Dill and Lentil curry

This is one of my favourite bhajis (greens). Although in most parts of the world, dill is used as a garnish, in India it is prepared as a dry curry. (Any greens prepared as curry is called bhaji). This is my mum’s recipe; It’s very simple and healthy and tastes splendid with sorghum rotis smeared with ghee.

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2kg dill (called shepu in marathi), chopped
  • 1/4cup yellow split moong dal, rinsed and soaked for atleast 30mins
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 big cloves garlic and 3 green chillies, ground to paste
  • 1 onion medium, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3tbspn sunflower oil

Method

  1. Heat oil in a wok, saute garlic till golden.
  2. Add onions and fry till they turn reddish. Add garlic and chilly paste and fry for couple of mins.
  3. Add dal and fry for another 2-3mins.
  4. Add dill, 1/2 cup water and stir. Cover and cook on low flame until lentils and cooked and most of the water is absorbed.
  5. Adjust salt and serve with fresh rotis!

Punjabi Dal

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  • 1/2cup black urad dal
  • 2tbspn chana dal, dry
  • 1.5tbspn fresh garlic paste
  • 1.5tbspn fresh ginger paste
  • 1/4tspn turmeric
  • 2tbspn Ghee
  • 1tbspn cumin seeds
  • 1tbspn kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 slit green chillies (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine both dried lentils, rinse and soak for 8hrs or overnight. (This becomes 1.25cups if soaked overnight)
  2. Add soaked lentils to a pressure cooker, add enough hot water so that lentils are inch deep in water.
  3. Add half the ginger and garlic paste, turmeric and bring to boil.
  4. Close the lid of the cooker, crank the heat up to build the pressure (say 2-3mins), turn the heat down and simmer lentils for 50mins. Turn the heat off and let the pressure release on its own.
  5. While the lentils are cooling down, heat ghee on low to medium heat in another pot. When hot, add cumin seeds, after 30secs add the curry leaves, after another 30secs add the remaining ginger garlic paste.
  6. After few seconds, add onions, turn the heat to medium/high and fry till golden, around 10mins.
  7. Add tomatoes, chillies and salt to taste. Cook for 5-10minutes till tomatoes become soft.
  8. Add cooked dal to this pot (without the water it was cooked in but don’t throw the water away).
  9. Heat through, add remaining water if needed and simmer for 20-30minutes till the dal has thickened a bit.
  10. Serve with fresh rotis!

Moong Dal

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1cup dry moong dal, rinsed (you can also use masoor dal or red split peas)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1tbspn fresh garlic paste
  • 1tbspn fresh ginger paste
  • 3tspn ground coriander
  • 1tspn ground cumin
  • 2tspn paprika
  • salt, to taste
  • 4tbspn sunflower oil
  • 2.5cups hot water
  • handful of chopped coriander

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pot on medium-high heat, add onion and fry for 10mins until soft.
  2. Add ginger paste, garlic paste and all powdered spices, fry for 2-3mins.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and fry for 5-10minutes or until the spices don’t taste raw.
  4. Add dal, salt and hot water. Bring to a boil.
  5. Lower heat, cover pot and let cook for 25mins until dal is soft.
  6. Add chopped coriander and adjust salt.
  7.  Serve with fresh rotis or rice with a side of yoghurt and pickles!

Chickpea pancakes

Everybody loves pancakes. Whether they are made from wheat flour or oat flour or buckwheat flour or chickpea flour.

I usually go for chickpea flour because of their high protein and high fiber content, they are gluten free and because this is the only pancake my mom used to make when I was in India. Also, the flour has a distinct taste (unlike other flours which are mostly tasteless) so all I need on the side of this dish is ketchup (if I am super lazy) but I love eating this with grilled veggies and perhaps some halloumi. Mind you though, I would not make this pancake if you fancy something sweet. I just cannot imagine eating this with banana or nutella but these are perfect for a savoury treat.

