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.

Continue reading “Dal Tadka | Punjabi Toor Dal – Home Style”

Advertisements

Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | Poritha Kuzhambu with Chillies and Cumin | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable

The second of three methods suggested by Meenakshi Ammal. A beautiful, flowing-textured dal-based dish perfect over rice.

There are three main methods for making Poritha (Poricha) Kuzhambu. The first uses sambar powder, and this recipe, the second method, uses a paste of chillies, cumin seed and coconut. The third method uses chillies and urad dal ground to a paste.

Poritha Kuzhambu (or Poricha Kuzhambu) is a style of kuzhambu that usually includes coconut in its ground spice mix – this is the most defining characteristic of a Poritha Kuzhambu. This recipe is lentil based which can be made with either Toor Dal as we do here, or Green Gram Dal (Mung Dal). Although some Poritha Kuzhambu recipes can contain tamarind, this one does not.

This dish is not spicy, with very little spice added – just chillies and cumin. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetable.

Sometimes Poritha Kuzhambu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. That is not entirely accurate. There is no real equivalent in our cuisine – perhaps it can be described as a Lentil Based Gravy with a Vegetable, to eat over rice. It flavours the rice and the rice compliments the kuzhambu. I love kuzhambu so much, I will also eat a small bowl of it like a soup.

Are you looking for other Poritha Kuzhambu recipes? Try Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu, Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth, and Pitlai.

Feel free to browse all of our Poritha Kuzhambu recipes, our Kuzhambu recipes, and our Indian recipes. Drumstick recipes are here. You may also like to browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | Poritha Kuzhambu with Chillies and Cumin | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable”

Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable for Over Rice

A beautiful, flowing-textured dal-based dish perfect over rice.

Poritha kuzhambu  or Poricha kuzhambu is a style of kuzhambu that often includes coconut in its ground spice mix – this is the most defining characteristic of a Poritha Kuzhambu. This recipe is lentil based which can be made with either Toor Dal as we do here, or Green Gram Dal (Mung Dal). Although some Poritha Kuzhambu recipes can contain tamarind, this one does not.

This dish is not spicy, with very little spice added. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetable. You will enjoy it. It uses a per-prepared Sambar Powder, which you can purchase at an Indian grocery, or make your own.

Sometimes Poritha Kuzhambu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. That is not entirely accurate. There is no real equivalent in our cuisine – perhaps it can be described as a Lentil Based Gravy with a Vegetable, to eat over rice. It flavours the rice and the rice compliments the kuzhambu. I love kuzhambu so much, I will also eat a small bowl of it like a soup.

Are you looking for other similar recipes? Try Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind and Amaranth, Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder, Pitlai, Poritha Kuzhambu with Chilli and Cumin,  and Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu.

Or Drumstick recipes? Try Sampangi Pitlai, Race Kuzhambu and Drumstick Kadhi.

Feel free to browse all of our Poritha Kuzhambu recipes, all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and our Indian recipes. Drumstick recipes are here. You may also like to browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Simple Poritha Kuzhambu | A South Indian Lentil Based Gravy with Vegetable for Over Rice”

Simple Monk’s Dal

Dal is a generic term for a dish made with lentils, sometimes with vegetables. It is probably a term coined outside of India to incorporate the wealth of different thick and semi-thick dishes made with lentils. Within India, lentil dishes that fit into that category are infinite in variety, varying in the lentil used, the spices used, the consistency and the vegetables incorporated. Each will have a different name, and even the change of 1 spice or 1 other ingredient (e.g. whether coconut is included or not) might change the name of the dish completely.

However, the recipe for this dish came to me with only the title Dal. It is probably Sri Lankan influenced, and is as simple as an be. But all dishes from this source are both simple AND amazingly flavoursome. It comes from the monks of the Kauai Aadheenam.

The monks used this dal for lunch and served it just with rice and a vegetable dish. It is made with toor dal, that beautiful creamy, slightly sweet dal that is also used for sambar, pitlai, kothsu and other related dishes, which is cooked with a little coconut mik. Toor dal can take a while to cook, depending on its age and quality, so allow enough time.

Are you after other Dal recipes? Try Urad and Rajma Dal, Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, and Mung Dal with Ghee.

