Sunday, July 26, 2015

Brown Lentils with Black Cardamom

Brown Lentils / Kala Masoor Dal - 1 cup
Water - 2 1/2 cups
White Onion - 1/3 cup, finely chopped
Cumin Seeds / Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Green Chili - a couple, finely chopped
Bay Leaf - 2
Ginger - 1 inch, grated
Black Cardamom - 2 pods, using a mortar and pestle roughly crush the seeds
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 2 tsp

Cilantro, lemon juice and sliced red onion for serving

In a small pressure cooker, heat the oil and ghee together. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, grated ginger, green chili and crushed cardamom seeds.

Then add the chopped onion and cook till soft.

Add the washed lentils and some salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. You can add a little sprinkle of cumin powder if desired, but not necessary. Then add the water, close cooker and cook over low heat for 2 full pressure whistles.

Alternatively, if the lentil is already cooked beforehand, just add it to the spices and the sautéed onion, add a cup of water and bring it to boil for a few minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, add a dash of lemon juice and serve hot with sliced red onion.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Instant Tomato Pickle

Fresh Tomato - 2 lbs
Oil - 2 tbsp
Tamarind - 2 tsp
Jaggery / Date Palm Sugar - 2 tbsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Methi / Fenugreek Powder -1 tsp (optional)
White Vinegar - 2 tbsp. (optional)

Oil - 2 tbsp.
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Methi / Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dried Whole Red Chili - 1
Curry Leaves - 10 (optional)
Garlic Cloves - 10, smashed in a mortar pestle

Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add the oil. Add the tomatoes and cook on high heat for a few minutes. Then reduce the heat, add jaggery and cook the tomatoes for around 20 to 25 minutes till they are completely cooked and oil begins to float on top. Remove from heat and add the dry tamarind, red chili powder, salt and methi powder. Mix well. If desired, you can also add 2 tbsp. of white vinegar. If you want a smooth paste, you can cool and run this mixture in the blender. I wanted some texture, so I left it as it is.

Heat a small pan and add 2 to 3 tbsp. of oil. Add mustard seeds, methi seeds, curry leaves, whole red chili and garlic cloves. Cook till the cloves slightly change color and curry leaves get crunchy.

Remove from heat and add this to the tomato mixture. Mix well, cool completely, transfer to a clean glass jar and refrigerate. Goes well with dosa and parathas. Should stay fresh in the fridge for a month.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Ginger Peach Sauce

Fresh Peaches - 2 cups, roughly chopped
Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp.
Fresh Ginger - 1/2 tsp, minced
Arrowroot / Cornstarch - 2 tbsp.
Water - 1 tbsp
Raw Honey - 3 tbsp. (depending on the sweetness of peaches)
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp

For Serving:
Pound cake or any other cake - a few slices
Butter - 1 tbsp, melted

In a medium saucepan, combine peaches, ginger, lemon juice, water together and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium low and allow it to cook until peaches are fork tender, around 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir the water and arrowroot together and add it slowly to the simmering peaches and stir until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat and cool.

To serve, brush the pound cake slices with butter and grill on a pan for about a minute on each side. Serve the peach sauce on top.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tomato Bell Pepper Salad

Tomato - 1 or a handful of cherry tomatoes (preferably heirloom variety or homegrown), chopped
Green Bell Pepper - 1, finely chopped (preferably from farmers market or homegrown)
Red Onion - 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Cucumber - 1, chopped
Cilantro - a handful, chopped
Green Chili - 1, deseeded and finely chopped
Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp
Pink Himalayan Salt - 1/4 tsp

Mix all the above together and keep in the refrigerator for at least half an hour before serving.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Savory Lentil Crepe

Green Mung Beans - 1 cup
Urad Dal / Black Gram - 1 cup
Onion - 1/2 cup, very finely chopped
Cilantro - a handful, finely chopped
Green Chilies - 4, finely chopped
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Red Chili Powder - 1/4 tsp
Fresh Ground Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Ginger Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - To Taste
Olive Oil

Soak the Mung Beans and Urad Dal together in plenty of water for at least 6 hrs or overnight.

Drain the lentils, wash with clean water and blend it into a smooth batter with  little water till it is smooth and fluffy. Add salt to taste and mix well with hand and keep the batter, loosely covered (or covered with a cling with a small hole on top), inside a cool oven to ferment for 8 hours.

After the batter has fermented, add black pepper, cumin powder, turmeric, chili powder, ginger powder, green chilies, chopped cilantro, chopped onion, a little water to make a pancake like batter. The thinner the batter, the crispier will be the crepe.

Heat an iron skillet. Brush with oil and pour a ladle full of the batter. Spread with the back of the ladle. Add a few drops of oil to the edges of the crepe.

