While lentils are a beloved pantry essential around the world, they are cooked with unmatched culinary skill in India. Dal is a staple dish in most Indian homes, one that cuts across all social and economic groupings. In Northern India, there is a deep love for urad lentils, those hard back bullets that are white when skinned. Recipes vary from deeply spiced and complex, like Dal Makhani, to gentle, subtle and glorious, like Urad Tamatar, and Amristari Dal.
What all (or most) of them have in common is an enrichment with butter and/or cream. Urad lentils are particularly comfortable with surprising amounts of this dairy fat, so there is a need to get over any qualms – just dive in and add. After all, you are not eating it every day, right? This is a restaurant style dish (ie lots of butter and cream), but if you do want to minimise the quantities, you can get by with adding about 1/2 or 1/3 of the amount. In homes similar dishes are made for breakfast, particularly in the countryside and probably with smaller amounts of butter and cream.
The recipe is one of the gentle, subtle, earthy urad dishes. You will adore it. I have added a chilli-cumin finishing oil which is gorgeous, but optional.
Similar recipes include Amristari Dal, Dal Makhani Nilgiri, and Urad Dal with Onions.
Browse all of our Urad recipes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.
Continue reading “Buttery Dal, with Urad and Tomatoes”
Aamti is a lentil dish from Maharashtra that is made with toor dal and defined by its souring agent – tomato or tamarind – as well as cumin, chillies or chilli powder and fenugreek. Aamti also contains Goda Masala or, if that is not available, Garam Masala can be used.
This is the second of our Aamti recipes. In this one we have included drumstick vegetables to add texture and flavour. If you are not familiar with Drumsticks, they are long, thin and tapered vegetables that grow on a tree. Their outer skin cannot be eaten as it is fibrous and tough. It is the inner pulp and seeds that are delicious and add flavour to dishes. Consequently, the pieces of drumsticks are sucked between the teeth to extract the inner goodness. It might sound strange, but I know that once you have tasted drumsticks you will be addicted.
Aamti is very easy to make if your toor dal is already cooked (I keep cooked toor dal in the freezer), and your drumsticks are already cooked (our friends provide us with drumsticks and I freeze them too). If so, it will take under 10 minutes. This recipe comes from Sukham Ayu, a book by Jigyasa Giri on Auyrvedic cooking at home. I have added my own tweaks, of course.
Similar recipes include Aamti Bhaat, Poritha Kootu, and Dal Tadka.
Browse all of our Dals and all of our Maharasthrian recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Continue reading “Aamti with Drumsticks and Coconut | Maharashtrian Dal”
One can’t overemphasise the delicious and nourishing qualities of mung beans. Use the whole green beans for delicious, grounded, darker flavours, and the hulled yellow split mung dal for lighter, summery yet nourishing flavours.
This dal comes again from The Monk’s Cookbook by the beloved Monks on Kauai. A very simple dish but one packed with flavours. Their recipe feeds 20, and I have modified it down to a family meal size. It takes no more than about 45 mins to cook – 35 – 40 for the dal and the rest for the tadka.
Similar dishes include Monk’s Bhindi Subzi, Simple Monk’s Dal, and Fenugreek Kuzhambu.
Browse all of our recipes from the Monk’s Cookbook, and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essential Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.
Continue reading “Monk’s Ayurvedic Dal with Green Peppers”
Periodically I love to go back to The Monk’s Cookbook as it is a connection to the wonderful monks of Kauai, and because the recipes in this book are always simple, not too much fuss, but tasty and healthy. And this Mung Dal is a true comfort dish, using whole mung beans cooked with tomatoes and a few spices.
Similar dishes include Monks Dal with Green Peppers, Monk’s Simple Toor Dal, Daikon Dal, and Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach.
Browse all of our recipes from The Monk’s Cookbook, and all of our Dal recipes. Our Mung recipes are here, our Indian dishes here, and our series on Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.
Continue reading “Monk’s Simple Mung Dal with Tomatoes”
Whole Mung beans feature a lot in our kitchen as we love the earthy taste. They are comforting and nourishing and we will cook up a large pot of Mung Soup or Dal in times of stress or tiredness.
This recipe is a North Indian style Green Mung Dal (Hara Mung Dal Tadka with Methi) that is great with chapatti or roti, and rice. Boondhi Raita, Kachumber, or vegetable dish can be added. The dal is cooked and then mixed with a paste of tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and spices. It is particularly good.
Similar recipes include Khar (Garlicky Mung Beans), Mung Bean Soup with Amaranth Greens, and Sprouted Mung Sundal.
Browse all of our Mung recipes, and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.
Continue reading “Hara Mung Dal Fry with Fenugreek Leaves”
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.
Continue reading “Dal Bukhara | Creamy Black Gram 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 Hara Mung Dal Taka, 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.
Continue reading “Green Mango and Masoor Dal | Aamer Dal | Tok Dal”
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.
Continue reading “Khar | Assamese Garlicky Flavoured Mung Beans with Greens”
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.
Continue reading “Lemon Dal”
In Late Summer, mangoes come back with abundance into the local Asian shops – there have been green mangoes for a while, but then the early sweet mangoes appear. 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 Cluster Bean Kootu, 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.
Continue reading “Mango Dal / Kootu”