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Easy Dahi Kadhi with Fresh Coriander Leaves Pakora Recipe

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Our Simple Sankranti Lunch

Our Simple Sankranti Lunch

On Sankranthi this year, I was an incarnation of a sloth bear. I usually like to celebrate the festival because it teaches us to be thankful and grateful to the earth for its produce, the farmer who tills the land and the animals who work with the farmer. I am an spoilt urban brat, but as I grow older, I am beginning to appreciate these things.

Anyway, back to the oscillation between being grateful and a sloth, I settled to being a grateful slothful person. Veering towards ordering in some biryani for lunch, I had a sudden need to not waste the day and mark its significance. I quickly washed the rice and moon dal and put the cooker on to take care of the pongal. And debated if it was too lame to serve it with pickle and ghee. I baulked myself!

So a quick yogurt based kadhi it was going to be, sassed up with bhajiyas. Those of you who (still) read this blog, or know anything at all about me will know how far I run away from deep frying. There are only those times when I am guilted into filling a frying pan with oil, or feeling particularly indulgent that I actually get down to doing something that involves more than a few teaspoons of oil. Back to the bhajiyas / pakoras /fritters. Call them whatever you want. Dumplings spiced and fried before being added to the yogurt curry takes it up several notches and is a favourite way to eat pongal and or khichdi.

I brought out my appam chatti, the special little vessel that is similar to an Aebleskiver pan and is used to make paniyarams both sweet and savoury. I’ve used it to make vadas for my very popular Cheater’s Dahi Vada and kofta’s for the Creamy kofta curry recipe here.

The result was a kadhi with all the taste of the real deal, yet none of the deep frying! Win in my opinion!

Dahi ki Kadhi with Coriander Pakoras

Dahi ki Kadhi with Coriander Pakoras

Dahi Kadhi with Pakoras (non deep fried)

(Serves 3 as a side dish, Time taken: 10 minutes prep time, 20 minutes of cooking time)

The (non fried) pakoras

The (non fried) pakoras

For the (non deep fried pakoras – Makes about 20)

Besan / ChickpeaFlour – 1 cup

Coriander Leaves (washed and stems removed) – 1 cup loosely packed

Onion, finely sliced – 1 medium 

Ajwain / Carom Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon 

Asafetida – a pinch 

Salt to taste

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Baking Soda – a pinch

Water as required to make a batter

Mix together all the ingredients listed and make a batter that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It should be like dosa / pancake batter.

Heat the appam chatti and add a few drops to each indent. When hot enough, drop the batter into the indents to fill 2/3 of it, using a spoon.

Allow to cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes or till the edges turn golden. Drizzle a few drops of oil around each pakora, using a blunt knife, ease them around the corner and flip over.

Cook for another couple of minutes, till done. Poke the centre with a toothpick to check that it has cooked through. Remove onto a plate. Repeat till all the batter has been used up.

These pakoras can be served as is or used in the kadhi.

For the Kadhi:

Yogurt, whisked smoothly – 1 Cup 

Chickpea / Gram Flour (Besan) – 3 tablespoons

Grated fresh Ginger – 1/2 teaspoon 

Salt to taste

A pinch of Turmeric powder

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon 

Asafetida / hing – a pinch

Whole Cumin – 1 teaspoon  

Dried Red Chillies – 

A few curry leaves and a sprig of fresh coriander leaves

Ghee / Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon

In a bowl large enough for 4 cups of water, add the yogurt and 11/2 cup water, besan flour, grated ginger, asafetida, turmeric and red chilli powders and half the salt.

Using a whisk, whisk everything together to ensure there are no lumps in the mixture.

In a kadai, pour this yogurt mix, and gently cook, stirring often, till it comes to a gentle boil. Cook for about 6-7 minutes on the lowest heat possible. The stirring ensures the heat is evenly distributed and the gram flour cooks through without clumping up.

Taste to check that the rawness of the gram flour has disappeared. Simmer for a minute and turn off the flame & add the fresh coriander leaves to it. Set aside and add the pakoras.

