Spicy Lentils with Turmeric (dal)

Legumes or dried beans and peas have been a part of the ancient Indian culinary tradition.  The generic name for all members of the dried pea and bean family is dal.  Easily digested and highly nutritious, dals contain enzymes, fiber, minerals, and vitamins and is an accompaniment of almost every Indian lunch.  The repertoire of dal dishes is indeed extensive, from liquid soups and thick purees, stews, fried appetizers, crispy pancakes and crepes, sauces, and chutneys to sprouted salads and delicious sweetmeats.  Dal is always prepared in combination with pungent herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, onion, black pepper, chilies, mustard seeds, asafoetida, cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, onion seeds, salt, and oil or clarified butter for better digestion.

Coriander Flavored Lentils

Spicy Lentils with Turmeric (Dal)

Serves 6

1 pound pink lentils, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
2 quarts water
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste
¼ cup corn oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 red dried chili
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced fine
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
½ -inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
¼ teaspoon asafoetida
1 large tomato, chopped
2 pounds zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch pieces (optional)
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine

Wash the lentils.  In a large pot, add water, lentils, turmeric, and salt.  Cover and boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes until lentils are tender.  Heat the oil in a wok over high heat.  Add cumin, mustard seeds and red chili, stirring over medium heat until seeds start popping and chili turns a shade darker.  Add onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring occasionally until golden brown.  Add asafoetida and mix thoroughly for a few seconds.  Add lentils, tomato, and zucchini and mix thoroughly.  Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.  Add cilantro and serve hot with plain Basmati rice, roti or crackers.

 

Let’s curry!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your family and friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

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One ‘Awesome’ Indian Hamburger

Summer is here… fire up the grill and enjoy this marvelous Indian “hamburger” prepared with a blend of your favorite ground meat, onion, garlic, ginger, fresh cilantro leaves and other tingly spices served on a bed of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, and topped with delicious Sweet Mint Chutney.

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Indian Hamburger (Kheema Tikka)

Serves 6

2 pounds lean ground meat of your choice
2 eggs
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 medium onion,  peeled and chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
½-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
1 small green chili, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine
¼ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large tomato, sliced thin
1 red onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
Fresh lettuce leaves

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the ground meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, crushed peppercorns, and salt.  Divide the mixture into six equal hamburger patties.  Prepare the barbecue charcoal grill or heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the hamburgers and cook over medium heat until browned.  Turn the patties over and cook until done to your taste.  Serve on warm wheat buns or pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, and topped sweet mint chutney.

Coriander Chutney

Sweet Mint Chutney (Meethi Pudina ki Chutney)

1 cup fresh  mint leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
¼-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 fresh green chili
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt to taste

Remove and discard the stems from the mint leaves.  In a blender, combine mint leaves and all other ingredients.  Blend to a fine smooth paste.  Serve in a small bowl as an accompaniment to Indian Hamburger, hors d’oeuvres, or main meal.

 

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Let’s Curry!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of delicious and diverse flavors with your family and friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

 

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Mango Lhassi

Enjoy another favorite summer drink of millions made with Mexico’s famous honey-sweet ‘Champagne Mango.’

Mango Lhassi (Aam ka lhassi)

Serves 6

1 cup plain yogurt
5 cups water or whole milk
6 ripe mangoes
Sugar to taste
½ cup crushed ice

Peel the mangoes and remove the pulp.  In a food processor, add the yogurt, water, mango pulp, sugar, and crushed ice and blend to a smooth, thick consistency for 2 minutes.

Serve immediately in medium glasses.

 

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Let’s Curry!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of delicious and diverse flavors with your family and friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

 

Sumptuous Curried Lamb-Mint Pasta

Here is one satisfying, mouth-watering curried pasta dish you will want to prepare over and over again for your family and guests!

