Sambar

March 22nd, 2011 Mona Posted in Beetroot/Chuqandar, Black Gram/Urad Dal, Black Peppercorns, Bottle Gourd/Kaddu, Broccoli, Carrot/Gajar, Chane ki Dal, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cinnamon/Dalchini, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Curry leaves (fresh), Dried Red Chillies, Drumsticks/Sojni ki phalli, Dry Desiccated Coconut, Eggplant/Baingan, Fenugreek/Methi seeds, Green Chillies, Jaggery/Gud, Mustard seeds/Rai, Okra/Bhindi, Pumpkin, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Shallots/Pearl Onions, Tamarind/Imli, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, White Cauliflower/Phool Gobi, Yellow Lentil/Tuvar ki Dal/Toor dal 6 Comments » 8,007 views

Sambar is a delicious richly flavored lentil and vegetable stew, native to South India. Many versions of sambar exist, and each one is just as delicious as the other one. The key for a flavorful sambar is a good sambar masala. Like there exists many versions of garam masala powder, similarly every South Indian household has their own version of the sambar masala. I have always only used the ready made MDH Sambar masala powder that is easily available in stores. But I really loved Padma’s Sambar and since then I have only been using her sambar masala to favor mine. I was so glad to discover the right sambar masala for me.

Idli served along with Sambar

Warm Sambar is a delicious accompaniment to South Indian classics like idli, wada, dosa, or just along with plain simple rice, etc. Today I have made Okra Sambar because I had only okra at hand, but the mixed vegetable sambar is the conventional and most delicious. The addition of a variety of vegetables add their own flavor to the spicy and aromatic sambar. Tamarind is the traditional souring ingredient used, but if unavailable you can use lemon juice.

Sambar – Spicy Lentil and Mixed Vegetables Stew
Adapted from here

Ingredients:

Toor dal – 1 cup
Tomato – 1, large, chopped
Green chillies – 4, chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Canola oil – 3 1/2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 3/4 tsp
Dry red chillies – 4, each broken into half
Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (chopped/cubed: brinjal, potato, taro root, bottle guard, radish, zucchini, okra, drumsticks, french beans, carrot, pumpkin, beetroot, etc; peeled & whole pearl onions/shallots; cauliflower or brocolli florets) (I used only okra – 340 gms) (also I did not have shallots so I used 1 large sliced onion instead)
Thick Tamarind pulp – 5 tbsp
Jaggery/gud – 1 tbsp, grated
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Sambar masala:
2 tsps of bengal gram/chana dal
2 tsps of black gram/urad dal
2 tsps of cumin seeds/zeera
3 tsps of coriander seeds/dhaniya
½ tsp black peppercorns/kali mirch
½ tsp of fenugreek seeds/methi
4 dry red chillies/sukhi lal mirch
¾ cup dry desiccated coconut/khopra

Delicious Warm Sambar

Method:

1. In a non stick frying pan dry roast all the spices separately under the heading sambar masala until they are just a few shades darker. Transfer all the roasted spices to a spice grinder and add a little water and grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside. This is the sambar masala.
2. Wash toor dal in several changes of water. Soak it overnight or for 2-3 hours in surplus fresh cool water. Drain, and wash in several changes of water. Add the washed and soaked toor dal to a pressure cooker. Add 1/2 tbsp oil, chopped tomato, green chillies, turmeric powder and 3 cups of water. Close the lid and pressure cook until the dal is mushy. Using a whisk or a dal ghotni or an immersion blender, blend the dal into a paste. Keep aside.
3. In a large saucepan at medium high heat, add the remaining oil. As soon as it is warm, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle add the curry leaves and dry red chillies. (If you do not have pearl onions or shallots in hand, add the sliced onions and sauté them until they are pink). Immediately add the prepared mixed vegetables and mix well. Add salt and red chilli powder. Lower the heat to medium and pour in two cups of water. Cover with a lid and let cook until the vegetables are tender crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the tamarind paste and grated jaggery. Now add the toor dal paste prepared earlier along with chopped cilantro and sambar masala. Mix well. Add water to give it a thin consistency. Half cover with a lid and allow it simmer for around 15 minutes more until the vegetables are soft and a good aroma fills your kitchen. Stir frequently and well, as the toor dal tend to sink to the bottom and stick. Serve warm along with plain rice, or dosa, or idli, or wada.

