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savoury

“If you take more of your protein from vegetable or plant-based foods, good studies have shown that you will live longer.”
Professor Jeya Henry

Dals, 3 Quick Dal Recipes Made With Less WaterThe pure comfort of that bowl of dal, the nostalgia engulfs me each time I smell the aroma of onions being fried in clarified butter. Such is the power of food, and in my opinion, these protein rich dals / lentils offer deep deep comfort in every bowl. The humble khichadi is the meal on the go at our place, with dollops of home made yogurt and kumquat green chilli pickle. Did I forget a liberal drizzle of ghee? Yes please!

DalsLiving in India, dal was synonymous with meals when we grew up. From the bowl that I loved, to many that I didn’t, the dal journey has come a long way. There was dal served on the many long train journeys from Delhi to Bangalore as we were growing up, to diluted iquidy dals served in the Officers Mess where we dined often. There was the piquant luxurious ambi wali dal in UP during the summer. Working at the airport in the late 1980’s saw many a midnight meal after flight departures at dhabas that dotted the vicinity. Nothing could beat the comfort of that dhaba dal with the fresh tandoori roti. Pure magic. As always, dhabas in India never disappoint.

Dals From the dhaba to Bukhara, as small bowl of Dal Bukhara and there is born another memory. This one is a truly indulgent dal, one which is a  tradition in itself, a dal simmered over slow coal fires all night long, a world renowned dal. My memories of this dal go back to the late 80’s and early 90’s … the taste lingers on.

DalsThat’s the power of food, and the power of dal. Yet another dal milestone came by way of home science in school. We mastered the Moong Dal with Spinach, and post marriage this was the only dal I cooked, day in and day out. It’s the only one I was confident about. I am sure the house was FED UP with my lack of creativity but no one said a word. The only other alternative I offered was Moong Masoor Dal, a quick 5 minute dal that my mother often made. I still make that a lot. I love the flavours. A tadka of zeera, garlic and hari mirch complete it.

DalsNow my dal repertoire has grown with many years of food blogging and traveling across India. I love the pure comfort of dals from Uttar Pradesh to the genius use of dals down south. Every part of India celebrates this macro nutrient or power house of protein in their own special way. From a finger licking good haleem, to a Parsi dhansak, to moong dal dhoklas and cheelas, the more you indulge in this cheapest form of protein the better. Dress it up, sizzle it, grind it to perfection, simmer it to luxury, or soak it into a salad, DALS THE WAY TO GO!

DalsTo mark World Water Day, I’m here with Tata I-Shakti dals to serve you three easy dal recipes that require minimum water to wash since they are unpolished. They cook faster too. The recipes use very little water in ingredients. One simple salad inspired by a typical Koshambri a dear friend made a few months ago, though his was with carrots, radish and peanuts. DAL 3 ways with Tata I-ShaktiThe bhune masale wali masoor dal is an old UP favourite which has been stepped up using seasonal greens, rocket in this case, as I have it growing in abundance. The peppery leaves add interesting flavour to it, and reduces the requirement for extra water. The third is a really quick coconut based dal chutney that I learnt when I was in Bangalore recently.

DalsAll these recipes are dal based, so naturally protein and fibre rich. With their high fibre content, pulses lower cholesterol levels and protect the heart. They are also an important source of iron and vitamin B in a vegetarian diet.  Pulses are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fibre. According to the World Health Organisation, dals are a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

DalsDo you have a favourite way of doing dal? I’d love to know.

[print_this]Recipe: Dal Koshambri / Moong Dal Carrot & Cucumber Salad
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Summary: A light summery salad that is protein and fibre rich. Pomegranate adds to the appeal. Soak the dals in about 2 cups of water, then drain and use the water to cook rice in, knead dough with, or just drink it up! No cooking, means less water!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup TATA I-Shakti Chana Dal and 1/4  TATA I-Shakti Moong Dal soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 small English cucumbers, chopped fine {I leave the skin on
  • 1/4 coconut, grated
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate kernels
  • 2-3 green chilies, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Tempering
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp
  • A generous pinch of asafoetida
  • 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients except lime juice in a large bowl. Squeeze over the juice of 1 lime and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  2. To temper
  3. Heat oil in a small saucepan. When hot throw in mustard seeds, followed by urad dal. When they splutter add the hing and curry leaves. Fry over medium low until the leaves are crisp. Pour over the salad. Serve immediately.

