7-10 minutes mixing in between. Serve hot with a dollop of butter and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Mangalore Rasam (South Indian Lentil Soup)

Rasam

Rasam is a south Indian soup which can be served as a part of meals or as an appetizer. This thin consistency lentil soup is usually tamarind based and the seasoning differs from region to region or rather home to home. There are dozens of types of Rasam. This is the Mangalore rasam which is one of the best recipes of my sister-in-law.  A very simple and flavorful companion for our sambar rice lunches on Sundays.

Rasam Ingredients

The base of this rasam is not tamarind. You can use tamarind too if you like. Fresher the ingredients, better the flavor of rasam. Especially fresh curry leaves and coriander add to the freshness of this lentil soup. Crush or tear the curry leaves before adding to the tadka.

Rasam is usually a part of south Indian meal and is served along with sambar and curd. Rasam can be prepared ahead of time and tastes best piping hot with rice and ghee.

Mangalore Rasam

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • ½ cup toor dal (split pigeon peas) cooked and mashed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2tbsp rasam powder
  • Lime juice to taste (I used 3 tbsp)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped

For Tempering

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp urad dal
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ tsp asafetida (heeng)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (grated)
  • 2 green chillies slit
  • 1 tomato chopped

Recipe

Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds, urad dal and asafetida. Add curry leaves, green chillies, and ginger. Sauté for few seconds. Add chopped tomatoes, little salt and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add rasam powder and mix well. Add little water (around 2-3 tbsp) and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked dal, 2 cups of water, lime juice, and salt. Mix well and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chopped coriander and serve hot with rice and ghee.

Ras No Fajeto (Mango Kadhi)

Ras No Fajeto

Fajeto or ras to fajeto as it is addressed is a mango flavored Gujarati kadhi. Yogurt whisked with mango pulp and gram flour is tempered with spices like cinnamon, ginger powder, cloves etc and served with hot puris. Mango season in Gujarati homes means mangoes for lunch breakfast and dinner and may be in between for snacks too. When I first heard of this dish, I was very skeptical ( I hate sweet flavors in main course, especially with rice) but the taste won me over. Mango kadhi might not sound appetizing if you are not a mango lover but if you like Gujarati food, this dish is worth a try.

The richer the aroma of mangoes, the flavorful fajeto you will have. Ratnagiri or alphonso are the best choices for this kadhi.if you want to add more flavor you can replace the water in buttermilk with the water from mangoes (from peels and stone). You can adjust the sugar in this dish depending on the sweetness of mango pulp and as per taste. You can even replace sugar with jaggery. For the pulp, I would recommend a thick and strained pulp.

The dry spices especially ginger powder (saunth) complements the mango flavor very well. Try not leaving that out if you are short of ingredients. You can use oil instead of ghee for the tempering. Some people roast and powder the cinnamon, cloves, and dry ginger, but I like the taste with whole spices (I can take them out once I have the desired flavor).

While fajeto can be eaten with rice too, I love it with hot puris.

Mango Kadhi

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 5 cup butter milk (1/2cup yogurt+1 cup water)
  • 1/2 tbsb gram flour (besan) besan
  • 1/4 cup mango pulp
  • 2-3 pinches turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

For Tempering

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • ¼ tsp mustard and cumin seeds
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1 green chilli
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 piece of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder (saunth)
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 inch piece of ginger grated

Recipe

Combine the ingredients for fajeta in a bowl and whisk well. Make sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.

Heat ghee in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, dry red chilli, green chilli, cloves, cinnamon, ginger powder, and grated ginger. Sauté for 5-10 seconds. Add the yogurt mix and continue stirring till the mixture comes to a boil. You can do this on high flame too. Once the fajeta comes to boil, reduce the flame and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with puri or rice.

Palakoora Pappu (Spicy Yellow Lentils with Spinach)

Palakoora Pappu (Spicy Yellow Lentils with Spinach)

For me Andhra meals is incomplete without Palakoora pappu. It is a spicy (sometimes not) preparation of lentils with spinach. Lentils and spinach are cooked with tamarind paste and green chillies and tempered with garlic and other spices. Hot rice, a dollop of ghee and lots of pappu and some pickle are sure combination to make you over eat.

Since it is the mango season and I love cooking with raw mango, this recipe includes raw mango instead of tamarind paste. The quantity of raw mango or even tamarind paste depends on the sourness of the mango/tamarind and taste as well. As with other recipes, it helps to soak the dal for 15-20 minutes before cooking. Of course, there are hundreds of recipes for pappu and this is my version of the healthy south Indian dal. I can’t say it is authentic or traditional but this is how I make it and it is a hit with my siblings and friends.