Spicy Ground Lamb on Noodles

Curried Lamb with Green Peas, Fresh Mint and Pasta

(Keema-Mutter-Pudina Do-Piazza Seviayan)

Serves 6

2 pounds lean ground lamb or meat of your choice
½ cup plain yogurt
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup corn oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced fine
1 bay leaf
2 fresh green chilies, chopped fine
¾-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
1 large onion, peeled and chopped fine
8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
2 cups water
½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
1 pound packaged frozen baby green peas
1 pound packaged thin spaghetti
16 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb, yogurt, salt, turmeric, and cumin seeds. Marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and bay leaf and sauté for 5–6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown.

Add the ground lamb and mix thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lamb is half-cooked.

Add green chilies, chopped ginger, chopped onion, and garlic, and stir thoroughly for 2–3 minutes.

Add 2 cups water and stir. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add green peas and mix thoroughly.  Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves and cover.

In a large pot, add 16 cups water and 1 tablespoon oil. Boil over medium heat. Add spaghetti and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes until done. Drain immediately in a colander.

On a platter, transfer the spaghetti and top it with the cooked ground lamb. Serve hot with fresh tossed salad and sweet mint chutney.

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Let’s Curry!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

 

Cardamom-Flavored Stewed Apple

Here’s one tasty treat from my mother’s kitchen for dessert lovers of all ages!  I have made cardamom flavored stewed apple dozens of times for family and friends with rave reviews using one of the most unique honey-tart flavored apples in the United States: the delicious Jona Gold apple of New York State!

Stewed Apple with Cardamom

Stewed Apple with Cardamom (sev)

Serves

2 pounds Jona Gold apples
6 cups cold water
6 green cardamoms
½  teaspoon black peppercorns
1″ cinnamon stick
6 cloves
1 bay leaf
½ cup brown sugar (optional)

Remove the skin from the apples and cut into ½-inch pieces.

In a large pot, add the water, apples, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, bay leaf, and brown sugar.  Cover and boil over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until tender.

Cool and transfer to serving dish.  Serve in small dessert bowls topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

 

Let’s curry with Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

Vegetables sautéed in Cumin & Turmeric

Ground Spices

Herbs and spices are Mother Nature’s gift to us.  Vegetables taste better sautéed in cumin seeds, sliced onions, garlic and gingerroot. 

Squash and Carrots

Carrots and Squash Sautéed in Cumin Seeds and Turmeric (Sabzi)

Serves 6

4 medium carrots
2 medium yellow squash
2 medium zucchini
¼ cup corn oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine
½-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
Salt to taste

Wash and cut the carrots, squash, and zucchini lengthwise into thin 2-inch pieces.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat.  Add the cumin seeds and mix for 1-2 minutes until seeds change color.  Add onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown.

Add turmeric, coriander, and cumin powder and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add the carrots, squash, zucchini, and salt, and mix thoroughly.  Cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are almost tender.

Serve hot with basmati rice, legumes, and salad.

 

Let’s Curry!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net with your family and friends.

 

A Chicken Curry to Remember!

Spices and herbs are Mother Nature’s gift to us.  They not only stimulate the taste buds and increase the flow of saliva, relieve gas, and reduce nausea, but soothe the nervous system, increase internal body heat to relieve chills, strengthen and promote digestion, absorption, metabolism, circulation, and elimination.

The magic of this chicken curry is in the blending and sautéing of spices (masala) in hot oil !

Chicken Curry with Potatoes

(Murgh-Aloo Korma)

Serves 6

2½ pounds chicken pieces
¾ cup plain yogurt
¾-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon chili powder
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon curry powder
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup corn oil
7 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
6 cloves
3 cups water
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine

Remove the skin and fat from the chicken, wash and drain the chicken, and set aside in a large bowl.

In a food processor, puree the yogurt, ginger, garlic, onion, chili powder, turmeric, curry powder, and salt.

Combine the yogurt mixture with the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Wash the potatoes and drain.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and sauté the cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, and cloves for 1–2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the spices change color to a darker shade.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the chicken and marinade, and stir for 5 minutes until boiling.

Add 3 cups water and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent ingredients from sticking, until chicken is tender.

Add the potatoes and mix. Cover and simmer for 7–8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender.

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with plain Basmati rice, roti, vegetables, legumes, and tossed salad.