  • Servings: Makes around 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups chickpea flour (also called Besan)
  • 4eggs
  • 1cup fresh chopped spinach
  • 1tspn salt
  • Oil to fry (or butter if you prefer)

Below ingredients are all optional but they do add a lot of flavour

  • 1tspn paprika
  • 1/2tspn coriander powder
  • 1/2tspn ground black pepper
  • 2green chillies, very finely chopped

Directions

  1. Mix flour, paprika, coriander powder, black pepper and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Break all eggs in this well, add 1/4cup cold water and start whisking in the center incorporating more flour.
  3. Keep adding water and whisking till all lumps are removed and the batter resembles thick single cream.
  4. Add chopped spinach and green chillies and give the batter a good stir.
  5. Heat a non stick pan on medium heat and add1/2tspn oil. Add 1/4-1/2cup batter in the pan (depending on how thick you want your pancake).
  6. When the top of the pancake has air bubbles/pockets all over, flip it and cook for another 45secs (or till pancake is cooked through)
  7. Serve warm.

Potato and Leek Soup

This is a very easy recipe with a delicious end result. Perfect for a mid week meal on a cold cold day!

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 large leek (dark green part removed), cut into half and then sliced.
  • 750gms potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 100gms crème fraiche
  • 1.5 cubes of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbspn butter
  • 1 tspn oil

Directions

  1. Heat oil and butter in a pot.
  2. When heated, add leek, potatoes and onion. Fry for 10 minutes on medium heat. Add black pepper.
  3. Add stock to 500ml of hot water and add to the pot of veggies. Cook till potatoes are cooked, another 15-20mins.
  4. When veggies are cooked, blend till smooth, in batches if needed.
  5. Add blended soup back to the pot, adjust seasoning, add more water if needed.
  6. Whisk the crème fraiche with some soup in a separate bowl. Add to the soup, 2tbspn at a time, tasting all the time to ensure the right amount of creaminess.
  7. Heat through. Enjoy with warm crusty bread.

Dal Tadka

This is another of those dead easy recipes and you won’t have to spend more than 15mins on the prep work. It’s perfect as a side dish to meat curry or a dry veg curry (called sabji) but you could also eat it as a main dish if you prefer something light.

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1.5cups masoor dal (red split lentils)
  • 16 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4tspn cumin seeds
  • 30-40 curry leaves
  • 2 green chilli, slit
  • 1tspn turmeric
  • 2tspn salt
  • 2tbspn ghee (you can use oil instead but ghee gives the dal a wonderful buttery flavor)

Directions

  1. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker. When hot, add cumin seeds.
  2. When seeds start crackling add chilli, garlic and curry leaves and cook till garlic is golden.
  3. Add dal, turmeric, salt, 4.5 cups of hot water and stir to mix.
  4. Get everything to a quick boil, close the lid on the cooker and simmer for 10mins. Turn off gas and let the pressure reduce on its own (usually 15-20mins).
  5. Open the lid, adjust salt and enjoy!!

Mango Smoothie

There’s one thing that hasn’t changed about me since I was a kid, my love for mangoes. I L.O.V.E. mangoes. When in season, I can eat them every damn day. I’ve had to make to do with the “not so yummy” variety we get in Europe but nothing can beat the Asian Alphonso mangoes! It’s something everyone must try at least once in their lifetime. Wherever your mangoes are sourced from, this smoothie is a great way to kick start your day.

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1cup almond milk
  • 1 whole mango
  • 1/2 banana

Directions

  1. Just whizz everything in your blender till smooth.
  2. Enjoy the thick and creamy smoothie (and wonder how something so delicious could be so healthy!)

Notes

  1. I usually don’t add any muesli to this drink as I like it creamy with no bits in it but feel free to add some if you want something more substantial.
  2. Some avocado or a dollop of greek yoghurt is also a great (and healthy) way to make the smoothie more filling (and creamier).