Dun Thel Bath | Ghee Rice with Green Peas

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The theme for this week is Sri Lankan cuisine. When I picked this theme, I did not know that the cuisine is very similar to Indian, more specifically South Indian cuisine. Because the country is an island, there must be coconut trees in plenty which is reflected in the cooking too. The same goes for the seafood as well. There is an influence of Malaysian and few other South east Asian cuisines as well which makes the Sri Lankan table a multi flavoured one.

This dish is a ghee (clarified butter) rich rice with green peas which is similar to the Indian Peas Pulao. It is slightly differentiated with the addition of raisins in plenty. I have reduced the raisins and added some cashews because the daughter loves it and she is having an increasing amount of say in what is cooked everyday. This rice pairs beautifully with any vegetable but we had it with some homemade plantain chips which was absolutely lipsmacking.

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Serves 2-3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

1 1/4 cups Basmati rice
2 cardamons
2 cloves
1 tsp cumin seed
2 tbsp ghee
1 cup green peas
2 tbsp Cashews & raisins
Salt & Water

WHAT TO DO

  • Cook the rice with 2 cups water and set aside
  • Cook the green peas in hot water for 5-7 minutes and set aside
  • Heat the ghee in a heavy bottom pan
  • Add the cardamons, cloves and cumin seeds and fry for about a min
  • Add the green peas and fry for 2-3 minutes on medium heat
  • Add the rice and salt and mix well.
  • Turn off the heat after 3-4 minutes
  • Serve hot
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Sri Lankan Cuisine’.

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Moroccan Zaalouk

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We try and explore the cuisine of a different country each month in our Blogging Marathon and I try to take up the theme, if only to bake a new kind of bread from a new country every month. This month’s cuisine is Moroccon and as I was browsing through various recipes, I realised how similar it is with Indian cuisine. I found this recipe for an eggplant and tomato salad called Zaalouk which is quite similar to Baingan Bhartha made in India. Coincidentally the husband picked 2 large eggplants on his trip to the supermarket and I decided to kill multiple birds with one stone.

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This is a salad in Moroccan cuisine and is said to go very well with bread. I simply topped it on my toasted homemade bread and I have to tell you it is divine. I would have frowned on having baingan bartha for breakfast but this zaalouk with bread is a treat. The key difference between the two is the amount of tomatoes used in the dish. While we use 1 or 2 tomatoes for an entire eggplant, this dish calls for 3-4 making the taste significantly different, not to mention delicious.

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Recipe adapted from here

Serves 4-5 people

WHAT WE NEED

2 large Eggplants

5-6 Ripe tomatoes

4-5 Garlic cloves

1 tbsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp red chilly powder / paprika

Oil

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Rub some oil on the eggplants, poke a few holes with a fork and roast them on high flame till they are cooked
  • Remove the skins and mash well
  • Heat 2-3 tsp of oil in a pan and add cumin seeds
  • Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan
  • Add finely chopped tomatoes and chilly powder and let cook for 5-6 minutes on low flame
  • Add the roasted eggplants and mix well
  • Add salt and a little water and simmer for 5-7 minutes
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot
  • Enjoy with some bread!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Moroccan Cuisine’.

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Paneer Manchurian

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If you are a vegetarian in India who loves Chinese food (Indo-Chinese, to be accurate) you have to order a manchurian gravy with either fried rice or hakka noodles. It is as if no other dish exists. I have gone to countless dinners with friends and family and every time we landed at a Chinese joint, it was fried rice, hakka noodles and vegetable manchurian. The only thing we would debate about was if we needed the manchurian with or without the gravy. If we were in a spend-all mode then we would have spring rolls for starters and manchurian with gravy for mains else it was ordered without gravy. And Indian restaurants in their forever adapting jugaad mode came up with paneer, cauliflower and baby corn varieties for manchurian giving us a wee bit relief from the usual mixed vegetable one.

