Mattar Paneer Pulao

Mattar Paneer Pulao1
When I go to an Indian restaurant for a meal, I often order mattar paneer. Mattar paneer is a North Indian vegetarian dish that consists of green peas (mattar) and cubes of fresh Indian cheese (paneer) in a creamy tomato based sauce. I enjoy eating mattar paneer with naan (Indian bread). That was my inspiration for the mattar paneer pulao recipe that I’m sharing with you today.

Paneer can be made at home by curdling heated milk with lemon juice or vinegar. Sometime soon, I will share the steps on how you can make paneer at home. Until then, you can buy paneer from the Indian grocery store. You will find it in the frozen food section.

Mattar paneer pulao can be made mild or spicy depending on your level of comfort. You can add the same number of spices that I’ve suggested or reduce them by half. You can also add green chillies or leave them out. This pulao pairs well with a simple cucumber raita or tomato chutney.  Try it out, and let me know if you agree.

Mattar Paneer Pulao
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2½ cups Basmati rice
14 oz (400g) paneer
3-4 teaspoons oil
¼ cup ghee
1 large onion, (sliced)
1 bay leaf, (torn into two bits)
6 cloves
2 star anise
6 green cardamoms
1-inch piece cinnamon
10 whole black pepper corns, (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
3 large Roma tomatoes, (blanched and diced)
4 green chillies, (slit in half, optional)
½  teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
salt
4 cups water
1 cup green peas, (fresh or frozen)

Directions:
Place the rice in a small bowl and add enough water to cover it by two inches. Using your hands, gently swish the rice grains so that it releases starch. Pour the water out, leaving the rice in the bowl. Do this three or four times until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in fresh water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water before you use the rice in this recipe.

Cut the paneer into bite sized cubes. Heat one teaspoon of oil in a medium non-stick frying pan, over medium heat. Fry a few paneer cubes at a time, until they turn light brown. Remove and put them directly into a bowl of hot tap water. Fry the rest of the paneer cubes in the same manner. Let them soak in the water until they are called for in the recipe.

Melt ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add the onion and cook until softened, about four minutes. Add the whole spices – bay leaf, cloves, star anise, cardamoms, cinnamon, black pepper, and cumin. When you get the fragrant smell of spices, add the ginger-garlic paste.  Stir and cook until the raw smell of the ginger-garlic paste disappears. Add tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric, chilli powder, and salt. Cook until the oil separates. Add four cups of water. Turn the heat to high, and let the water come to a boil. As soon as the water starts boiling, turn the heat to medium, drain the rice, and add.

Drain water from the paneer and add it to the rice. Add the peas and stir everything gently just one time so the rice, paneer, peas, and spices are well combined. Let the rice cook on medium heat until you see bubbles appearing on top of the rice. Cover the saucepan with a lid. When you see steam escaping through the lid, turn the heat to low, and cook the mattar paneer pulao for 10-15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

Hearty Lentil Soup with Rasam Powder

Lentil Soup with Rasam Powder3
I pretend I’m on the TV show Chopped, when my fridge and pantry are down to their last few vegetables – one potato, one onion, one carrot, a few stalks of celery, tail end of the parsley, and lentils. That is how I came up with this recipe.

The rasam part of the recipe was included because both my daughter and I had sore throats. Rasam is a watery, spicy, tart Indian soup. The English called it mulligatawny soup. The name originates from the Tamil words milagu and thanni which translates to pepper-water.

Rasam powder can be bought at Indian grocery stores. Its spicy but you can adjust the amount you use to your own level of comfort. This soup is excellent when you have a cough or cold. It clears the sinuses, helps with digestion, and it is rich in vitamins. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did.

Hearty Lentil Soup with Rasam Powder
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:
1 cup diced onion
3 tablespoons oil
6 medium garlic cloves
2 teaspoons whole black pepper, (optional)
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1-2 tablespoons Aachi Rasam Powder, (depending on heat and your preference)
1 cup whole green lentils, (French green lentils)
1 cup whole brown lentils, (masoor dal)
3-4 cups water, (enough to cover the lentils by two inches)
1 cup carrot cubes
1 cup potato cubes
½ cup diced celery
14.5 can of diced tomatoes
32 oz (2 lbs) vegetable or chicken broth, (99% fat free, low sodium)
1½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar, (optional)
salt
2 tablespoons minced parsley, (optional)

Directions:
Fry the onion in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent.

