Tag Archives: lentils

Daal Makhani and exploding pressure cookers

Daal Makhani and exploding pressure cookers

This is a hearty and creamy main dish kind of daal. Almost like a chili.   It is made with black lentils or Urad daal.  I used the split Urad daal which cooks a tad bit faster than the whole urad daal.  Most people who make this dish use a pressure cooker.  I don’t happen to own a pressure cooker because they scare me.  When I was about 12 years old we lived in Yemen.  My mom, unused to the altitude of San’aa (capital of Yemen) would  often use a pressure cooker to make most of our meals to save time. She did not understand the mechanics of the release valve and one day when the pressure cooker release valve broke, being a thrifty housewife, she decided to make a make-shift one out of flour and water paste. This created a miniature steam fueled bomb in the kitchen.  I was just coming home from school when the giant explosion sent me running into the kitchen area.  I found my mom among the carnage of raw goat meat, broken windows and dishes.   She looked at me with dazed eyes and said, “did we get bombed?”  She only suffered minor injuries but I have been scared of pressure cookers and certain types of goats ever since.  Even the sound is ominous like a large snake getting ready to strike….

Save yourself and make this daal in a plain old pan, just keep an eye on it and check the water level to make sure it doesn’t dry out.

The nutrient contents of the black lentils and kidney beans are tremendous.  Both are high in protein and the flavors can’t be beat. It is fantastic served with fresh, hot chappatis.  There is nothing quite like the combination.  You won’t miss the meat or the pressure cooker, I promise.

Split Urad daal (black lentils)

Cook the urad daal and kidney beans with water, salt, turmeric, onion and ginger for about 40-50 minutes and mash lightly with a potato masher

Add dry mango powder, garam masala powder and half and half to the daal and cook a few more minutes

In a little hot ghee add cumin seeds, red chilies and red chili powder. Stir to incorporate

Add hot, aromatic ghee to the daal. Mix and take off heat.

Serve hot with fresh chappatis

Daal Makhani

1 cup split black lentils (urad daal)

1/4 cup kidney beans, dry

1/2 onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp Amchur – dry mango powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

3-4 whole dried red chilies

1/2 tsp red chili powder

1/4 cup half and half

2 tbsp ghee – clarified butter

1/2 tsp garam masala

5-6 cups water

Wash the kidney beans and daal.  Soak in about 5-6 cups of water overnight.  Soaked daal will almost triple in volume.  In a large heavy bottomed pan add Urad daal, kidney beans, onions, salt, turmeric and ginger.  Add about 5 cups of water bring to boil.  After mixture has come to a boil, turn heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes on a back burner, checking occasionally for water level and to stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  When the daal and the beans are soft and tender, lightly mash it with a potato masher, you don’t want to use an immersion blender since the texture doesn’t need to be a puree, just slightly mashed.  Add a little more water if needed and cook an additional 5-6 minutes.  Add garam masala, dry mango powder and half and half and cook another 10 minutes on low heat.   Take daal off the heat and in a separate, small pan heat the ghee.  When ghee is nicely heated, add the dry red chilies, cumin seeds and red chili powder.  Stir quickly and pour the hot, aromatic ghee over the daal.  Stir to incorporate and serve with hot chappatis.

Roasted Corn, Mango and Lentil Salad with Red Chili Ginger Honey Lime Dressing

Roasted Corn, Mango and Lentil Salad with Red Chili Ginger Honey Lime Dressing

It’s a long name, I know.  But It’s a great salad!!  I had a bunch of corn on the cob left over from a recent meal and I wanted to re-use them in something fresh.  I roasted up the corn over the burners, (that’s the wonderful thing about having a gas stove) and added in some lentils for protein and Mangos for sweetness and it was delightful.  Roasting the corn adds a slightly smokey flavor and the English cucumbers are crispy, crunchy and fresh….hmmmmm, it’s very tasty! I’m glad it turned out so good.  With the weather getting warmer and summer just around the corner, I know I’ll be making this salad a LOT!!