So this paneer manchurian is an ode to every meal with family and friends that I had back in Mumbai with the same dishes over and over again.

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Recipe adapted from here

Serves 2-3

WHAT WE NEED

200 gms Paneer

4-5 Garlic cloves

1″ Ginger, grated

1-2 Green chillies

1/3 cup Spring onion greens

1/2 Capsicum, finely chopped (optional)

2 tsp Soy sauce

2 tbsp Tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups Water

1-2 tsp Sugar

1/2 tsp Vinegar

2 tbsp Cornflour

Salt

Oil

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut the paneer into cubes
  • In a small bowl, mix together 1 tbsp cornflour, 1 grated garlic, grated ginger and salt
  • Add the paneer and coat it well with the cornflour mixture
  • Deep fry or shallow fry the paneer till it is light brown and set aside
  • In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil
  • Finely chop and add the garlic and green chillies
  • Once the garlic starts to brown, add the spring onions and capsicum
  • Stir it frequently and let it cook for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the soy sauce, tomato sauce and 1 cup of water and mix well
  • Mix 1 tbsp of cornflour with 3 tbsp of water and add to the pan
  • Cook on simmer and let the sauce thicken
  • Add the vinegar, salt and sugar and mix
  • Add the paneer and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • If the sauce is too thick add 1 tbsp of water at a time till it reached the desired consistency
  • Turn off the gas and garnish with some spring onion greens
  • Serve hot with hakka noodles or fried rice
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Street Food’.

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Veg Hakka Noodles

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There was a small little Indo-Chinese joint near my college which served the usual fare of Hakka noodles, fried rice and manchurian. The lovely part was that one plate of noodles or rice was just Rs. 25 and even better that it was sufficient to satiate two college kids. The best part of that was that they even served us half plate for half the amount. So if one couldn’t find someone to share the meal with you could always half it. The joint was small with very little seating capacity and the taste was just about fine but it was so much value for money that you had college kids flocking there at all times.

So when I picked this street food theme for this week’s Blogging Marathon, I wanted to blog about my days in Mumbai and the street food there. Somehow I have not managed to fully explore the street food in Chennai or Bangalore. I am guessing that a bit of comfort and money became barriers to the eating anywhere and everywhere. I was in Mumbai during my teens and early adulthood when one would not be very flush with money and also have that spirit of adventure to try stuff. As I grew older the ambience and comfort became as important as the food and the love for street food diminished. This trip down memory lane is making me get back to that exploratory mode. So maybe I will get around Bangalore and find some delicious food in a hole in the wall in the near future. Wish me luck!

Till then you can enjoy the recipe for this awesome Hakka noodles. Though it is usually made with wheat noodles, I have replaced that with flat rice noodles because the daughter and husband prefer it more. Also I figured we have modified the Chinese cuisine so much beyond recognition that one more change won’t hurt as much. Right?

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Recipe adapted from here

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

200 gms  Flat rice noodles

3-4 cloves Garlic

1  Dried red chilly

1/4 cup  Spring onion greens, finely chopped (extra for garnishing)

7-8 Button mushrooms

7-8 Baby corns

4  Baby Zucchini

1  Capsicum, medium

2 tsp  Soy sauce

1/2 tsp  Vinegar

Salt

Pepper

Water

Oil

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat a large vessel with 4-5 cups of water and add salt and few drops of oil
  • Once it comes to a boil, add the noodles and cook as per package instructions (usually between 5-8 minutes)
  • Once the noodles is cooked, drain the water and pass some cold water through the noodles to stop cooking
  • Add a tsp of oil and mix so that the noodle strands don’t stick to each other
  • Finely chop the garlic, mushrooms, baby corn, zucchini and capsicum
  • In a pan, heat 2-3 tsp of oil
  • Add the dried red chilly and finely chopped garlic
  • Once the garlic starts turning brown, add the spring onions and stir for a minute
  • Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan and mix well
  • Let it cook on high flame. It should take about 5 minutes to be cooked but still retain a bite
  • Add the soy sauce and mix
  • Add the noodles, vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Turn off the gas and garnish with spring onions
  • Serve hot with vegetable or paneer manchurian or any other gravy of your choice
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. The flat rice noodles can be substituted with any other noodles of your choice
  2. Other vegetable options include carrot, beans, etc.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Street Food’.