While the onions are getting translucent, crush the garlic, black pepper, and cumin in a mortar and pestle. Crush them well so the pepper breaks into tiny pieces. Add the crushed ingredients to the onion and cook until fragrant, about three minutes. Add the rasam powder, stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add the lentils and enough hot water to cover the lentils by two inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and cook for 30 minutes.

Increase the heat to high and add carrot, potato, celery, tomato, vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, and salt to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the lentils have darkened. Add parsley and cook for another five minutes with the lid off. Stir well and serve hot. Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for two days. Warm over low heat until hot.

Red Quinoa and Asparagus Salad

Red Quinoa and Asparagus Salad
Quinoa comes in a rainbow of colors. You can even find a packaged blend in rainbow colors. When cooked, each color is slightly different from the other in texture and flavor. I find white quinoa is the best substitute for rice and it cooks a little faster than the others.

Red quinoa, in today’s recipe, works really well because it has a rich nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture. Check the package to see if the quinoa is pre-washed. If not, wash the quinoa in several changes of water to remove the bitter outer coating, before cooking. You can buy quinoa at Wegmans or Trader Joe’s. You can also purchase it on line from Amazon.

What’s your favorite way to eat quinoa? Please share your comments on my blog or on my Facebook page.

Red Quinoa and Asparagus Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-6

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bunch asparagus, (about one pound)
5 radishes, cut into matchsticks
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
5 oz (142 g) sweet baby lettuce (or lettuce of your choice)

Cut the asparagus on bias into 1-inch pieces. Blanch the asparagus in a pot of salted, boiling water, for three minutes. Drop into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Wash the quinoa in a sieve under running water, until the water runs clear. Drain. Add the quinoa and stock into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to the lowest point, cover with a lid and let it cook for 20 minutes. Cool.

Juice and zest the lemon and add to a large bowl. Add asparagus, radish, tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the quinoa and toss to combine. Chill for five minutes.

Put a large handful of baby lettuce on a plate and top with the red quinoa and asparagus salad. No dressing required.

Reposting – Black Eyed Peas Curry – Lobia Curry

Lobia1

Black Eyed Peas Curry – Lobia Curry
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
3 15.5oz (439g) cans of black eyed peas, drained
¼ cup oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 bay leaf, torn into two
2 black cardamoms
1-inch piece of cinnamon, broken into bits
½ of one star anise
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
2 cups blanched, skinned, and diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1½ cups of water
salt
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 tablespoons kasori methi, crushed
2-3 slit green chillies, (optional)

Directions:
Place a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and when it shimmers, add the onion, bay leaf, black cardamoms, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, and cloves. Fry the onion and spices until the onion turns light brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Stir constantly and cook for about two minutes or until the raw smell of ginger-garlic disappears. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, and chili powder. Stir well and let the tomatoes cook until the oil separates.

Next, add the black eyed peas, water, and salt. Let it come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Finally, add the garam masala, kasori methi, and green chilli. Stir and let it cook for another five minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro or whole green chillies.

Tadka Dal – Tempered Red Lentils

Tadka Dal2Madhur Jaffrey says in her book Ultimate Curry Bible, “you can take meat, fish and vegetables away from an Indian, but you cannot take away his dal – the core of his meal.” Dal, in Hindi, means lentils, but the word is used for the soupy dish that you will find in the poorest as well as the richest homes in India. Every home has its own way of preparing dal. To complicate matters, there are at least 60 different kinds of dals. I learned how to cook dal (red lentils) from my mother-in-law and how to temper dal from my own mother. Cooking dal that is flavorful and creamy is an art. Let me explain.

I’ve learned from my mistakes that perfect flavor and texture cannot be achieved in a hurry. One of the first things mom-in-law did when she started cooking for the day, was to start preparing dal. A slow-cooking process was vital. She used a heavy bottomed, medium-sized pan, to cook the dal.  Once the dal and water came to a boil, she turned the heat to low and went about her other kitchen chores until the dal was perfectly done. This method produced a rich, silky textured dal.

The tempering or tadka (also called tarka, chaunk, baghaar) part of making dal, I learned from Amma, my mother. Most non-Indian cooks think of tempering as a way of heating and cooling chocolate. In Indian cooking, it’s also the method used at the beginning of the cooking process or at the end of the cooking process, to flavor a dish. The ingredients are usually added in rapid succession to hot oil or ghee. Tempering dal should be done just a few minutes before serving. The aroma of sizzling spices in hot oil is one of the best parts of eating a simple meal of plain rice and dal. For me, tadka dal takes me back to when I was a young girl growing up in Pune. It soothes my spirits, cheers me up, and brings back happy memories.