Heat the ghee / vegetable oil in the tempering pan. When hot enough, add the cumin and wait for it to turn dark, put in the curry leaves and dried red chillies. Take off the heat and all this to the kadhi. Serve hot with Pongal or even plain steamed rice or rotis.

Day 5 ~ {DIY} Lemon Infused Olive Oil for Salads and Soups

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Lemon Infused Oil

Lemon Infused Oil

The aroma of a scented oil to finish off a salad or soup is enticing. After eyeing some fragrant flavoured oils on some online stores, I decided it wouldn’t be so difficult to make some myself. The process is quite simple and yet, the resulting oil is such a great add on to finish a dish.

This oil is best made in small batches to retain its freshness and aroma. Citrus is my favourite flavour / scent profile and I have made another batch with Orange peel.

Lemon Infused Olive Oil (Makes 1/2 cup)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil                    1/2 cup

Fresh Lemons                                2-3

Wash and pat dry the lemons, with a peeler, peel off the skin of the lemons in thin strips like ribbons. Make sure you do not scrape too much of the white part, as it renders the oil bitter and useless.

In a saucepan, gently heat the olive oil till warm (do not bring to a boil) drop the strips of lemon rind into this and heat for 4-5 minutes at the same temperature, ensuring the oil does not come to a boil.

Take off the heat and cover the saucepan and leave to cool completely.

Transfer the oil and rinds to a sterilised, clean glass bottle and cap it shut.

Use as required to garnish soups, make salad dressings or simply add to pasta/ salads.

Moong Dal with Spring Onion ~ Entry to MLLA

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Moong Dal with Spring Onions

Split Moong Dal Cooked with Spring Onions

The use of lentils or the ones broadly referred to as ‘Dals’ in my mother’s kitchen was not limited to sambhar(as is the common misconception). Lentils were cooked in various amounts of moisture, resulting in dishes that would range from very watery to dry. We ate almost equal amounts of all forms of dal, tur or pigeon peas, masoor (Hyderabadis love this) or red lentils, channa, moong and urad to name the obvious ones. One of my favourite ways to eat dal is this dry whole red lentil preparation. Ofcourse I love drenching hot steamed rice in ghee and topping it with this plain boiled tur dal with just a hint of flavour through the tadka.

This recipe uses Split Moong dal and pairs it with the mildly sharp green onions to make for a cross between a dry vegetable dish and dal. It pairs best with hot chapattis and is a good option for a packed lunch. The picture in the post is of dabba that became K’s lunch. Do not be fooled by the simplicity of its appearance. This is one of my favourite ways to eat Moong dal.

Moong Dal with Green Onions (Makes 3 servings)

Moong Dal                              2/3 cup, washed till water runs clear and soaked for 15 minutes

Green Onions                         8-10 Sprigs, whites and greens separated and chopped

Tomato                                    1, chopped

Ginger Garlic Paste                 1 teaspoon

Asafetida/ Hing                      1 pinch

Whole Cumin Seeds               1 teaspoon

Green Chilli                             1, slit into two

Red Chilli Powder                  ½ teaspoon

Turmeric Powder                    ¼ teaspoon

Vegetable Oil                          1 teaspoon

Water                                      1-2 cups

Salt                                          to taste

In a pan, heat the oil, splutter the whole cumin seeds and add the asafetida.

Add the green chilli, white part of the onions and sauté till wilted.

Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric, red chilli powder and sauté for 1-2 minutes till the raw smell disappears. Add the tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy.

Add the washed and drained moong dal, sauté till it begins to change colour and is nicely coated with the masala. Add the salt and ½ cup water and bring to a boil, partially covered. Add another ½ cup water and cook till just done. The dal must be cooked but not mushy.

Stir in the green parts of the spring onion and sauté till wilted. Continue to cook for a few more minutes till the green onions are cooked. Do a taste check and adjust salt and spices if needed. Take off the heat and cool a bit before serving.

I am sending this off to one of my favourite blogger’s and Master Baker Aparna who writes the wonderful My Diverse Kitchen which is hosting the 61st Edition of a much loved blog event titled My Legume Love Affair. An Event started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and now taken forward by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen. After ages, I am making an effort to send some entries into blogging events. What better time than this.

