Moong dal with Dill leaves

BM #106: Week 1, Day 1
Theme : Packed Lunchboxes

My husband’s lunchbox and my son’s lunchbox are completely different. My husband prefers rice and my son doesn’t like rice. I serve rice to my son when he is back from school and pack something light for his lunchbox. Pasta is the only thing they agree on.

Here is a sample of my husband’s lunch. I usually pack a salad or a cooked vegetable on the side, but I was out of time to do so. Dal with dill leaves is a recipe I learnt from my friend and I love it.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: My friend Devi

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup moong dal
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 green chilies, roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 cup chopped dill leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

Method:

  1. Wash the dal and pressure cook with the diced tomatoes, onions, chilies , ginger, garlic and turmeric powder. Add about 2.5 cups of water or until the dal is completely submerged and water floats about an inch on top. Pressure cook for 6 whistles (6 minutes in Manual setting in Instant Pot) or until the dal is cooked completely. I use pot in pot method. Let the pressure release naturally.
  2. Heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add the cooked dal. Add salt as needed and garam Masala. Roughly chop the dill leaves and add it to the dal. Let everything cook together for a couple of minutes. You can add more water if the dal is dry. Taste test, adjust seasonings. Take off the heat and serve with rice, pickle and chips.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this Week

Cabbage Moongdal curry

BM #105: Week 3, Day 2
Theme : Easy side dishes for rice/roti

This is a new recipe for me and I learnt it from my mother in law. I clicked the step wise pictures when she was cooking to make it’s easier for me to try it later when she is not around. I have already made this multiple times after she left and this has become an alternate way to prepare cabbage. My go to recipe has always been coconut based cabbage Thoran.I have seen recipes where moong dal is cooked first and then the veggies are added. Here, everything is added together and yet the dal cooks to perfection. It needs to be stirred in between, but it’s mostly a handsfree kind of recipe. You don’t have to babysit it continuously.

Turmeric is usually not added to cabbage. But it’s my father in law’s way of preparing and my husband loved (and still loves) the bright color. So my mother in law adds it whenever she prepares it too. You can skip it if you want.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon broken urad dal
  • 2-3 green chilies, chopped
  • 1/4 cup moongdal
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 of a small cabbage, chopped (about 2-2.5 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as needed

Method:

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and once it’s done popping, add the urad dal. Mix a little so that it turns a little golden.

Add chopped green chilies. Sauté for a minute until it is fried a bit.

Add moongdal and water. You needn’t to wash the dal.Add cabbage in a heap in the middle and add the turmeric powder on top.

Cover and cook until the dal is done, stirring in between. You may have to sprinkle some more water if the cabbage seems to stick to the bottom of the pan before the dal is cooked. Remove from the heat and serve with rice and gravy of your choice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this Week

Mixed vegetable khichdi

BM#102: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : 
One bowl recipes

For this week’s theme, the dish should be either prepared or served in a bowl. So the vegetable khichdi I had prepared in Instant Pot recently, seemed a perfect choice. What I like about this dish is that it’s a “put everything inside the pot and close the lid” kind of recipe. You start off with a tadka of ghee or oil with cumin seeds and ginger. Then all you have to do is add a bunch of vegetables, spices, rice and lentils and cover and cook. Done!

The best part is that this can be served with just pickle or yogurt on the side. But of course, a yogurt based Kadhi would be excellent as well. Though this is a traditional recipe with each house having their own version, the particular one that I tried is from the book The Essential Indian Instant Pot cookbook. I have followed the recipe as such and absolutely love the results.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee/oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green beans, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup dal (1/4 cup each masoor, moong, toor and Chana dals)
  • 6 cups water
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Wash and Clean the rice. Set aside.
  2. Put the Instant Pot in Sauté mode and add the ghee. Add the cumin seeds and minced ginger. Add all the vegetables, chili powder, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Add the rice and the dals along with 6 cups of water. Stir to mix well.
  3. Cancel the sauté program and select to Rice setting. Let the pressure release naturally. Serve with pickle and Methi Kadhi.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

Bengali Thali

I was standing there, watching the waves dance. Hubby and kiddo were playing hide and seek with the waves. Teasing the water to come and touch their feet.

