Kancha Mung Dal | Bengali Mung Dal

I find Dal the most comforting of dishes, and it is no wonder that it is eaten on most days throughout India. Spices are used to vary the flavours, – some for the heat of pre-Monsoon Summer, others for the cool of the Monsoon rains.

Dals always begin the same – boiling one or more lentils until soft, with the thickness of the dal being a personal preference. Some areas of India make them thick, others prefer them thin and soupy. In this household, we have the choice, so it depends on the cook, and the day, and the weather.

Inclusions also vary. Some dals contain onions – in some parts of India, the onions are cut long and thin – the chillies too. In other parts, the onions and chillies are cut minutely, almost a paste – garlic too – and this is all fried in ghee or oil.

Mung dal (split, hulled Mung Beans) is good for any time of year – and particularly good in summer. So is Toor dal. In Winter it is good to roast the mung dal before cooking as it helps to heat the bodily system. Toss it in a frying pan until a gorgeous aroma arises, then add to water to cook. In Summer, it is preferred kancha or unroasted, as it is lighter and easer to digest. Thanks to the excellent book Bengali Cooking for the lovely chapter and information on Dals.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Dal Tadka, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, and Gentle Golden Dal.

Or browse all of our Mung Dal recipes, and all of our Bengali dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Indian Chai Variations

Chai – a sweet, milky black tea with spices – begins the day for many Indian households. The spices and herbs added to the tea adds flavour but an oft-ignored benefit is that it also increases medicinal benefits. The daily supplement – better than popping a pill.

From Chai Masala, to a simple Chai with Ginger, the variations are endless. Here are some common ones to experiment with.

Because of the health giving properties of turmeric, we recommend adding a little turmeric to each cuppa chai that you make – about a pinch per cup.

Are you looking for more Chai recipes? Try Chai Masala for Relief of Colds, Heavenly Gentle Chai, and Ashram Chai.

You might like to browse all of our Chai recipes, and our general Tea recipes. All of our drinks can be found here. You might also enjoy our Late Winter recipes here and here.

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Okra with Mustard Oil | Okra Fry

Some time ago, one of my social media connections, dee, suggested that I cook okra with mustard oil. This is her recipe. We were discussing mustard oil and okra – there is such a natural affinity. When we are drying okra, for example, we mix the okra halves with mustard oil and spices before drying.

You’ll love this recipe – simple, quick, easy and deliciously flavoured.

Are you looking for other Okra recipes? Try Pickled OkraSri Lankan Okra Curry, and Spicy Stuffed Fried Okra.

Or browse all of our Okra recipes. All of our Indian dishes are here. If you are looking for snacks, they are all here. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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South Indian Baby Corn Soup

Oh how cute – baby corn in a creamy base. It makes a great soup. Fresh baby corn is easy to find in Asian groceries if your local green grocer does not stock it.

This is another soup recipe from Vol 4 of Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See iconic books. All the soups in this section are simple, unspiced and almost 1970’s in style. This is not surprising, given the era that Meenakshi Ammal wrote the rest of the books. Soups like this are not common in South India, but not rare either. Baby corn is quite popular – going with the love of all things Indo-Chinese – and as I said, are really cute.

Are you after other South Indian Soups? Try South Indian Spring Onion Soup, Beetroot Soup, and Cauliflower Soup.

Would you like more Sweetcorn dishes? Try Sweetcorn Sundal, and Roast Tomato and Sweetcorn Soup.

All of our South Indian Soups are here and all of our Soups here. Browse our Sweetcorn dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or simply explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Masoor Dal with Green Chillies

The thing about Vegetarian food is there is not much that is fast food, unless you look in the processed aisle of the supermarket. But if you are cooking from scratch, there is generally a reasonable amount of time needed to soak, bake, cook, spice, grind, roast, toast and so forth. Pasta is one laudable exception, and masoor dal (split red lentils as they are called here) another. They are fast in as much as 20 – 30 mins can be called fast. Longer than it might take for some non-veg meals, but quick in the terms of veg feasts.

This dal, made from masoor dal, is as quick as it gets. I hope you enjoy it.

Similar recipes include Dal Tadka, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spices, and Amritsari Dal.

Browse all of our Dal recipes and all of our Masoor Dal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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South Indian Boondi Yoghurt | Crispy Fried Balls in Yoghurt | Boondhi Thayir Pachadi

A delightful pachadi with texture. From Tamil Nadu.

There are North Indian and South Indian versions of Boondhi Yoghurt – those little crispy balls made from chickpea flour. The North Indian version is chock full of spices, but the South Indian version, as with so much of their food, has pared it back to essential flavours and textures to let the ingredients shine in the undercurrent of spice. Boondhi Yoghurt is very cooling – a great summer dish.

Boondhi is chickpea flour crispies deep fried with spices. You can buy Boondhi in Indian grocers, or you can make your own on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

We have other Boondi recipes scheduled, so check back here later.

Try other Pachadi dishes with yoghurt – Ginger Coconut Yoghurt Pachadi, Cucumber Yoghurt Pachadi, and Carrot Sambol.

