Kachi Keri Nu Shaak

In beginning of Spring, you start to see various varieties of mango in markets of India. Some unripe varieties are used for making pickles. Some of these mangoes are also used in making chaats, chutneys, curries and salads. This unripe (kachi) mango (keri) nu shaak (curry) is similar to mango chutney but uses pickle masala (made from fenugreek seeds) which is the same masala used for making mango pickle. This curry is a sweet and sour, and we usually eat with khichdi. It goes well with flat bread also, in picture it’s serve with bhakhri.

Kachi Keri Nu Shaak

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Serves: 4

Sweet and Sour Unripe Mango Curry
Ingredients
  • 1 large unripe mango or 3 small unripe mangoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup or more water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida
  • 2 whole dried chilies
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
  • ½ cup or more jaggary or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons methi no masalo (fenugreek seed pickle masala)
Directions
  1. Peel and cut mango into ¾ inch chunks. Remove as much mango as possible around pit, even if they are small pieces. Taste piece of mango for sourness.
  2. Transfer mango pieces to medium sized sauce pan. Cover with ½ cup water and season with salt. Cover the pan with a lid and cook mango for 3 to 4 minutes. Alternately, you can cook mango in microwave safe bowl. Mango should be soft but not mushy.
  3. Remove mango from pan along with remaining water or keep in the bowl.
  4. Heat oil in the same pan until shimmering, 1 minute. Add mustard seeds and let it pop. Immediately add asafetida and whole chilies. Add mango along with water. If there is not enough water to cover mango, add ¼ cup water. Let it come to boil and add ½ cup jaggery or brown sugar. If mango is too sour, add 1 or 2 tablespoons more jaggery or brown sugar. Add turmeric and chili powder. Stir to combine everything and let mango cook uncovered until jaggery or brown sugar is completely melt, 3 to 4 minutes. Add more water if necessary to avoid contents sticking to pot.
  5. Add pickle masala, dhana-jeeru and let shaak cook for 3 to 4 minutes more. Taste shaak and adjust seasoning. It should be sweet and sour with gravy, add more jaggery or sugar and water if necessary. Cook for couple of minutes more. Serve with khichadi and/or flat bread. It stores well in refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.

 

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Ladoo

Ladoos are made thoughout in India at home and also readily available in sweet shops. The round shaped sweet is called ladoo and there are many varieties of ladoo. Different types of ladoos are made depending on occasion and festival. This sweet is favorite of children. It can be eaten as a snack or with a meal as a sweet.

During month of August or September (on the fourth day of Bhadarva Sud in Hindu calendar) comes Ganesh Chaturthi. This year it was on September 2, 2019. Ganesh is the elephant-headed god of wisdom. The festival of Ganesh lasts for 10 days. His favorite food, ladoos, are made and offered to him as prasad. In the region of Maharashtra, special steamed ladoos called modaks are made with rice flour, coconut and jaggery. In Gujarat, ladoos are made with whole wheat flour and jaggery.

Many Indians keep fast during certain days. Sometimes on a day of fast, some people avoid eating regular meals or will eat only one meal and avoid eating food with salt after a meal. On those days to keep strength people may eat fruits, dry fruits and nuts. Whenever my mother had a fast, she used to make shing (peanuts) na ladoos on that day. These peanuts ladoos are quick and easy to make. The recipe can be adapted for other nuts.