Luv,
Mona

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Kulfa ki Katli

May 20th, 2010 Mona Posted in Bok Choy, Canola Oil, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Curry leaves (fresh), Dried Red Chillies, Garlic/Lahsun, Hyderabadi special, Purslane leaves/Kulfa ki bhaji, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Tamarind/Imli, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Lentil/Tuvar ki Dal/Toor dal 39 Comments » 17,383 views

Its a wonderful day today in Hyderabad. The weather is the coolest it has ever been since I landed here, and my jet lag seems to be fading away gradually. So, I thought this morning as the perfect opportunity to visit the wholesale market in Hyderabad at Gudimalkapur, and indeed the visit was totally worth it. The market was a frenzy, but a treat my sore eyes. There were huge piles of fresh greens, seafood, vegetables and fruits, flowers and I bought all that I could at very reasonable prices.

Kulfa ki bhaji ~Purslane

To start with I chose Kulfa ki bhaji (in Urdu language), (Purslane in English) that I bought to cook and satisfy my long patience. It had been more than 3 long years since I had tasted Kulfa ki bhaji and many other such basic fresh vegetables and fruits available here in Hyderabad. Purslane is a succulent with thick leaves and reddish stems and a crisp citrusy taste.

Today my Ammi prepared Kulfa ki Katli, a dal preparation cooked along with Kulfa ki bhaji, tomatoes, tamarind and other aromatic spices. Aloo Methi and Khushka were accompaniments to this humble dal concoction and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.

Kulfa ki Katli – Purslane simmered in Aromatic and Tangy Dhal

Ingredients:

Thick Tamarind concentrate – 1/4 cup
Kulfa ki bhaji/Purslane – washed and drained, tender leaves and stems chopped fine, roots discarded ~ around 3 cups, loosely packed
Tuvar ki dal – 1 cup, washed in several changes of water and drained
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Tomato – 1, medium sized, roughly chopped
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 4 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2, each split into two
Garlic pods – 2, finely chopped
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

Method:

In a pressure cooker, add the washed dal, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, tomatoes, salt and curry leaves. Add about 4 cups water and pressure cook until the dal is mushy. Once done, mash the dal with a dal ghotni, or blend it until smooth. Add the chopped purslane and gently mash just a little bit. Add tamarind and pour in more water to adjust the consistency. Let it cook on medium high flame. Meanwhile prepare baghaar, add oil to a small frying pan at medium high heat. As soon as it is hot, add the baghaar ingredients and let them splutter for just a few seconds. Immediately pour this baghaar hissing into the cooking dal. Let the dal cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Serve warm along with rice and a curry of your choice.

I have never been able to find this green leafy vegetable/herb in Toronto. If anyone of you living in Toronto has been able to spot Purslane at grocery stores, please let me know. Also, if anyone is willing to trade seeds with me, I am more than happy. Please contact me if interested.

Note: If Purslane is unavailable you can try this recipe with any of your favorite greens. I have tried this dal using baby bok choy and spinach.

Luv,
Mona

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Kairi ki Khatti Dal

December 30th, 2009 Mona Posted in Canola Oil, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Curry leaves (fresh), Dried Red Chillies, Hyderabadi special, Mango/Aam, Quick fix meals, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Lentil/Tuvar ki Dal/Toor dal 10 Comments » 7,996 views

Patli dal (dal with thin consistency) cooked with tamarind or sometimes tomatoes as the souring agents, is a staple, atleast in my house. It is served along with a non-vegetarian or a vegetarian side dish and rice at most of our meals, and I believe at most of the Hyderabadi households as well. The usual variety of patli dal that I prepare are tamarind khatti daltomato dal, mitthi dal, lemon dal, kaddu ka dalcha, sojni ki phalli ka dalcha and kulfe ki katli. Among all these I dearly miss kulfe ki katli as I havent been able to find Kulfa (purslane) at stores here until now.

