Indian Cooking Recipes

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Sambhar Recipe (Indian Soup) Recipe

Sambhar Recipe (Indian Soup)

11.08.10 by Jackie

Sambhar is a South Indian dish made of toor dal, vegetables, turmeric powder, curry leaves, tamarind, cinnamon sticks, whole dried red chiles, cilantro, roasted coriander seeds and other Indian spices. It resembles a soup; and is often served alongside idli (rice cakes) or dosa (Indian crêpe).

To make my version of sambhar, I start by boiling toor dal with a lot of vegetables, such as Indian eggplant, drumsticks, okra, carrots, turnips, pumpkin, sweet potatoes or Idaho potatoes and tomatoes, shallots and onions. Then I let the vegetables simmer until the lentils are cooked through.

If you’ve ever had sambhar at an Indian restaurant and wanted to make it at home, now you can. It’s very easy, healthy and filling.

Drumstick Recipe with Picture
Drumsticks.


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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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Chana Masala Recipe (Chole) Recipe

Chana Masala Recipe (Chole)

04.17.10 by Jackie

Chana masala, also known as chole, is my father-in-law's favorite Indian dish. It is a very common dish sold by street vendors in India. Daddy is a vegetarian like Lulu, so the garbanzo bean-based dish is perfect for their diet. Garbanzo beans are full of protein and make a complete dish when paired with a starch such as rice -in the case of this dish- a bhatura. The beans are cooked in thick, spicy tomato-based gravy and finished with amchur, a dried mango powder which lends a sour note to the garbanzo beans.

As I mentioned, chole is traditionally served with bhatura. If you're not familiar with Indian cuisine, bhaturas are deep-fried bread rounds. They are similar to, but slightly larger than puris, which I love. I'll post that recipe soon.


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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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Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi) Recipe

Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi)

02.23.10 by Jackie

If you're familiar with French pâtes de fruit or fudge, you'll want to try the Indian / Middle Eastern equivalent,  called halwa. Halwa literally means "sweet" in Arabic. It can be made with different ingredients such as carrots, pumpkin, yams, beets, semolina and many types of beans, lentils or nuts.

Daddy (my father-in-law) had a craving for some chana dal halwa, so my mother-in-law made several batches this weekend. To the chana dal, she added roasted cashew nuts (Kaju in Urdu) for flavor and texture. This particular recipe also calls for a large quantity of clarified butter, or gheeGhee is popular in Indian cuisine and can be found at almost any Indian grocery store. This dessert is definitely not low fat or low calorie, but the taste and texture are extraordinary. Store-bought halwa cannot compare.

We made a huge batch and stored them in tins in the refrigerator. The girls placed the sweet candy in cellophane gift bags and tied a pretty bow around them to give away to their friends and teachers. Whether  or not you decide to share the dessert with others, you should definitely find time to make some. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded.


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