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Goan Egg Curry

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Any decent cook needs to have tried and tested recipes for classic dishes which are used so frequently that one can make it in her sleep. I have been searching for a fool proof egg curry recipe for quite a while now but somehow the recipes I tried so far failed in one of the key criteria – husband and kid should like it, has to be easy to make, should not involve tough to get ingredients. Finally I found this one and it has succeeded on all three counts. Except coconut milk, all ingredients are usually always available in my kitchen and thanks to my everlasting love for Thai curries, I have coconut milk as well. If you don’t have coconut milk, increase the grated coconut quantity by 3-4 tbsp and add regular milk. 

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Protein – Egg 

Recipe from here

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

Coconut milk                    1/2 cup

Tamarind paste                      1 tbsp

Green chillies                          2-3

Cumin seeds, roasted             2 tbsp

Dried red chillies, roasted    2-3

Coriander seeds, roasted       2 tbsp

Poppy seeds, roasted              1 tbsp

Coconut, grated                       3/4 cup

Garlic cloves                            6

Chopped ginger                      1 tbsp

Oil                                             1/4 cup

Onions, finely chopped         2 cups

Curry leaves                            2 sprigs

Tomatoes, finely chopped    2 cups

Garam masala                         1 tsp

Turmeric powder                   1 tsp

Eggs, boiled & shelled            6

Salt

Coriander leaves to garnish

WHAT TO DO

  • Grind together the grated coconut, ginger, garlic, green chillies, roasted cumin seeds, roasted dried red chillies, roasted coriander seeds and roasted poppy seeds to a fine paste
  • Heat oil in a pan and add onions and curry leaves
  • Cook until onions are translucent and add the tomatoes
  • Cook till the oil separates, around 6-7 minutes
  • Add the ground paste, garam masala, turmeric powder and salt and cook till the oil separates again
  • Add two cups water and cook till it boils
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and add coconut milk and tamarind paste 
  • Let it come to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the eggs and garnish with fresh coriander 
  • Serve hot with rotis or paratha
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Mor Kozhambu

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This is me saying hello from Mumbai. I got here over the weekend to spend a week with my parents. Every time I plan a visit to my parents’ place, I have visions of having strong filter coffee while reading the newspaper in the morning, lounging around the sofa the entire day watching pointless television serials, getting my favourite dishes piping hot and fresh and spending time with my friends talking about everything and nothing. But what actually happens is I am rushing from one place to another cursing the Mumbai traffic, gulping down the coffee in a minute,  shopping in a frenzy and meeting so many people but talking jut a few sentences and rushing again. The only thing that remains constant is mom managing to make all my favourite dishes despite any crazy schedule we have.

One of my favourite dishes is this mor kozhambu. I love my mom’s version but I never manage to nail it and so I picked this recipe online despite my mother fuming. This is the last week of this Mega Marathon and I am showcasing miscallenous proteins – from diary based to flour based to eggs. 

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Mor Kozhambu ( curd based sambhar) is a creamy concoction of curds, coriander seeds, some lady’s fingers and few spices. It goes very well with beans parupu usili and rice.