Cook till the bottom browns. Flip and cook on the other side till brown and crisp. Serve with your favorite chutney or pickle.

Adapted from


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cauliflower with Green Bell Pepper

Cauliflower - 1/2 head, cut into small florets
Green Bell Pepper / Capsicum - 1 small, thinly sliced
Yukon Gold Potato - 1 small, thinly sliced (Optional)
Frozen Green Peas - 1/4 cup
Ginger - 1 inch, grated
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Red Chili powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida - a pinch
Bay Leaf - 1
Green chilies - 2
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
Aamchur (dried mango powder) - 1 tsp

Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Immediately add half the cumin seeds, cauliflower and potato(if using). Toss on high heat for a few minutes. Add salt and turmeric powder. Once the vegetables start taking on color, keep aside. (This step can also be omitted and cauliflower and potato can be added directly after tempering the oil with the spices and ginger).

In the same pan, add another tbsp of oil and temper with cumin seeds, hing, bay leaf and green chilies. Add grated ginger and the dry spices and cook on low for a few minutes.

Now add half cooked cauliflower florets and potato slices, sliced green pepper and frozen peas and salt and toss well with the spices. Add half cup of water and cover and cook till the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle water in between if required.

Once the vegetables are cooked, mix the aamchur powder, toss and serve hot.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Lemon Quinoa

Quinoa - 1 cup, cooked
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida - a pinch
Whole dries red chilies - 2
Green Chilies - 2
Ginger - 1 inch, grated
Curry Leaves - 6
Urad Dal / Black Gram - 3 tbsp.
Roasted Chana Dal / Dalia - a handful
Roasted Peanuts - a handful
Roasted Cashewnuts - a handful
Juice of one lemon
Turmeric - a pinch
Ghee / Clarified Butter - 1 tbsp

Heat ghee in a pan. Temper with mustard seeds, hing and red chilies.

Then add the ginger and urad dal and stir till the dal becomes light brown.

Add the turmeric, roasted chana dal, green chilies and curry leaves. Then add all the nuts. Stir for a minute.

Add the lemon juice and the cooked quinoa. Mix everything well, toss for a minute more and serve hot.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Rice Noodles with Tom Yum Dressing

Rice noodles - a handful, cook as per direction, drain and keep aside
Mixed Vegetables - carrots, bell peppers, onion, etc, cut into thin slices
Fresh Shrimp / defrosted Shrimp - a cup
Eggs - 4
Olive Oil - 3 tbsp.
Turmeric - a pinch
Cayenne Pepper - a pinch
Cilantro - a handful, chopped

For Yom Yum Dressing:
Soy Sauce - 2 tsp
Fish sauce - 1 tbsp.
lime Juice / white vinegar - 1 tbsp.
Coconut Palm Sugar / Jaggery - 2 tsp
Garlic Cloves - 4
Ginger - 1 inch
Lemongrass - 2 inch
Red Thai Chilies - 5 or Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Keffir leaves - a couple
Cherry Tomatoes - 5 (optional)
Blend everything together to make a smooth paste

In a large pan, add a tbsp. of oil and scramble the eggs. Remove and keep aside. In the same pan, add the fresh shrimp, a little salt, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook till the shrimp is done. Keep aside.

Add 1 tbsp. oil and cook the vegetables on high heat till they are done but still crisp. Remove and keep aside.

Add the remaining oil and the tom yum paste. Cook for a few minutes till the raw garlic smell reduces. Now add the cooked noodles, vegetables, shrimp and egg together. Mix well and cook for a minute more.

Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and serve hot.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Spicy Fish Stew / Machher Jhal

Small fish steaks - 6, I used Fresh Bronzini
Mustard oil - 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Garlic Clove - 2 cloves, minced
Ginger - 1/2 inch, grated
White Onion - 1 small, thinly sliced
Tomato - 1, chopped
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Powder - 1/4 tsp
Cilantro - a handful, chopped

Apply turmeric and salt to the fish pieces and marinate for a couple of minutes. Heat mustard oil in a small wok and shallow fry the fish pieces in batches till they are light brown on both sides. Keep aside

In the same pan, add a tbsp of mustard oil or a mix of mustard oil and olive oil. Add the minced garlic, ginger, green chili and then the sliced onion. Sprinkle some salt cook till the onion starts to caramelize.

Then add the turmeric, red chili powder, cinnamon, cumin and coriander powder and chopped tomato. (the dry spices can also be mixed in a little water and then added along with the tomato). Cook till the tomato is mushy and well done.

Now add 1 cup of water and salt to taste. Cover and cook till the gravy thickens slightly. Add the fried fish steaks and cover and cook for a minute or so till the gravy becomes dryish.

Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and serve hot with steamed rice.