Do go back after the 31st of July to see a round up of all the entries.

Update: This entry was randomly picked and won a cookbook at the event! I have never ever won anything in a blog event! so happy 🙂 

Tzatziki and Hummus

These two dips are my favourites to make, store and serve. They pair well with bread of any kind ~ Pita, Bread sticks, Crackers or vegetable crudites as well. For the Tzatziki, I add the cucumber just before serving and have found, that having hung yogurt in the fridge (keep it in the freezer if storing for more than 3 days, defrost as needed) is helpful. I also do the same with boiled chickpeas. Hummus, made from boiled chickpeas, makes an excellent sandwich spread and keeps well for atleast 5-6 days in the refrigerator.

In my next post, I will post Falafels and assembling a full on Lebanese style platter. Stay tuned.

Yogurt Cucumber Dip

Yogurt Cucumber Dip

Tzatziki – Yogurt Cucumber Dip (Makes 1 large cup)

Yogurt – 200 grams

Cucumber – I small, skinned deseeded and chopped small

Garlic – 1-2 cloves, crushed fine

Sesame seeds paste – 1 tablespoon

Olive oil – 2 tablespoons

Salt – to taste

Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon

Mint and coriander leaves – a small bunch, chopped fine

  • To make hung yogurt, line a sieve with a muslin cloth, pour the yogurt and place a bowl underneath, place in the refrigerator for a few hours till all the water drains off.
  • Add all the ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl and whisk till everything is well mixed, pour the olive oil over it as a garnish. Serve chilled as a dip.
Chickpea Dip

Chickpea Dip

Hummus – Chickpea Dip (makes 1 large cup)

Cooked Chickpeas – 1 cup

Lemon juice – 2-3 tablespoons

Sesame seed paste – 1-2 tablespoons

Garlic – 1 clove, crushed finely

Salt to taste

Olive oil – 2-3 tablespoons for garnish

Red chilli powder – to garnish

  • If using dried chickpeas, soak ½ cup overnight, pressure cook for 20 mins, drain and reserve both the water and the chickpeas.
  • Add all the ingredients except the red chilli powder and olive oil into a blender and blend adding ¼ cup of the reserved liquid to make a smooth paste.
  • Check for salt and adjust.
  • Transfer  to a serving bowl, using a spoon, make a well in the centre.
  • Drizzle the olive oil in the centre of the hummus and sprinkle the red chilli powder as a garnish around the sides. Serve immediately with toasted pita bread, vegetable crudités or as use as a sandwich spread.

Thanksgiving & Comfort Food ~ Palak Dal

palak dal tadka


Today American’s celebrate Thanksgiving. It was tough to escape this one because there were reminders all over fb, twitter and in my training room today as my client for the day is an american company with operations in India.

I have a lot to be thankful for. this year in particular….its been a very tough year for K and me workwise. We’ve had to navigate over some super volatile minefields. Am thankful for the light at the end of the tunnel, the strength of spirit and the courage and integrity of the man i share my life with. Could not have chosen better. Am thankful for closures, new beginnings and a childlike enthusiasm that can never be put down.

Today is one of those days when I would want nothing better than a bowl full of hot rice, palak dal and a dollop of ghee. comfort food at its best. I make this one pot dal as often as I can, because its ridiculously simple to make. I’ve had a 12 hour day today and am looking forward to sleeping early. Not before I finished posting here tho.

Palak dal tadka (serves 2 )

Tur dal – ½ cup (washed and soaked in water for 15 minutes)

Spinach/ Palak leaves – 1-1½ cups (washed and chopped)

Small onion (chopped – optional)

Green chilies – 2

A pinch each of asafetida and turmeric

Salt to taste

For the tadka/ seasoning

Ghee/ oil – 1 teaspoon

Whole cumin seeds/ jeera – 1 teaspoon

Dry red chilies – 2-3

Fresh curry leaves – 15

Garlic – 2-3 pods

  1. Take all the ingredients except the ones for tadka into a pressure cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles. The dal should be cooked and you should be able to mash it with the back of a ladle.
  2. When the pressure releases, add the salt and mash the dal with a spoon. Put the dal back on the heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  3. In a small pan, heat the ghee/ oil and add the whole cumin. Let it splutter, add the red chilies and peeled garlic, fry it till the garlic is turning golden brown.
  4. Add the curry leaves, when they crackle, add it to the boiled, mashed dal. Serve hot with rotis or naan.

