12 July, 2009

Healthy Food - Mix of Lentils

Dal or lentils is the staple food in every Indian home. Lentils, you'll find in almost every Indian kitchen. For the vegetarian, lentils are the complete delight diet as a common source of high protein. Lentils are boiled to a stew-like consistency seasoned with a mixture of spices. In some recipes, the lentils are boiled with vegetables and know as rasam and sambhar.

South India has recipes of rasam and sambhar where the lentils are boiled with vegetables. In India, each region has its own favorites and cooking methods of lentils. I’m here sharing my home recipe for the “Mix of lentils”. The Split Black lentils (Urad dal) is the main lentil mixed with the other lentils like toor/arhar dal (yellow lentils/pigeon pea) and chana dal (Split Chickpeas), tempering with garlic. The best combination for a healthy diet this recipe has, that it has low fat and high protein.

This recipe is quick to make and being high in protein, simply very deliciously healthy to relish. Also adding this recipe today, have a genuine reason as this is my Paa’s favorite dish and today is his Birthday too. So here's wishing Happy Birthday Paa! Enjoy!!

Serves easily 2 Pax:
Ingredients for Recipe:

  • Split Black Lentils(Kali dal with cover) - ½ cup
  • Split Chickpeas(Gram/Chana dal) lentils – ¼ cup
  • Yellow(Arhar/Toor dal)Lentils – ¼ cup
  • Garlc Flakes – 4-5Nos.
  • Green Chilli- 1 Nos.
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon (according to taste)
  • Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Red chilli Powder- ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander Power- ½ teaspoon
  • Ghee (clarified butter) - 2 teaspoons
  • Water- to pressure cook/boil.

Making of the recipe:
  • Measure the lentils in the cup and wash in water for a couple of times. And keep aside rinsing it.
  • Chop the green chili roughly.
  • Now take water (around 2-3 cups) in the pressure cooker and add the lentils.
  • Also add the chopped green chili and other all dry spices with salt into it. Mix it well.
  • Now cover the pressure cooker, and cook for 2-3 whistle.
  • When the whistles are done, open the cooker and check the lentils are cooked. The lentils must look cooked and soft. To check take a gram lentil in hand and press to find it soft in texture. If not done, cover it and let one more whistle.
  • In the mean time, cut finely the garlic flakes for tempering.
  • Take a ladle or pan for tempering. Heat it; add ghee and then the fine chopped garlic flakes.
  • Let the garlic turn golden brown. Quickly add this golden brown garlic into the dal (lentils) prepared. Cover with the lid, the vessel/cooker and let the smoke mixes well with the lentils. Keep on rest for couple of minutes.
  • Serve hot. Enjoy with warm rice or chapati and pickle as side dish. 

  • You can soak the lentils in the water for 10-15 minutes prior cooking.
  • Ghee must be used. Substitute is Butter.
  • I have also added just ¼ cup of Urad dal gives smoothness to the Dal. Of coarse it is optional.
  • Also I love the Toor/Arhar Dal so I have added it you might skip it. But adding it will only add on the protein so no worries :)
  • After the dal/lentils are cooked and before tempering, you may also just a bit mash the dal/lentils with the laddle so that the juices of different dals/lentils mix up well.
  • But definitely in this particular recipe of Black Dal, the tempering must be done of the garlic.
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, then a small vessel can be used to cook.
  • Keeping this recipe in the thick texture add more flavor. So use the water accordingly.
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07 July, 2009

Fish Curry - Cook Like Grandmother

Everything you need to turn your kitchen into a paradise lies in from ingredients, to spices, to gadgets, to utensils. Yes! Right kind of the utensils and vessels plays a vital role in the comfortable cooking of any cuisines. Cooking Indian cuisines, the best works is the Indian Wok. Somehow, the design and shape of the Indian Wok have not changed over centuries.
My mom liked to cook her food in the wok made of real Iron Metal which looks dark and strong and often changes the color of the food cooked in.

Cook like Grandma, the Fish Curry

I also have my non-stick woks to stainless-steel woks but I believe that my very own traditional Indian Wok (Kadhai) made from brass metal is the best. This was gifted by my mother-in-law, who always prefers to make food in the brass wok. This wok has hemispherical in shape with no flat spot on the bottom. Their handles are two large round rings that stick almost straight up. It’s bottom which makes for quicker and more even distribution of heat. The design makes them ideal for cooking over a fire. A bright golden wok with tints of traditional circular design makes it look so special and graceful.

My Golden Wok

I made my very traditional Indian fish curry in this brass wok which tasted so wonderful. Cooking fish hardly takes 10-15minute, making it the simplest dish. I like making fish curry in the Bengali style with panch-phoran species or like Patrani-Machi from Gujarat which is cooked with steam, but the most I love is the one which have the recipe directly from my Grandmother. This fish curry is made the same way as my grandmother cooked. It is easy, spicy, and extremely delicious with ethnic rough gravy makes it taste like a complete divine recipe. Very few but specific species cooked in the Indian traditional wok makes this recipe a sure delight to relish eating.

Recipe for 2 pax:
Ingredients for Fish Curry
  • Fresh Fish (Indian Mackerel)
  • Onion - one (medium size)
  • Garlic – 2 full pods(around half cup)
  • Black Pepper – 1 tsp(around 10-15)
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1inch
  • Red Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 2 tablespoon 

Method of making Fish Curry:

Making of Indian Fish Curry

  • Clean the fish, wash and cut into small chunks and keep aside.
  • Mix the dry spices red chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt with some water and make a smooth paste.
  • In the pan roast the black pepper and the cinnamon stick, cool and then crush to form powder.
  • Crush and roughly chop the garlic.
  • Roughly chop the onion and keep aside.
  • In a vessel/wok, put oil and heat it, now add half of the crushed powder of black-pepper and cinnamon stick. Then quickly add roughly chopped garlic.
  • When the garlic turns golden brown, add roughly chopped onion.
  • Let the onion gets cook and turn golden brown, now add rest of the crushed black-pepper and cinnamon stick.
  • Now add the smooth paste of powdered spices and cook for a minute. Keep stirring it.
  • Add little water to avoid the curry, sticking the bottom.
  • Keep cooking for couple of minutes.
  • Now again add some water (around 1cup) depending on how thick you want the curry.
  • Then add the fish pieces into the curry and with the ladle pour some gravy on the pieces and cover the vessel/wok.
  • Simmer the fire and cook with cover/lid for about 10-15 minutes. Let the fish cooks in own steam.
  • Remove from fire and serve hot with rice or roti.  


  • The Fish-Curry tastes best when the gravy is thick.
  • Roasting the black pepper and cinnamon stick makes it easier to crush and somehow removes any extra bitterness.
  • Making the smooth paste with of the dry spices enhances the cooking.
  • I prefer, Mustard Oil to cook, you might add any oil you wish to.
  • The major role in adding the flavor of the curry is the excessive addition of Garlic, black pepper and cinnamon stick.
  • I loved the Mackerel fish; you might get any fish you like the most.
  • Also, I believe cooking this very ethnic dish cooked in the brass wok enhances fish’s flavor.
  • Make sure never to add anything sour like lemon juice or tomato, when ever cooking anything in the brass wok, because the brass metal might just chemically react with the food.
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