Or are you looking for other Toor Dal recipes? Try Dal Tadka, Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu, Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy, and a Classic Seasoned Sambar.

Try some more Sri Lankan dishes. Try Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, Sweet Pongal, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Carrot Sambol.

Have a look at all of our Dal recipes and all of our recipes made with Toor Dal. Or explore all of our Sri Lankan dishes and all of our Indian Recipes. Alternatively, have a look at our Late Autumn collection of recipes. Continue reading “Simple Monk’s Dal”

Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu | Buttermilk & Coconut Gravy with Ground Lentil Balls | Yoghurt Curry with Lentil Dumplings

Pulse balls, or lentil dumplings, are added to the moar kuzhambu (spicy yoghurt gravy) to make a delicious South Indian dish.

Moar (or Mor, More or Moru) Kuzhambu is commonly prepared in South India and is extremely easy to make, taking almost no time at all. This one includes the lentil dumplings and so takes a little longer. The base for this dish with the lentil dumplings is Moar Kuzhambu, but rather than add vegetables or vatral, balls of ground lentils and spices are made (pulse balls) and added to the base.

S. Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See set of books has 2 Moar Kuzhambu (Buttermilk/Yoghurt spicy gravy) with Lentil Dumplings made from ground lentils.

This Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu differs from the first version of this dish. The ground lentil balls are simpler and cooked in the buttermilk and coconut gravy rather than steamed. It is very delicious.

You might also like to try Avial – Veggies in a Yoghurt and Coconut Sauce, Yoghurt Curry with Drumstick Vegetables, Moar Sambar, or a host of different lassi drinks.

You can find other Kuzhambu recipes here. If you would like to browse them, all of our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu | Buttermilk & Coconut Gravy with Ground Lentil Balls | Yoghurt Curry with Lentil Dumplings”

Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu | Eggplant Gothsu From Chidambaram

The best Gothsu, they say, is definitely Chidambaram Gothsu, and the Gothsu made in this temple town is certainly different to varieties from elsewhere. Chidambaram Kothsu (also spelt Kosthu), or Gothsu (also spelt Gosthu or Gotsu), is a South Indian curry that is made using roasted and mashed eggplant. The Gothsu was originally made by the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple’s Dikshithars (special priests). They make it with Samba Sadham (lentils and rice) as an offering to Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram. It certainly does taste divine.

They say that Gothsu is a very old Tamil recipe, about 2000 years old. Traditionally the eggplants would be roasted over coals, but sadly today they are deep fried or sautéed. This recipe is without onions, just as the Dikshithars would make it. However, Chidambaram Gosthu is also made for many marriages in Chidambaram and for those occasions sambar onions are included.

This recipe is from Meenakshi Ammal’s treasure of TamBram recipes. It is different to other varieties of Gothsu in that it uses smoky roasted and shredded eggplants along with toor dal. You will see recipes without any dal, but if Ammal was making it this way it is probably more traditional. Ammal also includes this recipe in the chapter on Poritha Kuzhambu because of the dal and the spice mix fried in ghee.

There are other versions of Brinjal Gothsu that claim to be Chidambaram Gothsu, but they are not. The Chidambaram Gothsu includes Toor Dal. Without the dal, it is just Gothsu.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Onion Kothsu with Tamarind, Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Pitlai, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Or are you looking for Eggplant Recipes? Try Babaganoush, Potato and Eggplant Curry with Punjabi Wadi, and Madras Curry with Eggplant, Sweet Potato and Spinach.

Want more? Check out our Meenakshi Ammal recipes and all of our Indian recipes. You might like to browse Indian Essentials. Have a look at all of our Eggplant dishes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu | Eggplant Gothsu From Chidambaram”

Sampangi Pitlai

We are working through the different types of Poritha Kuzhambu, where the spice paste is fried in ghee before being ground. There are Poritha Kuzhambus, Poritha Koottu and Pitlai, Gothsu and Masiyal. They can be with and without tamarind, stuffed full of vegetables or just one or two.

