Deliciously quick & easy vegetarian/
Black Lentils Curry in the North Indian cuisine is also called Dal Makhani. Dal Makhani means Buttery Lentil and is a popular dish originating from the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. The primary ingredients of this dish is black lentils (whole unskinned urad dal) and kidney beans. Because of it use of butter and cream, this dish can be rather unfortunate for your hips and thighs.
I have attempted a low fat version using only canola oil (instead of butter) and skim milk (instead of cream). It actually turned very creamy in the end and was very delicious. And do you know who vouched for that? My own mother! Someone who had taught me so many recipes and to get a compliment from the teacher herself was quite an achievement for me. She actually asked me - 'It was so delicious - did you use cream? How did you make it so creamy? Could I have the recipe?' Have I come full circle? :)
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1/2 cup dried black lentils, soaked for 3 hours or overnight
1/2 cup dried kidneybeans, soaked for 3 hours or overnight
2 tbsp canola oil
1 big onion, chopped roughly
1 green chilli, sliced
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 big tomato, chopped roughly
1/2 cup coriander leaves
2 and 1/2 tsp Dal Makhni spice powder (MDH brand)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup skim milk
Extra coriander leaves for garnish
1) Soak the dried black lentils and kidney beans for at least 3 hours. I did this at 8 in the morning and it was fully soaked by 11. Just nice to prepare for lunch. Apologies for the unclear photos. I though using Iphone HD photos will be quite sharp but apparently not!
2) Pressure cook these lentils together with 1 tsp salt. I used a small cooker and filled it up half with water. You can also boil these beans in a pot if you don't have a pressure cooker at home. Boil till soft and overcooked.
3) After the first whistle from the pressure cooker, turn your fire to the lowest and let it cook for 10 mins. Switch off fire and check when cooled. The beans should be soft and slighly overcooked. Keep the water. Do not drain.
4) Gwt all the other ingredients ready. From top left - chopped coriander leaves, tomato cubes, sliced green chilli, ginger garlic paste and cubed onion.
5) Get the rest of the other ingredients - tomato sauce, sliced garlic (optional), chopped coriander leaves and Dal Makhani spice powder. I use the MDH brand (available in most Indian grocery stores).
6) Heat a pot with 2 tbsp oil and fry the onion,chilli and ginger garlic paste. Then, add in the spice powder, coriander leaves and chopped tomatoes.
7) Add in half cup water and cook for 5 mins till soft and mushy. Blend it till creamy. Pour this back into the pot. Wash the blender with the cooked lentil water from the pressure cooker and also pour this back. Add in the tomato sauce and cook for 5 mins.
8) After 5 mins, add in all the cooked lentils, beans and its water into the pot and simmer for 10 mins. Then, add in the skim milk and simmer for another 5 mins.
9) Lastly, saute the sliced garlic if using and garnish with these toasted garlic slices and coriander leaves. Serve with warm chapathis or plain rice.
Rendang is a popular dish of meat (chicken, mutton or beef) stewed in coconut milk and a variety of spices and chilli. Originating among the Minangkabau ethnic people of Indonesia, it is hugely popular in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. I do enjoy some of the dishes of the Malay cuisine but I don't fancy the use of meat of any kind. Upon seeing a FB video of Rendang Ayam (Ayam is chicken in the Malay language), I decided to come up with a vegetarian version of this dish. If you think about it, most of the dishes that uses meat can be replaced with the very versatile tofu. I replaced the coconut milk with skim milk to reduce calorie count. A tasty result with a strong flavor of lemongrasss and kaffir lime leaves - both of which I love :)
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a side dish)
2 red chillies - cut into big species
10gm dried red chillies (around 6 pieces) soaked in hot water for 30 mins
12 shallots, peeled and cut into half
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into half
2 inch turmeric root, peeled and sliced
1 inch blue ginger (galangal), peeled and sliced
2 lemongrass, skinned and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 tbsp canola oil (yes you need that much for the ground paste to cook)
2 pieces of blue ginger
2 lemongrass, slightly bruised to release the essence
2 heaped tsps mushroom seasoning
450ml skim milk ( 200ml Low Fat coconut and 250 ml skim milk)
2 blocks of firm tofu cut into 8 big cubes and grilled/shallow fried/air fried
5 kaffir lime leaves , sliced thin
1)Gather the ingredients - under A.
2) Under B.
3) Grind A and B into a paste seperately.
4) Get a big pot and heat the 4 tbsp of oil and start frying the blue ginger pieces and the lemongrass.
5) Add the ground chilli paste A and fry for 5 minutes.
6) Now, add the ground paste B and let it cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring and watch out for the heat so that the paste doesn't burn.
7) After 10 minutes, the mix would have taken an orange hue.
8) Add the 50 ml water and stir for a few minutes.
9) This will then be followed by the skim milk and grilled tofu cubes . Stir and cook for 15 minutes covered.
10) After 15 minutes, the gravy would have thickened and reduce to form a thick consistency. Add the sugar, salt and the sliced kaffir lime leaves now.
