Indian Cooking Recipes

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Lobia Dal Spiced Curry Recipe (Black Eyed Peas Curry) Recipe

First of all, I would like to send you my best wishes for the New Year, and i hope this week has started as well for you as it has for me. 

I've been extremely busy preparing for the promotion of my second cookbook, Banh Mi. As I mentioned last week, 2014 seems to be starting with a bang. I'm doing a Golden Globes Luxury Gifting Suite at the beginning of the year and copies of Banh Mi will be included in the celebrity "swag bags."  Celebrities will be photographed on the red carpet at the suite with the Banh Mi book and I will be serving a few dishes from my cookbook. I'm so excited!

For the first Meatless Monday of the new year, I went for a super easy Indian vegan dish called lobia dal. It's an especially simple lentil bean dish if you use frozen black eyed peas. The rest of the ingredients consist of chickpea flour (besan), cumin, chiles, tamarind and curry leaves. I served it with warm roti (Indian flat bread), gur (jaggery, which is palm sugar; it tastes similar to flavorful brown sugar) and garlic chutney to complete the meal. 



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Tomato Chana Dal Spiced Curry Recipe Recipe

I rarely make this dish because Daddy, my father-in-law, prefers chana dal without tomatoes. But today, I made an exception and prepared the gram lentils with the remaining San Marzano tomatoes we harvested from our vegetable garden. The weather has been incredibly hot lately in the Bay Area and a few tomatoes are still peaking daily. 

First, I boiled the soaked chanal dal until softened. Then I prepared a gravy using the tomatoes, mixed chopped onions and a bit of ginger. The marriage of the natural sweetness from the onions with the tanginess from the tomatoes works well. Once the thick sauce is ready, I added the chanal dal, drizzled a bit of water to thin the texture of the dish and added the signature Indian finishing touch of garam masala. Lulu and the girls absolutely loved it! Hopefully Daddy will come around as well.


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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 Sabzi Recipe: Spicy Butternut Squash Recipe

Spicy butternut squash sabzi is an Indian vegetable dish made with cumin seeds, fennel seeds, ground coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, sweet and sour ingredients (mango powder, lemon juice and sugar), butternut squash and its skin. I know what you're wondering. Yes, butternut squash skin is edible; it's just a matter of taste. I discovered this while learning to cook Indian food with Baji, my husband Lulu's late grandmother. If the skin is cooked long enough with a generous amount of water, it becomes soft and tender. The skin also helps prevent the squash from falling apart and turning all mushy.

Butternut squash sabzi is traditionally served with puri (fried flat bread). Baji tried teaching me how to make puri and all sorts of Indian flat bread, which I always failed at miserably. I find kneading and folding the dough very tricky, so usually I ask Lulu's aunt, Sheerin Auntie to make them for us. She was over recently so we got to enjoy a nice meal of puri and sabzi. Everyone should have their own Sheerin Auntie!


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