Wheat Flour Ladoo

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Serves: 12

Ingredients
  • 2 cups ladoo (coarse whole wheat) flour, available in Indian grocery stores.
  • 1 tablespoon chickpea flour
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ cup or more warm water
  • 1 cup sugar or more or 1 ½ cups jaggery or more shredded with knife
  • 1 cup ghee (clarified butter) or more, melted and warm
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup white poppy seeds, for garnish
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Directions
  1. Combine wheat flour, chickpea flour and canola oil in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add water and form into firm dough. Use more water if needed. Knead the dough until smooth. Divide the dough into 14 to 15 equal parts and form into balls. Take one ball into palm of your hand and make a fist with ball. Tightly press the dough with your hand and make oval shaped dough (muthia). Repeat with rest of the dough balls.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan until hot enough to fry. Fry the muthia, 4 to 5 at a time until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the muthia to a paper towel lined large mixing bowl to drain excess oil. Once all muthia are fried, remove the paper towel. Cover the bowl with a plate and let muthia cool down for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Break muthia into smaller pieces with your hands or with a wooden spoon. In a food processor, process small pieces until it resembles wet sand in 3 to 4 batches. Transfer to a big mixing bowl.
  4. Add sugar (skip if you are using jaggery), almonds, cardamom and nutmeg and mix well. Taste ladoo mixture and add more sugar if it is not sweet enough. Make a well in the center and add ¾ cup of ghee. If you are using jaggery, add jaggery in the ghee. With warm ghee, jaggery pieces will start to melt. With hands combine ladoo mixture with jaggery and ghee. Break unmelted pieces of jaggery with hand while mixing and taste ladoo mixture. Add more jaggery if it is not sweet enough.
  5. Take handful of mixture into hand and try to form a ball. If mixture does not stay together then add more ghee until the mixture stays firmly together. With a small ice cream scoop, scoop ladoo mixture and press firmly. Drop it on a plate and form a tight ball (ladoo) with your hands. Repeat the process until all mixture is used.
  6. In a pie dish or a small baking pan spread out poppy seeds. Drop a ladoo on poppy seeds and roll it gently between hands to evenly coat poppy seeds. Transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with remaining ladoo. Let ladoo stand for at least two hours to solidify ghee. It is served as a sweet on special occasions. (makes about 24 ladoo)

 

 

Shing na Ladoo

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Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry roasted shing (peanuts)
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ginger powder
  • ¼ cup or more ghee (clarified butter), melted
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
Directions
  1. Ground peanuts in food processor until like a wet sand. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add rest of ingredients to ground peanuts. Combine them with your hands. Take handful of mixture into hand and try to form a ball. If mixture does not stay together, add more ghee until the mixture stays firmly together. With a small ice cream scoop, scoop mixture and press firmly. Drop it on your hand and form a tight ball (ladoo) with your hands. Roll between your hands to make it smooth. Repeat the process until all mixture is used.
  3. Serve as a snack or sweet.

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Chikki (Brittle)

Chikki (Brittle)

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The sun starts to move from south to north during December. It is believed that this northerly movement (uttarayana) begins on January 14 (Makar Sakranti). This day is celebrated with kite flying in Gujarat. People fly the kites from their terraces. The sky is filled with colorful kites and there is a international kite flying competition in city of Ahmedabad. Brittle called chikki, made with jaggery, sesame seeds and peanuts is eaten during this festival.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sesame seeds (til), unhulled to make sesame seeds brittle or
  • 1 cup raw peanuts (shing), without skin to make peanuts brittle
  • ¾ cup jaggery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or melted unsalted butter
Directions
  1. In a dry frying pan, roast sesame seeds or peanuts on medium heat until light golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. (until sesame seeds starts popping). Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Brush the same pan with ghee or butter. Also brush spatula and rolling pin. If you do not have silicon mat then brush approximately 10 x 12 inch area with ghee or butter on a stone surface.
  3. Heat jaggery on medium high heat until melted (it will be like caramel), 3-4 minutes. Keep heating jaggery until caramel is darker in color for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower heat to low.
  4. Add sesame seeds or peanuts and stir quickly to combine with caramel. Transfer to silicon mat or brushed area. Roll out into ¼ inch thick approximatly 10 x 12 inch rectangle.
  5. Make cuts with a knife to make 2 x 2 square pieces. Let brittle cool down and once cooled, break the square pieces. Store in air tight container. Enjoy as a snack or a sweet.

 

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Sukhadi

Sukhadi

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Serves: 6

This is my sister Jayshree's recipe of whole wheat flour halva.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cup jaggery (Indian raw sugar), shredded
Directions
  1. Heat a small wok or a frying pan on a low heat. Add flour and sauté it until light golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Gradually add ghee and keep sautéing flour in the ghee until flour is fluffy and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add jaggery and switch off heat. Stir everything until jaggery is melted, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a pie plate and smooth it out in even layer. Cut two inch squares. It is best served warm as a snack or a quick sweet. It can be store in an air tight container for a week once it cools down.

 

 

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Chutney

Cilantro Chutney

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Fresh coriander or Cilantro chutney
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno or serrano chilies or to taste
  • ½ inch piece of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons sugar or to taste
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Water as needed
Directions
  1. Remove thick stems from cilantro and wash it immersing in water. Transfer into colander and wash it under running water. Let most of water drain from cilantro. Put cilantro into blender or food processor bowl. Add salt, sugar and lemon juice. Cut chilies into 2 to 3 pieces and add it. Peel ginger and cut into couple of pieces and add it. Make into smooth paste. If things do not move add little water. Makes about ¾ cup of chutney. Keep it refrigerated.
  2. You can also add roasted peanut and/or shredded coconut.

