Indian Food Recipes

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Toor Dal with Drumstick Vegetables (Indian Lentil Recipe) Recipe

If you're not familiar with drumsticks, they are long, thin, green pods commonly used in Indian cuisine. They are often used in sambar soup but they can also be a substitute for spinach or green beans in dal dishes.

I prepared toor dal, which is the most common lentil paired with drumsticks, although I've seen this dish prepared with mung beans and chana dal (garbanzo) as well. To guarantee optimum tenderness, I choose immature drumsticks at the market; otherwise they become a little too fibrous. When the lentils are soft and gravy-like, drumsticks are added. The drumsticks are chewed until all the artichoke-like texture is eaten, then the outer skin is discarded. If you can get your hands on some, give them a try. They're definitely out of the ordinary.


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Indian Style Black Eyed Pea Rice (Pulao Recipe) Recipe

Feeding a vegetarian crowd isn't as difficult as it may seem. I usually pair a legume with rice, which is the perfect balance for a vegetarian diet. I've been getting fresh black-eyed peas (also known as "cow peas") at the local stand, and instead of serving them as a boring bean salad, I incorporated them in a rice dish, flavored with Indian spices. I've made this dish in the past; it's called "pulao". Our family loves the burnt rice at the bottom of the pot, called "kurchan".

First, I sautéed black-eyed peas in onions, garlic, cider vinegar and red chili powder. They're very firm, so they take slightly longer to cook then the parboiled dried variety. I let them simmer until tender, then finished cooking them with steamed basmati rice and baby spinach.


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Indian Style Eggplant Appetizers (Baigan Bharta Puff Pastry Recipe) Recipe

I love eggplant, especially in the form of a spread. Baji, my husband's late grandmother used to make the best one, called baigan bharta. I still make this dish very often, but when I use it as a filling (as I did today) I tweak it with a few substitutions. Specifically, instead of using yogurt, I used cream cheese and blue cheese in the eggplant spread.

I created puff pastry appetizers that bake in no time and filled them with the yummy eggplant. I topped each savory tartlet with crumbled blue cheese as a reminder of the flavor and cilantro as garnish. I was lucky to have any left for pictures, because Lulu and the girls attacked them as soon as they came out of the oven. Whether you serve them in puff pastry or go the more traditional route and prepare a bowl along with some pita bread, it’ll be a hit at your house too.


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Pakora Curry (Dahi Besan Curry Recipe) Recipe

Pakora curry are fried dumplings made of a mixture of chickpea (besan) flour and spices soaked in a yogurt-based (dahi in Urdu) sauce. The dish is fairly easy to assemble.

It's one of my father-in-law's favorite dishes, and I was determined to learn how to make it. My husband Lulu's aunt, Sara, gave me the directions over the phone, so I was able to follow her step by step instructions. I served this curry with steamed basmati rice.


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Pulao Recipe (Indian Vegetable Rice) Recipe

Pulao is an Indian rice dish filled with sabji ("vegetables" in Urdu). In this version, I flavored the rice with only three vegetables: lima beans, carrots and green peas. Lima beans are packed with protein and are very filling. The combination of lima beans and rice makes a perfectly balanced meal for a vegetarian diet.

I served this one-dish meal family style with raita or chutney on the side. This weekend, we prepared a large pot and everything was gone at the end of lunch time! My favorite is the fried "burnt" rice at the bottom of the pot, called kurchan.


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