Are you looking for Tamil Pachadi recipes? You will enjoy them. Or perhaps Andhra style Pachadis? They are here. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here, and our Indian recipes are indexed here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

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Tulsi and Mint Chai with Cinnamon | Tea with Herbs and Spices

Relax with a beautiful, health giving, herbal Chai

In many parts of India, tea is a daily preoccupation. But whereas in the West, tea is consumed as-is, with only perhaps some milk and sugar, it is common in India to brew it strongly with a range of spices and herbs. It is always served sweet and very milky.

Masala Chai and Cutting Chai are well known tea drinks, but every Indian family will have their own range of herbs and spices that they include. It is very common to use ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, perhaps mint and Tulsi (Indian Holy Basil). I have heard of curry leaves being added. Lemongrass, vanilla, black pepper, fennel, nutmeg, tej pata (Indian Bay Leaves), ashwagandha leaf, pepper, galangal are other possible additions.

Today’s Chai is Tulsi and Mint with Cinnamon Chai. It was such beautiful winter weather this morning, I drank chai in the garden.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Chai for the Relief of Colds, Cardamom Chai, Peppery Chai and Chai Variations.

You might like other Tulsi recipes – Tulsi Chai, and Tulsi Rasam. Or read more about the Tulsi Herb here.

You might like to browse all of our Chai recipes here, and our general Tea recipes here. All of our drinks can be found here. You might also enjoy our Late Summer recipes.

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Andhra Spinach Chutney | Palakoora Pachadi

Serve with rice and a dollop of ghee

Andhra Pradesh is well known for its chutneys, and for the love that Andhra people have for their chutneys. Called pachadi, the chutneys are not to be confused with the pachadi dishes from Tamil Nadu, which are generally yoghurt based like a raita. An Andhra Pachadi is more like a Tamil Thogayal. I hope that clears the confusion.

Andhra Pachadis are ground vegetables and spices, made to be eaten with rice and a dollop of ghee. But you can use them in sandwiches, stirred into yoghurt, or with snacks, chapatti, idli or dosa.

This is a Spinach Andhra Pachadi, and you have never tasted spinach so delicious. Spicy from red and green chillies, and cooling from the ground sesame seeds, it all comes together into an awesome dish.

Are you after similar recipes? Try Spinach Thogayal, Green Chutney, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney.

You can see our Tamil Pachadi dishes here and here, and our Andhra Pachadi dishes here. Or browse all of our Spinach recipes and our Indian dishes. You might also like to explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Red Lentils and Mung Dal | Masoor Dal and Mung Dal from Assam

Red lentils, as they are called here, or Masoor Dal, have made a reappearance in this kitchen after we received a large bag of them as a gift. How wonderful to have friends and relatives that gift odd bits and pieces to our pantry – I love them all.

Truly, I had forgotten how wonderful red lentils are, even though we have some stunning dishes that feature them. Red Lentil Soup with Garlic, for example, and also the Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Thick Thick Yoghurt.

Today we are making a Dal from the Assam region in North East India that mixes both split red lentils and mung dal. It is tasty, substantial, healthy and nourishing. The recipe uses mustard oil for a wonderful tang, but ghee can be substituted if preferred.

Are you after Dal recipes? Try  Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, Dal Tadka, Monk’s Dal and Urad Dal with Tomatoes.

You can check all of our Red Lentil recipes, our Mung Dal dishes, and our Dals. Browse our Indian recipes here. Or take some time to explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Cutting Chai | Ginger and Cardamon Chai

That quintessential roadside chai from Mumbai and throughout South India

Ah, how I miss the road side stalls in India and their piping hot Cutting Chai. Cutting is the transliteration of the Hindi word for half – Cutting Chai is served in half glasses (or smaller, often) as it has a strong flavour, and half a cup of this strong sweet liquid is enough to get you moving for the day! You have to buy it from the road side stalls – restaurants and hotels do not get the same taste.

The flavours are predominantly ginger and cardamon, simmered for some minutes with sugar so that the maximum flavour is extracted. The black tea, too, breaks every Western tea-brewing rule and is simmered for 5 or 6 minutes for the flavour extractions. Then milk is added to create this addictive drink.

Are you looking for similar Chai recipes? Try Chai Masala for Relief of Colds, Cardamom Chai and Peppery Chai.

You might like to browse all of our Chai recipes, or our general Tea recipes. All of our drinks can be found here, and our Indian Recipes here. You might also enjoy our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Garam Chai | Chai Masala

Warming spices combined with tea – a classic Indian Chai

What a wonderful, warming drink this is! Pure relaxation – a cup of Masala Chai and allowing your mind to empty and drift across the universe.

Chai is an Indian spiced milk tea that is generally made up of a rich black tea, full cream milk, various spices and jaggery or other sweetener. The spices used vary from region to region in India, and even amongst households. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Because of the spices, Chai produces a warming, soothing effect and gives one a wonderful sense of well being. Chai must have a sweetner added or the spices can’t share their full robust flavours. The sweetness brings out an intensity of flavour.