Tadka Dal – Tempered Red Lentils
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 40-50 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
1 cup red lentils, (masoor dal)
3 cups water (plus more hot water to achieve your preferred consistency)
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Ingredients for tempering (tadka):
2 tablespoons peanut oil, (or ghee)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chillies, (depending on heat and your preference, optional)
a pinch of asafoetida, (optional)
1/2 cup diced shallots, (optional)
5 curry leaves, (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves, (optional)

Directions:
Wash the masoor dal (red lentils) in several changes of water until the water runs clear. Add the dal to a heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with three cups of cold water. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Add the ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Turn the heat to low. Cover with the lid, that is slightly ajar, to avoid from boiling over, and simmer gently for about 40-50 minutes. Stir occasionally until the dal is completely broken down. Use a whisk to stir until the dal becomes creamy. Add hot water to bring the dal to the consistency that you like. It can be as thin and soupy or thick and creamy as you desire. Add salt.

Having all the ingredients for the tempering process ready. Heat oil or ghee in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, turn the heat to medium, and add cumin seeds, dry red chillies, and asafoetida. Fry for 15 seconds and then add the chopped shallots. Stir and cook until the shallots turn golden. Add curry leaves and fry for 20 seconds. Pour this over the dal. Add chopped cilantro as garnish. Cover with lid and let the dal stand for a few minutes. Serve with plain rice or rotis.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa, Cucumber and Cherry Tomato Salad
I’ve been attending cooking classes at Sur la Table and the first class I attended was called, “Healthy Mediterranean Cooking.” Chef Bradley Curtis was a superb teacher. Not only did he share several easy and healthy dishes, but he taught us good knife skills and introduced us to spices and herbs from around the world. I was excited to learn how to use Moroccan preserved lemons and Northwest African harissa. I could not wait to get home so I could use these two ingredients in my recipes, and this salad was my first creation.

I used quinoa because it is an excellent source of iron, phosphorus, fiber, and riboflavin. It is gluten-free and one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein. Doctors and nutritionists call it a “super grain.” A natural soap-like substance, that is bitter, covers each grain. It is said that the bitter taste deters birds and insects from eating it. So, that also means it is low in pesticides.

Spring is here and it’s a good time to get back on track on eating right. Here’s a salad that’s “super” good!

Quinoa Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 Minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 seedless English cucumber, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup finely chopped green onions, white parts only
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoons pumpkin/sunflower seeds, (optional)
1 tablespoons dry cranberries, (optional)
1 tablespoon raisins, (optional)

Directions:
Quinoa has a natural coating, called saponin. If it is not washed, the grains taste bitter or soapy. So, rinse the quinoa well under cold water and drain. It helps to use a fine mesh sieve to do this. Boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, but an additional rinse doesn’t hurt. Put the rinsed quinoa into a saucepan and add vegetable broth or water. The quinoa to broth/water ratio is 1:2. Add a little salt if you are not using broth.

Cover and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling, turn the heat to low. The lid should be slightly ajar, to prevent boiling over. Simmer for 20 minutes. It’s just like cooking rice. The grains get a bit transparent when it is cooked, except for a little spiral sprout. Use a fork to fluff it up and then let it cool.

Once the quinoa comes to room temperature, put it into a large bowl. Add cucumber, cherry tomatoes, green onion, and cilantro. Set aside and make the dressing.

Ingredients for dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
2-3 tablespoons harissa, (depending on heat and your preference)
1 small Moroccan preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and finely chopped
¼ teaspoon pepper
salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions for the dressing:
Whisk lemon juice, honey, harissa, preserved lemon, pepper, and salt in a small non-reactive bowl. Heat olive oil in a small non-stick pan and when it shimmers add cumin seeds and garlic. Stir for 30 seconds and then turn off the heat. Cool and drizzle the seasoned oil into the rest of the ingredients that are in the small bowl. Whisk vigorously.

To finish the salad:
Pour the dressing over the quinoa and vegetables. Toss gently. Cover and let stand at room temperature for one hour. It can also be kept in the refrigerator overnight. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and raisins just before you serve.

Note on how to use Moroccan preserved lemon: Remove lemon from the bottle with clean utensils to avoid contaminating the inside of the jar. This way, the remaining contents of the jar will not need to be refrigerated. Rinse the lemon under cold water to remove excess salt. Cut the lemon in quarters. Scoop off the insides. With a sharp knife remove the pith. Dice the lemon rind into small 1/8-inch cubes or finely chop.
Quinoa salad Harissa2

Reposting – Red Kidney Bean Curry (Rajma curry)

Red Kidney Bean Curry3Red Kidney Bean Curry
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1lb 13 oz (822 grams) red kidney beans
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf, (tej patta)
2 black cardamoms
1-inch piece cinnamon
2 cups finely chopped onion
salt
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
2 cups diced tomatoes
3 green chillies, (slit down the center – adjust depending on heat and your preference)
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder, (depending on heat and your preference)
1 teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes, (depending on heat and your preference)
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons garam masala, (depending on your preference)
3 teaspoons kasori methi, (crushed in your palm)
1 cup warm water
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
3-4 mint leaves, (torn into bits)

Directions:
Heat a heavy bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Add oil and when it shimmers add the bay leaf, black cardamoms, and cinnamon. After 30 seconds add the chopped onion and salt. Fry until the onion turns light brown. Lower the heat to medium and add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry until the raw smell of ginger-garlic disappears, then add the tomatoes and green chillies. Cook until you see the oil separate from the tomato-onion mixture.

Add cumin seeds, turmeric powder, chilli powder, crushed red chilli flakes, coriander powder, garam masala powder, and kasori methi. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the canned red kidney beans along with the liquid in the can and one cup of warm water. Turn the heat to high and let the beans come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low, and let the beans simmer for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and mint. Serve with plain steamed rice or rotis.

Black Chickpea Curry

Black Chickpea Curry1
The classic combination of puttu, kadala curry (black chickpea curry), and papadam is made for breakfast in most homes in Kerala. When I’m homesick, it’s my comfort food. Unlikely as the combination may sound, it actually works. Check out my post on, “Puttu, Pazham, and Pappadam” to learn how to make puttu.

In Kerala, black chickpea curry accompanies puttu, appam, idiyappam, and dosa. But it can also be served with rice, chapati, and puri. You can make it with or without gravy. Black chickpeas are called kala channa in Hindi.

Using garam masala is key. It adds flavor and spice to this curry. The feedback that I received on the garam masala recipe that I shared with you is excellent. Take the time to make it and use it in my recipes. It’s the best!

Black chickpeas are a good source of protein, low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals. So, add them to your diet, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.

Black Chickpea Curry
Prep Time: 20 minutes + soak the chickpeas overnight (8-9 hours)
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4

Ingredients:
1 cup black chickpeas (kala channa/kadala), soaked overnight
1 teaspoon coconut oil
4 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 South Indian dry red chillies (depending on heat and your preference, optional)
½ cup grated coconut
¼ cup diced shallots
2 teaspoons sliced garlic
1 sprig curry leaves
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder, (depending on heat and your preference, optional)

To season the black chickpea curry
3 tablespoons coconut oil
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tablespoons diced shallots

Directions:
Rinse the black chickpeas in several changes of water. Add half teaspoon salt to 2½ cups of water and soak the chickpeas for 8-9 hours or overnight.

Heat one teaspoon oil in a small pan set over medium-low heat. Add coriander seeds and when they begin to turn light brown add the dry red chillies. Roast until coriander turns golden brown. Remove to a small plate. To the same pan add coconut. Roast the coconut, stirring constantly, until the coconut turns golden brown. Off the heat and add quarter cup shallots, two teaspoons garlic, curry leaves, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. Mix and let it remain on the stove top until it cools. Once all the ingredients that were roasted have cooled, put them into a blender and grind with three tablespoons of water to make a smooth paste.

Add the black chickpeas, along with the water it was soaking in, to a pressure cooker. Add another two cups of fresh water and the ground coconut paste. Stir well. Cover with lid. Bring to full cooking pressure on maximum heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for eight minutes. Allow the cooker to cool gradually before opening. Please check on the cooking time for your make of pressure cooker.

To season the black chickpea curry, heat three tablespoons of coconut oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add curry leaves and shallots. Keep stirring until the shallots turn golden brown. Add the seasoning to the cooked black chickpea curry. Stir well and serve. If you want a thick gravy, cook the water down on high heat until the gravy thickens and reaches the consistency you desire.

Kale and Red Lentil Soup

Kale SoupMy inspiration for today’s recipe was a spice rack that I got for Christmas. Thank you, Sonia, for this beautiful gift. The 20-jar revolving spice rack has dry herbs and spices that are of the highest quality. I used rosemary and thyme in my soup today. If you don’t own a spice rack, I recommend that you get one. Having spices and herbs at your fingertips is a time saver in the kitchen.

