Monday, August 24, 2009

My Style Dhal

This may not be a unique recipe, but was so different to me about 5 years back (during my memorable student days), when I made this one fine day - just by following my instincts for the use of ingredients, as I got terribly bored of the plain dhal that I used to make. Later on I came to know that many people make dhal this way. Nevertheless, I'm going to have it here just for old times sake :-).

Ingredients (about 2 - 3 servings):

Uncooked toor dhal - 1 cup (using a measuring cup)
Cooking oil - 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Green chillies - 2 to 3 finely chopped
Urad dhal - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon (vary this to suit your taste)
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Onion - 1 medium sized finely chopped
Tomato - 1 medium sized finely chopped
Curry leaves - a few
Cilantro for garnish - a few strands finely chopped
Salt to taste


1. Pressure cook toor dhal with turmeric powder in 3 cups (using a measuring cup) of water (I normally use dhal and water in the ratio 1:3) for about 3 whistles and set aside.
2. In a pan, heat some cooking oil, pop mustard seeds, add cumin seeds, urad dhal, chopped green chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves and fry until the urad dhal turns light golden brown in color.
3. To step 2, add the chopped onions and fry until they turn golden brown.
4. Add the tomatoes to step 3 and fry until they get cooked.
5. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder and some salt to the contents of the pan from step 4 and fry for a couple of minutes.
6. Transfer the contents from step 5 to the pressure cooked dhal, mix well (you can add some water if the dhal is too thick), bring it to a boil and turn off the stove.
7. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with hot, steamed rice or rotis.

Sometimes, I add about a teaspoon each of finely chopped ginger and finely chopped garlic to step 2 for a variation in flavor.

Rita, an amazing friend of mine, makes this dhal regularly. She uses all kinds of lentils in her recipe and it tastes great! :-).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cucumber Kosumalli or Kosambari

Kosumalli or Kosambari (as it is called in Kannada), I hear, is a dish that gets its origin from Karnataka. There is no real cooking involved in making this and yet the ultimate result is this hell of a healthy dish. How sweet is that???!!! Now, a very dear friend of mine, Rita, had given me a couple of cucumbers from her garden and a few fresh basil leaves and I immediately thought of this nourishing salad to enjoy (yes, you heard me right and I DID say the words "salad" and 'enjoy") :-).

Ingredients (about 2 - 3 servings):

Cucumbers - peeled and finely chopped about 2 cups (using a measuring cup)
Moong dhal - 1/4 cup (using a measuring cup)
Salt to taste

For seasoning:

Cooking oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Urad dhal - 1/4 teaspoon
Green chillies - 1 or 2 cut into small pieces
Asafoetida - a couple of pinches
Cilantro - a couple of strands finely chopped
Grated/powdered coconut (optional) - a couple of tablespoons
Fresh basil leaves (optional) - a couple finely chopped


1. Soak moong dhal in water in a bowl for about an hour, drain the water and set aside. Using warm/hot water will speed up the soaking process :-).
2. Add the finely chopped cucumber, cilantro, basil and grated/powdered coconut to the moong dhal and mix well.
3. In a small pan, heat some cooking oil, pop mustard seeds, add the urad dhal, asafoetida and green chillies and fry until the urad dhal turns light golden brown in color and pour the mixture over the contents of step 2, add some salt, mix well once again and bam!!!! What you've got is one tasty salad!!!!

This is very common in most of the South Indian Brahmin style wedding menu and also special religious functions and one such wedding was my first encounter with this salad. Btw, you can use grated carrots or be innovative and try other veggies in the place of cucumber :-).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

First of all, I wholeheartedly thank Ann @ Happy and Healthy Cooking for passing on this wonderful award. I'm so proud to have found friends like her and am only inspired more now :-).

The award calls for 7 interesting things about me and here they are, although I leave the "interesting" part to the interpretation of the reader :-).

