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.

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Beans porial with fennel seeds

BM #105: Week 3, Day 1
Theme : Easy side dishes for rice/roti

Rice is the staple dish for South Indians. We serve it everyday for lunch and even for dinner some days. Rice is served along with a gravy like sambar and a vegetable on the side. The sambar and the prepared vegetable are different everyday to keep the food interesting.

Beans is usually prepared once a week. I usually stir fry the beans and once cooked add shredded coconut on top and call it a day. But I was served this version which had ground fennel seeds and I loved the flavor. So now I have a small batch of ground fennel seeds at home, just to make this particular dish. This also starts off with sautéed onions and tomatoes as the base, again a deviation from normal for me. You can replace green beans with the yardlong beans/ karamani beans too.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: My friend Purnima

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups of cut green beans (about 1/2″ long pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • Method:
    1. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and once it has stopped popping, add the onions. Sauté until the onions turn pink. Now add the chopped tomatoes. Mix it in and add the spice powders and salt. Cover and cook in medium to low heat, until the tomatoes are mushy.
      Add the chopped beans. Mix it in and cover and cook, stirring in between, until the beans are done. You might have to sprinkle a little water if the curry sticks to the bottom of the pan. Taste test and adjust the seasonings, if preferred.
      Turn off the heat. Now add the crushed fennel seeds and mix it in. Cover and set aside. Serve with rice and sambar of your choice.

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    Palak Paneer

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    Palak paneer is one of my son’s favorite dishes and that is an achievement indeed. He hates rice, but when I think about it, even I wasn’t a big fan of rice or  koottu or most South Indian foods at his age  . I wouldn’t protest since I didn’t know any better, but I didn’t exactly love the food I was served either. And look at me now…I love all foods and South Indian is my favorite. So maybe it’s just a game of not giving up now and feeding him even though he eats with a look of martyrdom and a loud sigh. And hope that he will learn to love it as time passes by.

    But some recipes are his favorites. Palak paneer is one of those. Even if you serve it with rice, there are no complaints. There is obvious delight and no questions are asked. I won’t say that I make it regularly, but I do make it at least once a month. Don’t want to jinx the special status of the dish by making it regularly. 

    I used to try my friend’s recipe for a long time, but now found another recipe at this site and that’s what I have been making for the past couple of times. Basically it’s spinach cooked with ginger, green chilies, garlic and onion. A few more items and the dish is complete. Palak paneer is a mild dish and you usually don’t add a lot of spice powders, letting the spinach shine over everything else. 

    Read on for the recipe. This serves about 4-5 people. 

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    Serves 4-5 people

    Ingredients:

    • 1 Tablespoon ghee
    • 1/2 teaspoon jeera
    • 1″ piece of ginger, chopped fine
    • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 2 green chilies, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 medium tomato, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or per taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder 
    • A pinch of ground nutmeg 
    • 1/4 cup thick yogurt, optional
    • 2 bunches of spinach, about 600gms, chopped roughly 
    • 200 gms paneer 
    • 2-3 tablespoons of cream, optional

    Method:

    1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of jeera seeds. Once it changes color, add 1″ piece of chopped ginger, couple of chopped green chillies and 3-4 crushed or chopped garlic cloves. Once this turns golden in color, add one roughly chopped medium onion. Sauté until it turns pink. 
    2. Chop and add one medium tomato to the sautéed onions. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the spices – 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, a pinch of ground nutmeg and salt as needed. Cook for a further minute or two. 
    3. Add 1/4 cup of yogurt and mix well. You can switch off the heat and let the curry cool a bit before adding the yogurt if you want. I didn’t do that. 
    4. Add 3 bunches of spinach, about 750 gms, that’s roughly chopped and cook until it shrinks in size and is wilted. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Take off the heat and let it cool down. 
    5. Purée this mixture in a blender. Now add it back to the pan and bring it to a slow simmer. Add the cubed paneer pieces as well and let it cook together for a few minutes. You can add a few tablespoons of cream if you wish. Take off the heat and serve hot with chapati or jeera rice. 

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    Mixed Vegetable Curry

    Me and Harry love to eat out. On Friday night, I close down the kitchen and open it only on Sundays. Coffee is the only thing served on weekends.

    Friday nights are, well, Friday nights and deserve a break from the routine. Saturdays are for grocery shopping, and after lugging home kilos and kilos of necessary and unnecessary stuff  from the supermarket, there won’t be any mood or energy to cook.

    Driving in this heat and traffic is hardly a happy venture, so we always end up going to the restaurants nearby. Being a vegetarian, our choices are cramped to one fourth of a page in the menu card. After trying out every single recipe there, the food becomes repetitive and boring. Not to mention that they serve us more oil in one single meal than what we use for the whole week. End result – a very heavy tummy and a very light purse.

    Anyway, we found that we are eating more at home than we used to, on weekends, especially after I started this blog. And why should we not – when I am making something as awesome as this Mixed Vegetable Curry at home – healthy, non greasy and ready under 30 minutes?

    As part of Blog Hop Wednesdays, I was assigned to Divya’s awesome blog this week. A new blog is assigned to you every alternate week and we have to prepare something from that blog. Kind of a social mingling for blogs and bloggers, as I am seeing so many blogs than I would have otherwise. I went through all the recipes in Divya’s blog and finally zeroed down on her Mixed Vegetable Curry. I have doubled the quantity and made slight variations.

    Ingredients:

    • Mixed Vegetables     : 2 cups (Potatoes, Capsicum, beans, carrot, peas etc)
    • Onions                           : 2, chopped fine
    • Tomatoes                     : 2, chopped fine
    • Green Chilis                 : 2, or per taste
    • Ginger garlic paste   :  2 tsp
    • Milk                                :  2 tbsp
    • Almonds/Cashews   : 4-5
    • Red Chili Powder      : 1-2 tsp
    • Turmeric Powder     : 1/2 tsp
    • Coriander Powder    : 1-2 tsp
    • Salt to taste

    Method:

    1. Soak the almonds or cashews in milk. Keep aside.
    2. Cut the vegetables into 1″ cubes. Cover and microwave for 4-5 minutes or till they are 80% cooked.
    3. Heat oil in a pan, add the onions, tomatoes,green chillis and the ginger garlic paste. Saute till its completely cooked. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and let it cool slightly.
    4. Once its cool, add the almonds/cashews along with the milk. Blend everything together.
    5. In the same pan, bring the ground paste to a boil, add the cooked vegetables and the garam masala. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes or till the vegetables are done. Check and adjust the seasonings.
    6. If desired, heat a tsp of ghee in a small pan and add half tsp of cumin seeds to it. Pour it over the vegetable curry before serving.

    Note:

    Please visit Divya’s blog to see the original recipe.

    You can skip the cashews or almonds, you will have to substitute the milk with cream/malai for getting a thick gravy.

    Check out here to see what other Wednesday Hoppers have made. Hats off to Radhika, for organizing this wonderful event.

    Restaurant owners in and around: Do not despair, we haven’t stopped going out completely. We remain your faithful customers. Though I love my pots and pans very much, I love being pampered now and then too.

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