Moong Dal Pulao

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It’s been a while since I visited the virtual world, so starting with baby steps again. I am here with a recipe you can try on weekends when the vegetable supply, as a rule for me, is low. This is like a stylish version of Pongal since the base combinations are moong dal, rice and pepper corns. Instead of being mashed up and lumped all together, here the aim is to bring these base flavors in a pulav style, where each grain is separate.

This recipe  is from Vasantha Moorthy’s Vegetarian Menu Cookbook. The recipe is simple and not very time-consuming compared to the regular Indian cooking. The pulav needs a few masalas, a coconut based ground paste and rice and moong. Its sprinkled liberally with fried onions at the time of serving, which adds a TON of flavor to the dish. I used the  ready-made pack, but you can saute two onions until crisp and mix it into the pulav at the time of serving. I serve this with coconut milk based egg curry , but a simple raita would do as well.

This is my submission to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge event. Do check out the link to learn more about the event and see who else is participating.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup moong dal
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6-8 peppercorns
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt as needed
  • 1 cup fried onions (ready-made OR 2 medium onions sliced thin and fried in 4-5 tablespoons ghee until brown)

To grind and make a paste:

  • 3 tablespoons grated coconut
  • 1″ piece ginger
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 green (or red) chillies
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 2 cloves, 1 cardamom, 1″ piece cinnamon*
  • 1 medium onion, diced**

*I used cinnamon powder

**I add it sometimes,depending on the state of my pantry contents

Method:

Wash the dal and rice together. Drain and set aside.

Grind the cococnut, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, chilies, cinnamon and cloves  with a little water to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

Heat ghee in your pressure cooker or a heavy bottom pan. Add the cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and bay leaf. Add the chili powder and turmeric powder and fry for a few seconds.

Add the masala paste and saute until the raw flavor goes away, about half a minute. The liquid would evaporate, but take care not to burn it.

Add the rice and dal mix. Fry for a minute or so until its coated well with the masala paste.

Add 3 cups of water (we had a total of 1.5 cups of rice and dal mix, so double of that), salt as needed. Pressure cook for 3 minutes if you are using your instant pot. Else cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is done.

At the time of serving, add some roasted cashews and a handful of fried onions. DO NOT skip the fried onions, they add a lot of flavor to the dish. If you donot have ready made fried onions, then cook two very thinly sliced medium onions to 4-5 tablespoons of ghee and fry until the onions are brown and caramelized. Top the pulao with the prepared fried onions.

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This is my submission to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge event. Do check out the link to learn more about the event and see who else is participating.

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Pinwheel crepe and fruit skewers

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BMG # 82: Week 3, Day 1
Theme : Crepes
Recipe: Crepe and fruit skewers

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the batch of crepes helped me make three different kinds and this is the second one. The idea is from Kathryn Hawkins’  book Crepes, Waffles and Pancakes. The only modification I made was to spread a little jam to the crepes before threading them onto the skewers. This was a delicious and fun treat, I will try this again for sure. My husband, who doesn’t like to eat anything sweet, loved this one. This can definitely be a fun appetizer for parties or a quick snack that makes a good impression.

I used the fruits I had (which also happened to be what the book recommended), but this would work with any combination of fruits. The bright red strawberry along with the green kiwi and yellowish guava was a good visual treat too. I followed the low fat honey crepes recipe for the crepes.

This recipe goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group and Blogging Marathon. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#82 

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Ingredients:

For the crepe

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • butter to grease the pan

For making two fruit skewers

  • 1 crepe from above recipe
  • a teaspoon of jam, optional
  • 2 strawberries, halved
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 1 small guava, sliced or sweet mango slices

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the crepe using a wire whisk or blend in a mixer to get a lump free batter. This quantity makes about 8 crepes 6″ diameter in size. I used only one of those for the fruit skewer.
  2. To make crepes, heat a 6″ non stick skillet or pan. Spread a little butter to the base of the pan to grease it. Spoon 1/4 cup crepe batter and swirl/rotate the pan so that the batter coats the base. Try to avoid the batter going to the sides/walls of the pan. Cook until the batter is not wet anymore and the sides turn slightly brown. With a silicone spatula, carefully flip it over and cook the other side. Take off the pan and keep it on a plate. Make more crepes until the batter is used up.
  3. Take a crepe and spread a little jam or nutella and roll it up. Cut into 1″ thick pieces.
  4. Thread this pinwheel crepe with the different pieces of fruit onto a long bamboo skewer. Serve immediately.

