Gravy (Curry and daals)

Dal With Garlic-Cumin-Shallot Flavor

dal with garlic cumin shallot

I have been preparing very simple dishes for last couple of months. Occasionally I make something new, but it is almost impossible to click pictures these days. If at all I manage to click some, I don’t get time to post. Anyway, today I was determined to post something. So here it goes.

This recipe is from my friend Subhashini. She is like a walking encyclopedia. Every time we go to their home, I come back with a full tummy, few recipes of the dishes she served that day and lots of information about various things. I sometimes wonder how she manages to know so much. She has a 8 year old and a 2 year old. I asked her to give me some day to day recipes. She mentioned that she makes this paste with garlic, cumin, shallot and coconut and freezes them in small batches. Whenever required, she takes one batch out and uses it in dals/side dishes. Same day I tried this dish. I used moong dal as it cooks very fast. This dish was delicious. I will be making a lot more dishes with this paste in future.

Ingredients:
1 cup moong dal (or any other dal)
1/4 cup tomato
1 tea spn chilli powder
A pinch turmeric powder
1 tea spn ghee
1 tea spn mustard seeds
A pinch asafoetida
4-5 curry leaves
1 red chilli cut into pieces
2 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
Salt

Spice Paste (Make a paste):
2 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
2 shallots(or sambar onions)

Method:
Cook dal with turmeric and tomato. I cooked on stove top as moong dal cooks very fast.
Then add salt, spice paste, chilli powder and cook for few minutes. Add coriander leaves.
Heat ghee and add mustard seeds, when they start popping, add curry leaves, chilli, asafoetida.  Pour the seasoning on the dal.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30mins

Pictorial:

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Green Dried Peas Gravy (Vatane Amti)

vatane amti

These days I am trying my best to avoid any food wastage. I used to buy a lot of beans/vegetables and had to throw some of it when I could not get to them on time. Now I make a conscious effort not to do so. We have started doing the grocery shopping once in every 2-3 weeks. We buy new vegetables only when we finish off every single vegetable from fridge. So, while we are at it, I am trying to get to the dried beans/lentils that are sitting in my pantry.

Yesterday, I saw a pack of green peas(vatane) and soaked some. This morning when I was thinking about lunch, I thought of making usli(which is my all time favorite dish), but then, I had to use up some bhindi too, so vatane had to be used for gravy. Next in the list was saru-upkari. I started making this, but changed it a bit to give a nice taste/aroma with goda masala. It came out really well.

Ingredients:
1 cup dried green peas(vatane)
4 green chillies
1 tea spn goda masala
1/2 cup onion
1 tea spn garlic
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
1 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
2-3 pieces kokum (or use tamarind or tomato)
Oil
A pinch turmeric
Salt

Method:
Soak dried peas overnight in water. Pressure cook peas with turmeric till they are mushy.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add onion, green chillies and garlic. Fry for few  minutes. Mash the peas with a spoon. I took 2 big spoonful of peas in blender and blended it to a smooth paste. Add the peas to onion mixture.
Now add salt, goda masala, kokum (or tamarind or tomato) and cook till the gravy thickens.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30mins

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Mixed Vegetables In Cashew Sauce

My cooking has changed a lot in last couple of months. I tend to make more simpler dishes these days. In a day, I get about 30mins-1hr sometimes to cook. Whenever I cook, I try to make it in more quantity and eat left overs next day. But there are some days when we crave for something special. Last week, we had one such day. After Ishaan went to bed, I stepped into kitchen thinking what to make. I wanted something masaledar. I checked in fridge and saw few vegetables, begging to be used. So I started putting together this dish. Final outcome was very very delicious, thick gravy – somewhat on the lines of butter chicken. We had it for dinner and next day at lunch.

Ingredients:
1 cup each of capsicum(bell pepper), potatoes, cauliflower
2 tbl spn cashews
1/2 cup onion
1 tea spn kasoori methi
1 tea spn garam masala
1 tea spn chilli powder
1/2 cup tomato
1 tea spn cumin seeds
1 tea spn ginger paste
1 tea spn garlic paste
Oil
Salt

Method:
Heat two cups water and add cashews, 1/4 cup onion and tomatoes. Cook for few minutes. Grind to smooth paste.
Heat oil and add cumin seeds. When they start popping, add onion, ginger-garlic paste and fry for few minutes. Add all the vegetables, chilli powder, garam masala, salt. Mix well. Cover and let it cook on a low heat for few minutes (add little water if required). Add kasoori methi, mix well.
Now add the cashew paste. Cook till it starts boiling and gets thick.
Serve with rotis/chapatis or flavored rice.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 25mins

Pictorial:

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Plantain Gravy (Kele Ambat)


We have a big garden in front of our home, where we have grown different types of banana plants, coconut trees etc. We have both types of banana plants – one that can be eaten after ripening and the other type which is used in cooking. The second variety is called AnbaLi keLi (Not very sure if this is also called plantain). I make chips, phodis and this ambat, papads etc with these.