 

 

Garlic chutney

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Ingredients
  • 8 to 10 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon of roasted cumin seeds
  • 3 to 4 teaspoon red chili powder
Directions
  1. Put everything into food processor and make it into fine paste.
  2. You can also add roasted peanuts, shredded coconut and roasted sesame seeds. This chutney will have coarse texture.
  3. Makes about ½ cup.

 
Tamarind and Date Chutney

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Sweet and Sour Chutney
Ingredients
  • 10 to 12 whole pitted dates
  • 3 small pieces (golf ball size) jaggery (Indian raw sugar) or ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water as needed
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
Directions
  1. Put dates, salt and jaggery or sugar in a small microwave safe bowl. Cover with enough water so that dates are immersed in the water. Cover with plastic wrap. Cut a 1 inch slit in the middle to escape steam. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes in the microwave. Remove the plastic wrap and let the mixture cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked dates into blender and add tamarind pulp. If there is little water left in the bowl, add more water to cover dates and blend it into smooth consistency (slightly thinner than ketchup). Taste the chutney and adjust seasoning. Pass the chutney through a fine sieve and serve cold with samosa, fritters, etc. This makes about 1 cup chutney.
  2. You can also add ¼ teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin powder and coriander powder to make it more flavorful.

 
Red Pepper Chutney

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Recently we visited my husband's cousin in Atlanta. His cousin's wife Dipti made this chutney with a meal, which was really delicious. This is her recipe.
Ingredients
  • 1 14oz. jar of mild or hot Piquante peppers or roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or chili powder (optional)
  • ¼ cup crumbled jaggery (Indian raw sugar) or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender jar or food processor bowl. Process everything until smooth paste. Transfer to a serving bowl. This makes about 1½ cup chutney. This can be served with appetizers or a dip. It can last in a refrigerator up to a month.

 
Tomato Chutney

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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 3 Roma or plum tomatoes, ¼ inch diced
  • ½ jalapeno or serrano chili, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ⅛ teaspoon asafetida
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a small soup pot until shimmering, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add asafetida and turmeric. Add chili and sauté it for 30 to 40 seconds. Add tomatoes and season with salt and sugar. Let tomatoes cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Off heat add cilantro and stir to combine. Can be served as a salsa. Best served with stuffed paratha.

 
Cranberry Chutney

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Several years ago I had this chutney when I visited west coast. Ever since then I make this chutney during fall. It goes well with potato pancakes, samosas, fritters and many more.
Ingredients
  • 6 oz. fresh cranberries (1/2 of 12 oz. bag)
  • 1 8 oz. can of mandarin oranges, drained
  • ½ bunch of cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chili, roughly chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ⅓ cup sugar or to taste
Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl of blender or food processor. Process it until almost smooth, keeping some texture.
  2. Makes 1 cup.

 
Kathi Chutney

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Kathi chutney is served with methi ni bhaji na gota (fenugreek green fritters), fafda (chickpea flour crisps), etc. When you buy gota or fafda from a street vendor or farsan (savory food) shop, you will also get this chutney, especially in Gujarat.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 to 6 curry leaves
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chili, cut lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
Directions
  1. Combine chickpea flour, yogurt and water in a bowl until smooth paste. Heat oil in a small pot until simmering. Add mustard seeds and let them sizzle. Add rest of the ingredients and sauté it for 30 seconds. Add chickpea flour mixture and immediately stir to avoid lumps. Keep stirring until chutney thickens, for 3 to 4 minutes. Consistency of chutney should be like ketchup. Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl. Serve it warm, if chutney thickens too much loosen with warm water. Garnish with cilantro. Makes about ½ cup.

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Dal

For vegetarians in India, dal (legumes) is a main source of protein. Varieties of dal is available through out India and each region has a unique way of preparing dal for a meal. The most common variety of dal used all over India is toover dal (split pigeon peas). It is usually served with rice.