Protein – Curds

Recipe from here 

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

Lady’s fingers                     5-6

Canola oil                            2 tsp

Curds                                    3 cups

Turmeric                             1/4 tsp

Salt

Coconut, grated                  1/2 cup

Green chillies                      3-4

Split pigeon peas                 1 tsp

Coriander seeds                  2 tsp

Cumin seeds                         1 tsp

Raw rice                                1/2 tsp

Coconut oil                            1 tsp

Mustard seeds                      1/2 tsp

Curry leaves                          2 sprigs


WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the split pigeon peas, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and raw rice in hot water for 10 minutes
  • Cut the lady’s fingers into 3″ pieces and fry them in the canola oil for 4-5 minutes with salt till it is cooked
  • Drain the water and grind the soaked ingredients along with green chillies and coconut to a fine paste. Add little water, if needed
  • Take the curds in a vessel and whisk it well
  • Add the turmeric powder and salt and mix well
  • Add the lady’s fingers and ground paste and mix well
  • Cook on medium low flame till it comes to a boil
  • Simmer for 3-4 minutes and take off the heat
  • Heat coconut oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves
  • Pour it over the mor kozhambu
  • Enjoy it with rice, Adai or sevai

NOTES

  1. The lady’s finger can be replaced with ash gourd or chow chow. These do not need to be sautéed. Cook them in a little water for 5-6 minutes and add to the curds

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’
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Peas Paneer Paratha

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Today we celebrated Janmashtami / Lord Krishna’s birthday. I know the rest of the country was done with this last month. But we have our own strange calendar which always schedules Janmashtami when no one else does. When we were kids, my brother and I were told that since God had too many places to visit on a single day, he gave us a after appointment in order to be able to spend more time with us rather than a hurried visit. We felt rather special hearing it. Today I found myself giving a similar explanation to my daughter when she wondered why we chose a different day for the festival. Is this how traditions are started?

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My dish for today is green peas paratha with paneer. My daughter loves paratha of any kind. In other words, if it is round and topped with ghee it can easily be named paratha and she would eat it. So as any mother would, I manage to stuff all kinds of vegetables in the parathas and she gobbles it up. Peas is not one of her favourites. So parathas are the perfect way for her to get all the protein from the peas. As for me, I seem to have a ‘P’ fixation of some sort. I love Peas, Paneer, Paratha, Pizza, Pasta, Panagam, Pongal, etc. Maybe I will eat all salads if they were renamed as Psalads like Psmith. 

This is the first time I measured out ingredients for the paratha to write this post else I always work on estimation. I have not added green chilies to parathas since it is for my 4 year old. But you can add some to the filling to raise the spice quotient.

Protein – Green peas and Paneer (Cottage Cheese)

Makes 6 medium parathas

WHAT WE NEED

For the dough

Whole wheat flour                     400 gms

Oil                                                   2 tsp

Salt

Water


For the filling

Green peas (fresh or frozen)        1/2 cup

Paneer / Cottage cheese                 150 gms

Red chilly powder                           1/4 tsp

Garam masala                                  1/4 tsp

Fresh coriander                                Few sprigs

Salt

Water

Ghee / clarified butter


WHAT TO DO

  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, oil and salt
  • Add water to make a soft dough. Set aside for 20 minutes
  • Heat 2 cups of water in a vessel and add the green peas
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes till it is completely cooked
  • Drain the water and set aside the peas
  • Grate the paneer and transfer it to a bowl
  • Mash the peas nicely and transfer it to the same bowl. If you want you can pulse the peas in a mixer to form a coarse paste
  • Finely chop the fresh coriander and add it along with salt, chilly powder and garam masala to the bowl
  • Mix all the ingredients for the filling together
  • Heat a tava 
  • Divide the dough and the filling into 6 parts each
  • Roll out one portion of the dough with a rolling pin
  • Keep one portion of the filling inside and bring the ends of the rolled out doug together and close it
  • Roll it out again carefully to ensure that the dough does not tear and filling does not come out
  • Transfer it to the tava and cook on one side
  • After a minute, turn it over and let it cook on the other side 
  • Once both sides are cooked, take it off the tava and brush it with some ghee
  • Repeat the same process with the rest of the dough and filling
  • Serve warm with curds or pickle
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Mushroom Egg Rice

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My second recipe with vegetable sources of protein is this simple mushroom and egg rice. Mushroom is one of the veggies to be high on protein. But like I mentioned yesterday, most of my recipes for this week has an additional protein source to truly qualify as a ‘protein rich’ dish.

