Dal Tadka

BM #109 : Week 2, Day 1
Theme : DEF – Curries

I am back in the blogging space after a really long time. Each time I take a break, it always seem to extend it beyond what I originally meant! Anyway, here I am finally with a theme that I should have kick started last month. It’s an ongoing alphabetical theme for the year and I have chosen Curries as my theme.

About the recipe here, it’s dal tadka. I have used red lentils (masoor dal) here, but this can be made with toor dal or moong dal with the same results. This pairs well with roti, naan or rice. It’s surprising that I don’t have any recipes for dal tadka in the blog though I have made this as part of some Thalis before.

Read on for the recipe.


  • 1 cup masoor dal
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1.5 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon garam masala
  • A pinch of kasoori methi, optional
  • Lemon juice to taste, optional
  • Salt to taste

For tadka:

  • 2 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon Jeera
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or chili flakes


  1. Pressure cook 1 cup dal with 3 cups water And turmeric powder. Let the pressure release naturally. Keep aside.
  2. In a pan, heat oil and sauté the onions. Once the onions turn pink, add the ginger garlic paste. Mix it in and add the coriander powder and garam masala. Mix it in. Add the dal and salt as needed.
  3. If the dal is too thick, add some water, half cup at a time. Once everything comes to a boil, add the kasoori Methi and lemon juice. Mix well. Take off the heat.
  4. For the tadka, heat ghee in a small pan. Add red chilies, jeera and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add the chili flakes or chili powder. Take off the heat and add to the dal. Serve with rice or roti.

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Vadacurry with Idli

BM #106: Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Packed Lunchboxes

The first time I had vada curry is when our friend’s mom prepared it for us. It’s not a dish I grew up eating, but the first time I had it, I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a complicated process to prepare these, but it’s a fairly easy one. First you have to soak Chana dal and then grind it fennel seeds and dried red chilies. It’s ground to a coarse paste and steamed as small vadas. The gravy for this is the common onion tomato base with the usual spices. The vada is then broken into smaller pieces and added to the onion tomato gravy.

The only difference I see in my friend’s mom’s recipe from the other ones in internet is that she keeps a little bit of vada batter aside and uses it to thicken the gravy later. In the other recipes I see coconut being used for this purpose. The smell and taste of fennel seeds here is absolutely divine. Mine doesn’t have that much fennel, so feel free to add a bit more ground fennel seeds to the gravy if preferred.

This is a typical breakfast/dinner dish and is usually served with soft thick dosas or idli. This was dinner getting packed as lunch next day for my husband:-).

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: My friend’s mother


For vada

  • 1 cup Chana dal
  • 2-3 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, optional
  • Salt as needed

For curry

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • Salt as needed


  1. Soak the dal overnight or for at least 3 hours. Drain the water completely and pulse it in a blender with fennel seeds, chilies, chili powder and salt. It should be a coarse paste and not a smooth paste. Remove the ground paste to a bowl reserving about 2 tablespoons ( roughly a handful) of it back in the blender. The reserved batter will be blended with water to use for thickening the gravy later.
  2. Take a marble sized ball from the vada batter. Flatten it and place it on a steamer rack. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Steam for 12 minutes. Set aside.
  3. For the curry, heat a tablespoon of oil. Sauté the onions till it’s pink. Add the ginger garlic paste and mix it in. Add the tomatoes and all the spice powders and salt. Mix everything well and let it cook until the tomatoes are really mushy and almost like a paste. You can add a little water whenever it looks dry or if the curry starts sticking to the pan.
  4. At this point, add 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Taste test and adjust seasonings.
  5. Break each vada into smaller pieces, roughly 3-4 pieces per vada. Add the broken vada to the gravy. If the curry is dry, add more water. You are looking for a chili like consistency.
  6. To the reserved vada batter, add 1/4 cup water and grind to a very smooth paste. Add this to the gravy and bring it to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds if preferred. Taste test again and adjust seasonings if necessary. Take off the heat and serve with idli or dosa or even roti.

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Olive oil Pasta Salad

BM #105: Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Pasta Salads

For Day 3, it’s a very simple pasta salad. All it has is olive oil and some dried herbs. It’s my friend’s recipe and she has made it for us a couple of times. Shreyas really loves it. So I thought of blogging it here, that way I won’t forget about it later!

My friend uses dried Italian seasoning, but I have used a mix of various dried herbs. I mostly have oregano and basil, so many times that’s what I use. I add a good dose of freshly ground pepper when making this. I also add more vegetables– chopped tomatoes, zucchini and thawed corn are the usuals. But here I have done it that way my friend does with just broccoli.

To cook broccoli, you can toss it to the pasta pot when pasta is cooking. I usually add it at the last five minutes. This avoids overcooking. The broccoli floats on top, so it’s easy to take it out. I cook the whole pack of pasta and refrigerate it once cool. That way it’s easy for me to pack pasta for my son’s lunch with different sauces.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves 1


  • 1.5 cups cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar,optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a mixing bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice/vinegar if using and the seasonings.
  2. Toss in the pasta and broccoli florets. Mix everything and taste test to adjust seasonings.


    You can add more vegetables of your choice to the salad.
    The flavor is Better if the salad rests for an hour or two.

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Black Bean Pasta Salad

BM #105: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Pasta Salads

This is yet another recipe from my bookmarks, this again is from Pavani’s space. She had made this salad for one of the meets and I had gotten the recipe from her. I made the dressing from her space, but not the vegetables. My son is not a fan of pepper or onions, so I ended up adding corn and tomatoes.

The recipe is a summer salad that’s served chilled. That makes it a good choice for lunch boxes as my son can’t heat his lunch. The weather here is not so cold that we can’t have these kind of salads now and then.

Read on for the recipe.


For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad

  • 8 oz pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup thawed corn
  • 1 large tomato, chopped


  1. Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Drain. Set aside to let it cool.
  2. In a small bowl, mix everything for the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To a mixing bowl, add the pasta, drained black beans, chopped tomatoes, corn and then mix in the dressing. Taste test and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  4. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve.

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