This ambat is prepared very frequently at home. It is very easy to make and very less time consuming. My husband and Shilpa loves this. Here we made this with plantains.

Ingredients:
1 cup plantain(anbaLi keLi) pieces
1 cup fresh/frozen coconut
1 tea spn coriander seeds
5-6 red chillies + 1 red chilli
1 tea spn mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract (or 2 pieces tamarind) or 2 pieces kokum
A pinch asafoetida
Oil
Salt

Method:
Peel the plantains and put them in water. Cut into bite sized pieces and cook in enough water.
Heat a little oil and add coriander seeds. Grind with coconut, red chillies and tamarind(if using).
Add the ground paste to cooked plantains. Add salt, add the kokum at this stage if using and let it boil for few minutes. Take off the heat.
Heat little oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves, asafoetida, 1 red chilli cut into pieces. Pour this seasoning over the gravy.
Serve hot with rice.

Serves : 4
Preparation time : 20mins

Pictorial:

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Chana Dal Soup (Poli Saru/Holige Saru)

Puran polis and Sukrundes need a very dry stuffing. The water from cooking the chana dal is not used for these preparations. So instead of wasting this nutritious water, it is used to make some delicious dishes. Everyone has their own version of recipe to use up this water. Here is the version I usually make at home. It is very simple and delicious.

Check here for another recipe for this saru.

Ingredients:
2 cups water that is drained from cooked chana dal
1/2 cup tomato
3-4 green chillies
2 tea spn jaggery
Ghee
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
Salt

Method:
Add tomato, green chilies to the chana dal water and cook. When the tomatoes are cooked, add jaggery, salt.
Heat ghee and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves, asafoetida. Pour this over saru. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 10mins

PS: Also add the water used to rinse the mixer/blender/grinder after grinding the chana dal for puran poli/sukrunde. This gives a little thickness. If you like thick saru, add 1 tbl spn of ground chana dal. This can be eaten with rice like a rasam or can be had like a soup.

Pictorial:

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Radish Pods Gravy (Mulangi Saangi Ambat)

Mulangi Saang are tender beans of radish that have small seeds. If you don’t take out radish roots when they are grown and leave for few more days, the plants develop these pods. These are very delicious and used to make a couple of dishes when available. At my maternal town – Sirsi, these were very popular and available in Santhe – a weekly market similar to farmer’s market, where the farmers sell all kinds of vegetables. I have grown up eating these from a young age.

At my husband’s place, our supply used to come from a neighbor who had a big vegetable garden, now they have converted it into something else, so we usually buy it from outside. Many people here do not know about these delicious beans, as they are not very common in this part.

We found these last week at Indian store here. It was a pleasant surprise. We bought a big batch and I made this gravy. These beans are not as long as green beans. So just remove the ends and use them.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup toor dal
1/2 cup fresh/frozen coconut
3/4 cup radish pods (mulangi saang)
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1/2 tea spn tamarind extract or 2 pieces of tamarind
1 tea spn mustard seeds
A pinch asafoetida
4-5 red chillies
A pinch turmeric
Oil
4-5 curry leaves
Salt

Method:
Cook toor dal along with radish pods and a pinch of turmeric till dal is done.
Heat a little oil and add coriander seeds. Grind with coconut, red chillies and tamarind to a smooth paste.
Add the paste to cooked dal mixture, add enough water, salt to bring it to a gravy consistency. Bring it to a boil and take off the heat.
In another pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves cut into pieces, asafoetida. Pour this over the gravy and immediately close the lid.
Serve hot with rice and any side dish.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 20 mins

Variations : Those who do not want to use coconut for any reason can leave it out and use double the amount of dal. Follow the remaining recipe as mentioned above (for the paste just grind together fried coriander, chillies/chilli powder and tamarind). It tastes very good this way too.

Pictorial:

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Mango Ginger Gravy (Ambe Haldi Sasam)

Ambe Haldi(Konkani) or Mango Ginger(English) is very rarely available at our place. These roots look almost like turmeric(Haladi) root and have a strong aroma of mangoes, hence the name Ambe haladi/haldi. The most popular preparation from these roots is pickle. When I saw these roots in Indian store here, I remembered this very old recipe – sasam. I have prepared this only a few times in the past, could not find these roots anywhere after that.

Sasam is a popular Konkani dish with coconut and mustard seeds. One very popular sasam is ambe sasam – this can also be made with pineapple(ananas). When mangoes are not available, it can be made with mango ginger. Unlike mangoes, these roots do not have any sourness. So some kind of souring agent needs to be used when these are used in any dish.