Crushing the garlic and tearing and lightly crushing the fresh curry leaves between your palms just before adding them to hot oil will add a lot more to the flavour. Some people add tomatoes and onions also to the tempering. You can taste the cooked dal and add more green chillies to the tempering if the pappu is not spicy enough. This tastes best with plain rice and a dollop of ghee.

Palakoora Pappu (Spicy Yellow Lentils with Spinach)

Ingredients

Serves 2-3

For Pappu

  • 1 cup split pigeon peas (toor dal) washed and soaked for 15-20 mins
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated
  • 4 green chillies slit
  • ½ cup spinach chopped
  • 1 raw mango chopped (substitute with 4-5 tbsp tamarind pulp if not using raw mango)
  • 2 ½ cup water
  • Salt to taste

For the Tadka

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 10-12 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2-3 dry red chillies
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida

Recipe

Put all the ingredients for dal in a pressure cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles or till the dal is cooked enough to be mashed with back of a spoon.

Heat oil in a kadhai or a heavy bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds pop, add curry leaves and dry red chillies and sauté. Add crushed garlic and cook for one minute. Add turmeric and asafoetida and cook for 20-30 seconds. Pour this hot tempering over the cooked dal and mix well. Cook the dal without lid on slow flame for 3-4 minutes. You can add little water, if the consistency is too thick.

Serve with hot rice and pickle.

Rajasthani Mogar (Split Yellow Gram with Raw Mango)

Rajasthani Mogar (Split Yellow Gram with Raw Mango)

Mogar is a summer dish from Rajasthan. It is moong dal cooked with raw mango and dry spices. Mogar is indispensable with aamras in any marwadi family. My mom cooks this at least 2 times in a week during summers. We have a fixed menu at home whenever it is aamras for dinner. It is Aamras, mogar, and roti or aamras, mogar, and rice. This is a quick recipe when you don’t want to spend lot of time in the kitchen. The tricky part in this recipe is to not to let the lentils over cook. It has to be cooked only till each grain is cooked but separate.

Moong dal is kind of staple food in Rajasthan. Since it is the local produce, it is used to make, snacks, main course, and even desserts. You can find moong dal pakodi, moong dal kachori, and even moong dal halwa in Rajasthan. Lentils are rich in protein and this particular dal cooks quicker when compared to other lentils. The quick cooking time explains its importance during the hot summers of Rajasthan.

Raw mango has a cooling effect on body and also adds a fresh tangy flavour to the dal. You can also use dry mango powder if raw mango is not available but I prefer the raw mango. Also, the quantity of raw mango in this recipe depends on the sourness of the raw mango so use it as per preference of sourness. You can also add fennel seeds to the tadka. This dish goes well with roti and rice both but I like it more with roti.

Rajasthani Mogar (Split Yellow Gram with Raw Mango)

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • ½ cup yellow moong dal(Split yellow gram) washed and soaked for two hours
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated
  • ½ tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • 1 tsp red chilli
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 2-3 dry red chillies
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp raw mango chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Recipe

Method 1

Drain the water from moong dal. Heat oil in a cooker. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and ginger. Sauté and add asafoetida, dry red chillies, and green chillies. Cook for 30-40 seconds and add chopped raw mango, turmeric, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for one minute. Add the moong dal and ¼ cup water. Mix and adjust the seasoning if required. Close the lid and cook for 3-4 minutes. Switch off the gas just before the first whistle. Once the cooker is cooled, open the cooker, add the chopped coriander and mix very lightly. Serve hot with roti or rice and aamras. The trick is to not let the dal over cook. Or else it will get mashed.

Method 2

Boil the dal separately in 2/3 cup water till it is cooked but firm. Drain and keep aside. Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and ginger. Sauté and add asafoetida, dry red chillies, and green chillies. Cook for 30-40 seconds and add chopped raw mango, turmeric, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked moong dal and mix lightly. Check for seasoning and add the chopped coriander. Serve hot with roti or rice.

Sambar

Sambar

Sambar rice was the fixed Sunday lunch menu for us in Bangalore. This spicy and sour south Indian cousin of dal is made with lentils, vegetables, spices, and tamarind pulp. The taste of sambhar varies from state to state or for that matter family to family. For me and my family, my aunt makes the best sambar in the world. So much so that, every time we visit her or any get together at her place, we make her cook sambar rice always. This has been going on for years now. This recipe is my version of sambar.

Pigeon peas and tamarind paste are the base for sambar and rest of the ingredients vary from family to family. My siblings and I are very picky with vegetables and this particular recipe is my invention of staying away from the vegetables my mom puts in the sambar. She adds okra, carrot, beans, bottle gourd, and even kachri which we all kids religiously fish out and make a mountain of it in the plate 🙂 By the way, I too add carrots and beans to sambar occasionally.