At the horizon, the anchored ships had switched the lights on, they were now twinkling like little stars far far away.

I decided to let the waves kiss my feet. I wanted to feel the salty, chilling water wash away all my worries. I looked down to watch them come and bury my feet in the sand.

Only I couldn’t. My paunch was coming in between.

Not one to take a hint easily, I stretched a bit further to see the waves bury my feet. I could still not see my feet, only my paunch was visible.

OK, I get the message. Time for some serious measures to watch my weight. No more fatty food.

While I ponder over the point, you guys enjoy this great thali, dishes prepared from the state of Bengal. Just like dieting sounds alien to me, Bengali cuisine is also foreign for me. So thanks a ton, Vaishali, for your insight into Bengali food and for helping me design the menu. Without your help, I would have been totally lost!

Like Kerala Sadya, Bengali food too has some rules when it comes to the food. I read about Bengali Cuisine here, written by Sandeepa of Bong Mom’s Cookbook.

Rice is the main cereal there, just like in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The first course has bitter gourd or neem leaves (something bitter) in it, this is supposed to have cleansing properties.

It is followed by rice and dal, with a fried bhaja or any other seasonal vegetable as a side dish. Fish and meat courses follow, but for vegetarian meals, paneer is a common substitute.

Then comes the chutney round. I tried getting pineapples, but I was out of luck that day. Went in for a raw mango chutney, and boy! it tasted so good.

The last round is yogurt and then some sweet. I made misti doi. I cooked the milk in the pressure cooker and I don’t know what I did wrong, the texture didn’t come out right. The taste was yum, but the texture didn’t come close to even my usual thick yogurt. Just bad luck, I guess.

The menu:

  • Vegetarian Dishes/ Curries
    • Ucche Bhaja : Bittergourd cooked and fried in oil
    • Begun Bhaja : Deep fried eggplant
    • Aloo Poshto : Potato in Poppy seeds (I was not able to grind the seeds properly!)
    • Cholar Dal : Dal made with chana dal, made on festivals and special occasions.
    • Chanar Dalna : Paneer and green peas curry
  • Rice
  • Sides
  • Sweet
    • Rasgolla : Paneer balls, cooked in sugar syrup

Ingredients for Eggplant fry (Begun Bhaja):

For Ucche Bhaja, bitter gourd fry, substitute brinjal with bitter guard and follow the same recipe. 

  • Eggplant , big variety              : 1
  • Turmeric powder                     :  1/2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  1. Wash and pat the brinjal dry. Cut into 1/2″ thick round slices.
  2. Apply salt and turmeric powder.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Deep fry brinjal until crisp and brown on both sides.
  4. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot.
  5. I have cut mine too thin. It should be a little more thick.

Except for the rasgolla and the dal, I am making everything for the first time. I hope I have done it right. This is a first time Bengali thali for me and I really loved the food. Who thought eggplants would be so tasty when fried with salt and a pinch of turmeric?!

Aam Pora Sherbet:

Ingredients:

  • Raw Mangoes          :        2
  • Sugar                           :   a varying quantity, depending totally on the sourness of mangoes. Start with 1/3 cup
  • Salt                               :     a pinch
  • Mint leaves               :   a handful, optional
  • Water or Soda for serving : 4-5 cups, again need to taste test and adjust accordingly.

Method:

  1. The first step is to get the mango pulp. Then for serving, the pulp can be diluted with water or with soda.
  2. Wash, clean and pat the mangoes dry. Roast them directly in open flame (like how we do for Baingan bhaja) or I guess you can bake them until they are soft as well.
  3. Turn the mangoes with a pair of tongs cook both sides. Once the skin is black and blistered, keep aside to cool.
  4. Once its cool to handle, peel the charred skin off. Wash thoroughly so that there are no burnt pieces left and squeeze the pulp out. Collect it in a bowl.
  5. Add sugar and a pinch of salt and handful of washed mint leaves (optional) and blend in a mixer/blender.
  6. This is the concentrate. I finished off mine then itself , so never really got around storing it.
  7. Add 3-4 cups of water and blend again. Check the sugar and add more if required. The quantity of water and sugar will depend on the sourness of mangoes. So start with a lesser quantity and work your way upwards.
  8. Pour into tall glasses and serve cool with ice cubes.

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