Ingredients at a glance

Roast corn directly over the burner (if you have a gas stove)

Using a Bundt cake pan really helps when cutting the corn off the ear

When cutting Mangoes, first slice on either side of the large seed

Cut squares into each of the slices

Flip the skin down to pop the mango cubes "up"

Slice the cubes off the skin

Cut all the Mango from around the seed

Whisk together the dressing

Toss everything together and serve

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Corn, Mango and Lentil Salad with Red Chili & Ginger Honey Lime dressing

6 half ears or 3 whole ears of corn, roasted and taken off the ear

1/3 red onion, finely chopped

2 Mangoes, chopped

1 small English Cucumber

small bunch Cilantro (Coriander leaves)

1/2 cup dried lentils

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Dressing:

1 lime

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Red chili, seeded and minced

1 inch piece of ginger

1 tablespoon honey

In a medium size pan place the lentils with 1 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to boil, turn it down to a simmer and cover until they are tender (should take about 20-25 minutes).  In the meantime, roast the corn over a burner by holding it with a pair of metal tongs.  When roasted, cut the corn off the cob and place in a large bowl.  Cut both Mangoes into small cubes and add to the roasted corn.  Add the English cucumber and the red onion to the other vegetables as well.  Drain Lentils and rinse with cold water before adding it to the vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped Cilantro and get the dressing ready.

Preparing the dressing: 

Zest the lime in a small bowl using a microplane, also using the microplane grate the ginger to yield about 1 tsp.  Juice the lime and add seeded and minced chili, salt, pepper and honey and start whisking as you add the olive oil in a drizzle, this will turn the mixture into a nice and almost creamy emulsion.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly.  Serves 4.  Great with Seared Yellowfin Tuna or by itself.

Kitchuri

Kitchuri

Kitchuri is a very Bengali dish.  Made with rice, lentils, vegetables and sometimes even some meat thrown in.  It’s  the South Asian version of a casserole.  The variety of “kitchuri” is as limitless as each cook’s imagination but two things remain a constant, rice and lentils.  Growing up in Bangladesh, eating Kitchuri was a delight because we usually ate it at picnics or outings, sometimes cooked over an open fire.  Often the kitchuri would have seasonal vegetables, or leftovers from the day before added to it.  I knew whenever I smelled Kitchuri cooking that good things were going to happen that day.

On a recent trip back to Bangladesh, Kitchuri took on a new meaning.  We visited Child Sponsorship Programs and villages where lives were literally being saved.  Children ate one meal a day during school, often it was their only meal.  The meal always consist of Kitchuri because of the high nutrient content and an additional source of protein such as eggs or chicken or fish.  Cooked in a giant pot, the humble Kitchuri had taken on a super hero role!

2 cups Basmati Rice

1 cup red lentils

1 whole spanish onion, chopped

3-4 serrano chillis, chopped

2 whole cinnamon sticks

3 bay leaves

4 cardamom pods, crushed

3 whole cloves

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp red chili peppers

4 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced

1/4 cup oil

salt to taste

4 cups water

1 1/2 cup Assorted chopped vegetables , such as zucchini, shredded carrots, English peas, yellow squash

Wash rice and lentils thoroughly until water runs clear and set aside.  Heat oil in a large 5-6 quart pan and add onions and Serrano chilis.  Saute 2-3 minutes.  Add cardamom, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks and stir fry another 3 minutes or so until all the flavors are released.  Add 1 tsp of salt, turmeric, cumin and chili powder along with garlic and stir fry another 2 minutes.  Add all vegetables and 1/2 cup of water and stir fry for a minute or two before adding the rice and lentils and the rest of the water.  Bring mixture to boil, stir then turn down temperature to low and cover pan.  Let simmer and cook until all water is absorbed about 10-13 minutes.  When all water is absorbed, rice and lentils should be nice and tender if additional water is needed, add it at this point and cover pot for another 5-6 minutes until liquid is absorbed.  Take out cinnamon sticks and bay leaves before serving.