1. I am a great fan of music - North/South Indian classical, melodies, folk, hip-hop and at times heavy metal. I've a passion for Carnatic music. Having been trained in the same for nearly 13 years, am now giving classes for the first time.
2. I am a vegetarian for the most part (I eat eggs and only Indian dry chicken dishes), but have a COMPLETELY non-vegetarian boyfriend who seems to like almost all the dishes that I make. I consider that a plus :-).
3. I cook what I crave and I mean it. On one of those extremely cold winter days during my master's days, my friends and I were sitting in the dorm lounge watching a late night movie and all through the movie I kept telling them that I crave hot bajjis. Once the movie got over (around 1 or 2 AM), I did make bajjis and we all went to bed after eating hot bajjis. How's that for craving?
4. I dress up the way I want to and do not care much about what others think of it. It doesn't mean my dressing sense is way off the chart, but sometimes I don't care much about the normal trend among people and do something different, especially when it comes to bright colored clothes (I love 'em).
5. I am a perfectionist and a neatness freak which might get those who live with me into trouble ;-). My Mom had a hard time when she came to visit me last summer and one fine day she asked me not to bother too much at least until the time she was here. Among my sisters (I have two younger sisters), I'm well-known as the one who shouts when things are not in place.
6. I have a thing for German cars and simply love my Volkswagen Passat.
7. Aside my passion for Carnatic music, my hobbies include painting, origami, blogging and gardening.

And now, it is time to pass on this award along with the rules to 7 other friends (although I would have loved to pass it on to everyone) and here they are:

Tina Noble
Tadakala Rakesh
Ramya Vijaykumar

Here are the rules:
1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Karuveppilai/Milagu Kuzhambu

This is a very traditional style dish and is considered to be full of medicinal value because of the curry leaves (karuveppilai in Tamil) and whole black pepper (milagu in Tamil) that is used in this. A little bit of this kuzhambu mixed with rice and sesame oil every other day for a week or 10 days is supposed to be really good for pregnant moms and also those who have already delivered :-) (I know about it because I've seen my Mom/Grandma make this whenever a friend/neighbor is pregnant or had just delivered).


Curry leaves - 2 cups (using a measuring cup)
Tamarind soaked in warm water - about the size of a small lemon
(If using paste, about 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of it)
Sesame oil - about 3 to 4 tablespoons (you can even use regular cooking oil)
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste

To dry fry one after the other and set aside:

Dried red chillies - 4 to 5 broken into half
Coriander seeds - 2 full tablespoon
Toor dhal - 1 tablespoon
Channa dhal - 1 tablespoon
Whole black pepper - 1 teaspoon (the pepper corns actually burst when you fry them... beware!!!!)


1. Extract the juice from the soaked tamarind to yield about a cup (using a measuring cup) of it or dilute the paste to get a cup (using a measuring cup) of tamarind water and pour it into the blender.
2. Add the curry leaves and the dry fried ingredients to the blender in step 1 and grind into a smooth paste (can be a little liquidy as well).
3. In a deep vessel, heat the sesame oil (or regular cooking oil), pop mustard seeds, add the turmeric powder and asafoetida and immediately pour the paste/liquid from step 2 and mix in well. You might want to keep the heat on low when you pour the liquid into the oil to avoid getting hurt and a lot of splatter.
4. Add some salt to step 4 and cook on medium heat with constant stirring until the raw smell of the ingredients subside and the greenish color of the paste/liquid turns sort of brownish. It takes about 20 minutes roughly to get to that stage. Turn off the stove once done and you can refrigerate it in an airtight container for about a fortnight.

You can even dry fry the raw curry leaves quickly for about 10 - 15 seconds on medium heat and then grind them along with the other ingredients in step 2.

Even if you run short of curry leaves, you can use less of the curry leaves and still make an awesome kuzhambu. Moar kuzhambu and karuveppilai kuzhambu are an awesome combo and so is karuvadaam and karuveppilai kuzhambu. Enjoy!!!!