This is our second Pitlai, Sampangi, which traditionally has drumsticks as part of the vegetable mix, with 3 or 4 others. The spice mix used in this recipe differs from the first Pitlai recipe – it does not include coriander or channa dal (Bengal Gram), but does include peppercorns. The chillies are ground in the paste rather than left whole in the tadka. I have been explaining to some people recently how subtle differences from recipe to recipe results in a different dish, and the taste difference is remarkable IF we allow our tastebuds the time to register. This isn’t so common in our society, we eat so fast, but in India these differences are important. The other key difference in this recipe is the variety of vegetables, as many as 4 can be used in this dish, rather than 1 or 2.

Are you looking for similar recipes? You must definitely try this Pitlai, and Amaranth Greens Soup/Pitlai, as well as Onion Kothsu with Tamarind and Dal Tadka.

Are you looking for other Pitlai recipes? They are here. And browse other Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Koottu dishes.

Explore all of our Kuzhambu recipes here and all of our Sambar dishes. You might like to browse our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials. Or simple take some time to check out our Early Autumn collection.

Continue reading “Sampangi Pitlai”

Pitlai | Toor Dal with Vegetables

Pitlai is a South Indian recipe using some basic vegetables and cooked in a coconut-based gravy with specific spices that have been fried in ghee. It sits close to Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu, but the spice mix varies from these.

South India adores its rice, and so the different cuisines of the South include a huge range of gravy-like dishes that are ladled over warm rice to be mixed and enjoyed. It makes sense, right? Rasam, Sambar, Kuzhambu, Kootu etc are the most common. Pitlai sits in that group too, and some will say it is a type of Sambar and others will say it is a type of Kuzhambu. Meenakshi Ammal sits her Pitlai recipes within her Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu section – those with a fried spice mix/ paste. The dish varies slightly from any of the above – in consistency, spices used, and the vegetables that are added – bitter gourd and eggplant are definite favourites. Like the other Poritha dishes, it is the ground paste of spices, the coconut, and the predominance of lentils, that serve to thicken the dish. A tiny amount of rice flour can help if needed.

Pitlai includes coriander and Bengal Gram in its coconut-based spice paste, and this is the difference from the Poritha Kootu and Poritha Kuzhambu pastes. As I say about South Indian dishes – change out one spice and the dish has a different name, a different way of eating, a different time of day to eat it and different vegetables to include in it. 🙂

Pitlai is made all over South India and each region will have its own interpretation of the dish. This is a recipe from the Tamil Brahmin Cuisine.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder, Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kuzhambu with Chilli and Cumin,  and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Are you looking for other Kuzhambu? Try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai, and Tomato Kuzhambu.

Why not have a look at all our Kuzhambu dishes, and all Kootu. All of the Sambar dishes are here. Browse the Meenakshi Ammal recipes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Pitlai | Toor Dal with Vegetables”

Aamti | Maharashtrian Lentil Curry

I do love the Keralite classic Mung Dal with Ghee (Neyyum Parippum), and its offshoots – Mung Dal with Cumin and ISKON Mung Dal. Maharashtra has a dish that exhibits the same simplicity, but it is made with toor dal (and not quite so much ghee). Toor dal is the lentil that gives Sambar (from Tamil Nadu) its creamy, flowing consistency.

Simply spiced, the dish highlights the flavour of the lentils. The dish is served with rice, and is a variation on its simpler ancestor, Varan Bhaat which literally means Lentil Curry-Rice. In many Maharashtrian households, this dish or the simpler Varan is cooked every day and it is a comforting and nourishing dish. It is also made as naivedyam/prasadam for Ganesha Chathurthi. It is particularly simple to make. (If you are after other recipes for Ganesha Chathurthi, browse here.)

You might also like to try the Mung Dal dishes above, or our range of Sambars. Or try Dal Tadka, Eggplant and Toor Dal, Plain (Toor) Dal Rasam, or Poritha Kuzhambu.

Explore all of our recipes for Toor Dal here, and our Maharashtrian recipes here. Take some time and browse all of our Indian recipes. Or simply try our Mid Summer collection.

Continue reading “Aamti | Maharashtrian Lentil Curry”

Kathirkkai Rasavangi | Brinjal Rasavangi | Eggplant and Toor Dal

Rasavangi is a spicy, tamarind based eggplant dish that is a wonderful change from a regular sambar. It is similar to a Kootu or Pitlay and is very common in South Indian households.

Rasavangi is a close cousin of the Arachuvitta Kootu/Sambar, but with different spices. It is also very close to Pitlay. It is a good example of how a small change in spices can make a dish taste very different. This has a wonderful flavour profile of coriander and coconut. All you need with it is some rice and perhaps a simple potato dish, papadums or a vegetable curry.

You might like to browse our Sambar Recipes or all of our Eggplant recipes here and here. Feel free to browse the Indian Recipes. Our Kuzhambu recipes are here.

Continue reading “Kathirkkai Rasavangi | Brinjal Rasavangi | Eggplant and Toor Dal”

Simple Indian Dal Soup

A nourishing soup for a cooler night

“Soups” are an interesting concept in South India. Soups do exist, although I suspect they are a relatively modern concept influenced by the British occupation. Contrasted with this are many soupy South Indian dishes like rasam, sambar, kuzhambu, kootu, dals etc that are not soups as we understand them, yet appear to be soup-like to non-Indian eyes.

Recently in India I was eating at a large canteen. The food was great. One counter in the canteen offered us small bowls of liquid. I asked Rasam? No, he said, Soup. I thought I did not understand his accent. Rasam? I asked again. Soup he said again. Ok, soup.

They were generally thin stocks without vegetables, but perhaps with a little body from undetectable lentils. Not as thin as a broth, not as thick as, say, a creamed soup. Highly delicious, and we often had 2 or 3 small bowls of it at the end of our meal, as we sat outside reviewing the day’s activities. In the cool of the evening, after a hot hot day, it was delicious.

These memories came back when I came across a Dal Soup as I was browsing what turned out to be an Anglacised Indian cookbook today. I wanted to make something similar, but I laughed when I saw that the recipe used yellow split peas. Oh boy, there is no real equivalant in India. It equates either to mung dal or toor dal (both mushy when cooked) or channa dal (holds its shape when cooked).

So I adopted and adapted this recipe to suit my needs. It is rather delicious.

You might like to also try Spicy Tomato and Dal Rasam-Style Soup, A Gentle Asparagus Soup, South Indian Baby Corn Soup, and a Simple Mung Soup.

Browse all of our Indian Soups, and all of our Soups. Or enjoy our Early Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Simple Indian Dal Soup”

Plain Dal Rasam | Easy Rasam

Meenakshi Ammal was an amazing woman. In 1950, in India, no one thought it a great idea for a woman — imagine that! a woman! — to write an entire book of recipes. Today we cook her plain dal rasam.

I came across a great, humorous post about Meenakshi Ammal’s books, Cook and See, this morning. You must read it if you know and love her books. Written in 1951, they were a treasure trove for new brides entering the kitchens of Sth India for the first time. Today, they are a treasure trove for me as I delve into Sth Indian cooking in my own Australian kitchen.

You can see the post by Gopium here.

A treasure trove indeed, but not before you tread a maze of information with the fine tuned skills of any detective to sort and categorise and place the information in a logical order.

When she wrote her first volume, it was a planet that had not yet felt the need to coin a word like foodie. There was no great demand for cookery books, and no one thought it a great idea for a woman — imagine that! a woman! — to write an entire book of recipes. Meenakshi Ammal had many detractors and only a handful of supporters. One staunch encouraging voice was that of her uncle, father of the Library Movement in Madras State, the late Rao Bahadur Sri S. V. Krishnaswami. And her own indomitable will, of course.

S. Meenakshi Ammal was also an amazing woman. To have collected and published the gems included in her books, the traditional recipes of the time, was an amazing feat. It is especially true when you consider the status of women in India in the 1950’s and how she would have faced puzzlement at least and censure at times.

So today it is to her Rasam chapter in Volume 1 that we go, making a Plain Dal Rasam.

I love rasam, the spicy tanginess of it. If I haven’t had rasam for a while, I get a real longing for it. Untraditionally, I might have 2 or 3 bowls of rasam, and call that dinner.

We have a wealth of rasam recipes. You can browse them here.

You might like to read these articles too.

