Tag Archives: desi

Introducing: Indian meal recipes + Granny’s Green Masala Masoor daal

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My journey in the culinary world started with Baking. Yes, BAKING! Neither chopping vegetables, nor with a simple salads. Nope, I did not help in cooking. I dived straight into baking, head first. And I loved every bit of it.

I was young, naive and also not the one responsible for preparing our daily meals. Our meals did not involve baking. It was mostly rice, curry, vegetables and something fried on the side, like fish. It was simple and nourishing. I couldn’t be intrigued, it was the food I grew up eating. I honestly didn’t find it interesting to even attempt to understand it better. I said I was young and naive, so just stay with me here and don’t roll your eyes.

At that time, I was still studying and Baking was my ‘extra curricular activity’. A hobby that I engaged in to keep occupied in my spare time. Although a hobby, it meant a lot to me, A LOT! and still does.

As I continued this journey, I discovered the world of blogging. I connected with bloggers. I also met people who blogged about regular/ daily home cooking. Simple soul-food, comforting and nourishing. Back then I wouldn’t have used these words to describe it. But anyways, I wondered why would someone blog about Indian home cooking, don’t we all know it already. Truth is, I didn’t. And what I didn’t know is that years later I would be the one struggling, frantically making calls back home and jotting down recipes and going back and forth these blogs to prepare a meal. Blogs, which feature regional Indian curry, rice and vegetables, turned out to be my lifesaving grace.

Initially, it was just to put some food on the table and later to beat the monotony, that I started trying out different recipes. Who knew there would be a thousand different ways to make daal? Ok, that’s exaggerating, but you get the drift. Indian food, as complex as it may seem in terms of flavours, is equally challenging in terms of techniques. How thin in consistency should the neer dosa batter be ? or how long should you leave the idli batter to ferment? These are somethings you learn only by doing. It all takes time and practice to get it right.

So while I have started stalking family members in the kitchen each time I visit my country, I am also going to share with you some of these recipes here. These are mostly my family heirloom recipes, recipes that they adopted from other sources, some traditional manglorean recipes, recipes that are successful attempts of my experiments, recipes that might help someone somewhere stuck in a dilemma regarding what to cook for the next meal. I will document these recipes under the ‘Indian Meals’ tab.

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Since you have been so patiently reading, I will leave here the first recipe. It’s something my grand mother used to prepare often and one of my favourites.

Green Masala Masoor Daal

Step 1: Cook the Daal

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Whole masoor daal (Whole red lentils)  1/2 cup
Onion 1 medium, chopped
Tomato 1 medium, chopped
Oil 1 1/2-2 tbsp
Salt to taste

In a heated pressure cooker, add oil and saute the onions till translucent. Next, add the tomato, salt.Add the daal and sufficient water (almost 2 inches above the daal). Cover the lid, top it with the whistle and pressure cook it for 4 whistles. Once done, allow the cooker to cool for 15 mins before you remove the whistle and open the lid. Once done, add the green masala paste.

Step 2: Prepare the Green masala paste 
(This paste can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer for upto a week. Just thaw it to room temperature before use. Do not confuse this with Green Chutney, it’s different)

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Coriander leaves with stalk 1 bunch ( 3/4 cup when chopped)
Ginger 1 inch
Green chillies 2 (spicy ones)
Cumin seeds (Jeera) 1/2 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Bafat masala 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt to taste

Roughly chop the coriander and ginger. In a mixer, grind all the above ingredients to a paste. Avoid water, if required add very little water only to aid the grinding process. Add the green masala paste to the daal and simmer on low-medium heat for roughly around 7-8 mins. The raw dark green colour of the masala should change to a bit brownish olive green or mehendi green. Once done, take it off the heat and temper it (add the tadka).

Step 3: Tempering/ Tadka

Oil 1 tbsp (sunflower oil)
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (Hing) a pinch
Curry leaves 5-6
Garlic cloves 3-4 (crushed)
Dried red chillies ( small, round ones) 2

Heat oil in a tadka pan. Add mustard seeds. When the seeds start to splutter, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, garlic and dried red chilles. Allow it all to sizzle for a minute and quickly transfer it to the daal and masala mixture and cover for a minute or two. Serve hot.

Tastes best when consumed with steamed rice, vegetable and something crispy on the side like papad or along with steamed rice and a fried fish. 

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Summer coolers to beat the heat, desi style!

Indian summers can get really mean. Being closer to the equator means it is bound to get really hot. But with temperatures soaring above 35 degrees Celsius, it just requires a lot of self restrain to avoid complaining (read swearing) about the heat.

The droplets of sweat tricking down the forehead, in this hot furnace like atmosphere just makes you want to dunk yourself in a bucket full of ice. While the sweltering heat does render the throat parched dry, staying hydrated is the solution. But wait before you grab your next cola! Though the chilled bubbly drinks may seem momentarily enticing, why don’t you beat the heat with these desi coolers?

Here are my top picks for the summer:
1. Lemonade/ Nimbu paani lime-soda-pop
A lemon wedge can add spitz to your drooping spirits. An instantly refreshing drink that you can have either Sweet or Salty or just have it sprinkled with some rock salt masala.
Image credit: wisegeek

 

 

 

 

2. Sugarcane juice/ Ganney ka ras
Sugarcane-JuiceAs the sugarcanes are passed through the pressing wheels, you just wait for the vendor to pour it over a glass of chilled ice. Chilled, sweet and simple, this is one perfect drink for any weary traveller. No wonder you will find them located just outside every railway station.
Image credit: bharatdiscovery

 

 

 

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3. Tender Coconut water/ Naariyal paani
Is not just for sick people! While you might not be able to judge the quantity of water or whether it will be sweet enough, it surely will work well for your body. And if you are lucky you might also get to eat some tender coconut from the shell.
Image credit: medindia

 

4. Falooda Falooda
A milk based drink with flavoured syrup, soaked chia seeds (sabja) and cooked vermicelli, topped with a scoop of ice cream. The falooda takes on a dual role of a refreshing drink as well as a dessert. The chia seeds are considered to have cooling properties. Soak them over night and have them the next day with a tall glass of cold milk.

 

 

5. Lassi/ Mango Lassi lassi
This yoghurt based creamy drink is a downright refresher after any spicy meal. Just to extract all the summer goodness from a glass, try the Mango flavoured Lassi. And after a glass of Lassi, do instagram your pic sporting the Lassi moustache 😉
Image credit: laweekly

 

 

 

6. buttermilk Spiced Buttermilk/Chaas
If you find the thick and creamy lassi a bit too heavy, you can opt for the lighter non sweet version, spiced buttermilk/ Chaas. A dash of ginger and a bit of chilly can add enough zing to your drink. You can it plain as well, if you like.
Image credit: lifestyle.yahoo

 

 

 

 

While the above mentioned are easily available, also look out for Aam Panna ( a drink made using raw mango pulp) and Kokum Sherbet.

Stay real cool this summer, opt for natural coolers!