Gujarati Dal

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Serves: 4

This sweet and sour split pigeon peas soup is part of Gujarati thali (plate) and served almost everyday. The use of jaggery in dal is more common in Gujarat than any other region in India.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup oily or unoily toover dal (split pigeon peas), uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Small (golf ball size) piece of jaggary or 3 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
  • 1 teaspoon or to taste finely chopped or minced jalapeno or serrano chili
  • ½ teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish
For Vaghar (tempering):
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ⅛ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ⅛ teaspoon asafetida
  • 5 to 6 curry leaves
  • 1 whole dry red chili (optional)
  • Pinch of red chili powder (optional)
Directions
  1. Wash split pigeon peas few times. For oily dal make sure all the oil is washed off. Soak in about 1 ½ cups of water for 1 to 2 hours or until peas are soft in a medium size soup pot. (Soaking is optional but it will reduce cooking time).
  2. Add diced tomato. Cover with a lid and cook it with water on a medium heat until peas are very soft, about one hour. Once the dal is cooked, take off the heat.
  3. Add ½ cup of water and mix it with a whisk or an immersion blender until it has a consistency of slightly thick soup.
  4. Start heating the dal on medium heat. Add salt, jaggary, turmeric, dhana-jeeru, green chili and ginger. Stir dal and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on low heat or a simmer burner.
  5. To cook dal in instant pot: Wash and soak dal in instant pot container. Set instant pot on pressure cook setting and cook dal for 20 minutes (for unsoaked dal increase time to 30 minutes). Once dal is cooked, release steam and follow step 3. Next, set instant pot to sauté and follow step 4. Reduce simmer time to 5 minutes.
  6. In a separate small sauce or frying pan, heat oil on medium high heat until shimmering. Add fenugreek seeds and let them sizzle. Lower the heat, add mustard and cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add asafetida, curry leaves, red chili and chili powder. Pour oil with spices over dal. Mix it with dal, add lemon juice and let it simmer for two to three minutes. Garnish with cilantro before serving. Serve warm along with meal of Indian flat bread and vegetable, and over rice.
Notes
You can follow this same recipe for whole and split mung beans, split lentils and black-eyed peas mix with split pigeon peas. Do not use mustard and fenugreek seeds, instead, use only 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds.

Lachko Mag Ni Dal

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Serves: 4

This type of dal (lachko) is often served with Kathi (yogurt and chickpea flour soup) in Gujarati Thali. It is thicker than soup like dal often served with a meal.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup mung dal (without skin)
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • ¾ teaspoons turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Water as needed
Directions
  1. Pick through mung dal and rinse it.
  2. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a medium sized pot over medium high heat. Add ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds and let them sizzle. Add asafetida, turmeric and chili powder. Add 1 ½ cups of water, rinsed dal and season with salt. Stir everything. Partially cover the pot and let it come to boil. Once it comes to boil, uncover the pot and let dal cook until the foam on top subsides, about 7 minutes. Cover the pot and let dal cook for another two minutes or until tender.
  3. Serve warm with Paratha or Rotali or over rice with Kathi.

 

 

Tarka Dal

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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup uncooked masoor dal (split red lentils)
  • 1 medium size tomato, finely diced
  • ½ jalapeno chili or serrano chili, finely minced (optional)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon dhana jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 ½ cups of water
For Tarka (tempering):
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ medium size yellow or red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2-3 dry red chili
  • Pinch of red chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon garam masala
Directions
  1. Rinse dal and transfer to medium size soup pot. Add 1 ½ cups of water and let dal soak for 30 to 40 minutes. (Soaking is optional but it will speed up cooking).
  2. Add tomato, cover the pot with a lid, and cook dal for about 45 minutes or until dal is cooked.
  3. After dal is cooked, start heating dal on a medium heat. Add salt, turmeric, and dhana jeeru, green chili and ginger. Mix well. Let dal simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. In a separate small sauce or frying pan, heat oil on a medium heat until shimmering. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add garlic, onion, garam masala and sauté them until onion is light golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add whole chili and chili powder and sauté it for one minute and pour everything on top of the dal. Stir the dal and let it simmer for one minute. Add lemon juice and let it simmer for two more minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice or as a soup.
  5. To cook dal in instant pot: Follow step one. Set instant pot on sauté setting for 20 minutes. Heat oil until shimmering. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add garlic, onion, green chili, garam masala and sauté them until onion is light golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add whole chili and chili powder and sauté it for one minute. Add tomato and ginger and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour dal over Tarka and add salt, turmeric, dhana-jeeru and lemon juice. Add ½ cup water. Set instant pot to pressure cooker setting and cook dal for 20 minutes. (for unsoaked dal increase time to 30 minutes). Release steam and set instant pot to sauté setting for 10 minutes. (Optional: Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in small frying pan or soup pot until shimmering. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add pinch of chili powder and pour over dal. This will enhances flavor of dal). Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice or as a soup.