Unripe green mangoes ~ Kairi

This version of khatti dal with a hint of tangy flavor from unripe green mangoes is most flavorful and enjoyed by everyone at my house. Select sour, firm and unripe green mangoes for the perfect tangy smack in the dal. We enjoyed this flavorsome dal along with kairi ka do pyaza and tali huwi bhindi as our meal today.

Kairi ki Khatti Dal – Green Mango Dhal

Ingredients:

Tuvar ki dal – 1 cup
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Tomatoes – 2, large, red and ripe, quartered
Unripe green sour mango/Kairi – 1, small, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup) (do not discard the stone)
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Dried red chillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 2, each broken into two
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs, fresh

Method:

1. In a saucepan, add the tuvar dal, red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder, quartered tomatoes and 4 cups fresh cool water and boil the dal at medium high heat, half covered, until the dal is done. You can also pressure cook it until the dal is mushy. Once done, let cool and add to a blender container. Also add the chopped unripe mango (do not add the stone now) and blend until the dal is smooth. Pour this back into the saucepan. Add the mango stone to the dal and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Add water to adjust consistency. The consistency should be just slightly thick, not too thick, or too thin.
2. Meanwhile in a small frying pan, prepare baghaar. Pour oil in a warm small frying pan and as soon as it hot, add the cumin seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and as they start spluttering immediately add to the dal in saucepan. Let cook for 2 minutes and serve warm (before serving, scrape the mango stone and add all its juices and soft tangy flesh to the dal and discard the stone).

This delicious dal is my entry to the event ‘Delicious Dals from India’ being hosted by Suma at her blog Veggie Platter.

Luv,
Mona

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Tamatar ki Dal

August 18th, 2009 Mona Posted in Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cumin seeds/Zeera, Curry leaves (fresh), Dried Red Chillies, Garlic/Lahsun, Ghee, Green Chillies, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Lentil/Tuvar ki Dal/Toor dal 10 Comments » 10,127 views

Simple dals like the old-time Tamatar Dal always reminds of home, my childhood and comforts a vexed being. Thin soup like consistency of pureed flavored dals with a delicious tempering of spices is a staple in my house, used to wet rice and enjoyed along with a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian dry dish on the side.

Indian tomatoes are naturally sour unlike the tomatoes available here, that are slightly sweetish in taste. The sourness of the tomatoes imparts a delicious flavor to the dal.

A baghaar of aromatic healing spices in a little amount of ghee adds a delightful flavor to the dal. You could also use vegetable or canola oil instead.

Tamatar Dal – Tomato Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

Tuvar Dal/Yellow lentils – 1 cup
Water
Large Red Tomato – 4, roughly chopped
Small Green chillies – 4, finely chopped
Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Ghee – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 10 fresh leaves
Cilantro/Kothmir – 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds/Zeera - 1 tbsp
Dried Red chillies- 3
Garlic pods/Lahsun – 2, each sliced into two if the pods are very large

Tamatar ki Dal

Method:

1. Wash and drain the dal. Add the drained dal in a saucepan and pour in about three cups of water. Add 1 tsp salt, green chillies, chopped tomatoes and bring it a boil. Lower the heat to medium, half cover the lid and let cook until the dal is soft and mushy. Add more water if needed.
2. At this stage, you can pour the dal contents into a blender and blend until pureed. This is entirely optional, only if you prefer a smooth consistency. Or you can just mash up the cooked dal using a ‘Dal Ghotni’. Pour it back into the same saucepan, and add red chilli powder, 2 tsp salt and turmeric. Mix well and add 2 glasses of water. Let cook on medium heat uncovered for 10-15 minutes, until you achieve a just slightly thick soup like consistency. Remove from heat. Add chopped cilantro and mint leaves.
3. Pour ghee into a pan at medium high heat. As soon as it gets warm, add the garlic pods, stir fry until the garlic pods are lightly reddish brown in color. Quickly mix in cumin seeds, dried red chillies and curry leaves. Remove the pan from heat. This is the baghaar or the tempering. Add the contents of the pan into the dal and mix well. Serve.

