Chana Masala | Channa Masala

My notes on the recipe for this dish say beautiful, hot, deep complex layers of flavour. We’ve been making this for many years, so I am not sure how we missed posting the recipe for you.

Chana Masala is a spicy Punjabi dish where chickpeas are simmered in a sauce made with tomatoes and 11 spices that are perfectly balanced to provide an experience of each spice, should you care to be aware of them.

Is it chana or channa? Transliteration of any other script is always contentious around spelling and pronunciation, let alone in India where different languages and scripts abound. For decades I have called it channa but the consensus online now seems to be chana. Here, on my blog, you will see both. Chana from now on, but older recipes will be channa.

BTW, anardana seeds are dried, sour pomegranate seeds, available from your North Indian grocery.

Similar recipes include Turkish Soup with Chickpeas, Roasted Eggplant with Crushed Chickpeas, and Chickpea Fingers with Tomato Salsa.

Browse all of our Punjabi dishes and all of our Chickpea recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Malabar Spinach with Urad Dal

Malabar Spinach is freely available in Asian and other shops from Mid Summer, and is a lovely alternative to real spinach and other greens. Today we cook it fairly simply with urad dal for a very earthy dish that has a slight bitterness. It does not use many spices, and is gorgeous with some potatoes with chilli and onion.

Similar dishes include Malabar Spinach Pakora, and Malabar Spinach in Spicy Gravy.

Browse all of our Malabar Spinach recipes and all of our Urad recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Dal Bukhara | Creamy Black Gram Dal

They say that Dal Bukhara was made famous by the Bukhara Restaurant ITC Maurya Hotel in New Delhi, but it is definitely a Punjabi style dish. Trying to find the origins of the dish is difficult, with some claiming it was created by the restaurant, some saying it comes from Bukhara in Uzbekistan, and others claiming it is a Punjabi dish from the 1700’s. This article has some interesting insights into the origin of both Dal Makhani and Dal Bukhara. Whatever the origin, the chef at Bukhara most likely adapted an existing recipe to suit the sophistication of the restaurant.

Dal Bukhara is often compared to Dal Makhani, although the dishes are distinctly different with different spicing. It is made with whole urad that is black in colour because it is unhulled. Slow cooked, it makes a deliciously creamy dal, and in this recipe its flavour is heightened with tomatoes, ginger and garlic as well as other spices.

In my recipe I use a slow cooker to cook the lentils, and the deep taste and creamy texture are accentuated this way. In this way the dish does not rely on cream and butter for its texture. However they can be added – see the notes below the recipe for this variation. The lentils can also be cooked on the stove top – cook them until soft and then continue with the recipe.

Similar recipes include Whole Urad and Rajma Dal, Amritsari Dal, and Ma di Dal.

Browse our Urad recipes and our different Dals. Our Punjabi dishes are here, Indian recipes here and Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Green Mango and Masoor Dal | Aamer Dal | Tok Dal

Green Mango goes well with Indian lentils, and this time we pair it with Masoor Dal (called red lentils outside of India, but not to be confused with Indian red gram dal / toor dal). The recipe today is a tangy, simple Bengali dish with a touch of mustard oil. Simply spiced, it is delicious.

This recipe can also be made with Mung Dal instead of Masoor Dal, or with a mixture of both.

Similar recipes include  Ambe Dal (Channa Dal with Green Mango), Mung Dal with Green Mango, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, Green Mango in Coconut Milk, and Masoor Dal with Green Chillies.

Browse our Green Mango recipes and our Dals. Our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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Khar | Assamese Garlicky Flavoured Mung Beans with Greens

Khar is a unique Assamese dish, traditionally served as a starter. Traditionally, pure khar uses kola khar as its main ingredient. Kola Khar is prepared by sun-drying the peels of the bheem khol banana tree trunk, burning them to ashes, and then filtering water through them. It is an alkaline preparation that is believed to have medicinal properties. The dish is served before the main meal to help prepare the digestion for the flavours to come in the main meal.

These days kola khar is often substituted with other items, usually baking soda. Khar can be made with a variety of ingredients – pulpy vegetables such as gourds, papaya, pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant and cucumber, as well as lentils and a variety of greens. Today we are using Mung Beans although toor dal and urad dal are also common. We have seen it made with rice flour and no lentils.

