Tag Archives: Cooking Light

SPicy Dal with Coconut milk

I can eat dal anytime, anywhere. As a soup by itself, with rice or quinoa, or with rotis. My non-Indian friends are always surprised with the number and variety of dals that we make. In fact, about a week ago, I was orienting a friend through the aisles of a newly opened Indian super market and she was shocked at the colors and shapes of the lentils (dals) that flooded the aisles. This particular dal is one I make regularly in the Instant Pot. The melding of the dal with the spiciness of the chillies and ginger, the sweetness/tartness of the tomatoes, and the creaminess of the coconut milk, just create a dish that is packed with flavors. While the list of ingredients appears to be long, you will still come out with a pretty good dal even if some of the spices are missing.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tur dal, washed a few times and set aside
  • 2 tsps cooking oil (I used canola)
  • 2 tsps mustard seeds
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asafetida
  • 2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 7 green chilies, four finely chopped, three slit lengthwise
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups water

How to:

1. Turn on the Instant Pot and set to Sauté function

2. Add the oil to the Instant Pot and when it is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafetida, ginger, green chilies and curry leaves. Sauté for a minute, till the mustard seeds stop crackling.

3. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, brown sugar, and salt and sauté for a couple of minutes.

4. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook Mode, add the tur dal, the coconut milk, and 1.5 cups water to the tomato mixture and cook at full pressure for 15 minutes. After that, let the pressure release naturally for ten minutes.

5. Move the pressure valve to the release position and let any remaining pressure release. Once all the pressure has been released, open the lid. You can now either smash the dal with a spatula against the wall of the cooker or run a hand blender once or twice.

6. Serve with rice or quinoa or rotis.

Enjoy!

“Keto” plays havoc in my life before some semblance of order is restored

Just as we approached the holiday season, my husband made a unilateral decision (he did not check in with me) to go on the keto diet to shed a few pounds.  I was horrified! Me…. the food lover whose life was filled with a kaleidoscope of textures and flavors was suddenly listening 24×7 to keto speak – high fat, low carb, not this vegetable, not that flour…..in other words enough to drive me mad!  Our Costco runs ended with huge blocks of cheese and more eggs than I had ever seen in my grocery basket and our Amazon deliveries now included almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk and shiratake noodles.  Oh and I was getting regular texts on how these ingredients could be magically converted into yummy meals in the keto universe.  My world was getting torpedoed and I needed to bring back some sanity.

After being the supportive spouse for a bit, trying out new keto recipes, I came to a decision (a unilateral one).  I would cook main stream meals and have a subset that was keto friendly rather than creating separate meals for all of us and taking away a source of constant joy in my life.   A new normal is settling in, a stage where if coconut noodles or rice is made for dinner, my husband’s portion gets made with shiratake noodles/rice.  Our favorite pesto pasta nights continue with one difference – his pasta is made with shiratake noodles.  Our Indian food with rotis and veggies continues, his rotis now get made with almond flour and the vegetables are more keto friendly.

Over the next few posts, I’ll share the recipes for some of these dishes, but for now I wanted to put up a few pictures of some of these “keto” approved dishes that have enabled us to live a new level of family normal!

I’d love to hear your stories and recipes on how you might have integrated special diets into your mainstream family meals.  And if you were able to do it with zero frustration, then I am even more in awe of you!

PS.  If you are curious, yes the diet has worked beautifully for my husband!

Just a take on dressy, bejeweled potatoes

Recently, I spotted fingerling potatoes at Trader Joe’s and was inspired to take these to a different level.  Inspired by the Indian dish of “til ke aloo” or potatoes with sesame seeds, I decided to dress the potatoes with spices and as an afterthought serve them with a nice sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.  The result was a beautiful play of spice, tart and sweetness on the taste buds.  Here’s how I created this dish that can be served as a starter or a side dish.

Ingredients:

Two tbsps vegetable oil

Two dried red chilies

One lb bag of fingerling potatoes washed

One tsp salt

One tsp cumin powder

One tsp coriander powder

Half tsp turmeric

Half tsp chili powder

One cup water

One tbsp Tahini

One tbsp sesame seeds

One heaped tbsp of pomegranate seeds for garnishing (optional)

 

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Ingredients for dressy, bejeweled potatoes

How to:

Heat oil in a pan.  When the oil is heated, add the red chilies and swirl till they get dark.  Add the potatoes, salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and chili powder and mix well.

Add a cup of water and cook the potatoes till they are firm but dry and done.  If necessary, add a bit more water to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan.  Add the tahini and sesame seeds and toss well.  Take off flame and serve garnished with pomegranate seeds.