Are you looking for similar Chai recipes?  Try Yogi Chai, Chai Masala for the Relief of Colds, Cutting Chai, and Peppery Chai. There are Chai Variations here.

All of our Chai recipes are here, and our general Tea recipes here. Please try our other Teas and Coffees, and explore our Indian Recipes. You might also enjoy our Mid Winter recipes.

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Dal Tadka | Punjabi Toor Dal – Home Style

Toor Dal is a lentil much loved all over India, from the Sambars of Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India, to the Aamti variation of the Maharashtrian Varan, to the Dal Tadka of the Punjab. And no wonder. The creamy, flowing texture and interesting flavour of the dal makes it a favourite with many.

The Punjab is full of wonderful dals, from Dal Makhani to Amritsari Dal. But nothing really beats the simplicity of Dal Tadka. In the same way that Varan is loved by the Maharashtrians, and Neiyyum Parippum is loved by the Keralites, this simple dal dish has a strong appeal. It is made with toor dal and generously spiced with a tadka of black mustard seeds, garlic, chilli and cumin.

Toor Dal is famous world wide. Easy and cheap to make, it became a favourite of restaurateurs, so was introduced early to restaurant-goers in other parts of the world. It goes so well with rice and an array of Indian flat breads. Jeera rice is particularly nice with it.

Dal Tadka is very similar to Aamti, and my Maharashtrian friends call it the Punjabi Aamti. You might like to read about the difference between Dal Tadka and Dal Fry.

Please have a look at Aamti too, and our Sambar dishes. You might also like a beautiful Mung Dal, or a Mung and Red Lentil Dal.

Explore other famous Punjabi dishes such as Baingan Ka Bharta – Punjabi Smoky Eggplant CurryDal Makhani and Amritsari Dal.

Browse all of our Toor Dal dishes here, and all of our Punjabi dishes also. All of our Indian dishes are here. Or explore our easy Mid Summer recipes.

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Ladyfinger Masala | Kerala Okra Curry

Once upon a time  when I was spending a few weeks in Kerala, I had some cooking classes with a chef from the Leela. What a joy these classes were, with me madly taking notes and taking photos while my beautiful chef cooked and explained, cooked and explained. One of the dishes we cooked was this Okra Masala.

Every now and again I come across some of the notes from those recipes, and, just as I needed it, the scribbled notes on this ladyfinger (okra) curry came to my attention once again. It brought back memories of that beautiful time in Kerala and the amazing food to be found in the Leela, the vegetarian restaurant just up the road, all through Trivanderam and in the other homes and cafes where I ate. Each trip to India has been memorable and this one no less so than any other.

Are you looking for more Okra recipes? Try Okra in Tamarind with Prunes and Apricots, Pickled Okra, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, Cooking Okra for Sambar, and Spicy Stuffed Fried Okra.

What about some Kerala recipes? Try Spinach ThoranAubergines in Coconut Milk, and Pomegranate and Banana Salad.

Or browse all of our Okra recipes. All of our Indian dishes are here. If you are looking for all of our recipes from Kerala, they are all here. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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South Indian Green Peas Soup

Have you ever before seen serve hot with soy sauce as an instruction for a soup? Well, now you have. In this Green Pea Soup recipe from Tamil Nadu, South India, that is exactly the serving suggestion. South Indian soups are unspiced but flavoursome soups that are probably hang-overs from the British occupation. Somehow they have snuck into parts of the South Indian cuisine. This one has a slight Indo-Chinese influence – thickened with cornflour and topped with soy sauce.

In my experience, South Indian soups are served in small amounts. I have had them both before a main meal and after, so traditions must vary across South India.

This soup is made from peas, carrots and cauliflower, and thickened slightly with cornflour. It’s delicious, in a 1970’s sort of way. I love it.

Are you looking for other South Indian Soups? Try South Indian Beetroot Soup, South Indian Summery Tomato Soup, South Indian Baby Corn Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or perhaps you are after other (more spicy) Indian soups? Try Mung Dal with Coconut, Creamy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger, and Simple Indian Dal Soup.

Or some Pea recipes? Try Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Green Pea Pilaf, and Buttermilk Sambar.

You can also browse all of our South Indian Soups, and all of our Indian Soups. Or have a look at our Pea recipes.  Perhaps you would like to explore all Indian dishes. Or maybe all of our Soups. Or simply take some time to have a look at our Late Spring dishes.

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Maddur Vadai

When the rains come, then snacks are needed, and it is the same here as it is in India, even though the temperatures are about 20C less than what they might be in India. Snacks means deep-fried too, but it it is a treat, who is to mind?

These are flat vadai, a little like thattai, and very delicious. Grab your flours from your Indian grocery and don’t substitute all purpose flours.

Maddur Vadai, named after the town of Maddur in South Indian, are also sometimes spelt Maddur Vadai.

Are you looking for other Vadai? Try Paruthithurai Vadai – a Thattai Vadai from Sri Lanka, and Kothimber Wada. There are also Gram flour Vada that are made to go into a Kuzhambu, but can be eaten as snacks as well.

Browse all of our Vadai, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Snacks are here. Or relax and browse our Late Autumn dishes.

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