This dish is one of my go-to mixed rice variations. Usually I toss in whatever vegetables I have on hand and name the dish later. I usually make it when I have just shopped for the week’s vegetables and so I would be able to spare a little of everything or the day before vegetable shopping when I have bits and pieces of everything. The mushroom and egg can be replaced with any vegetable of your choice. Carrots, peas, corn, mint, baby corn are all good options.

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Protein – Mushroom and Egg

Serves 2-3

WHAT WE NEED

Basmati Rice                               1 cup

Button mushrooms                   150 gms

Eggs                                              3

Oil                                                 2-3 tsp

Cloves                                           3

Cinnamon                                   1″

Cardamom                                  3

Star anise                                    1

Garlic cloves                               3

Red chilly powder                     1/2 tsp

Garam masala                            1 tsp

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Wash and soak the basmati rice in water for half hour
  • Drain and cook it in a pan with 4 cups of water
  • Once the rice has been cooked, drain the water and pass the rice through running water to stop cooking. Set it aside
  • Chop the mushrooms and set aside
  • In a pan, heat the oil
  • Add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and star anise
  • After a minute, finely chop and add the garlic cloves
  • Once the garlic starts turning brown, add the red chilly powder and chopped mushrooms
  • Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes on low
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl and pour it in the pan
  • After a minute, stir the eggs to scramble it and let it cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Ensure any water from the mushroom has been fully absorbed before adding the rice
  • Add the rice, garam masala and salt and mix well
  • Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Enjoy with raita or chips of your choice!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.

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Rajma Masala

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When I made the list of dishes, I did not realize that most of the recipes with lentils and beans are a traditional and classic dish from different cuisines. Today I am posting about the ubiquitous Rajma Masala. I have hardly made this dish because the husband hates rajma. For someone who eats most Indian dishes, his hatred for rajma is absolutely perplexing to me. But the only way I have managed to get him to eat this bean is by making a ‘sundal’ with it and adding coconut (lots of coconut).

During our Blogging Marathon meet earlier this year, Preeti of Simply Tadka generously fed us all some amazing rajma masala immediately on our arrival at the airport. I, for one, was blown over by the amazing amalgamation of flavours with the rajma and the dish lingered in my memory long after. Then one day, just like that, I started craving for some rajma magic just like my typical bread and cheese cravings. I simply had to make and devour it at the earliest. 

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So I ran down to the shop in our apartment complex which is a magical world in itself. You can find almost anything you need there. I have never seen it shut despite going there at all odd hours (because cravings!).  The bonus is that the shop owner is from Kerala and so he gets the most amazing banana chips ever. As soon as the chips arrive you can see people grabbing a packet lest the stock runs out. And it does run out pretty fast. The first time I had those chips I knew 2 things – one, those are the fresh-est, tastiest banana chips ever, and two, I am never going to successfully lose weight. 

Anyway, back to our dish of the day –

Protein – Rajma / Kidney beans

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Rajma / Kidney beans                                  1 cup

Onion, large                                                   1

Tomatoes, medium                                       3

Garlic cloves                                                   4

Ginger                                                              1″

Green chillies                                                  2

Coriander powder                                         1 tsp

Red chilly powder                                         1/2 tsp

Turmeric powder                                          1/4 tsp

Asofoetida                                                       a pinch

Garam masala                                                1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds                                                    1/2 tsp

