Turmeric Recipes

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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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Scrambled Tofu and Kimchi Recipe

Scrambled Tofu and Kimchi

01.14.10 by timran

Using the kimchi from yesterday's post, I made a dish today for true vegetarians and vegans like my Aunt Elise. She is a monk from Vietnam who's currently visiting us, and one of her favorite meals is mock scrambled eggs with kimchi.  The mock scrambled eggs are actually scrambled boiled tofu. Today, I made mine with turmeric and green onions.

The fluffiness of the tofu complements the salty flavor of the kimchi well. Lulu's New Year's resolution has been to exercise and live a healthier life. He's enrolled at the gym and has been going regularly. My way of supporting his effort is by making quick, healthy meals and snacks that are tasty and good for him.


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Scrambled Tofu (An Amazing Egg Substitute) Recipe

Today, Lulu worked from home. I wanted us to have a light lunch together but I felt too lazy to make a fancy meal. I was craving scrambled eggs with salsa and some home-made chorizo on a bagel but of course, once more, I had to create a vegetarian alternative for Lulu.

Since we got married, I've tested lots of varieties of tofu. One type is perfect for simulating scrambled eggs. I add turmeric powder to give the product a yellow hue. It's really hard to tell the difference between it and real scrambled eggs.  Best of all, it tastes great and takes almost no time to make.


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Sabudana Khichdi (Indian Sago and Potato Snack) Recipe

Sabudana khichdi is a dish that is popular in the state of Maharashtra in India. Sabudana refers to the sago (tapioca) pearls that are used in this dish, and khichdi roughly translates to "hodgepodge".  Every region in India has their own version of khichdi, usually made with rice and lentils.

This particular version is often eaten after fasts. It's also a very popular breakfast dish. I like this dish because sago is a fairly exotic ingredient, and I don't get to cook with it very often. 

The challenge is in preparing the sago properly. Make sure to buy your sago from an Indian store; I've tried to make it with sago from the Asian market and it didn't turn out properly. When it turns out right, the cooked sago melts in your mouth, and the spices and curry leaves that the potatoes cook in is beyond heavenly.


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