Sprouts Usal

Sprouts must be one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and so easy to make at home. You can sprout any whole lentil from your Indian shop and most from your supermarket – also some spices like fenugreek which makes lovely sprouts.

The sprouts are added to oil and spices, and are quickly tossed. Then water is added and the sprouts are left to steam until soft. This is quite different to the Chinese/Asian treatment of sprouts, which is to stirfry them. It is a reflection of the different style of sprouts used in the two areas. In India, sprouts are short, barely 1 cm long. Lentils and beans are sprouted until the tiny sprout has shown its face, and then they are cooked. In Chinese cuisines, the sprouts are left to grow until 5 or 6 cm long to add crunchy, fresh, textural elements to a dish.

In India, there is a difference between Usal and Misal dishes – sometimes the two dishes are confused. Usal is a spiced sprouts dish made with one or more sprouted lentils and beans. Traditionally Usal is made with sprouts of moth beans (matki). Usal can be eaten as is, or Misal is made. For Misal, the cooked sprouts are immersed in a spicy thin gravy and topped with farsan, sev, onion, coriander and lemon wedges. Both Misal and Usal can be eaten with Pav – Indian bread buns.

Usually people mix elements of both dishes, according to their taste and preferences – here the Usal is topped with coriander, coconut, onion and lemon.

The book Tiffin by Srinivas is not only a terrific read, it has many recipes are full flavoured and perfectly balanced. This recipe is one for a mix of sprouts, cooked over low heat with spices.  Delicious.

Similar recipes include Masoor Sprouts Rice, Pudla with Mung Sprouts, and Sprouts Sundal.

Browse all of our Sprouts recipes and all of our Usal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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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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Carrot Koshambari

Here is another gorgeous salad in our series of Koshambari and Kosumalli salads. This one is a combination of carrots, chana dal and spices. I always say it, but it must be repeated – it is utterly delicious! A refreshing and cooling salad for hot Summer days.

Similar recipes include Cucumber and Mung Kosumalli, and Carrot and Mung Bean Sprouts Kosumalli.

You might like to read What is Kosumalli aka Koshambari.

Browse all of our Koshambari recipes and all of our Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and all of our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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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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Cucumber, Carrot and Green Mango Koshambari

Koshambari Salads are perfect Summer “round out the meal” salads as they contain both cooling vegetables and lentils for protein. So often the advice given to vegetarians is written by non-vegetarians and therefore includes only vegetable-based dishes without lentils, grains, soy products, nuts, seeds and so forth, in sufficient proportions for a balanced vegetarian diet.

The great thing about traditional Indian vegetarian cuisines is that they are naturally balanced in all sorts of ways – nutritionally, texturally, flavour-wise, ayurvedically, …. Forget the current Western style fashions in India, like the addiction to Oreo biscuits and too much street food (how can I criticise either of these!), the combinations of grains, lentils, paneer and vegetables is naturally balanced.

Koshambari is the perfect Summer salad, with cooling ingredients and the surprising inclusion of soaked but raw lentils, either chana dal or mung dal. Today we use chana dal with carrots, cucumber and green mango. Delicious. While raw foods are not common in India, the occasional Kosumalli makes an appearance. Raw food is not sanctioned by Ayurveda – so there are versions of this salad that lightly saute the ingredients. You can do this too, should you desire.

We have compiled 30 Great Mid Summer Salads for you, so it is very easy to vary your salads each day.

Similar recipes include Carrot Koshambari, Cucumber and Mung Kosumalli, and Daikon Salad with Coconut and Nigella Seed.

Browse all of our Koshambari recipes and Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Tomato Rice

Rice is of course a feature of our kitchen. Not every day, as we mix cuisines a lot, but often enough. Here is a delicious common South Indian rice dish that is rather divine. It does take a kitchen pantry full of ingredients, but they are all usual items in a kitchen that cooks a lot of South Indian dishes. So it should not be a bother.

Cooked rice is added to a spicy mix of tomatoes, onions and spices. Dal is added to the tadka for texture and crunch. This is a dish that will bring applause at the table.

Here is a tip. If you want to enjoy this dish in the middle of winter without using tinned, processed tomatoes, place some of the best of summer tomatoes in the freezer – you can freeze them whole – and use them for tomato rice in the colder weather.

Similar recipes include Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon RiceYellow Rice with Yoghurt, and Pepper Cumin Rice.

Browse our Indian Rice dishes and our South Indian recipes. Or explore all of our Mid Summer dishes.

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Ambe Dal | Ambyachi Dal | Green Mango and Chana Dal

Are you a mango maniac? I have the dish for you. It’s a dish made of soaked chana dal ground with cumin and green chillies, and served with a tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves. And most importantly, there is a generous inclusion of grated raw mango. This dish is a perfect dish for mango lovers, and is served as a snack to people who visit. It is also the best after-school snack during heatwaves.

It is very easy to make, with few ingredients. Perfect for Summer busy lives. The tartness of the mangoes, the sweetness from the coconut, the nuttiness from channa dal, and the spiciness from green chillies means that the flavours both contrast and compliment each other – is your mouth watering yet?

Ambe Dal is a Maharashtrian dish (also known as Amba or Ambyachi Dal). Usually made in Summer, this quick and easy salad is so cooling. Maharashtrian hospitality is legendary, and I can vouch for it as I have good friends from Pune. Maharashtrian cuisine has subtle variety and strong flavours and can be very mild to very spicy.

Green mangoes come in various levels of sourness, from tart to sweet-sour. Choose one that suits your own preferences. Serve Ambe Dal with rice, Kachumber, Kosumalli, and/or roti, perhaps on a banana or mango leaf.  It goes well with Aam Panna.

Are you looking similar dishes? Try Cucumber, Carrot and Green Mango Koshambari, Aamer Dal, Green Mango in Coconut Milk, and Coconut, White Peas and Green Mango Sundal.

Also try Pomelo, Green Mango and Pea Eggplant Salad with Tamarind Dressing, Vermicelli and Green Mango Salad, and Sweet and Sour Mango Curry.

Why not browse all of our Mango dishes, all Salads, our Channa Dal dishes, and all of our Maharashtrian recipes? Our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our many Mid Summer 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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Bisi Bele Huriyanna | Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi Bele Bath, meaning hot lentil rice, is a much loved dish of the Karnataka and surrounding regions of South India. In some parts of Karnataka it is also known as Bisi bele huliyanna which means hot lentil sour rice. The dish usually includes a range of vegetables. “Huriyanna” is sometimes written as “Huliyanna”.

There are many modern versions of Bisi Bele Huliyanna. As the name suggests it has to be served hot. It tastes best when spices are seasoned in ghee and it is served as soon as it is cooked.

The rice and dal can be cooked together or separately. We have cooked them together today but added the rice after the dal has been cooking for some time. Cooked separately, it is a great way to use up left over cooked rice and/or toor dal, and makes it a very easy dish to prepare.

Similar dishes include Goan Bisibelebath, Punjabi Aamti Bhat, Eggplant with Toor Dal (Rasavangi), and Indian Dal Soup.

Browse all of our Bisibelebath recipes, Kitchari dishes, and all of our Rice recipes. Our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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