Kasuri methi                                                    1 tsp

Oil                                                                      3 tbsp

Milk                                                                   3 tbsp

Water

Salt
WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the rajma overnight or for 8 hours
  • Drain the water and add 4 cups of water to the rajma
  • Pressure cook for 4 whistles and set aside for 15 minutes till the entire pressure from the cooker is released
  • Check if the rajma is fully cooked by pressing a bean between your fingers. If it cannot be mashed then cook for another 10 minutes
  • Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds
  • Finely chop the onions and add to the pan
  • Let it cook till the onions start browning
  • Grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies to a paste
  • Add the paste to the pan, mix and cook for a minute
  • Chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan
  • Salute for 2-3 minutes till the tomatoes become soft
  • Add the spice powders – turmeric, red chilly, coriander, garam masala and asofoetida
  • Mix well and cook till the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan
  • Drain the water from the rajma and set it aside
  • Add the rajma to the pan and mix well
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water that was used to cook the rajma 
  • Add salt and simmer without a lid for 10-12 minutes
  • We need the gravy to thicken slightly and not be watery
  • Mash a few rajma beans to thicken the gravy
  • Add kasuri methi and milk
  • Mix well and simmer for 2 minutes
  • Serve with roti or rice
  • Enjoy!

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 This is my post for the Mega Marathon under ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.

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Dal Khichdi

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Today’s recipe is another classic dish. Dal Khichdi has as many recipes as there are people eating it and I thought I should put my version on paper (or screen) and send it into the world to jostle for space among the other simple and complex khichdi recipes. This is the version that the family has finally accepted after my innumerable attempts to get them to have a veggie filled version.

My usual khichdi theme is tossing in bits and pieces of all available vegetables, finely chopped and adding as much rice and lentils as I can find around. But the husband and daughter have never relished it (I loved it) and would constantly complain about having to eat it and expected me to feel obliged for it. Ha! Me cooking and me also obliged? Not happening.

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During one of our trips to the restaurant, Rajdhani I caught my husband relishing the khichdi there and was obviously infuriated. He, to be fair, said he loved the dish without the veggies in it and promised to eat it if I could recreate the same taste. So this is my attempt at recreating the khichdi of Rajdhani. Though it is not a hundred percent similar, it is so aromatic and flavorful. More importantly the husband and daughter relish it. Mission Impossible is possible, after all.

Protein – Split skinless green gram / yellow mung / paitham parupu

Serves 3-4 people

WHAT WE NEED

Raw rice                                        3/4 cup

Split skinless green gram          1/2 cup

Ghee / clarified butter                2-3 tbsp

Roasted cumin powder              2-3 tsp

Turmeric powder                        1/4 tsp

Asofoetida                                     1-2 tsp

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Wash the rice and lentils 2-3 times and set aside
  • The khichdi can either be made in the pressure cooker or in a pan. Pressure cooker is easier since it needs minimal involvement from you.
  • If you are using the pressure cooker, add the rice, lentils, salt and 4 1/4 cups of water and cook for 3-4 whistles. Open after the pressure has completely left, around 15 minutes.
  • If you are like me and like to have more control on the dish, then use a pan
  • Take a large pan and put it on the gas
  • Add the rice, lentils and 3 cups of water
  • Cover and cook on high for 5-7 minutes. Check every 3 minutes or so to see how the cooking is coming along
  • Add salt, turmeric powder and 1 tsp of roasted cumin powder and 1 cup water and mix well
  • Continue cooking till the rice and lentils form a mushy mixture and have absorbed nearly the entire water
  • If you like a runny khichdi, then add additional water as per your need and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • If you don’t want it runny, then open and cook on simmer till the khichdi gets a little thick
  • Always turn off the gas when the khichdi is little more runny than you want because it will continue to cook for some time in the residual heat after turning off the gas
  • Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a small pan and add the balance roasted cumin powder and asofoetida and let it sizzle for a few seconds
  • Pour the ghee with the flavours into the khichdi and mix well
  • Check and adjust for taste . Add some more cumin powder or asofoetida, if you like
  • Serve warm with raita or chips and a dollop of ghee for best results
  • Enjoy especially on a rainy afternoon or chilly evening

 

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80