Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | Poritha Kuzhambu with Chillies and Cumin | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable

The second of three methods suggested by Meenakshi Ammal. A beautiful, flowing-textured dal-based dish perfect over rice.

There are three main methods for making Poritha (Poricha) Kuzhambu. The first uses sambar powder, and this recipe, the second method, uses a paste of chillies, cumin seed and coconut. The third method uses chillies and urad dal ground to a paste.

Poritha Kuzhambu (or Poricha Kuzhambu) is a style of kuzhambu that usually includes coconut in its ground spice mix – this is the most defining characteristic of a Poritha Kuzhambu. This recipe is lentil based which can be made with either Toor Dal as we do here, or Green Gram Dal (Mung Dal). Although some Poritha Kuzhambu recipes can contain tamarind, this one does not.

This dish is not spicy, with very little spice added – just chillies and cumin. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetable.

Sometimes Poritha Kuzhambu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. That is not entirely accurate. There is no real equivalent in our cuisine – perhaps it can be described as a Lentil Based Gravy with a Vegetable, to eat over rice. It flavours the rice and the rice compliments the kuzhambu. I love kuzhambu so much, I will also eat a small bowl of it like a soup.

Are you looking for other Poritha Kuzhambu recipes? Try Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu, Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth, and Pitlai.

Feel free to browse all of our Poritha Kuzhambu recipes, our Kuzhambu recipes, and our Indian recipes. Drumstick recipes are here. You may also like to browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | Poritha Kuzhambu with Chillies and Cumin | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable”

Simple Monk’s Dal

Dal is a generic term for a dish made with lentils, sometimes with vegetables. It is probably a term coined outside of India to incorporate the wealth of different thick and semi-thick dishes made with lentils. Within India, lentil dishes that fit into that category are infinite in variety, varying in the lentil used, the spices used, the consistency and the vegetables incorporated. Each will have a different name, and even the change of 1 spice or 1 other ingredient (e.g. whether coconut is included or not) might change the name of the dish completely.

However, the recipe for this dish came to me with only the title Dal. It is probably Sri Lankan influenced, and is as simple as an be. But all dishes from this source are both simple AND amazingly flavoursome. It comes from the monks of the Kauai Aadheenam.

The monks used this dal for lunch and served it just with rice and a vegetable dish. It is made with toor dal, that beautiful creamy, slightly sweet dal that is also used for sambar, pitlai, kothsu and other related dishes, which is cooked with a little coconut mik. Toor dal can take a while to cook, depending on its age and quality, so allow enough time.

Are you after other Dal recipes? Try Urad and Rajma Dal, Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, and Mung Dal with Ghee.

Or are you looking for other Toor Dal recipes? Try Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu, Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy, and a Classic Seasoned Sambar.

Try some more Sri Lankan dishes. Try Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, Sweet Pongal, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Carrot Sambol.

Have a look at all of our Dal recipes and all of our recipes made with Toor Dal. Or explore all of our Sri Lankan dishes and all of our Indian Recipes. Alternatively, have a look at our Late Autumn collection of recipes. Continue reading “Simple Monk’s Dal”

Mung Dal with Ghee and Spices

There are many variations of mung dal, ghee and spices. Mung and Ghee are like a match made in heaven. It can be as simple yet heavenly as Neiyyum Parippum, as complex as a Dal Tadka, or even more complex. Each, although very different dishes, are divine. The simplest variation of spices can make all the difference.

This Mung Dal with Ghee adds cumin, fenugreek (optional), green chilli and garlic to a simple Neiyyum Parippum. Now it must be said that Cumin is the third partner in a trinity that is amazing – Mung Dal, Ghee and Cumin. The fenugreek, which can be left out, adds a slight bitterness. The chilli adds flavour and texture without bite, and the garlic a little groundedness.

This recipe comes from Kerala where it was shown to me by a local chef. This comes from my quickly scribbled notes. I hope you enjoy it.

Are you looking for similar Mung Dal dishes? Try Simple Monk’s Dal, Neiyyum Parippum, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, and Simple and Gentle Mung Dal.

Feel free to browse our other Mung recipes and our Kerala recipes are here. Or have a look at our Indian Collection of recipes. Finally, explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Whole Unhulled Urad and Rajma Dal | Urad Lentils and Kidney Beans Dal

It has been a while since I posted an Urad recipe. Urad is one of my favourite lentils, comforting and nourishing, and used a lot in the Punjab region. It is easy to cook with, especially if you know and respect its properties.

