Friday, December 20, 2013

Lasooni Palak Dal \ Garlic flavored Lentils with Spinach

I make a very simple style dal which is the quickest dish that I can make to go along with chapathis/jeera rice etc and that is one of the main reason I make it so often too. Apart from that the taste of dal fry is so soothing and comforting. Sometimes when I want to make some really nice subji for rotis but do not have the mood to spend so much time in the the kitchen, I make more complicated varieties of Dal like palak dal, methi dal, panchratan dal etc. Palak Dal has been on my to-blog list for long and finally we are here. Though palak dal may not seem very different from the South India Keerai Kootu, taste-wise it is very different and the special tempering of garlic to this dal makes it absolutely delicious.

I would strongly recommend pairing this with either Jeera Rice or rotis :)


Serves - 4
Prep Time - 15 min
Cook time - 20 min
Spice Level - Moderate

Toor Dal - 3/4 cup
Spinach - 250 gm, 1 bunch, washed well, stems removed, and chopped well
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Green chillies - 4
Onion - 1 small sized, chopped well
Tomato - 1 , chopped well
Ginger - 1 small piece, chopped well
Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped well
Jeera seeds - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 Tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 Tsp
Oil - 2 Tsp

For seasoning

Oil - 2 Tsp
Hing - a pinch
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
Garlic cloves - 4 , finely chopped
Dry red chilli - 1

How do you do it

1. Pressure cook dal with turmeric and 2 green chillies well. Once done, mash the dal well and keep aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan. Add jeera seeds, ginger and garlic. Saute well until they are slightly browned. Add the onion and remaining two chopped green chillies and saute until the onions are cooked. Next, add the chopped tomatoes and cook well. Once they become soft and pulpy add the red chilli powder and garam masala and cook for a minute.

3. Add the spinach and salt now and saute well until the leaves wilt. About 5-7 minutes. Once the spinach is cooked well, add in the cooked dal and mix well. Bring to slow boil and let all the flavours blend.

4. In another pan, bring 2 tsp oil to heat. Add hing, mustard seeds to pop. Add the garlic cloves, dry red chilli and cook until the garlic pieces are browned. Dont let these over brown, that will result in a bitter taste in the dish. Burnt garlic is something that we dont want here :). Once done, pour this tempering into the dal and mix well. Let it sit like that for 10-15 minutes.

5. Serve hot with rotis or Jeera Rice.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken Biryani

This is a no fuss recipe for Chicken Biryani that I have been using very often for a while now. Planning a non-vegetarian menu is so much more easier than planning an elaborate vegetarian meal because you dont need to bother making a variety of dishes when it comes to non-veg menus. If there is a tasty chicken biryani pot on the table, everything else is forgotten and so I wish I had gotten into the habit of cooking chicken/fish based dishes earlier, it would have made my life much easier :).

As long you have some mint leaves in your hand and remember to marinate the chicken well in advance, this can be made in less than 30 minutes. Chicken biryani served with some pappad and simple onion raitha can make weekend lunches very special.


Adapted from  - Solai

Serves - 4
Spice Level - Moderate
Prep Time - 30 min
Cook time - 20 min

Chicken - 1/2 kg, cut into medium sized pieces
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Coconut milk - half a cup if canned, if fresh use 1 cup
Onion - 2 , chopped finely
Tomato - 2, chopped finely
Salt - as per need
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Mint Leaves - 2 handful
Green chillies - 2, slit
Plain red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Ghee - 1 Tbsp
Oil - 2 Tbsp

For seasoning

Bay leaf - 2
Cinnamon - 1 inch pieces, 2 no.
Cardamom - 3
Cloves - 3
Star Anise - 2

To grind to a paste

ginger -3 small pieces
garlic-10 pods
fennel seeds-1 teaspoon
small onions - 10
green chili- 6
Cinnamon- one inch piece
Mint leaves - 2 handful

For Marination

Lemon juice - of half a lemon
Curd - 1 tablespoon
Red Chilli powder -1 tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tbsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 2 Tsp
Pepper powder - 2 Tsp
Cumin powder - 2 Tsp
Half of the above ground paste

How do you do it

1. Grind the paste with ingredients under " To grind to as paste" with little water and keep aside. Wash and soak basmati Rice in enough water for 30 minutes

2. Wash the chicken well and marinate the chicken with the listed ingredients under "For marination" for 2 hours at-least.

3. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a kadai. Drain the water from the rice and add it to the the kadai. Saute the rice for 2 minutes until it gives out a nice aroma. Keep aside.

4. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add the items under "To season" one by one and let them roast. Add onions, green chillies and ginger-garlic paste and saute well until the onions are cooked well.

5. Add the tomatoes and turmeric now and half the quantity of salt, mix well. Let the tomatoes get cooked well - 4 minutes. Now add the red chilli powder and remaining half of the ground paste [step 1 paste] and saute well for about 5-7 minutes.

6. Add the chicken pieces and mint leaves now and cook for 5 minutes.

7. Mix coconut milk and water to get 3 cups in total to add the pressure cooker. If you are using canned coconut milk, use half cup of that and remaining 2.5 cups of water. If using fresh coconut milk, use 1 cup of that and 2 cups of water. Now add this to the pressure cooker. Add the required salt and rice now and mix well.

8. Close the cooker with the lid and Pressure cook for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes switch off flame and let the pressure release naturally. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and cashews.

Serve this delicious chicken biryani with raitha and pappad.

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