Dal Lentils Recipes

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Masoor Dal Recipe (Yellow Dal) Recipe

Masoor Dal Recipe (Yellow Dal)

09.12.10 by Jackie

Masoor dal is an Indian dish made with coral-colored lentils. Lentils are a very common ingredient in the Indian diet because they provide a great amount of protein for a vegetarian diet. The lentils are mixed with chopped tomatoes, turmeric, ginger garlic paste, onions and curry leaves, then slow-cooked at low temperature.

I think I mentionned that this last summer, we had a terrible planting season this year because of gopher infestations in our garden. We did get a few tomatoes from potted tomato plants Lulu added to the garden later in the season. I gathered that last little crop of Sweet 100 tomatoes and used them for the dal. The natural sweetness from the tomatoes works very well in the dish. It's a simple recipe but both tasty and healthy, and it's also ideal for a vegetarian diet. Serve the legume with a starch and a complete meal is ready.


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Chicken Kebab Burger Recipe

Chicken Kebab Burger

03.22.10 by Jackie

Chicken kebabs are both healthy and nutritious. The poultry is mixed with garbanzo beans and seasoned with Indian spices. I usually make this recipe when I have leftover chicken. We had company for dinner so I decided to make a complete meal out of them and serve them as burgers. I double-stacked 2 patties with tomato slices, cilantro, fresh mint, raita (Indian yogurt sauce), red onion and fried shallots.

The weather is getting clearer and sunnier by the day, so next time you think of a barbecue, you should consider making chicken shami kebabs (that's the real name of the dish). If you're planning a fancy dinner party, you could serve them as tapas. Bite-size burgers are getting very popular. Either way, you should definitely try this fresh take on an American classic.


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Toor Dal Recipe

Toor Dal

03.21.10 by Jackie

Toor dal is a staple dish in Indian cuisine. What I like the most about this dish is that no soaking is required. Like kali dal, the lentil dish is finished with baghar, which is a layer of melted ghee with fried darkened garlic cloves.

Toor dal is a great protein complement for a vegetarian diet when paired with a starch such as rice. Dal is a great way to bring a taste of India into your home.


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Kali Dal (Indian Black Lentils) Recipe

Kali Dal (Indian Black Lentils)

03.10.10 by Jackie

The flavor combination of kali dal ("black lentils" in Urdu) is simple: black lentils, ginger and a few chiles to enhance the flavors. In this case, simple is beautiful. The dal is finished with a hint of acidity and tartness with dried mango powder. It is both tasty and healthy, especially if you're on a vegetarian diet and need the protein.

Since I'm married to a vegetarian, I have had to educate myself about how to create nutritious meals that are meat-free. What I learned is that the basis of any well-balanced vegetarian meal is a starch and a legume. This isn't too surprising; almost every culture has a combination like this, be it rice and beans, rice and tofu or bread and chickpeas. I've personally come to really enjoy rice and dal, which is the Indian version of this combination. Black dal in particular have a wonderful earthy, complex flavor that is hard to describe and impossible to forget. At the very least, try them the next time you go to an Indian restaurant, or better yet, make them at home. It's definitely worth the effort.


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Beef Shami Kebab Recipe

Beef Shami Kebab

02.17.10 by Jackie

Shami kebabs are made with an abundance of fabulous spices, meat (beef, goat, lamb or chicken) and chana dal (dried garbanzo beans). The spices vary depending on whether they're from India (Lucknow or Hyderabad) or Pakistan. My husband Lulu's family is from Hyderabad. They're all meat-eaters, with the exception of my husband and father-in-law. So we often make this dish when we have family over for dinner.

These are not your average kebabs. The meat is cubed and cooked in a pressure cooker with chana dal, and once cooked, it's ground in a food processor with yogurt. The resulting mixture is formed into "hamburger" patties that can be frozen or seared, depending on when you plan on eating them.

I learned this recipe from Baji, Lulu's late grandmother. She was an excellent cook. When Lulu and I first got married, she was already giving us hints.

"Jackie, I'm going to teach you a meat specialty from my hometown. They're called Shami Kebabs; they're spiced hamburger patties. This recipe is a must-have when you two have little children. It's nutritious and easy for little ones to eat. Speaking of which, when are you going to give me great grand-children so I can feed these kebabs to them?"

I would always smile, nod and pretend I didn't hear the part about having kids. Don't get me wrong, we'd love to start a family, but the pressure was a little overwhelming. Lulu's grandmother isn't with us anymore, but I promise that I'll make this for my kids when I have them, assuming they don't become vegetarians like Lulu (fingers crossed).


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