Mustard greens and some chilli leaves are used in our dish today, although Spinach would be equally as fine. I have added a couple of betel leaves, because they are in the fridge and they give a lovely flavour. However, there is no need to be so exotic. Use spinach and/or mustard greens, or whatever greens you have. The recipe has a lot of garlic in it which softens its raw bite due to the cooking and adds a lovely umami flavour. Don’t confuse this dish with Lebon Khar, which is a Middle Eastern dish of cucumber and sour cream or yoghurt with a vinegar and mustard dressing.

Similar dishes include Mung Dal with Green Mango, Bengali Mung Dal, and Mung Dal with Ghee.

Browse more of our Assamese recipes, all of our Mung Bean dishes, and our Dals. Browse our Indian recipes here and our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Lemon Dal

Lemons and limes, even oranges, are used in savoury dishes throughout India, for example in South India in Rasam and in Kuzhambu. Wonderful dishes. This recipe takes a simple Mung dal, blends it until it is silky smooth and infuses it with the flavours of lemon or lime peel and flesh. It is a delightful dish, and very refreshing in Summer.

This recipe is similar to Kancha Dal, but adds the lemons. It is a Bengali dish which I came across in the excellent book Bengali Cooking.

Similar dishes include Mung Dal with Ghee and Spices, Kancha Dal, and Mung Dal with Coconut Milk.

Browse all of our Dal recipes, and all of our Mung Dal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Mango Dal / Kootu

Mangoes are coming back into the local Asian shops – there have been green mangoes for a while, but recently the early sweet mangoes are appearing. We needed no further prompting to celebrate the long Australian Mango Season with mango dal.

All the flavour and taste of mango is in this kootu as tamarind is not added – it is full of natural flavours. You might think that it would be too sweet, but the spices mellow the sweetness. The recipe is meant for a sweetish mango, but a slightly sour one can be used as long as it is soft enough to melt into the dal. Our local shop will have sweet-sour mangoes later in the season. These would also work with this dal. Today I have made it with a very soft sweet one.

It is quite a simple dal with few spices, but that is the beauty of the South Indian style of cooking.  If you feel it is too sweet, add a little amchoor (to layer different mango flavours) or lime or lemon juice. I never find this is necessary, but it is an option if you prefer. I like with good chilli heat and slightly salty.

This is a very traditional Tamil recipe. It is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are traditional recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Okra Tamarind Kootu, and Lemon Dal.

Browse all of our Mango dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Kerala Mung Dal with Onions, Garlic and Green Chillies

In Kerala, there is an amazing dish, Neyyum Parippum, which is mung dal cooked with few spices, and with a fair amount of ghee added. Because the amount of ghee is frightening (but delicious), different versions of the dish abound, introducing more spices and less ghee. Here is one of them, given to me by a Keralite friend.

Similar dishes include Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, Dal Tadka, and Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach.

Browse all of our Kerala dishes and all of our Dals. Our Indian dishes are here. Or enjoy our Late Winter dishes.

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Ridge Gourd Dal | Peerklankai Paruppu

Ridge Gourd is also known as Ribbed Gourd, and it makes a particularly lovely dal. It is a simple dal recipe that perfectly accompanies rice and roti. It is also very good with curd rice. This is a dish loved in Tamil Nadu.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Mango Kootu, Kerala Mung Dal, Ridge Gourd Masiyal,  and Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices.

Browse all of our Ridge Gourd dishes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Channa Dal with Brinjal | Eggplant Channa Dal

Today our dal is made with split Channa, small chickpeas that have been hulled and split into two. Usually we make dal from mung dal, mung beans, urad dal or toor dal, so it is unusual for us to make it with channa.

In this dal, we have used eggplants. Cut into wedges, they float beautifully in the spicy channa gravy.

Similar recipes are Dal Makhani, Brinjal Kootu, and Tomato and Channa Dal Rasam. And try Eggplant dishes such as Baingan Tamatar, Poritha KuzhambuBrinjal Tamarind Kothsu, and Sampangi Pitlai.

Browse all of our Dal recipes and all of our Eggplant dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to enjoy our Mid Winter posts.

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