Showing posts with label lentils. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lentils. Show all posts

Apr 23, 2016

Bibi's Paruppu (South Indian Style Dal)


Every region of the Indian Subcontinent has their own unique way of preparing dal. South Indian dal preparations often feature curry leaves and coconut. I've tasted various versions of paruppu at restaurants and served as a first course at South Indian weddings. In this dish I've paired masoor dal's velvety texture with rich coconut cream, aromatic spices, and the zing of lime juice. Serve with steamed rice, rasam, papads, buttermilk, or whatever South Indian dish you love.

coconut masoor dal easy simple recipe paruppu

I make no claims that this dish is authentic in any way. It is very tasty though. I made this recipe up after tasting a similar dish at a South Indian restaurant in Delhi. I love anything coconut and the brightness of curry leaves in a dish. Unfortunately, coconuts and curry leaves are rarely available in Nepal. So I've used canned coconut cream in this dal for richness, along with cilantro and lime juice in to brighten up the flavors as fresh curry leaves would do.


Ingredients:
3 TBS coconut oil or ghee
1/2 C onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp black mustard/rai seeds
1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
1/2 tsp fennel/saunf seeds
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 tomato, diced finely
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 C masoor dal/red lentils, rinsed thoroughly
3 TBS coconut cream
3 TBS fresh cilantro/dhania, leaves and stems chopped finely
2 tsp salt
1 TBS lime juice (optional)

Here's what to do:
1) In a large stock pot heat coconut oil or ghee with 1 tsp salt. Fry onions until just beginning to brown.  Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds. Fry for 2 minutes.


2) Add garlic, ginger, tomatoes, green chilis, Kashmiri mirch, and turmeric. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until tomatoes soften.


 3) Add masoor dal, coconut cream, 1 tsp salt, cilantro, and 4 cups water, stir well and bring to boil.


4) Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 40 minutes to an hour or until dal is to desired tenderness. Stir every 10 minutes or so to make sure dal is not sticking to the bottom. Add water if necessary until dal is to preferred consistency. Stir in lime juice if using, salt to taste and serve.

Helpful Hints:

This recipe can also be made with urad dal or in a pressure cooker also.

I've got a lov-e-ly bunch of coconuts!

An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:




Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

Feb 19, 2016

Nepali Rahar Dal (Curried Pigeon Peas)

The national dish of Nepal is Dal Bhat and consists of a huge serving of steamed white rice (bhat) and a healthy helping of cooked lentils (dal). A common greeting in Nepal is "Bhat-kyo?" which literally means "Have you eaten rice today?" There are many different dals that can be prepared in several different ways. This is a simple and tasty recipe for dal made with split pigeon peas which are called rahar in Nepali, but are called toor or toovar dal in India.

Nepali Rahar Dal curried pigeon peas easy vegetarian lentil recipe

This recipe is so easy to make and is a family favorite in our house. Traditionally, Nepalis would serve this with rice, a serving of tarkaari (vegetables), a chutney or two, and perhaps some acchaari (pickles). This dish also makes for a delicious Autumn meal when served as a soup with a crusty slice of buttered bread in Western fashion also.

Ingredients:
1&1/2 C split pigeon peas/toor dal/rahar dal
3 TBS ghee or cooking oil
1/2 C onion, diced finely
2 tsp ginger/adrak paste
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely (omit for less heat)
1 cassia leaf/tej patta
1&1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
3 cloves/laung
1 inch piece cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
2 tsp salt
6-8 C water
1 TBS lime juice (optional)

Here's what to do:
1) Heat ghee or cooking oil over medium heat in a large stock pot or pressure cooker. Fry onions until  just beginning to brown. Add ginger, garlic, and green chilis and fry for 3-4 minutes or until raw smell has left garlic. Add cassia leaf, cumin seeds, cloves, and cassia bark and fry for 2 minutes.

All the spices are tempered.
2) Add turmeric, salt, and pigeon peas to pot. If using pressure cooker add enough water so that dal is covered by at least 2 inches, seal and allow to steam for 4-5 whistles. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow to cool. (If cooking on burner with stock pot add enough water so that dal mixture is covered by 4 inches and bring to a boil over medium heat. Allow to simmer until dal is are tender, usually about one and a half hours. Stir frequently and add more water if necessary.) When dal is to preferred consistency stir in lime juice, salt to taste and serve.

Add turmeric, salt, pigeon peas and a lot of water.
Helpful Hints:
I would really recommend cooking this in a pressure cooker or crock pot/slow cooker as it takes such a long time to cook on top of the stove.

Our neighbor Ganga says "Ramro!" which means "Excellent!" in Nepali.

Feb 8, 2016

Ingredient of the Week: What's The Deal With Dal?