I prefer this simple and no frills sambar for my Sunday lunch or with Idli, dosa or vada. In Bangalore, or I can say whole south India, people eat sambar with almost any savoury snack be it Pongal, Upma, etc. The guys here at Ananda Bhavan and Komalas in Singapore serve sambar even with Biryani.

I prefer sambar with hot rice and crunchy mini poppadums. It makes my Sunday lunch extra special and I get to sleep again after over eating the heavy sambar rice meal.

Sambar

Ingredients

  • ½ cup yellow pigeon peas (toor/arhar dal)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated
  • 8-10 curry leaves (kadipatta)
  • 1 green chilli slit
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp sambhar powder (I prefer 777 madras sambhar powder)
  • ½ cup tamarind water*
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste

Optional

  • ¼ cup boiled/steamed mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, drumsticks)

Recipe

Wash and soak the dal in water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water. Add dal, 1 ½ cup water, and little salt in a pressure cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles or till the dal is completely cooked. Mash the dal using a blender or whisk and keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadai or thick bottomed deep pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add the grated ginger and sauté. Add the curry leaf, green chilli, dry red chilli, and asafoetida. Cook for 20-30 seconds. Add chopped onions and cook for 1-2 minutes or till the onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes or till the tomatoes are mashed when you press lightly with the back of a spoon. Add the steamed vegetables at this stage if you are adding vegetables to the sambhar. Add red chilli powder, turmeric, and sambhar powder. Mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes mixing in between. If the paste is too dry, add 1-2 table spoon of water. Add water and tamarind water and bring to boil. Add the mashed dal and sugar. Let the sambhar cook on slow flame for 3-5 minutes. Add chopped coriander and serve with hot rice.

*Be careful with the amount of tamarind water you add. The amount depends on the sourness of the tamarind you use. If you are using the store bought tamarind paste, it is a good idea to dilute it and add half of the tamarind water first and then add more as per taste.

Chilla/Chilve Vali Kadhi

Chilla/Chilve Vali Kadhi

Kadhi is a tangy, yogurt based north Indian dish that is served with plain rice. There are various types of this dish based on the regions. There is Punjabi kadhi, Rajasthani kadhi, Gujarati kadhi, Sindhi kadhi and a lot more varieties. The basic mixture of gram flour and slightly soured yogurt is same and the tempering and flavours change as per the region.

This recipe is of chilva or chilla vali kadhi. My mom’s family is from Haryana and their cuisine differs from the marwadi cuisine that is made at my place. I don’t know the exact region this kadhi belongs too but this particular kadhi is famous at my maternal grandmom’s place. This is kind of healthy too. Chilva is a gram flour pancake which is made using very less oil compared to the deep fried pakodis that are used in the regular kadhi.

The tempering or tadka for kadhi too differs as per the regions. Just replacing the oil with ghee in the tadka makes a lot of difference to the kadhi. You can even add whole coriander seeds and fennel seeds to the tadka.

Kadhi is usually served with plain rice. I like it more with hot puris. At my place kadhi is served with rice and pressure cooked mung beans. Mung chawal Kadhi is the classic Rajasthani preparation and is a complete meal.

Chilla/Chilve Vali Kadhi

Ingredients

For Kadhi

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ tbsp. gram flour (besan)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

For Chilva/Chilla

  • 3 tbsp gram flour (besan)
  • Few pinches turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 pinches carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 4-5 tbsp oil for frying

For Tempering

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3 inch piece of ginger grated
  • 1 green chilli slit
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 2 dry red chillies

Recipe

Mix all the ingredients for kadhi using a blender or whisk making sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.

To prepare the chilva or chila, make a paste of pouring consistency (of dosa or dhokla batter consistency) using gram flour, salt, turmeric, carom seeds and water. Heat a griddle and put around half table spoon of oil on it. Take a spoonful of the prepared batter and drop it on the oil. It should be like a small round coin sized pancake. Let it cook for 10-15 seconds. Flip on other side and cook for another 10-15 seconds. Move to the side of the griddle. Make rest of the chilvas using the same method adding oil in between. Remember to flip the chilvas on the side of the griddle and take them off from the griddle once you see brown spots forming on the chilvas. Keep the chilvas aside on an absorbent paper.

In a thick bottomed pan or kadhai, bring to boil the mixture for kadhi. Remember to stir continuously till the kadhi boils. Simmer the gas.

Heat two tablespoon oil in a kadhai. Add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the seeds pop, add curry leaves, dry red chillies, mustard seeds, cloves, and cinnamon. Sauté for 30-40 seconds. Add the green chilli, grated ginger, asafoetida and cook for 30-60 seconds. Add the red chilli powder and switch off the gas immediately. Pour this tempering on the kadhi and mix well.

Add the chilvas to the kadhi just before serving and cook the kadhi for 3-5 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander.