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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Lentils and Orzo Pasta with Caramelised Onions

Orzo, that tiny rice shaped pasta not to be confused with barley which is  called orzo in Italy, pairs well with rice and with lentils. In this Greek dish it is cooked with lentils or beans and then topped with deeply flavoured caramelised onions. Yum.

There is some debate about whether the practice of combining pasta and lentils began in Italy or Greece, but what is known is that regions in both countries have traditionally made this pairing. It extends through the Middle East where rice and short pieces of noodles are also cooked together.

Similar dishes include Orzo and Rice, and Orzo Salad with Spinach and Pinenuts.

Browse all of our Orzo recipes, and all of our Greek dishes. Or take some time to explore our Late Winter dishes.

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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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Poritha Kuzhambu

This Poritha Kuzhambu is made using the third of 3 methods outlined by Meenakshi Ammal in her 4 volumes of Cook and See. It sautees the spices before grinding them to a paste and adding to the dish. This deepens the flavours and adds a toasted overtone.

Poritha Kuzhambus are very delicious. These recipes are without tamarind and with coconut added for a beautiful sense of the tropical South of India. Beautiful indeed.

You might like to find out more about Kuzhambu. We suggest that you read The Difference Between Sambar, Kuzhambu and Kootu. Also have a look at the other methods of making Poritha Kuzhambu. The differences are minor, but they do change the flavours significantly. The first uses Sambar Powder, and the second replaces that with a few individual spices.

Similar recipes include Plain Masiyal of Amaranth Leaves, Beetroot Vathakuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, Green Amaranth Soup with Tamarind, and Race Kuzhambu.

Are you looking for the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil Brahmin cuisine.

All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Or have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Late Summer recipes.

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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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Lentil, Barley and Vegetable Soup

Soup Mix is a packet mix of barley, dried peas and various lentils that is easily available in supermarkets. It it not something I would normally buy, but my Father had a couple of bags in his pantry and I inherited them.

During a particularly cold snap, they were used to make a hearty and creamy vegetable soup. It is a soup that is warming and delicious. It also freezes very well.

The soup’s secrets are – the inclusion of fennel with leeks, onions and celery. Fennel is rarely included in soups yet it goes so well with lentils and beans. We have an extraordinary Dried Fava Soup that uses fennel in its base. The second secret is that half of the lentil-barley mix is cooked separately and blended to a puree before including in the soup. This gives the soup a beautiful creamy texture.

Healthy and utterly delicious, this soup is beautiful on a cold Wintery evening. Pair it with Parmesan Toasts if you wish, or with Polenta Crisps.

Similar recipes include Celeriac Soup with Cheese Croûtes, Yoghurt and Barley Soup, Du Puy Lentil Soup, Red Lentil and Garlic Soup, and Vegetable and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Lentils Soups. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Poritha Kootu with Chickpeas and Tamarind

I have been showering you with a range of Kootu recipes without tamarind, and they are glorious! But, occasionally, Kootu can include some tamarind for that lovely tangy taste. It is best to use Toor Dal, rather than Mung dal, when tamarind is used.

This recipe uses a ground masala with coconut, cumin and urad dal (black gram dal). Some households use black pepper instead of cumin. Poritha Kootu with Tamarind can be made with a medley of vegetables, rather than the single vegetable that is preferred for Poritha Kuzhambu. Another feature of this dish that you will notice, is that it includes legumes and/or beans as well as the dal.

Remember that this is a thicker dish than Poritha Kuzhambu, so cook the dal and vegetables in less water than you might otherwise.

This recipe is again one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from the first volume of Cook and See. Such a tangle it was, but I think that I have untangled it well. I do hope that you enjoy. We have used Drumstick Leaves (Moringa) as our vegetable.

Would you like to try other Poritha Kootu recipes? Try Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder and Poritha Kootu without Cumin.

Why not browse through Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes? They are here.

Then browse all of the Poritha Kootu recipes. All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind

Poritha Kuzhambu is a delicious dish defined by the addition of coconut and cumin seeds. Many of our recipes for this dish have been made without tamarind, but today’s recipe includes that wonderful, sour tang.