My love for kale is no secret and I’m using it in the soup of the day. Kale has been a very popular vegetable recently. Doctors have named it one of the world’s healthiest foods. Kale has antioxidant-related health benefits, anti-inflammatory health benefits, and cancer-preventive benefits. It also provides cardiovascular support, controls blood glucose levels, improves bone health, and helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

I also used red lentils (masoor dal) in the soup. You can find red lentils at your regular grocery store or at the Indian grocery store. I used the split red lentils instead of the whole red lentils, because they cook faster. Take the time and effort to wash the kale well. If the stems on the kale are tough, remove them and use only the leaves. You can use some of the tender stems, but cut them into small pieces.

My family enjoyed this soup a lot and I hope you will too.

Kale and Lentil Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons sliced garlic
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup split red lentils, (masoor dal)
2 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz 411 g) diced Tomatoes
1 can (15.5 oz 439 g) Goya small red beans
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, (optional)
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt
7 cups low-sodium stock, (vegetable or chicken)
4 cups kale
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

Directions:
De-stem the kale by pulling the leaves away from the stem. Wash the leaves and tear (or cut) them into small bite size pieces. If you use the tender stem, cut them into small pieces. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Stir and when they turn translucent, add turmeric and lentils. Stir and cook for a minute. Add two cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Partially cover the saucepan with a lid and let it cook for 20 minutes. The lentils should be well cooked before you add the rest of the ingredients.

Add the tomatoes, red beans, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes, pepper, salt, and vegetable stock. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the kale, turn the heat to medium-low, and let the soup simmer for ten minutes. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani1
I was cleaning my kitchen cupboards and noticed that I had over ten different dry lentils and beans on the shelves. Some of them I used often and others only for specific recipes. I was reminded of the classic Punjabi dish, dal makhani, when I saw the black lentils and kidney beans sitting next to each other. Makhani, in Punjabi, means buttery. You will find this dish on the menu of almost every Indian restaurant.

Dhabas, small restaurants found along the highways in North India, serve the best dal makhani.  Black lentils and kidney beans are soaked for eight hours. Then, before the cooks go home for the night, it is place in a large pot over the residual heat of a tandoor (clay oven) and cooked until they return in the morning. It is seasoned lightly and finished with lots of fresh butter and cream. The subtle taste and smooth, velvety texture of dal makhani is absolutely glorious!

A slow cooker would have been the ideal appliance to cook this dish. But since I didn’t have one, I experimented with cooking the dal makhani in a pressure cooking for a long period of time over very low heat.

Dal makhani is not a dish you would eat every day! It is high in calories and loaded with butter and cream. However, you can add as much or as little butter and cream as your conscience will allow. As much as I love dal makhani, it is definitely an occasional indulgence!

Dal Makhani
Prep time: 15 minutes, (does not include time for soaking)
Cook time: 60 minutes
Serve: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup whole black lentils, (urad dal)
2 tablespoon red kidney beans, (rajma)
6 cups water, (3 cups to soak and an additional 3 cups to pressure cook)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt, (plus more depending on your preference)
1 cup roughly chopped onion
1 tablespoon roughly chopped ginger
2 cups roughly chopped tomato
2 green chillies, optional
3 tablespoons ghee
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
2 black cardamoms
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 teaspoons kasoori methi
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons julienned ginger

Directions:
Wash the who black lentils and red kidney beans four times, changing the water each time. Cover with three cups of water and soak overnight. Put the lentils and kidney beans, along with the water that it was soaked in, into a pressure cooker. Add the baking soda, salt, and three more cups of water. Stir, cover with pressure cooker lid, and add the weight. Bring to full cooking pressure on maximum heat. Then reduce heat to lowest point on your stove. Cook for 35 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker cool gradually before opening.

Use a blender to puree the onion and ginger. Remove into a small bowl and set aside. Put the tomato and chilli into the blender next and puree. Remove into another bowl and set aside.

 Use a potato mashed to gently mash a small portion of the lentils that are in the pressure cooker.

Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add ghee. When it sizzles add bay leaf, cloves, cardamoms, cumin seeds, and onion-ginger puree. Cook, stirring intermittently, for 7-10 minutes or until the raw smell of the ginger disappears. Turn heat to low and add asafoetida, turmeric, chilli, coriander, and garam masala. Immediately add the tomato puree and crushed kasoori methi. Stir well, cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until the oil separates.

 Add the cooked lentils. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Add salt to taste, half of the julienned ginger, and butter. Cook for five minutes. Garnish with cilantro, the remaining julienned ginger, and cream. Serve immediately. This dal thickens if you keep it in the refrigerator. So add some water while re-heating. Tastes great with rice, roti, paratha, and naan.