Buttery Dal, with Urad and Tomatoes

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.

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Aloo Matar | Potato and Peas

This beautiful and classic Indian dish is sauce-rich. The peas and potatoes sit in a luxurious gravy of pureed onions and tomatoes with chilli and spices. They are simmered together to produced this much loved dish from North India (especially in the Punjab and in Gujarat). Its popularity has spread and it is even adored in South India.

Each person will have their own particular version of this recipe. Some will add cream to the final dish. Some versions have no onions, some include garlic, and some recipes make a dry curry.  Still others will add fenugreek leaves, black mustard seeds and/or Garam Masala.

Our recipe is relatively simple but definitely full of flavour – our favourite type of dish.

Similar recipes include Sesame Potatoes, Milkman Potatoes, and Aloo Bhindi.

Browse all of our Potato Curries. 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.

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Punjabi Turnip Curry | Punjabi Shalgum Masala

Turnips were our featured vegetable last Winter and into Spring. We had not used them a great deal in the past, so wanted to explore their use. We added several new dishes, and especially several new turnip dishes from India.

This is a Punjabi turnip dish, easy to make, with an onion-tomato sauce. It takes no effort at all apart from some peeling, slicing and dicing. A perfect dish for an afternoon snack or a quick meal with some chapatis.

Similar dishes include Turnips with Quince Molasses, Turnips with Mustard Greens in a Creamy Sauce, and Kashmiri Turnips in Yoghurt.

Browse all of our Turnip recipes and all of our Kashmir dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring 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 Turmeric Chickpeas, Tray Baked Spicy Turmeric Chickpeas, 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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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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Sarson ka Saag | Puree of Greens

When there is an abundance of greens available, what is better to make than Sarson ka Saag. Our green grocer stocks mustard greens now, so for the first time they are easy to obtain. We don’t get bathua greens though. It is traditional to use these but we have to substitute with other greens.

This is a rustic Punjabi dish, common in the Winter when the fields are filled with mustard. It is so loved it can bring tears to the eyes. The dish is easy to make – the greens are cooked with spices until tender, then coarsely pureed. Some people prefer to be pureed to a smooth paste, but traditionally the greens would be hand-ground with a wooden mixer called a mathani to get a puree. However, you can make this to whatever is your preference.

Similar dishes include Khar, Sri Lankan Mustard Greens, Mustard Greens with Daikon, and Turnips with Mustard Leaves.

Browse all of our Mustard Greens recipes, our Chilli Greens recipes and all of our Spinach dishes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions | An Indian Home Cooked Recipe

While the current fashion of food photography and food videos has been helpful to many home cooks, especially when cooking unfamiliar dishes, it has done a great disservice to home cooking. The requirement for everything to be instagram-worthy has meant that the rustic dishes without visual appeal are sidelined and instagrammed out of existence. It’s a pity. More than that, it is a shame.

Moreover, the word Peasant as attached to food is beginning to be seen as derogatory. I have never thought of “Peasant food” as been anything “less than”. I think of it as extraordinary food being produced without the influence of fashion and with local and common ingredients. My real favourite sort of food. Isn’t it what we strive for at home – cost effective and flavoursome food with local ingredients?

I am often amazed by the simplicity of Indian home cooked dishes, and how much flavour can be put into a couple of ingredients with a couple of spices. These sorts of dishes, so simple, so easy, are rarely seen on social media. I hope you enjoy this one. This is a simple recipe – not the best looking, made with minimal ingredients, but very very tasty. Serve with some Indian bread as an afternoon snack or as part of a meal.

By the way, Do Pyaja (also spelt Pyaza) means double the onions or lots of onions. There are many recipes for this dish, from the Punjab through to Rajasthan. Some have peas or a dose of cream, for example, a more complex spice mix, and it can be a wet or dry curry. But I adore this recipe for its simplicity. It is real home cooking.

Similar recipes include Aloo Hing Jeera (Potatoes with Cumin), Sesame Potatoes, Saag Aloo, and Potato Subzi.

