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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Quince Paste

Quince paste is as old as the hills, being made in the Middle East and slowly spreading across Europe and indeed into Australia, primarily through our foodie icon, Maggie Beer. It must be one of the best uses of quinces.

You will find quinces in the green grocers in Autumn and again in Spring. They are long-keeping, so the appearance in the shops in Spring is a bit of an artifice, I am afraid, as their fruiting time is Autumn. I have such a love of this fruit – perhaps they remind me of my Grandmother. Years ago, I knew of a wonderful, neglected quince tree in the Clare Valley in South Australia, and each Autumn I would spend a weekend in this delightful region and come home with a bucket of quinces. One year, the tree had been removed, and I was devastated.

Since then, I have found that one of my friends has a quince tree, and every Autumn I still get my bucket of quinces. I feel blessed at this time of year, there is such an abundance of produce. It is as though nature is also preparing for Winter.

There are many recipes for quince paste. I use this one. I like the way that the long cooking intensifies the flavour. Serve with the creamiest of cheeses, or eat on its own as a sweet – sneak some for your midnight snack.

We have other Quince recipes too. Try Quince Pickle, Quince Jam/Jelly, Indian Quince Pickles, and Slow Cooked Sweet Spiced Quinces.

Other recipes that use the dehydrator include Sweet Potato Crisps, Beautiful Dried Capsicum, and Dried Mango.

Or browse all of our Quince recipes, and you might like to read about Autumn Preserving. Also, explore our Mid Autumn collection of dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2005, and is part of our Retro Recipes series.

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Urad and Red Rice Kitchari | Khichuri

An unusual kitchari, oven cooked, slow cooked, or stove top.

Rediscovering a wonderful ceramic oven dish with lid, it was put to use cooking another kitchari, this time made with red rice. Most Indian and some Asian groceries will stock red rice. There are many varieties from India, Sri Lanka and Bali for example. Red rice is a very healthy rice – I have used Rosa Matta rice from Kerala in this recipe.

Surprisingly, the combination of urad and red rice in a kitchari dish has its origins in Korea, but I have made it more Indian than Korean. It is not a traditional Indian kitchari, but is very tasty, and can be cooked on the stove top, in the oven or in a slow cooker.

Similar recipes include Bhuna Kitchari with 5 Lentils, and Bengali Vegetable Kitchari.

Are you looking for Kitchari recipes? Browse them here. Have a look at our rice recipes amd eexplore the Urad recipes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. Or browse all of our Early Autumn dishes.

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Chilli Jam with Deep and Complex Flavours | A HOT Chilli Paste

A Chilli Jam with extraordinary depth of flavours.

This Chilli Jam is more complex and refined that many others. Slow, slow cooking gives it an enduring and lingering natural sweetness which is enhanced with the addition of jaggery.

Although it is called a jam, it is not a spread unless you are a chilli fiend. It is closer to a Sambal or Chilli Paste. It is as hot as you can imagine chillies to be, and spread it on your toast at your peril. However, the long slow cooking intensifies the sugars in the ingredients and the heat is mellowed one compared to the heat of the raw or fresh pastes.

Similar recipes include Hawaiian Chilli Water, Balinese Sambal Tomat and Hot Sweet Chilli Jam.

Feel free to browse our Chilli recipes or you might like to browse Sweet and Savoury Jam recipes . Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes too.

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Amritsari Dal from the Punjab

A gentle Punjabi dish from Urad and Channa lentils

If I wasn’t such a fan of South Indian food, culture, arts, music, temples, rituals and everything else that is predominately from Tamil Nadu, I might have fallen in love with the Punjab. Punjabi food is wholesome and full of rustic flavour. The custom of cooking in community ovens or tandoors can still be found in rural areas even today. The cuisine is characterised by a profusion of dairy products in the form of malai (cream), paneer and dahi (yoghurt). And also the dals are a speciality of Punjabi cuisine, made of whole pulses like black gram (urad), green gram (mung) and Bengal gram (channa).  They are cooked in covered earthen pots on a slow fire clay oven fueled with dung-cakes, often simmered for hours till they turn creamy, and then flavoured with spices and rounded off with cream and butter for that rich finish. The food is simply delicious. Thanks to Sanjeev Kapoor for part of this information.

Urad lentils are favourites in the Punjabi cuisine, and take so well to the long slow cooking. This dish is soothing and gentle, despite the large amounts of garlic and ginger. Their assertiveness is overcome by the long slow cooking time. The dish is generally quite mild in its spiciness.

You might like to explore our Urad Lentil recipes here and here, especially all of the Dal Makhani-style dishes. Browse the Punjabi recipes. Or check out our Slow Cooking dishes.

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Indian Bazaar Dal Makhani | Home Style Dal Makhani

A simple but exceptional Dal Makhani

The story of this Dal Makhani goes like this:

Some time ago in Bangalore, India, I had a Dal Makhani to die for. It was just a hotel room service meal ordered at a very busy at the time, yet it made me sink back into my couch with a wonderful smile on my face – as if I had transitioned and gone to Dal Heaven.