Plain Dal Rasam | Easy Rasam | Indian | Vegetarian | A Life Time of Cooking

Plain Dal Rasam | Easy Rasam

Source : adapted from Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See Part 1
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 5 mins + 30 – 40 mins to cook the dal
Cooking time: 10 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it

ingredients
0.25 cup toor dal
tamarind – a lime sized piece, or use tamarind paste
1 tspn rasam powder
1.5 tspn salt
a pinch asafoetida
1 stalk curry leaves (10 – 12 leaves)
a few green coriander leaves

tadka
2 tspn ghee
1 tspn black mustard seeds
1 – 2 dried red chillies, broken in half

method
Cook the toor dal in plenty of water. Decant the top water. Amma calls this water Boiled Dal Essence. You will need half a cup.

Make 2 cups of tamarind water and place in a saucepan. To this, add salt, rasam powder, asafoetida and curry leaves. Mix well and add the Boiled Dal Essence. Cover, boil well and cook for a few minutes.

Mash the remaining toor dal with a little water, and add to the rasam. Boil for a minute or two.

Now add enough water to make up to 4 cups. As it comes back to the boil, remove from the heat.

Make a tadka of the mustard seeds and chillies in the ghee and add to the rasam. Garnish with coriander leaves and curry leaves.

Recipe Notes
Tomato can be added to the tamarind water. If tomatoes are used, the amount of tamarind can be reduced accordingly.

Sambar powder can be used in place of Rasam Powder.

 

 

 

Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy | Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu | South Indian

Wonderful dumplings in spicy gravy

Meenakshi Ammal, my favourite Indian cookbook author, in her chapter on Vatral Kuzhambu, includes wonderful gram flour “dumplings”, like this recipe for Kuzhambu: Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai.

By contrast this recipe, Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu, uses dal dumplings, or pulse balls made with toor dal. These give the kuzhambu a sambar like feel. The balls are made from soaked and ground toor dal which is then sauteed to par-cook and remove additional moisture before being poached in the Kuzhambu spicy broth.

The balls can be used in a Vatral Kuzhambu base, a rasam base or a moru kuzhambu base.

You might like to try other Kuzhambu recipes here and here, and our Sambar recipes here and here. Explore our Indian recipes here and here. Find inspiration in our Spring recipes here and here.

Continue reading “Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy | Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu | South Indian”

Carrot Curry with Coconut-Lentil Crumble | Carrot Thengai Poriyal

Lentil crumble with vegetables, delicious.

This dish showcases a delightful crumble made from coconut and lentils. There are actually three different types of crumble mentioned in Meekakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. The Green Bean Paruppu Puttu, is one example. Paruppu Puttu is another. And this is the third.

In this dish the longer coconut shreds were used, but traditionally grated or powdered coconut would be used.

You might also want to try Bean Paruppu Usili, and Dhal Puttu. All Lentil Crumble dishes are here. You might like to browse all of our Kerala recipes are here and here. Perhaps you are looking for other Thoran/Poriyal recipes here and here, or other Vegetable Fry recipes. Or explore our Indian recipes here and here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

Continue reading “Carrot Curry with Coconut-Lentil Crumble | Carrot Thengai Poriyal”

Thakkali Paruppu Rasam | Tomato Lentil Rasam | A spicy tomato based broth

A definite favourite, and one of my first rasam experiences.

We struggle to describe Indian food in Western terms. Rasam isnt really a soup, but it would be the closest term that we have to describe it. It is a spicy “soupy” “drink” that is often eaten as part of a meal in Sth India, particularly Tamil Nadu.”Broth” is a good term. That would be close. Served in a metal cup, it can be sipped from that cup, or poured over rice or other parts of the meal to moisten drier curries. It is truly a delicious and very versatile part of an Indian meal.

Rasams may or may not involve lentils. The most simplest rasams are water, chillies and spices, perhaps some tamarind. I love to make them from the top water when I am cooking lentils for a dal – ie remove the water on top of the lentils when they have cooked, before you turn the lentils into a dal. Use that wonderfully flavoured water to make a rasam.

At the opposite end of the scale are rasams that are based on lentils. Today’s recipe is one such recipe, made with red gram dal.It is quite different to this Tomato Rasam which I first made some years ago.

You may be wondering what a Rasam is – read about Rasam here. You might like to browse other Rasam recipes here, including Kottu Rasam, Pepper Rasam, and Tomato Rasam. Or explore our Indian dishes here and here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

 

Continue reading “Thakkali Paruppu Rasam | Tomato Lentil Rasam | A spicy tomato based broth”