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[print_this]Recipe: Spicy Kadele Bele Chutney / Chana Dal Chutney
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Summary: A spicy and tangy dal based chutney which is  power house of energy and taste. The play of flavours is wonderful. The dal is cooked dry,a dnthe chutney uses only minimal water by way of the soaked tamarind.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 5 tsp TATA I-Shakti Chana Dal
  • 3-4 dry red chilies {as per taste}
  • 3-4 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp hing
  • 1/2 tsp methi seeds
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 3/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1 small ball tamarind, soaked in 3/4 cup water
  • Tempering / tadka
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • pinch hing
  • 2-3 whole red chilies
  • 5-6 curry leaves

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom wok. Add the chana dal, red chilies, curry leaves, hing and methi seeds. Roast over low heat until the dal turns a light pink. Do not brown.
  2. Grind to a coarse powder {or a consistency you would like}
  3.  Squeeze and strain the tamarind. Add the coconut and tamarind water to the ground chana dal and mix well. Season with salt.
  4. To Temper
  5. Heat oil in a small saucepan. When hot throw in mustard seeds, followed  by the hing and curry leaves. Fry over medium low until the leaves are crisp. Add red chilies and turn off heat. Pour over the chutney.
  6. Serve with idli, dosa or serve with fresh boiled rice.

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[print_this]Recipe: Sabut Masoor Aur Hare Patte ki Dal / Whole Masoor Dal with Rocket
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Summary: A traditional protein and fibre rich dal gets a makeover with the addition of winter greens. The dal uses less water as it takes moisture from the greens, and also from yogurt. This dal is pure comfort

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup masoor chilka, soaked for an hour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp virgin coconut oil }{or oil, ghee of your choice}
  • Pinch hing
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/4 tsp haldi powder
  • 1 tsp dhania powder
  • 2 small tomatoes chopped
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups rocket greens {or baby mustard greens, spinach etc}, chopped
  • 1/2 cup full fat yogurt {or low fat}, whisked
  • 1 tsp ghee

Method:

  1. Heat oil in pressure cooker. Add hing, then chopped onions. Fry onions until golden brown.
  2. Add ginger garlic pastes and green chilies. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add dry masalas, sauté for 30 seconds.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for 5-7 minutes over high heat until they release oil.
  4. Now add the greens and sauté for 2 minutes until wilted. Add the soaked dal with water, add salt to taste and cook under pressure until done, for 12-15 minutes.
  5. Let it sit as is for at least 15-20 minutes cooking in its own steam. Open and check if dal is soft, else cook under pressure for another 5-7 minutes. Mash some dal with the back f a spoon to give the dal a creamy consistency.
  6. Stir through whisked yogurt and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning. If you like a tangy dal, squeeze in half a lime before serving.
  8. Top with a spoon of ghee and serve over hot rice, or with chapatis, parathas etc.

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“But since soup mainly involves tossing everything in a pot and waiting, it’s one of my better dishes.”
Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Quick tomato coconut soup 800Quick Tomato Coconut Soup really QUICK! This is one of my fastest soups to make, and it became insanely quicker and fuss free thanks to the Philips SoupMaker. I am not an all and out fussy soup maker. Give me a quick way home, and yes I’d love me a quick soup. This soup recipe was a happy accident while developing recipes for Saffola Fit Foodie. It became an even happier one once I got the SoupMaker which is a dream machine. Have made this soups several times over in this gadget. And happily enough, I just throw everything in and 22 minutes later piping soup is served.

Quick tomato coconut soup Fuss free yes. Fat free? Yes that too. With no added fat to the recipe, this tomato soup is earthy thanks to the robust flavours the humble winter turnip lends it. The silkiness comes with coconut milk. Coconut anything is now my friend ever since I used it in a coconut rice pudding, coconut flecked Butterscotch Blondies…and what not.

Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch BlondiesHere in this soup, coconut milk balances the tart edginess of tomatoes, balancing this simple yet flavourful soup in perfect harmony. Ask me which my favourite soup is, and chances are that this is the one. With the ease of the SoupMaker, you never know which experiment might uncrown it though. It takes the work out of soup making. With summer approaching, the SoupMaker is all set to churn up smoothies and compotes. It does that too!!

Mustard vinaigretteThe mustard vinaigrette that topped the Baby Mustard Greens Soup is also now a firm and very versatile favourite. This quick tomato soup takes a leap to another level with a drizzle of this beautiful vinaigrette. Mustard or kasundi in the vinaigrette brings it together quite beautifully with the earthy turnip undertones. Whats not to love about flavours? This one is a hands down winner!

Philips Rice CookerSo much soup talk, and it’s time to announce the winner of the Philips Rice Cooker giveaway that Philips was sweet enough to sponsor for a reader of this blog. Congratulations Meena Kumar @ Elephants & The Coconut Trees , you are the winner of the rice cooker. I hope you enjoy it.

[print_this]Recipe: Quick Tomato Coconut Soup
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Summary: Quick Tomato Coconut Soup. Rich, smooth and creamy, this soup gets delightful flavour with coconut milk. It’s easy to make and has a robust tomato flavour with pleasing undertones of coconut milk. Serve drizzled with a mustard vinaigrette or whole grain bread croutons. better still, with both! Serves 3-4

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Tomato Coconut Soup
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 500gms ripe red tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 turnip, quartered
  • 200ml light coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • Mustard vinaigrette
  • 2tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp mustard {kasundi}
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic greens
  • To top
  • Wholegrain croutons if desired

Method:

  1. Tomato Coconut Soup
  2. Place all ingredients {except Tabasco} in the steel jug of the soup maker and give it a good stir.
  3. Shut the lid, switch on the soup maker and select the smooth soup option from the menu.
  4. In 20 minutes soup is ready. Season with Tabasco.
  5. Top with mustard vinaigrette and croutons if desired.
  6. Mustard vinaigrette
  7. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a fork.

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“What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents”
M Chiarello

Crackers & DipsWholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips…. for times like these when the game is up. Nothing unites the world better than sport and food. I think the two were meant to go hand in hand. Think world cup cricket, soccer, or then super bowl, and the first thing that comes to mind if food! OK, after the game of course! With the ICC  Cricket World Cup warming up nicely, it’s imperative to keep the food going!

Crackers & Dips Yesterday spent 20 minutes rolling out crackers … thin, crisp, delicious Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers. Paired them off with 3 quick dips. Dips are an out and out game favourite, and I have gone with simple ones! A Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut Dip {earthy, smoky, finger licking good}, a Classic Garlicky Cream Dip {tangy, creamy, GARLICKY ... an all time favourite} and a seasonal Rocket & Cashew Dip {where sharp peppery leaves meet the sweetness of cashew nuts}. Ingredients for dipsDips are really really versatile to throw together. Make them using what you have on hand. Herbs, seasonal produce, cold pressed oils, garlic, garlic greens, onion scapes, legumes, citrus fruit, nuts, cheese, spices. Get creative and follow your taste buds. You will be surprised at how much you can create with so little! To thin them down you can add coconut milk, citrus juice, single cream, sour cream, buttermilk etc.

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & DipsOnce ready, which is a matter of minutes usually, you can dip into them of course, or add them to your cheese platter. There’s so much more you can do. Slather sandwiches with them, toss them through a pasta, top grilled chicken or fish with dip. If you are more adventurous, them use them in a bread like the French Fougasse. I love that you can tweak the flavours as you like, and also that dips embrace local and seasonal produce whole heartedly!

Wholegrain Crackers & Dips  Why so many nibbles of late you might wonder? Well these are game days. Cricket, cricket and more cricket. From games you expect nothing and get the word, and from games you expect the world and hit rock bottom, the sports world is a funny place to be in. The cricket world cup down under has begun,and how! Talk sports and there is another huge thing in common …FOOD!

