Spinach Dal

BM# 98: Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Cooking for Two

For Day 3 of Cooking for two theme, I am here with another simple recipe and a simple meal. Growing up, we never used to sit together at the dining table and eat a meal together. The dishes are left on the table and whenever you are hungry, you can go and serve yourself. Amma follows her body clock when it comes to hunger and appa follows the actual clock. I always wonder what would happen if we hide all the clocks…how will appa eat then?!

After my brother left home for work, he would visit us every month. It was during these visits that we started eating together as a family. He would insist on eating together and would wait until everyone is gathered at the table. Eating together, as we found out, was a wonderful experience and one which I sorely miss now.

In a typical Indian house, the woman eats last. For most part, this is because you would have cooked the exact number of servings and its a good idea to wait until everyone else has done eating. That way you know that the family has had enough food and you can finish off whatever is left. In most cases, there wont be enough leftover and the mother makes the sacrifice of eating rice without any curry on the side. Its something I have never understood. I always prefer making an extra serving so that everyone can sit together and enjoy a meal without worrying whether it will be sufficient for all or not. But that’s just me.

Anyway, here is a recipe I made for lunch today, cooked exactly for two people. My son is having his lunch at school and its only me and my husband for lunch. I decided to make it extra special by making a thogayal (a kind of chutney) and omelette too in addition to the ladies finger fry. My husband prefers rice but I had this meal with quinoa. Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup toor dal
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • a good pinch of hing
  • 1/2 medium tomato
  • 1 cup chopped spinach/palak
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Method:

  1. Wash toor dal couple of times till the water runs clear. Add this to a pressure cooker along with turmeric powder, hing and enough water so that there is about 1/2″ water on top of the submerged dal. Add roughly chopped onions, garlic and green chillies. Pressure cook for 6-8 whistles or until the dal is completely cooked and mushy. Let the pressure release naturally from the cooker. Mash the dal with a ladle so that its smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. Once it crackles, add chopped tomatoes and cook until its soft and mushy. Add the chopped spinach and salt as needed.
  3. Once the spinach is cooked, add the dal mix and half cup of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder, if you prefer more heat. Let it come to a boil. Taste test and adjust the seasonings. Simmer the dal for about 10 minutes and take off the heat.
  4. I served it with quinoa. I prepared an omelette, ladies finger fry and ridge gourd chutney to serve along with the dal.

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Fakies – Greek Lentil soup

BM# 97: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Flavors of Greece

I was browsing the book Greek Revival, Cooking for life for recipes and stumbled upon this one. This is a very easy, basic traditional soup. The lentil is the main ingredient here, you can use brown or green. The choice of vegetables can be changed according to your preference. The author mentions that something sour- like lemon juice, yogurt or vinegar- is added to Greek lentil soups at the time of serving. It’s a good idea to leave these condiments on the table and let the guests choose for themselves.

The recipe is fairly basic. All it needs is onion, tomatoes and carrots. As I mentioned earlier, you can add vegetables of your choice too. I decided to stick with the recipe on the book. The flavor is simple and it’s easy to put together. I made it easier by cooking the lentils ahead. Serve with some bread to soak up the soup and it’s a healthy and delicious meal indeed!

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 carrots, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced or 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry whole lentils
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups water
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Plain yogurt for serving

Method:

  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onions and carrots. Once the onions are soft, add the tomatoes, ground coriander and cumin. Stir and cook for a cook of minutes.
  2. Add 4 cups of water. Cover and bring it to a boil. Add the lentils. Bring it to a boil again, reduce heat. Cover and let it simmer for 1.5 hours until the beans are cooked. I cooked the beans separately in pressure cooker, so I reduced the cooking time to ten minutes for the flavors to blend. Add parsley and let it cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Serve hot with bread. Add a dollop of yogurt or lemon juice to the soup at the time of serving.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#97

Githeri – Kenyan Bean and Maize dish

BM# 96: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Southern Hemisphere

Like I mentioned yesterday, I landed up in the Kenyan Masala tea recipe when I was checking out a recipe for Githeri. Githeri is a Kenyan dish with maize (white corn) and beans and a bunch of vegetables. The vegetables and even the kind of beans can be customized to your preference.

I read about the recipe first at Mireille’s blog and then visited Mayuri’s blog where Mireille had originally chosen the recipe from. This recipe uses white corn and not yellow corn. Mireille has suggested canned white hominy or Choclo Corn (South American white corn) for this. I used the canned white hominy for this.

I used black beans (that’s what I had today), but you can use black eyed peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, butter beans or a mix of whatever kind you have in your pantry. The choice of vegetables are left to you. Mayuri mentions that for Starchy vegetables, potatoes, plantains, sweet potatoes, yuca are commonly used. The consistency can also be adjusted to your preference. Some of the recipes I looked at mentioned adding coconut milk or cream, but I didn’t add any today.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves : 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight and cooked separately
  • 1 cup white corn
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1″ piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (or puréed)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • About 15 beans, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 cup of spinach, roughly chopped
  • Salt and water as needed

Method:

  1. Soak the beans overnight and cook it separately. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add chopped ginger, garlic and onions. Sauté until the onions turn slightly brown. Add the tomatoes, salt and the spices. Mix well and cover and cook until the tomatoes are very soft and mushy.
  3. Add the beans, maize, diced potatoes, carrots and beans. Add 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot and cook for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are done.
  4. If needed, add 1 (or even more) cup of water if it is too thick. Add the spinach and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Taste test for salt and adjust if needed. Serve hot!

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Dal dhokli

1dal_dhokli

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.

2dal_dhokli

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.

4dal_dhokli
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