This dish is a cousin of Dal Makhani, using yoghurt instead of butter and cream, and whole urad rather than split urad dal.

And what a stunner! This is a slow cooked dish – taking around 5 hours – but they are effortless hours. No need to do more than the odd stir or two.

Are you looking for Urad recipes? You might like to try Urad and Red Rice Kitchari, Urad Dal Garlic Rice, and Urad Tamatar Dal.

We also have Rajma (kidney bean) recipes – try Rajma Sundal, Feijoada, and Capsicums Stuffed with Kidney Beans and Feta.

Or perhaps you are looking for Dal Makhani style dishes. Try our very popular Dal Makhani Restaurant Style, Indian Bazaar Dal Makhani, and Amritsari Dal.

Punjabi recipes are always packed with flavour. Try Baingan ka Bharta, Quince Aachar, and Tomato Bharta.

Alternatively, explore all of our Dal Makhani and similar recipes. Or browse Punjabi recipes. We have a range of different Urad recipes and Rajma (Kidney Bean) recipes. You might also like to check out the Madhur Jaffrey recipes that we love. Oh and our Dal recipes are here. All of our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to browse our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Whole Unhulled Urad and Rajma Dal | Urad Lentils and Kidney Beans Dal”

Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu | Eggplant Gothsu From Chidambaram

The best Gothsu, they say, is definitely Chidambaram Gothsu, and the Gothsu made in this temple town is certainly different to varieties from elsewhere. Chidambaram Kothsu (also spelt Kosthu), or Gothsu (also spelt Gosthu or Gotsu), is a South Indian curry that is made using roasted and mashed eggplant. The Gothsu was originally made by the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple’s Dikshithars (special priests). They make it with Samba Sadham (lentils and rice) as an offering to Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram. It certainly does taste divine.

They say that Gothsu is a very old Tamil recipe, about 2000 years old. Traditionally the eggplants would be roasted over coals, but sadly today they are deep fried or sautéed. This recipe is without onions, just as the Dikshithars would make it. However, Chidambaram Gosthu is also made for many marriages in Chidambaram and for those occasions sambar onions are included.

This recipe is from Meenakshi Ammal’s treasure of TamBram recipes. It is different to other varieties of Gothsu in that it uses smoky roasted and shredded eggplants along with toor dal. You will see recipes without any dal, but if Ammal was making it this way it is probably more traditional. Ammal also includes this recipe in the chapter on Poritha Kuzhambu because of the dal and the spice mix fried in ghee.

There are other versions of Brinjal Gothsu that claim to be Chidambaram Gothsu, but they are not. The Chidambaram Gothsu includes Toor Dal. Without the dal, it is just Gothsu.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Pitlai, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Or are you looking for Eggplant Recipes? Try Babaganoush, Potato and Eggplant Curry with Punjabi Wadi, and Madras Curry with Eggplant, Sweet Potato and Spinach.

Want more? Check out our Meenakshi Ammal recipes and all of our Indian recipes. You might like to browse Indian Essentials. Have a look at all of our Eggplant dishes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu | Eggplant Gothsu From Chidambaram”

Sampangi Pitlai

We are working through the different types of Poritha Kuzhambu, where the spice paste is fried in ghee before being ground. There are Poritha Kuzhambus, Poritha Koottu and Pitlai, Gothsu and Masiyal. They can be with and without tamarind, stuffed full of vegetables or just one or two.

This is our second Pitlai, Sampangi, which traditionally has drumsticks as part of the vegetable mix, with 3 or 4 others. The spice mix used in this recipe differs from the first Pitlai recipe – it does not include coriander or channa dal (Bengal Gram), but does include peppercorns. The chillies are ground in the paste rather than left whole in the tadka. I have been explaining to some people recently how subtle differences from recipe to recipe results in a different dish, and the taste difference is remarkable IF we allow our tastebuds the time to register. This isn’t so common in our society, we eat so fast, but in India these differences are important. The other key difference in this recipe is the variety of vegetables, as many as 4 can be used in this dish, rather than 1 or 2.

Are you looking for other Pitlai recipes? They are here. And browse other Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Koottu dishes. You must definitely try this Pitlai, and Amaranth Greens Soup/Pitlai. (Some of these dishes will be published later. Pop back and check if the link is not returning what you might expect.)

Explore all of our Kuzhambu recipes here and all of our Sambar dishes. You might like to browse our Indian recipes. Or simple take some time to check out our Early Autumn collection.