 
Sambhar

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Serves: 4

Sambhar is a staple of South Indian cuisine. It is served with variety of dishes like idali (steamed rice cakes), Dosa (crepes of dal and rice), Medu Vada (dal fritters) and Uttapam (rice and dal pancakes with vegetables).
Ingredients
  • 1 cup toover dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables like eggplant, zucchini and carrot, diced
  • 5 to 6 pieces of sargavo (drum sticks), See Note.
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
  • 2 teaspoons sambhar masala, See Note.
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
For Tarka:
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal (optional)
  • 12-15 curry leaves
  • 1 small yellow or red onion, ¼ inch diced
  • 1-2 dry red chilies (optional)
Directions
  1. Wash split pigeon peas few times. For oily dal make sure all the oil is washed off. Soak dal in about 2 cups of water for 1 to 2 hours or until peas are soft in a medium size soup pot. (Soaking is optional).
  2. Add diced tomato. Cover with a lid and cook it with water on a medium heat until peas are very soft, about one hour. Once the dal is cooked, take off the heat.
  3. Add ½ cup of water and mix it with a whisk or an immersion blender until it has a consistency of slightly thick soup.
  4. Start heating the dal on medium heat. Add salt, turmeric, dhana-jeeru and sambhar masala. Add mixed vegetables and drum sticks. Stir dal and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on low heat or a simmer burner. Next, follow step 6.
  5. To cook sambhar in instant pot: Wash split pigeon peas few times. For oily dal make sure all the oil is washed off. Soak dal in about 2 cups of water for 1 to 2 hours or until peas are soft in a medium size soup pot. (soaking is optional but it will speed up cooking process). Add diced tomatoes. Set instant pot to pressure cooker setting and cook dal for 20 minutes. (for unsoaked dal increase time to 30 minutes). Once dal is cooked, release steam and follow step 3. Next, set instant pot to sauté for 15 minutes and follow step 4. Reduce simmer time to 10 minutes. Next, follow step 6.
  6. For Tarka: In a separate small sauce or frying pan, heat oil on medium high heat until shimmering. Add fenugreek seeds and let them sizzle. Add urad dal and sauté until light brown. Lower the heat, add mustard and cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add asafetida, curry leaves, red chili and chili powder. Pour oil with everything over sambhar. Mix it with sambhar, add lemon juice or tamarind pulp and let it simmer for two to three minutes. Garnish with cilantro before serving.
Notes
You can get sambhar masala and also mixed vegetables which includes drum sticks for making sambhar in frozen section in Indian grocery store.

 
Bengali Dal

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Serves: 4

In Bengal (Eastern part of Indian), Panch Poran (five spices) is widely used in recipes.The combination of five spices gives unique flavor.
Ingredients
Panch Poran: (five spice mixture)
  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon nigella seeds
Dal:
  • ¾ cup uncooked masoor dal (split red lentils)
  • 1 medium size tomato or ¼ cup tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ medium size yellow or red onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, for garnish
For Tarka (tempering):
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
Directions
  1. Rinse dal and add 1 ½ cups of water and let dal soak for 30 to 40 minutes in a mixing bowl. (Soaking is optional but it will speed up cooking).
  2. Combine spices of panch poran in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Roughly cut tomato and make a puree either in food processor or with hand blender with ½ a cup of water. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Omit this step if you are using tomato puree.
  4. Heat oil in a medium size soup pot until shimmering. Add panch poran and let seeds sizzle. Add onion and sauté until light golden brown. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add dal with water, season with salt and turmeric. Stir dal to combine with spices. Cover the pot with a lid, and cook for about 45 minutes or until dal is cooked. Stir dal occasionally so it does not boil over.
  5. After dal is cooked, start heating dal on a medium heat. Pass fresh tomato puree through a sieve. Add fresh puree or puree to dal. Let dal simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Make tarka: In a separate small sauce or frying pan, heat oil on a medium heat until shimmering. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Pour tarka on top of the dal. Stir the dal and let it simmer for one minute. Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice or as a soup.
  7. To cook dal in instant pot: Follow step one to three. Set instant pot on sauté setting for 20 minutes. Heat oil until shimmering. Add panch poran and let all seeds sizzle. Add onion and sauté until onion is light golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté it for 30 seconds. Add dal along with water, season with salt and turmeric. Pass fresh tomato puree through a sieve. Add fresh puree or puree to dal. Set instant pot to pressure cooker setting and cook dal for 20 minutes. (for unsoaked dal increase time to 30 minutes). Release steam and again set instant pot to sauté setting. While dal is simmering to prepare tarka, follow step 6.

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