What makes Poritha Kuzhambu different from Sambar and Pitlay is its ground masala with coconut, cumin and urad dal (black gram dal). Some households use black pepper instead of cumin. Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind can be made with a medley of vegetables or a single one, often with the addition of a legume. Meenakshi Ammal always suggests using only one vegetable for Poritha Kuzhambu and a mixture of vegetables for Kootu. Although in this one, when listing the vegetables, she seems to relax that rule just for a moment for this recipe, suggesting that vegetables can be used in combination, but later instructions imply again that for Kuzhambu, one vegetable is best.

Another feature of Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind is that it often includes lentils and/or beans together with the traditional toor dal (red gram dal). We have made this with toor dal and chickpeas. Delicious!

This recipe is indeed one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from the first volume of Cook and See. This recipe is a tangle! Like the first ones in the book, for Sambar, this recipe definitely takes some detective work to untangle. Thoughts have been put down without logic and structure, so I have done my best to add sequence and process to the instructions. I do hope that you enjoy.

Similar recipes include Plain Masiyal of Amaranth Leaves, Simple Poritha Kuszhambu, and Ammal’s “Method Three” Poritha Kuzhambu. Also Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu and Race Kuzhambu.

Why not browse through the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here.

Then browse all of the Poritha Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Early Autumn recipes.

I would also suggest trying the Kootu recipes – these are very similar but have a thicker consistency.

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Norom Shada Khichuri | Latka Kitchari | Bengali Soft Kitchari

Bengalis love their kitchari, and love the rain. Often the two go together – as the rains come, the consumption of kitchari increases exponentially.

There are dozens of types of Kitchari. It is eaten in different forms all over India, but even in Bengal alone, many varieties exist. Kitchari style dishes can vary from pilaf/pulao-like dishes, to the more porridge-like Pongals of Tamil Nadu and the beloved Bisibelebath of Karnataka.

This kitchari is a well-cooked – that is, it is quite soft and moist, almost slightly soupy. It is delicious and it is perfect on a rainy day, any where in the world. The defining characteristics of this kitchari is that it is very soft (norom) and white, as well as healthy.  It is mostly tempered with onion and garlic. (It can also be served very soupy, almost like an Indian version of Chinese Congee. We will add a recipe for this version later on and add a link here.)

I have seen Kitchari referred to as Hodgepodge. My goodness! A hodgepodge is a random assortment of things — a group of things that don’t quite fit together. There is a dish from Nova Scotia called Hodgepodge but it is nothing like Kitchari. It is a collection of beans, peas and potatoes cooked in one pot. It is also common to call Kitchari as risotto. Again this is a great misnomer. Kitchari must be one of the most well known of Indian dishes outside of India, thus it is surprising to see Indian cooks give it other names. You can read more about that here.

Are you after similar dishes? Try Bisi Bele Huriyanna, Congee Bowls, Goan Bisibelebath, Bengali Vegetable Kitchari, Gujarati Kitchari, and Bengali Bhog Kitchari.

Or are you looking for other Bengali dishes. Try Bengali Rice Kheer.  There are more Bengali dishes coming, so check back here.

Browse all of our Kitchari recipes and all of our Bengali dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our lovely Late Autumn dishes.

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Black Gram Sprouts Sundal | Quick Urad Lentil Stirfry with Coconut

Urad Sprouts make a delicious Sundal

Sundals, from Tamil Nadu in South India, are quick, stir-fried lentils or beans with spices and coconut. Not only are they quick, they are delicious and healthy.

Sprouting the lentils adds another layer of nutrition and flavour. In this recipe, whole urad lentils are sprouted and then stirfried.

Similar recipes include Bean Sprout Sundal, Brown Lentil Sprouts Sundal, Sprouted White Pea Sundal, and Urad Dal Sundal.

Check out our other Sundal recipes for quick and easy snacks or side dishes. Sundals can also be used as prasadam and neivedyam for Navaratri or Ganesha Chaturthi and other Hindu Festivals. Click the links for other recipes for these festivals. Or explore our collection of Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here.

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