Continue reading “Sampangi Pitlai”

Pitlai | Toor Dal with Vegetables

Pitlai is a South Indian recipe using some basic vegetables and cooked in a coconut-based gravy with specific spices that have been fried in ghee. It sits close to Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu, but the spice mix varies from these.

South India adores its rice, and so the different cuisines of the South include a huge range of gravy-like dishes that are ladled over warm rice to be mixed and enjoyed. It makes sense, right? Rasam, Sambar, Kuzhambu, Kootu etc are the most common. Pitlai sits in that group too, and some will say it is a type of Sambar and others will say it is a type of Kuzhambu. Meenakshi Ammal sits her Pitlai recipes within her Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu section – those with a fried spice mix/ paste. The dish varies slightly from any of the above – in consistency, spices used, and the vegetables that are added – bitter gourd and eggplant are definite favourites. Like the other Poritha dishes, it is the ground paste of spices, the coconut, and the predominance of lentils, that serve to thicken the dish. A tiny amount of rice flour can help if needed.

Pitlai includes coriander and Bengal Gram in its coconut-based spice paste, and this is the difference from the Poritha Kootu and Poritha Kuzhambu pastes. As I say about South Indian dishes – change out one spice and the dish has a different name, a different way of eating, a different time of day to eat it and different vegetables to include in it. 🙂

Pitlai is made all over South India and each region will have its own interpretation of the dish. This is a recipe from the Tamil Brahmin Cuisine.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kuzhambu with Chilli and Cumin,  and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Are you looking for other Kuzhambu? Try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai, and Tomato Kuzhambu.

You might like to try some Sambar. We recommend Moru Sambar, Classic Seasoned Sambar, and Sambar Powder and Paste.

Why not have a look at all our Kuzhambu dishes, and all Kootu. All of the Sambar dishes are here. Browse the Meenakshi Ammal recipes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

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Moraiya Kitchari | Barnyard Millet Kitdchari | Sama ki khichdi | Khichuri

Moraiya Kitchari is a delightful dish, healthy and nourishing. It is regularly made for Navratri fasting, Ekadashi fasting or any other time of Hindu fasting as it is an easily digestible dish. It is delicious in its own right – lightly spiced and less vigorous of taste than many Indian dishes, but don’t put it aside because of that. Try it with a wet curry like a yoghurt or besan curry, even a Poritha Kuzhambu! You will enjoy.

Moraiya is composed of tiny, white, round grains. In India, cereal grains are not consumed during fasts. Hence, Moraiya is a popular alternative, especially during Navratri. It is often used in place of rice, although it does not cook into separate grains like long grained rice. It is quite sticky when it is cooked and the grains stick together somewhat.

Are you looking for other Kitchari dishes? Try this one with Sago, Peanuts and Potatoes, or Maharashtrian Kitchari with Masoor Sprouts, or a Simple Parsi Kitchari.

You might like to check to see whether we have posted other Moraiya recipes. You can browse all of our other Kitchari recipes here. Our Indian recipes are here. Or explore our Early Spring dishes here.

Continue reading “Moraiya Kitchari | Barnyard Millet Kitdchari | Sama ki khichdi | Khichuri”

Aamti | Maharashtrian Lentil Curry

I do love the Keralite classic Mung Dal with Ghee (Neyyum Parippum), and its offshoots – Mung Dal with Cumin and ISKON Mung Dal.

Maharashtra has a dish that exhibits the same simplicity, but it is made with toor dal (and not quite so much ghee). Toor dal is the lentil that gives Sambar (from Tamil Nadu) its creamy, flowing consistency.

Simply spiced, the dish highlights the flavour of the lentils. The dish is served with rice, and is a variation on its simpler ancestor, Varan Bhaat which literally means Lentil Curry-Rice. In many Maharashtrian households, this dish or the simpler Varan is cooked every day and it is a comforting and nourishing dish. It is also made as naivedyam/prasadam for Ganesha Chathurthi. It is particularly simple to make. (If you are after other recipes for Ganesha Chathurthi, browse here.)

You might also like to try the Mung Dal dishes above, or our range of Sambars. Or try Eggplant and Toor Dal, Plain (Toor) Dal Rasam, or Poritha Kuzhambu.

Explore all of our recipes for Toor Dal here, and our Maharashtrian recipes here. Take some time and browse all of our Indian recipes. Or simply try our Mid Summer collection.