I rang through to the kitchen and asked for the recipe. Oh what hilarity that caused in the kitchen – much laughter and giggles, and simply hours later, I received a typed up recipe from the chef at the Oberoi in Bangalore. It is the most wondrous dish, full of butter and cream and takes some time, so a dish for special occasions. Continue reading “Indian Bazaar Dal Makhani | Home Style Dal Makhani”

Du Puy Lentil Soup (Slow Cooked or Stove Top) with Parmesan Toasts

Du Puy Lentil Soup recipe with Parmesan Toasts or Middle Eastern Tafoon

There is a a Middle Eastern flatbread, fresh Taftoon – Persian flatbread. It can be found in any Middle Eastern store. A little like Naan, but huge, round and soft, thicker than lavash, yeasted and made from a mix of wholewheat and plant flour. Just right for soups. So to fit in one more soup before the end of winter, and to use up any du Puy lentils left in the cupboard, make a slow cooked Du Puy Lentil Soup.

Those little green-black disks are great in winter slow cooked soups (but can of course be cooked on the stove top too). Throw some into the slow cooker and then go to the office. Arrive home to wonderful soup and soft taftoon to mop up the juices.

I first ate this soup in London. With oven-baked slices of thick bread topped with crusted parmesan cheese, it was wonderful.

The soup is very accommodating, and so the recipe can be bent and flexed, depending on what is in the kitchen and the freezer at the time. This recipe works well with whole frozen tomatoes from a previous bountiful summer, in place of the tinned tomatoes, with home made red chilli paste or frozen chillies instead of fresh red chillies, with home made garlic paste instead of garlic, and so forth. I have even used frozen tomato juice in addition to a can of tomatoes. (In summer I juice surplus tomatoes and store in the freezer. It makes delicious soups, and I add it to stocks and to other dishes that require a tomato-based flavour.)

Similar Recipes include Spicy Beluga Lentils, Puy Lentils with Ragout of Mushrooms, and Thai Red Lentil Soup, and Du Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomato.

You might also like to browse our other Du Puy Lentil recipes.  Have a look at our Slow Cooker recipes too. Explore our Lentil Soups, and all of our Soups . Find some inspiration in our Mid Winter recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It appears here as part of our Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Buttery Eggplant Dal | Slow Cooker Recipe | Or cook on the Stove

Eggplant/Brinjal in a makhani style sauce – the only thing better is cooking it in a slow cooker. Delicious!

Sometimes you want an easy lunch or dinner. I have the answer. A slow cooker recipe with Eggplant, lentils and a buttery tomato sauce. Cook rice, and your meal is complete.

This is a sauce reminiscent of Dal Makhani. It is delicious with the addition of eggplant which cooks to the softest most luxurious eggplant that you’ve ever experienced. I have used urad dal and channa dal in this dish, but they are optional really, and you can make it without lentils. Simply reduce the amount of liquid that you are adding.

Similar recipes include  Du Puy Lentil Soup in the Slow Cooker, Dal Bakhara, and Amritsari Dal.

We have some more slow cooker recipes, other Makhani style dishes, and a collection of delicious Eggplant recipes . Or find inspiration in our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Mung Bean Soup with Asparagus and Tomatoes

Some people LOVE a glass of wine when they get home from work. I love a cup of whole green mung bean soup.

Some people LOVE a glass of wine when they get home from work. I love a cup of whole green mung bean soup. This version is definitely suited for Spring.

Before work, I will put the mung beans in the slow cooker with spices, to cook until I get home. When I arrive home, I tip the contents into a saucepan and let it simmer for 10 minutes – I think it improves the flavour to do this – and add any vegetables that I fancy (this is an optional step) and adjust flavours of the spices. Sometimes I want it hot and tangy, sometimes without heat and more warming and nourishing. Either way, this is a comforting, detoxing, healthy and definitely delicious soup.

You might like to also try Green Mung Bean Soup, Gentle Mung Dal, or Simple Mung Dal Soup. All of the Mung recipes are here and here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Mah di Dal | Kaali Dal | Creamy Black Lentils

Urad lentils are mostly used in Nth Indian dishes, and it enjoys long and slow cooking.

Most Indian lentils come in four ways:

  • Skinned, whole
  • Skinned, halved
  • Unhulled, whole
  • Unhulled, halved

and amazingly, each one has a different taste, different properties, are best for different dishes. I was out of urad (black gram) this week, and my trip to the Indian grocer yielded four different packages.

Urad dal is quite special indeed. I love it a lot. Mostly Nth Indian in style, it takes to long and slow cooking very well. For Mah ki Dal we use whole unhulled lentils.

You might like to try different Dal Makhani recipes, and other Mah ki Dal Recipes.

There is also a Unhulled Urad and Rajma recipe, another sister to Dal Makhani. For more information on Urad, go here.

Other Urad Dal recipes include Urad Dal with Onions Four Ways, Urad Dal Rice, Amritsari Dal, and Urad with Coconut, Coriander and Tomatoes.

Try other Dals as well – Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, Mung Dal with Ghee and Spices, and Aamti.

Browse all of our Dal recipes and all of our dishes using Urad Dal. Our Indian recipes are here. Or find inspiration in our Late Winter recipes.

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