11) Cook for another 5 more minutes and switch of the flame.
12) Serve with any rice of your preference, garnished with more sliced kaffir lime leaves. If you find the gravy too thick, dilute with 1/2 cup hot water.
Wild Field Beans and Vegetables in Tamarind Curry Or Mocha Kottai Kuzhambu is a popular South Indian Curry. Best served with Light Coconut Rice and a simple vegetable side dish as the curry itself is quite filling because of the abundance of vegetables and field beans.
Growing up, I remember my mom would make a light spinach side dish - chopped spinach would be cooked with chopped onion and mixed with a little coconut milk to produce a soupy spinach which kind of went well with this curry. Plus, the usual pappadams and omelet. A heart warming, tummy filling and hugely satisfying meal :)
Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients. If you whip up Indian food on a regular basis, you are bound to have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your pantry. It is a delicious curry - I can vouch for that. I remember Supermom came over once when this curry was boiling and she could get the aroma from the lift!! She couldn't resist popping into the kitchen asking "what are you cooking that is smelling so heavenly, Nilo?'
Ingredients ( Serves 4)
Green Chilli and Coconut Chutney
Blend 1 green chilli, 1 small onion and 3/4 cup grated coconut. Add salt and serve.
Grilled Baby Eggplants in Skinny Tangy Gravy is a popular recipe in my family. It is one of my mom's specialties and she makes it at every festive occasion or birthday celebrations. This eggplant dish has been requested by my close friends Reetha and Nisha for many years.
My dear friends -I have finally posted the recipe here. (I really don't know why I took this long as I have no qualms about sharing recipes). I have prepared the skinny version here as I have substituted my mom's coconut milk with skim milk. So it may not have that oomph but it is close enough!! Go on - try it out.
8 baby eggplants
1/2 ( half) tsp mustard seeds
1 stalk curry leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1 and 1/2 tsp Chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tomato, cut into 8 wedges
2tbsp thick tamarind extract
Salt per preference
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup water
Chopped Cilantro leaves for garnish
Cut the eggplants into four in the middle but not all the way through. Let it still be attached to the stalk. Soak in salted water for 10 mins. Drain and dry on paper towel.
Heat a big pan and pour 4 tbsp oil. Place the eggplants and grill till all sides are cooked. Be extra gentle as the cooked eggplants are very soft. Remember we still want them in one piece! Remove and drain oil on kitchen towel.
On the same pan, add the mustard seeds and once it splutters, add the sliced onion and curry leaves. Fry till onions turn translucent.
Lower fire and then add in the chilli powder. Fry for a minute or so.
Then add in the other spice powders, tamarind extract, tomato wedges and salt. Pour in half a cup of water and 1/2 cup of skim milk. Let it come to a rapid boil and allow the gravy to thicken.
After 3 minutes when the gravy has thickened, add in the grilled eggplants. Gently turn then around so that the gravy coats all the eggplants. Cook on very low heat covered for 10-15 minutes.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.
Aebleskiver pans are special cast iron pans with several hemispherical holes. The term Aebleskiver actually refers to traditional Danish pancakes which are light and fluffy like popovers. My mom uses this pan to make fluffy savory egg balls which are then dropped into a tamarind based curry. Served with a light coconut rice and a vegetable side dish, it makes a hearty delicious meal. My girls favorite dish of their Nanimma (Grandma)! An elaborate recipe but so worth the effort :)).
The recipe below is for 6-8 people.
Ingredients for Egg Balls (makes around 30)
3 tbsps. roasted gram
1 cup onion
2 stalks curry leaves
3 tbsps. grated coconut
1 green chilli
1 tsp ground ginger
6 eggs beaten
3/4 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp cumin powder
3/4 tsp salt
Method for Egg Balls
Grind all the ingredients under grinding till smooth and add it to the beaten egg. Then add in the spice powders and salt and whisk it all together.
Heat and grease the ableskiver pan and pour this egg batter into each hole only up to 3/4 full. When it is browned below, use a fork and a spoon to quickly flip it over so the underside gets browned as well. Drain the egg balls on a kitchen towel and keep aside.
Ingredients for Tamarind Curry
2 tbsps. tamarind pulp dissolved in 8 cups of water
1 onion chopped finely
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 medium tomatoes cut into 8 wedges
3 tbsps. coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 and 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp fennel powder
2 tbsps. canola oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tsp urad dal
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 stalks curry leaves
1 tsp chilli powder
Method for Tamarind Egg Curry
In the 8 cups of Tamarind water, add in all the ingredients stated upto the fennel powder.
Heat the oil in a medium sized deep pot and start frying the tempering ingredients except for the chilli powder.
When you add the chilli powder, reduce fire and add in the tamarind water mix.
Let the curry simmer for 15 minutes and then add in 3/4 cup ground grated coconut for thickening the curry. After 5 minutes, add in the cooked egg balls and let it simmer for another 15 mins.
Serve with a light coconut rice (my next recipe) and a simple vegetable dish.
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.