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Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style

Another beautiful Mung Bean recipe, a soup from Jaffna in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan in its origins, this Mung Dal recipe from Jaffna is quick and lovely. The recipe is from that lovely cookbook of South Indian and Jaffna / Sri Lankan cooking – A Monk’s Cookbook by the monks from the Hindu Aadheenam on Kauai in Hawaii (you can download it here).

Mung in all of its forms is a favourite of ours – whole beans, split dal, hulled or unhulled. The gentleness of its texture and flavour always makes one feel loved and nourished. With a flavour that is just a little on the sweet side, even hardened lentil-haters will love Mung.

Are you looking for Mung recipes? Try Mung Sprouts Sundal, Sweet Mung Dal Kitchadi, Mung Dal Sundal, or  Stir Fried Mung Bean Sprouts.

We have other Mung Dal and Soup recipes too. Try Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, Mung Dal with Ghee, Simple Indian Mung Dal Soup, and Simple and Gentle Mung Soup.

Or simply browse all of our Mung recipes, and our Dal recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Spring recipes. Continue reading “Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style”

Sprouted Masoor Usal

Delicious!

A long time ago, an Indian friend sent me a recipe for Masoor Usal – the one that her mother makes. All this time later, I have forgotten who that was. (If it is you, please let me know!)

All I can say is that this recipe is wonderful. Deep comforting flavours, soupy enough to eat with rice, but with the ability to control the liquid if you prefer it as a side dish.

Our other Usal recipes are here. You might like to browse other Sprouts recipes, or other Masoor lentil recipes. Take some time and explore all of our Indian recipes. Or simply browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Mung Dal Usli | Muga Dali

Mung dal is a perfect dish – an eat anytime dish but also very good for those sensitive times. Here it is roasted then cooked with coconut for a flavoursome breakfast or side dish.

A dry spicy dish of mung dal is very popular with the people of the mid West Coast of India, for example, Goa and further south into Kerala. It is easy to make and brings the beautiful and gentle taste of mung dal to the fore.

Mung dal is very easily digested and so is a favourite ingredient in Ayurveda and also for invalids. But there is no need to wait until you are on an Ayurvedic regime or are unwell, this is a dish that can be eaten any time. Often served for breakfast, it is also used as a side dish at a Konkani meal. It is also very good as a snack with chapathi too.

You might like to browse our other Mung recipes here and here, and our other Goan recipes here and here. Try other Usili dishes, and sample our Indian recipes here and here.

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Kathirkkai Rasavangi | Brinjal Rasavangi | Eggplant and Toor Dal

Rasavangi is a spicy, tamarind based eggplant dish that is a wonderful change from a regular sambar. It is similar to a Kootu or Pitlay and is very common in South Indian households.

Rasavangi is a close cousin of the Arachuvitta Kootu/Sambar, but with different spices. It is also very close to Pitlay. It is a good example of how a small change in spices can make a dish taste very different. This has a wonderful flavour profile of coriander and coconut. All you need with it is some rice and perhaps a simple potato dish, papadums or a vegetable curry.

You might like to browse our Sambar Recipes or all of our Eggplant recipes here and here. Feel free to browse the Indian Recipes. Our Kuzhambu recipes are here.

Continue reading “Kathirkkai Rasavangi | Brinjal Rasavangi | Eggplant and Toor Dal”

Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach

The marvellous flavours of Mung and Spinach.

Mung is a favourite dal of many people with its sweet, creamy, mushiness. A good mung dal cooked at home is worth a hundred restaurant visits. This recipe features Spinach as well.

Are you looking for mung recipes? There are more here. Or browse our Dals here and here.  We recommend Mung Dal with Ghee, Gentle Golden Mung Dal and ISKON Mung Dal. You might like our Spinach recipes here and here, or browse our Autumn collection here and here.

Continue reading “Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach”

Mugh Ni Dal | Dry Spicy Mung Dal | A Mung Dal Dish from Gujarat

Rice or Mung Dal? A great Gujarati accompaniment to other Indian dishes.

In this Gujarati dish, the grains of the Mung Dal remain separate and look quite like rice, if you squint a little. Serve this with any Indian meal.

You might like to browse our Mung recipes here and here. And the Indian recipes here and here. Be inspired by a range of Autumn dishes here and here.

Continue reading “Mugh Ni Dal | Dry Spicy Mung Dal | A Mung Dal Dish from Gujarat”