Indian delights: Sweet and sour toor dal

November 3, 2013

Sweet and Sour Toor Dal

Rounding out our Indian meal, we definitely cannot forget to include a dal, or lentil dish, on our plate. Dal is a staple at the South Indian table, bringing a good dose of digestible protein to the vegetarian cuisine. While I’m sure there are millions upon millions of recipes and variations for dal – just the types of lentils alone: toor dal, urid dal, moong dal, masoor dal, and I could go on and on and on, not to mention that every cook has their own unique spice blend – I decided to share this recipe for a sweet and sour toor dal because I found it to be rather unique. When I say sweet and sour, I don’t mean like your local Chinese joint’s chicken; it’s a much more subtle flavor. While I made a special trip to the Indian grocery to pick up kokum, an acidic, dried fruit, upon opening the package it immediately reminded me of pomegranate, which makes a nice substitute in this recipe if you don’t have a local Indian grocer to frequent.

And that’s how this South Indian meal becomes complete. A couple of vegetarian dishes like poriyal, bhindi masala, green bean bhaji, or some masala potatoes, basmati rice, a bit of dal, a little Indian pickle (which you can buy, or I might post my favorite mango pickle here soon) and maybe some raita or yogurt to cool things down, and you have a veritable feast! (more…)

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Kitch-aaaarrrrrrrr-i!

July 3, 2012

Kitchari with Pakora

A while back, I was feeling a bit sniffly and stuffy, so I spent a few days on the couch browsing the web. Apparently I was in the frame of mind to check out Ayurvedic remedies for my stuffy nose, and thus I spent a lot of time reading blogs and articles stuffed to the brim with advice and ways of life from the sub-continent.

Kitchari was apparently the new kid on the block (or, as it is, the newly discovered elder on the block). I read multiple articles about its abilities to help you cleanse, its ease on your digestive system, its nutritional values (apparently it is a complete protein, though I’m thinking that has more to do with the dal, less to do with the rice and spices). While I scoffed at the idea of eating nothing but this moong dal and rice mixture for any amount of time, my stomach started to growl and the craving had set in. I already had some leftover, new-age pakora in my fridge; this could just be a spicy rice addition with a little beans. Plus, it’s healthy, right?

So I consulted the various recipes I had found around the internets (that link being one of them), then I cracked open my favorite Indian cookbook from “the food of” series, and I started devising a recipe. (more…)

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Green Bean Bhaji

May 18, 2011

Green Bean Bhaji

One of the things I didn’t plant in my garden this year are string beans. Last year, while stocking up on seedlings from Cole Canyon Farm, the guy running the stand gave me free string beans. I’m not really a fan of green beans — I don’t hate them, but they’re not something I ever really want to eat. My husband, however, really likes green beans so I decided to plant them and give them a try. (more…)

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From the Bread Maker: Curry Bread

January 29, 2011

Curry Bread

For Christmas I received a bread maker from the husband. After many failed attempts to make bread on my own, I guess he decided I needed a little help! It’s been wonderful, and I’ve been making wheat bread almost every week, thus there’s been an increase in the amount of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I’ve been eating (oh how I love PB&J!).

This weekend, however, I decided to branch out and try something new. A good friend gave me a cookbook for Christmas, Modern Spice, which I’ve been dying to try some recipes out of. Of course, when I saw the curry bread, I was really excited to try making it in my new bread maker; I’d get to use two new toys at once!! (more…)

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Happy Diwali!

November 4, 2010

Kaju Barfi and Carrot Halwa

Today is Diwali, or the festival of lights, which is celebrated in India among many other countries. I’ve been on board with this holiday since my husband (then boyfriend) told me about it. The Indian New Year — it means you get to buy new clothes!

Really, though, can you imagine a guy getting all that excited about clothes? Over the years, as he told me a little more about the holiday (because previously I just heard “new clothes” and didn’t care too much about the actual meaning) he would always talk about the sweets his mom would make, and he’d get that happy look on his face, twinkle in his eye. Ahhh! This is what it’s all about for him — sweet treats! (more…)

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