Suggested Accompaniments: Khushka and any vegetarian or non-vegetarian dish.

This delicious dal is my entry to the event ‘Delicious Dals from India’ being hosted by Suma at her blog Veggie Platter.

Luv,
Mona

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Kaddu ka Dalcha

June 24th, 2009 Mona Posted in Bottle Gourd/Kaddu, Canola Oil, Chane ki Dal, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cumin seeds/Zeera, Curry leaves (fresh), Dried Red Chillies, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Tamarind/Imli, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Lentil/Tuvar ki Dal/Toor dal 15 Comments » 24,981 views

I am so in love with the bottle gourds that I get here in the Asian stores in Toronto. Young and tender with bright spring-bud green color is how I describe the bottle gourds that I get here.

Kaddu, Split Chana Dal, Tomato

Kaddu, aka ‘Bottle gourd’ or ‘Opo squash’ in English

Dalcha refers to soupy dal preparation from Hyderabad. It can be prepared with only a vegetable, which I am writing about today, or along with meat with bone combination, also called as Daalcha Gosht. The dal with either of the combination is then simmered gently in a tomato with tempering/baghaar spices sauce that impart a beautiful aroma and flavor. Once the vegetable and meat is tender it is allowed to cook with the mashed dal. Today I prepared Dalcha with bottle gourd for my lunch along with Qimah Methi and Matar Chawal. Traditionally Dalcha is served along with Baghara Chawal and Phalli Gosht, or even along with Biryani on the side.

Kaddu, peeled and cut into Diamonds

Peel and cut bottle gourd kaddu diagonally into large diamond shapes. The kaddu that I have used today was very green and callow, so it didnt have any tough and aged seeds. If there is any fibrous central pith with mature hard seeds, I suggest you slice the central pith and discard it and use only the clean white flesh. But it not mandatory.

Kaddu Ka Dalcha

Kaddu Ka Dalcha – Bottle Gourd in Legume Soup

Ingredients:

Chana dal/Bengal gram (or) Yellow lentils/Tuvar ki dal – 1 1/2 cups
Salt
Canola oil/Ghee – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Garlic pods – 2-3, peeled and crushed
Dried red chillies – 2, each broken into two and stalks removed
Curry leaves – 10 fresh leaves
Tomato – 2, large, ripe and red, finely chopped
Chopped Cilantro – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Bottle gourd/Opo Squash/Kaddu – 1, medium sized, around 750 gms
Raw tamarind juice/Kacchi Imli ka juice – 4 tbsp or to taste

Method:

1. Peel the bottle gourd. Slice off and discard the top and bottom of the gourd. Cut the bottle gourd into two halves lengthwise. If the central pith of the bottle gourd contains mature seeds, discard the central pith, or if the bottle gourd is young and tender, there is no need to discard the central pith. Now cut each half into 1 inch thick strips lengthwise. Cut each strip diagonally into 2-3 inch pieces.
2. Wash the dal in two or three water changes. Drain and keep aside. In a pressure cooker, add the drained dal and 4 cups water. Add 2 tsp salt and pressure cook the dal until it is soft and well cooked. You can puree the dal in a blender and pour it back back into the saucepan and keep aside. I just mash it using a dal ghotni or use an immersion blender sometimes.
3. In a large frying pan at medium heat, pour canola oil, and as soon as it warms up, add the cumin seeds and the crushed garlic pods. After 30 seconds, add the dried red chillies and curry leaves. Immediately add the chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and mix well. Cover the lid for about a minute. Add the chopped bottle gourd and mix well. Pour in water to cover the bottle guard pieces and cover the lid. Let cook for about 10 minutes or until the bottle gourd is tender. To check, pierce a piece of bottle gourd with the tip of a sharp knife.
4. Once the bottle gourd is tender, add this to the saucepan with the pureed dal and pour in water to dilute and achieve a thin soupy consistency. Add the tamarind juice and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Let it boil once, then simmer and let it cook for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

This delicious dal is my entry to the event ‘Delicious Dals from India’ being hosted by Suma at her blog Veggie Platter.

Luv,
Mona

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