 

 

Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your family and friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

Lentils & Rice: Great Feel-Good Food

Mother Nature provides us with a treasure trove of spices, herbs, and foods that contributes to our well-being, creates harmony and balance to make body, mind and spirit happy, and enables us to handle stress better.  For example, the provocative, yellow spicy concoction called curry that evolved out of centuries of study, testing, and observation and nourishment of the body and contentment of the mind still proves vital today to the eating habits of the people of the Indian subcontinent, as is the combination of lentils (dal) and rice, the ‘great feel-good food’ even kids love.

Dal is the generic name for all legumes, lentils, dried beans and peas, always prepared in combination with pungent herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, onion, black pepper, chilies, mustard seeds, asafoetida, cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, onion seeds, salt, and oil or clarified butter.

Spicy Turmeric Lentils

 Lentils Sautéed in Turmeric, Garlic and Ginger (Dal)

Serves 6

Pink salmon-colored lentils (masoor dal) cook rapidly and is a perfect accompaniment with plain Basmati rice.

1½ cups pink lentils
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
5 cups water
Salt to taste
¼  cup corn oil
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced fine
7 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
½-inch fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
1 small dried red chili
¼ teaspoon asafoetida
1 large tomato, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Soak the lentils for 10 minutes in a pot of cold water.  Rinse and drain the lentils.

In a medium pot, add 5 cups water, turmeric and salt.  Cover and boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes until lentils are cooked.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat.  Add the cumin and mustard seeds and sauté for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cumin seeds change color and the mustard seeds start popping.  Add the onion, garlic, ginger and red chili and sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Add the asafoetida and stir thoroughly for 1 minute.

Add the cooked lentils and tomato and stir for 1-2 minutes.  Cover and cook for 6-7 minutes.  Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.  Serve hot with basmati rice.

 

We are what we eat.  Isn’t it time to be on friendlier terms with your stomach?  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your family and friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

 

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Yummy Curried Mint & Yogurt-Flavored Meatballs

From Kashmir on the North to the Deccan in central India, the Mughals exerted their political influence and creative genius.  Nowhere is the mystery of these great connoisseurs more evident than in the presence of the timeless wonder of the Taj Mahal and in their remarkable cuisine.  The emphasis of the Mughal-influenced cuisine of northern India is on lamb and chicken and overwhelms one with the delicacy and seductive flavors and textures of its luxurious sauces of dahi (yogurt), cream, and crushed nuts.  Today this legacy is widely admired throughout India and the rest of the world.

 

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Yummy Curried Mint & Yogurt-Flavored Meatballs

(Pudina-Dahiwala Kebab)

Serves 6

1 cup plain yogurt
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
½-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
1 fresh green chili
1 teaspoon roasted ground coriander
1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
½ teaspoon crushed peppercorns
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
2 pounds ground lamb or chicken
2 eggs
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
Salt to taste

In a food processor, place the yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, coriander, cumin, peppercorn, turmeric,  and mint leaves and puree to a fine mixture.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Add the ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, and salt and thoroughly mix.  Divide into 20 uniformly sized meatballs and set aside.

Prepare the barbecue charcoal grill or heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Gently place the meatballs in the oil.  Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the meatballs are golden brown and crisp.  Turn over the meatballs, cover and cook for another 7-10 minutes.  Remove the lid and stir gently until the liquid has evaporated.

Serve on roti with fresh salad and topped with Sweet Mint Chutney.

 

 

Let’s Curry!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

Delicious Omelet sautéed with Cumin

Here’s one omelet you can pack in a pita bread roll or serve your favorite guests any time of the day and in any season!

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Indian Omelet (Bhujia)

Serves 6

8 eggs, whipped
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup corn oil
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, peeled and chopped fine
2 small green chilies, chopped fine

In a medium bowl, add the eggs, salt, pepper and cilantro leaves and whip for 3-4 minutes.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat.  Add the cumin seeds and reduce to medium heat, stirring constantly for 1 minute until seeds change color.  Add onions and green chilies and mix thoroughly, until golden brown.  Add the eggs and stir thoroughly for 3-4 minutes with a spatula until cooked and golden brown.  Remove and serve hot with toast or roti and tea (chai).

 

Let’s Curry!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.