Dal is any type of split or hulled lentil, pea, or beanThe word "dal" derives from the Sanskrit root "dhal" meaning "to split." It is a staple food across South Asia and most often cooked into a variety of regional soups and stews. Dal is usually served with rice and wheat flatbreads such as roti or chapatti. In combination with rice and or wheat, dal provides the essential amino acids to form a complete protein. "Dal Bhat" (literally translated from Hindi, Urdu and Nepali means "dal and rice") is a daily meal for most people in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. Dal is a healthy and affordable source of vegetarian protein as well as a good source of B vitamins, iron and zinc.


The famous dishes of the Subcontinent made with dal are many and varied- There's sambar, vada, ven pongal, and pappu in South India. Oriya and bori dried dumplings in East India. Dhansak, dal makhani, and dal paratha in North India. Mussyang is a popular Nepali dish made from several dals of different colors. Even sweets such as burfi and laddoos are made of certain dals.


The most common way to prepare dal- Simply boil it with a pinch of turmeric and perhaps some onion, garlic, asafoetida/hing, tomatoes, tamarind, or even green mango depending on regional and individual tastes. After the dal is cooked a fried garnish called a "tadka/tarka" or "chaunk" is often added. The chaunk or tadka/tarka is usually raw spices along with garlic, ginger and or onion which are tempered by frying and then poured over the dal. (In case you are interested "chaunk" is pronounced "tsonk" with heavy aspiration on the "ts.")

Common varieties of dal-


Masoor dal - hulled red lentils

Mmm...these are my favorite!
They cook down to a velvety soup.


Mattar dal - split yellow peas

Yep, they're split peas!


Urad dal- black or green mung beans, hulled or split

Split unhulled "urad dal" or mung beans
Hulled "urad dal"


Toor, toovar, or arhar dal- split pigeon peas

Sort of like split peas but with more of a nutty flavor.

Rajma- any sort of red bean from kidney beans to pinto beans

Kidney beans are "rajma"
Pinto beans are "rajma" too


Chana or Chole- Varieties of chickpeas from "kala chana" or "chhola boot" to "Kabuli chana." Chana dal can also be ground to a fine flour called "besan." Besan or gram flour is used in many things from sweets like laddoos and barfi to pakora batters. These South Asian varieties of chickpeas or gabanzo beans are a bit smaller than those seen most often in western countries. Very similar in flavor and texture though.

Dark colored "kala chana"  or "chhola boot"
Light colored "Kabuli chana"or chole
This is ground chickpea flour, also called "besan," "baeshun," or "gram flour." Besan is great for thickening soups & gravies, making crispy pakoras, laddoos, barfi, bhajis, frittters, noodles called "sev," chela, puda, you can even make cookies with it. It's gluten free and has 20 grams of protein per cup.


And that concludes my dissertation on dal for today!

Keep calm and curry on.

Our Daily Dal (Mixed Lentils)

masoor toor dal split peas recipe

Dal is the comfort food of South Asia. Mixed hulled or split lentils and peas of all sorts are cooked to a soup like consistency and served with steaming white rice, pickles/acchaari, a fresh chutney/chatni, a serving of sabzi/vegetables, and perhaps some roti or pappadums. Dal is a healthy, affordable, protein and fiber rich staple of South Asian cuisines. This is our usual recipe, it's super simple and very tasty.

Ingredients:
2 TBS ghee or cooking oil
1/2 C onion, diced finely
2 green chilis, chopped
1 tomato, finely diced
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2tsp paprika + 1/2tsp cayenne)
1 C masoor dal/red lentils
1/2 C chana dal/split yellow peas
1/2 C moong dal/hulled green gram
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) In a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat ghee or cooking oil. Fry diced onion until translucent.

2) Add tomatoes, green chilis, garlic paste, and salt while continuing to fry for 3 more minutes or until tomatoes are softened. Stir in Kashmiri mirch and turmeric powder, fry for 2 minutes.


3) Add dals to frying mixture plus 8 C water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes. Stir about every 10 minutes to make sure no dal sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add more water if necessary.
Looks a little watery at this stage.
4) If dal is to desired thickness, salt to taste and your dal is ready. If you wish your dal to be thinner, add more water. If you wish your dal to be thicker continue cooking until liquid evaporates to desired consistency. The mattar dal/split yellow peas are supposed to remain a bit chewy while the masoor dal/red lentils and moong dal/hulled green gram turn velvety smooth.
The dal is done!
Helpful Hints:
Here in South Asia we have to rinse dals thoroughly and look for insects, pebbles, twigs, or stems. I learned this the HARD way (pun intended). Please use your discretion as to whether your dal needs cleaning.

I would not recommend cooking this type of dal in a pressure cooker. Tiny particles of masoor dal can clog the steam vent leading to a possible explosion. I've never heard of this actually happening but that's what it said in the booklet that came with my pressure cooker.


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