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh/frozen coconut
4 pieces mango ginger
4-5 red chillies
1/2 tea spn tamarind extract or 1 piece tamarind
1/4 tea spn mustard seeds
1/2 tea spn jaggery (optional)
Salt

Method:
Peel the mango ginger. Grind with all other ingredients.
Add water to bring to a thick gravy. This gravy is not cooked.
Serve with rice.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 10mins

Pictorial:

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Buttermilk Gravy/Soup (Taka Kadi) with buttermilk chillies


Buttermilk is called Tak (or Taak) in Konkani. Taka kadi is one very simple dish, where buttermilk is seasoned with either garlic or normal seasoning. This is not a Konkani specific dish, as most of the South Indian cuisines have one or the other variations of this. At my home, my parents preferred the garlic version. We love to eat it with rice or drink it as it is. I make the garlic version and this version with normal seasoning alternatively so that we don’t get bored of it.

Usually the Konkani version does not have besan (gram flour) in it. I add it to give a little thickness to kadi. We usually eat it with rice. If we want to use it for drinking, I make spicy buttermilk.

I have made another small modification to this recipe. I use few green chillies and use buttermilk chillies (or Taka mirsang) to give extra flavor.

Ingredients:
3 cups buttermilk or 1 cup thick yogurt thinned down with water
3 green chillies
1 tea spn mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
A pinch asafoetida
1/2 cup water
2-3 sprigs coriander leaves
1 tbl spn besan (gram flour) – optional
3-4 buttermilk chillies – optional
Salt

Method:
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add green chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. Add buttermilk chillies and fry for few minutes. Add 1/2 cup water. Mix besan in 2 tbl spns water in a bowl to remove all the lumps. Add this to the seasoning and bring it to boil. When the mixture slightly thickens, add salt and take off heat.
Add the buttermilk. Mix and then garnish with coriander leaves.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 10mins

PS: Adding the buttermilk chillies to seasoning and then adding buttermilk makes the chillies slightly soggy in the buttermilk, but allows the kadi to soak some flavors of chillies. If you don’t like soggy chillies, fry them separately, crush them slightly and add them to the kadi just before serving or serve them separately in the plate so that everyone can add as much as they like while eating.
Do not cook the kadi after adding buttermilk. Heat will separate the buttermilk. So we add buttermilk after taking it off the heat. You can still reheat the kadi if required, but do not boil it.

Pictorial:

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Spicy Spinach Gravy (Palak Garam Masale Ambat)

We both love ambat(gravy) with garam masala in it. There are many dishes with this traditional paste in it – like mushroom gravy, masoor bhaji, potato bhaji, green peas kurma and many more. At my home, all these dishes are prepared for breakfast with either puris or dosas. V likes to eat them any meal of the day.

So recently when I was running out of ideas to make with spinach, I thought this masala would make a delicious ambat. I wanted to make it like a spinach dal but with a garam masala twist. It came out very delicious. This can go well with rice or chapatis. If you do not have pearl onions, normal onion can be used.

Ingredients:
2 cups spinach
3/4 cup toor dal
1/2 cup pearl onions(sambar onion)
A pinch turmeric
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract
Oil
Salt

Paste:
4 cloves
1″ cinnamon
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1 tea spn garlic
1/2 cup onion
5 red chillies
1/4 cup tomato

Method:
Heat oil and add cloves, cinnamon, coriander seeds, garlic and onions. Fry till onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, red chillies and fry for few more minutes. Grind to a paste.
Cook toor dal with enough water and turmeric till it is cooked. Mash it with the back of a spoon.
Cook spinach till it is soft. Add it to cooked toor dal. Add salt, paste, tamarind, mix and let it cook for 3-4mins. Take off the heat.
Heat oil and add pearl onions. Fry for few minutes. Pour this over dal.
Serve hot with rice.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30mins

Pictorial:

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Garlic Dal (Losney Dalithoy)

Every Indian cuisine has a recipe for simple dal. The Konkani version is called Dalithoy. This must be the simplest possible recipe and the one learned by all newbie cooks. There are few versions of this comfort food, based on the region, people use different tampering/ingredients in dal and call it “authentic dalithoy”. At our place, the common dalithoy – which is also a part of almost all festivals and temple meals – is this one. I won’t be exaggerating if I say this is cooked atleast once a week at our home. A slight variation to this is the one with garlic(losney) seasoning. A simple dal cooked with green chillies and then seasoned with garlic. It is a garlic lover’s heaven.

Ingredients:
1 cup toor dal
1 tbl spn chopped garlic
A pinch turmeric
4-5 green chillies
1 red chilli
Ghee
Salt

Method:
Cook dal with green chillies and turmeric in pressure cooker till it is mushy. By the back of the spoon, mash it.
Heat it with salt and enough water to bring to required consistency.
Heat ghee and add garlic, red chilli cut into pieces. Fry till garlic turns slightly brownish. Pour this over dal.
Serve hot with rice and a spicy side dish/pickles.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 20mins

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