Gongura Pappu ~ Andhra Style Lentils with Sorrel Leaves

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The love of the sour Sorrel leaves or Gongura leaves in Andhra cooking is legendary. it is used as a souring agent in vegetable, dal/lentil and meat dishes and is world famous as Gongura Pachadi which is a chutney made out of it. As is normal, the preparation and the combination of foods it must be eaten with changes in every region. For instance, in the telangana area, gongura pachadi is eaten with jowar roti and sliced raw onions, in nellore i know it is eaten with hot steaming rice and a dollop of ghee and sliced raw onions. I prefer to skip the raw onions and just gorge on the pachadi with hot rice….

today’s recipe is a bachelor / singleton friendly one pot deal to make gongura pappu. this is a style of cooking i prefer the most… easy and effortless, yet the resultant dal is so full bodied and flavorful, it warrants to be put on a menu for a home style brunch.

Gongura Pappu (serves 2)

time taken – 20 minutes

serves – 2-3 persons

Tur Dal / Split pigeon peas/ arhar dal  – ½ cup (washed and soaked in water for 15 minutes)

Gongura Leaves / Sorrel  – 1-1½ cups (washed and stems removed)

Small onion (chopped – optional)

Green chilies – 2

A pinch each of asafetida and turmeric

Salt to taste

For the tadka/ seasoning

Ghee/ oil (gingely oil is preferred) – 1 teaspoon

Whole cumin seeds/ jeera – 1 teaspoon

Dry red chilies – 2-3

Fresh curry leaves – 15

Garlic – 2-3 pods

  1. Take all the ingredients except the ones for tadka into a pressure cooker, add 2 cups of water and cook for 3-4 whistles. The dal should be cooked and you should be able to mash it with the back of a ladle.
  2. When the pressure releases, add the salt and mash the dal with a spoon. Put the dal back on the heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  3. In a small pan, heat the ghee/ oil and add the whole cumin. Let it splutter, add the red chilies and peeled garlic, fry it till the garlic is turning golden brown.
  4. Add the curry leaves, when they crackle, add it to the boiled, mashed dal. simmer for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with rotis although steamed rice and ghee is preferred.

Ulli Garelu (Vada) ~ Onion Fritters

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How was the Sankranti / Pongal weekend for you all? I hope everyone had fun and ate atleast as much as I did (so that I can feel less guilty!). It was a mega eating fest for us at the Escapades household. Crazy amounts of food was made and consumed. Even my kadai was filled up with oil for deep frying these Ulli Garelu (Onion Fritters). More because I was doing a festival special article for the newspaper I write for and had to take pictures!

K who is used to not having fried stuff asked me atleast 5 times if the garelu were made at home and not sent by a kind neighbour because he knows I almost never deep fry!

This is a simple stevens recipe and can be whipped up in 20 minutes if you have soaked the husked urad dal earlier. A tea time treat, this is a must have at a festive spread.

Ulli Garelu – Makes about 12-14 garelu


Skinned Urad Dal – 11/2 cup, washed and soaked for 4 hours

Ginger – I small piece (very finely chopped)
Green chillies – 2-3 (chopped finely)

Onion – 1 medium (chopped finely)

Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

Strain the water from the dal and grind to a paste sprinkling little water and salt. Do this in two batches so that you get a soft fluffy paste without adding too much water. The batter should be thick.

Add the chopped onions, finely chopped ginger, cumin seeds and green chillies to the batter and mix well.

In a kadai, add oil enough for deep frying and heat well.

Wet your hands with water and take a lemon sized ball and flatten it into a vada on a sheet of plastic or a banana leaf.

Make a hole in the centre of the gare so that it cooks evenly all over Slowly drop it into the hot oil carefully and fry it on both sides on medium heat to a golden brown colour.

Drain onto paper towels and serve hot with sauce or chutney.

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