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & Dips And that’s where we DIP! These are simple ones to rustle up. You could even do a  make ahead simple hummus that I just shared with oat & cheese crackers. On the side, you could go the healthy crudite way or whole grain crackers maybe. Else grab the bag of chips, nachos, pita chips…whatever. Dig right in. foodEvery major gaming event, be it the super bowl, soccer or the cricket world cup, churns up an appetite for food, yummy, good, delicious food. These dips will hit the ball out of the park … like South Africa did today! If you are deft in the kitchen, and love getting quick stuff together, then here are a few other options.Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian KalácsThe India Pakistan thriller saw us polishing off  rustic Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács Do a quick version with cooked chicken tossed in the rocket cashew pesto dip and cheese! Or skip the chicken and go vegetarian. Next was the India South Africa match. That saw a rerun of Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers with a quick Hummus! Delicious times indeed!  Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus 8If you aren’t the cooking types, but certainly the eating types, then your best option would be a quick call to Food Panda to order your favourite food. It’s an online food-ordering service that makes it easy for customers to find their favorite food conveniently from home, work or on the road and get it delivered. It is now active in 30 cities in India and has over 4000+ restaurants available and the delivery of your food is free.

ticketThe nice thing is that during the Cricket World Cup,  Food Panda is running a “One child’s mid day meals collaboration” called Ticket to Cheer. ​In rece​nt months, the company has begun to get involved in helping for civic change of India, supporting NGO’s projects etc. This particular campaign is a novel concept. They are offering a platform where people can donate, in order to give mid-meals to 1.4 million kids for a whole school year. It’s certainly worth a shout out! As we cheer on our favourite teams, give Food Panda a cheer for the good work they are doing as well!

Oh and don’t forget to participate in the Philips giveaway here. Just a day to go!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers

Summary: Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips. Crisp, light addictive crackers. Top them with spices or enjoy them as is. Crackers don’t get simpler than these!
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 200g wholewheat flour
  • 100g oats
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  •  tsp baking powder
  • 40ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 150ml water {approximately}
  • Olive oil for brushing over
  • Zaatar and Sumac for sprinkling {optional}

Method:

  1. Place first five ingredients in bowl of food processor and blend to mix. Gradually add water to make a firm, pliable dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. On a lightly dusted surface, take a quarter of the dough and roll it out as thinly as you can to a rectangular shape to fit the tray. Transfer dough to the parchment paper, brush with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle over with Zaatar if desired.
  4. Take a pastry / pizza cutter and cut into desired shapes.
  5. Bake for about 15-18 minutes until light golden brown. Keep an eye on them towards the end as they can over brown pretty quick.
  6. Cool completely on racks. Store in an airtight container. Serve with dips.


Recipe: Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut
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Summary: Earthy, smoky, finger licking good

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  •  2 red bell peppers
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 50g walnuts
  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Method:

  1. Place the bell peppers and garlic and roast in an oven at 180C  for 30 minutes, until the bell peppers are charred. I roasted them in my AirFryer. Place in a covered bowl and allow to cool. Peel and deseed the bell peppers, squeeze the garlic out.
  2. Place walnuts in food processor with all the remaining ingredients. Pulse to desired consistency. Stand for 20 minutes for flavours to mature. {Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days}


Recipe: Classic Garlicky Cream  Dip
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Summary: Creamy, garlicky and tangy, this is an all time favourite!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 400g yogurt, hung
  • 3 finely chopped cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic greens {or chives, maybe fresh coriander}
  •  finely chopped green chili
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Place yogurt in a large bowl and whisk well until smooth and lump free. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Taste and check seasoning. Add more lime or salt if required.
  2. {Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days}


Recipe: Rocket & Cashew Dip
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Summary: A dip where peppery rocket meets sweet cashew nuts. Thin this one down with cream cheese or single cream if you like. You can also add some parmesan.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 50g rocket leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  Salt to taste
  • Dash of lime juice

Method:

  1. Place cashew nuts and rocket leaves in bowl of processor and pulse until everything is chopped quite fine. Make sure not to process it to a paste. We want to feel the texture of the nuts.
  2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and blend. Season with salt and add a dash of lime juice.
  3. {Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days}

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