You might also like to browse all of our Potato recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our easy Late Winter recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It is cross posted on our sister site, Heat in the Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Aam Ka Panna | Green Mango Drink

India knows how to deal with heat. They have it nailed. Their heat-beating weaponry includes: An infinite number of cooling drinks. Yoghurt dishes galore. Icecreams and cooling desserts. Fruits such as watermelon, musk melon, cucumbers, mangoes, coconuts, limes, fresh kokum. Sugar Cane Juice. Limca. Sweet Lime Soda. Coconut Water.

I saw a recipe for a Punjabi drink made from a roasted green mango and I was hooked. It is Mango Season here and we have an array of different types of sweet, sour, and sweet-sour mangoes. They are all easy to find in our Asian and S.E. Asian shops. This drink is slightly sour and slightly sweet, with a hint of cardamom (or cumin), Indian black salt (which is pink in colour) and black pepper. We make it from roasted green mango, but it can be made from boiled or steamed green mango. The taste is different, though. Roasting gives the drink a slightly smoky flavour.

You can get black salt from any Indian grocery. There isn’t any real substitute, but use sea salt or chaat masala if you can’t find black salt. Adjust the quantities accordingly.

Similar recipes include Tamarind Summer Cooler, Watermelon, Lime, Ginger Soda, Kewra Sherbet, Panaka, Lassi drinks, and Cooling Juices.

You might like to read 40 of our Best Coolers for Summer.

Use any left over roasted mango (or roast 2 of them) to make Mango Rice.

Browse all of our Green Mango dishes, and all of our Drinks. Our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Okra with Onions | Pyaaz Waali Bhindi Subzi

This dish represents the way that Okra is served in many parts of Delhi and also in the Punjab, Bengal and other parts of North India. Okra are cooked with a caramelised onion paste, and the success of the dish depends on the onion paste being cooked to the right depth and consistency. Then tomato puree is added with spices to make a delicious sauce.

This dish comes via inspiration from Madhur Jaffrey, and like all of her dishes, it is very successful. The okra are meltingly tender, and the sauce coats them beautifully.

Are you interested in other Subzi dishes? Try Okra Subzi, Potato Sabzi, Carrots and Green Peas Subzi and Beetroot and Carrot Subzi.

Or perhaps other Okra recipes. Read more about Okra here. Then try okra in Sambar, and in Moar Kuzhambu. And make Sri Lankan Okra in Coconut Milk, Okra Stuffed with Onions, Mustard Okra Fry, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, and Spicy Dried Okra.

Browse the Madhur Jaffrey dishes we have made, all of our Subzi dishes, and all of our Okra dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Dal Tadka | Punjabi Toor Dal – Home Style

Toor Dal is a lentil much loved all over India, from the Sambars of Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India, to the Aamti variation of the Maharashtrian Varan, to the Dal Tadka of the Punjab. And no wonder. The creamy, flowing texture and interesting flavour of the dal makes it a favourite with many.

The Punjab is full of wonderful dals, from Dal Makhani to Amritsari Dal. But nothing really beats the simplicity of Dal Tadka. In the same way that Varan is loved by the Maharashtrians, and Neiyyum Parippum is loved by the Keralites, this simple dal dish has a strong appeal. It is made with toor dal and generously spiced with a tadka of black mustard seeds, garlic, chilli and cumin.

Toor Dal is famous world wide. Easy and cheap to make, it became a favourite of restaurateurs, so was introduced early to restaurant-goers in other parts of the world. It goes so well with rice and an array of Indian flat breads. Jeera rice is particularly nice with it.

Dal Tadka is very similar to Aamti, and my Maharashtrian friends call it the Punjabi Aamti. You might like to read about the difference between Dal Tadka and Dal Fry.

Please have a look at Aamti too, and our Sambar dishes. You might also like a beautiful Mung Dal, or a Mung and Red Lentil Dal.

Explore other famous Punjabi dishes such as Baingan Ka Bharta – Punjabi Smoky Eggplant CurryDal Makhani and Amritsari Dal.

Browse all of our Toor Dal dishes here, and all of our Punjabi dishes also. All of our Indian dishes are here. Or explore our easy Mid Summer recipes.

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