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Sunday, December 29, 2013

I remember my early days in the kitchen. I used to find all the varieties of lentils so confusing. Instinctively, I am posting these pictures to help you identify the three lentils which can be cooked without a pressure cooker. Please note that soaking prior to cooking cuts down the cooking time. 

              Masoor Dal /Split Red Lentil

                         Moong Dal / Split Yellow Lentil

         Mung Dal Chilti/ Split Whole Moong 


SAMBHAR (Masoor Dal)
A lentil preparation from the South of India. Traditionally, it's made with Tuvar Dal which needs to be cooked in a pressure cooker. I have substituted it for 'Masoor Dal' which if soaked for an hour or more, cooks in a pan in under 20 minutes. Perfect recipe for one pot cooking.
Delicious wih rice or dosa or idlis.
Or on a winter evening, as a soup.
I have posted pictures of Masoor Dal and Sambhar .

  1.  Masoor Dal              1 cup
  2.  Onion                       1 medium chopped
  3.  Tomato                     1 large      chopped
  4.  Mustard seeds           1/4 tsp. 
  5.  Methi seeds                1/4 tsp
  6. Turmeric powder        1/2 tsp
  7. Vegetable oil              2 Tbsp
  8. Sambhar Powder        2  tsp. (more if you like spicy)
  9.  Curry leaves             4 -5    (optional)
  10.  Dry red chilly            1         (optional)     
  11.  Hing (Asafoetida)      a pinch (optional)
  12. Coriander leaves         2 Tbsp  (optional)
  13. Salt to taste           
  14.  Lemon juice as desired       


  1. Wash the masoor dal . Add enough water to cover the dal and let it soak for an hour or more. (I tend to soak them the previous night )
  2. In a medium size pot, add the oil. 
  3. On a low to medium heat, add the mustard seeds,methi seeds and dry red chilly.   Wait till the seeds crackle or turn colour.  (I like to keep the heat low ,or else if the heat is high,the tempering splatters out of the pot and the last thing I want to do is clean the stove and the area around. I tend to cover the pot with a lid ) 
  4. Add hing and curry leaves. Stir quickly.
  5. Add onions. Stir. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Add turmeric. Stir.
  7. Add Sambhar powder. Stir.
  8. Add tomatoes. Mix well. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Drain off the water and add the dal. Mix well.
  10. Add 3 cups of water.
  11. Increase the heat and bring it to a boil.
  12. Turn down the heat .Cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  13. Stir and add some more water if required. Cover and cook further for 5-10 minutes till the lentil is cooked.
  14. Add salt to taste.
  15. Add coriander.
  16. Add lemon juice as desired.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Curry Leaves 
Kadhi Patta

Fennel and String Beans

A very simple dish. Quick , healthy and delicious.
Great with any pasta. 
Or along with a soup , salad or a slice or two of pizza.
Some bruschetta or garlic bread if you like.

  1. 1 medium fennel , washed and cut into slices 
  2. 250 gms string beans , washed, topped and tailed and cut into halves
  3. 6 cloves of garlic , peeled and cut lengthwise
  4. 2 medium onions , peeled, washed, cut half and then lengthwise.
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil or as preferred
  6. salt - to taste
  7. pepper - freshly milled 1/2 tsp. or to your taste
  8. Fresh or bottled lemon juice - 1 tbsp.

I prefer to use a wide non-stick pan with a lid. A wok will do great too. 


  1. On a low heat, warm the oil in a pan.
  2. Add garlic. Stir for few seconds.
  3. Add onion. stir. Cover. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the string beans. Stir. Cover and cook further for 2 minutes on a slightly higher heat.
  5. Add the fennel. Stir. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Stir again. Cook for further 2 minutes.
  6. Try to poke a sharp knife into a bean. If it goes through with ease, its cooked.
  7. Add salt , pepper to your taste. 
  8. Add lemon juice.
  9. Stir and serve.