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Pasta Salad

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My son stands against anything with pasta and rice. He does eat both, but with such a long face that it almost makes me guilty. Almost… But I don’t give up on these two foods and keep bringing them to the table irrespective of the nasty looks, sighs and nays.

The kid does like salads, so I have started adding a bit of pasta to his salad. He seems to be okay with that. So now, once in a while, I pack a cold pasta salad for his lunch. I prepare it the night before and refrigerate so that the flavors can mingle.

A good thing about salad is that you don’t need to have an exact recipe. Whatever is available in the fridge paired with a bit of  dressing makes an excellent one. My go-to salad dressing is a mix of mayonnaise and honey mustard, but I am slowly including more of the classic olive oil and lemon juice now a days.

For a salad, I like the combination of vegetables with beans and fruits. The bit of sweetness that the fruit imparts gives a lovely flavor and the beans fill you up. Cheese is more for my son’s taste buds. For this particular dish, I had some ready made taco seasoning to be used up. So that went into the dressing with olive oil and lemon juice. This video from Tasty is what I followed for the dressing. I had to skip the jalapenos and garlic since it was for my son’s lunch box. Taco seasoning is a mix of spices and can be made at home as well. Here is a recipe if you want to make it at home.

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Serves 2

Recipe adapted from: Tasty – Pasta Salad 4 ways

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked red kidney beans
  • 2 slices of cheese torn into small pieces or 1/3 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced mangoes
  • 3 tablespoons sliced olives
  • 1 big tomato, diced
  • handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • salt as needed

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ready made taco seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, optional
  • 1 tablespoon jalapenos, optional

Method:

  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cook roughly about one cup pasta in boiling water with salt to get two cups of cooked pasta. Drain and let it cool completely.
  3. Combine the salad ingredients to the pasta. Slowly add the dressing, mixing it in. You don’t have to use all the dressing, you can stop when you feel that the taste is fine.
  4. Do a taste test before adding salt, since pasta was cooked in salted water and taco seasoning also has salt.

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Dal dhokli

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There are many recipes from this space that I keep trying again and again. Yet I don’t try taking better pictures of some of the old favorites. Unless there is a push, I don’t think I would. So for this marathon, I had checked with Valli about redoing some of the old posts with new pictures. Dal dhokli was one of the posts I was planning to redo.

Dal dhokli is chapati dough seasoned with spices cooked in lentils. There are so many variations to this dish. My original post was an adapted version with a lot of vegetables. When I started cooking, I decided to make the original version and not redo my take on it before. So no vegetables and just dal with cooked dough in it. I went to the original source for my previous post and followed it for most part. I halved the recipe and added a handful of peanuts, but other than that, no changes.

Read on for the recipe.

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Serves: 4

Recipe source: Flip Cookbook

Ingredients:

For the dal

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon jeera seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • a good pinch of hing
  • 1 cup moong dal, cooked
  • 2 tablespoon toor dal, cooked
  • 2 tablespoon chana dal, cooked
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • handful of peanuts, optional
  • coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • lemon juice to taste

For the dough

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ajwain
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • salt as needed
  • water to kneed into a dough

Method:

To make the dough, add the spices and oil to the flour and mix lightly using your hands. Then slowly add water, little by little and kneed into a soft dough. Cover the bowl and let it rest at least 20 minutes.

Wash and pressure cook the dals together with about 4 cups of water. I did this in Instant Pot for 8 minutes in Manual mode. Once the dal is cooked and the pressure is released, lets start the tadka. Heat ghee in a pot big enough to hold the cooked dal. Add the jeera seeds, mustard seeds, hing and dry red chillies. Let the seeds splutter.


Add the cooked dal, spice powders and salt as needed. Mix well and let it come to a slow boil. Meanwhile take a lemon sized ball out of the dough, pat it in some flour and roll it out into a circle. Cut out diamond shapes using a pizza cutter.

Add the dough pieces into the dal and let it cook.  Keep adding the dough until you are done with the dough. You can add more water if there isn’t enough liquid. Let it cook for about 10-15 minutes until the dough is cooked completely. If you feel like, you can roast one handful of peanuts in ghee and add it to the dal dhokli as well. Take off the heat, add a handful of chopped coriander leaves. At the time of serving, squeeze some lemon juice if preferred.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80