The French Dal

French Lentils Dal

French Lentils Dal (Instant Pot)

Soup season? I’ll eat anything warm at this point. I even want my cocktails warm around this time of the year. I wanna live in a fuzzy grownup onesie and not leave my apartment till spring. Or my couch. Between work, boxing, school (Karm’s) and bed, I’ve completely ignored that trip I needed to make to the Indian grocery store, like 3 months ago. I’ve run out of any sort of Lentils n grains that a “good Indian kitchen” should never be caught without. So on my recent trip to the neighborhood Whole Foods store, I picked up a bag of French Lentils because the child requested “dal rice” for dinner with his big brown eyes seriously sad. Necessity and stuff. You know how that goes. The best part, it’s healthy, it’s quick & it’s delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup French Lentils.
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fennel seeds each.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder/ Chana masala powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Preparation

  1. Soak the lentils in boiling water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Turn the Instant Pot on Sauté mode and heat the oil.
  3. Fry the seeds until they start sputtering.
  4. Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger until they’re golden brown.
  5. Add the tomatoes, spices and salt. Sauté until the masala is cooked.
  6. Add the lentils and water. Give it a good stir and close the lid while sealing.
  7. Cook on manual for 9 minutes.
  8. Quick release, add the cilantro and serve!
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Dosa version 6.0

Green Lentils (French) & Brown Rice Dosa with Broccoli Slaw Thoran

Green lentils are NOT the same as split mung dal, just so we’re clear. They resemble whole masoor but are obviously green and not brown. (Moving on)

It’s the last and final week of summer vacation (finally!!!!) I’m obviously feeling pretty guilty about wanting to send my child off to school like…yesterday. So this is me making up for it. Clearly he loves Dosa and he loves it more when I make it. After having my million different non-authentic-yet-very-healthy-quick-and-tasty versions of dosas, he probably won’t be able to tell a real one if it smacked him in the face but that’s fine. (Like you’ve never manipulated your child)

This one in particular was his favorite because I served it with some “broccoli slaw” thoran. Ya, my little oddball is slightly obsessed with his veggies. Most of the ingredients in this recipe came from Whole Foods and took less than 2 hours to get plated.

Ingredients (Dosa batter)

  • 2 parts soaked green lentils (measured after soaking for an hour)
  • 1 part soaked long grain brown rice (measured after soaking for 30 mins)
  • Salt to taste
  • Cumin powder 1/2 – 1 tsp
  • Paprika powder 1/2 – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp

Preparation

  1. Blend everything together to a very smooth paste. (I used a ninja mixer.) Grainy batter won’t make decent dosas, so smoother the better.
  2. No need for fermentation. I used the batter immediately.
  3. Watch a Dosa making YouTube video if you’re a first timer. It’s basically like making a crepe, but I insist you watch & learn.
  4. Butter/oil helps with the texture but I used just a tsp of it and the Dosa turned out pretty crispy so avoid using the whole stick. (We’re going with healthy here)

Ingredients (broccoli slaw thoran)

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (don’t stress if u can’t find it)
  • 1/2 cup dry unsweetened shredded coconut (got mine from Whole Foods)
  • 1 package broccoli slaw (got mine from Whole Foods)
  • Salt
  • Paprika powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the seeds.
  2. Once they start crackling, add the coconut and sauté until it’s golden brown.
  3. Add the broccoli slaw, spices & seasoning and sauté for a couple minutes. I like the texture slightly crunchy and this slaw mix can seriously over cook pretty fast.
  4. Throw in some lime and cilantro and serve with the Dosa.

Milk madness.

Tres leches rasmalai

Tres Leches Rasmalai

I mean why not right? They’re both pretty much all milk and sugar. And delicious. Here’s the backstory for you. Yesterday, I made a whole bunch of rasgullas out of guilt for my child and I forgot how tiny he is and how little he actually eats. Obviously the quantity I made was in direct proportion to the guilt I felt for picking up a weekend shift in spite of the fact that he strictly forbade me from ever doing so (rolling my eyes btw). Long story short, although it might be too late for that, I decided to recycle the leftover rasgullas and the logical solution happened to be Rasmalai. Two major problems with that situation. One, it’s extremely time consuming and time is one thing I literally do not have. Second, it’s too normal and I’m not wired that way. Which led to this 10 minutes or less, no cook, no prep version of rasmalai that you’re probably going to thank me for. Soon.

Ingredients

  • leftover rasgullas (I used about 8)
  • 8 oz condensed milk (half can approx)
  • 8 oz chilled whole milk (not skim, don’t do it)
  • 1/4 cup dry shredded coconut (unsweetened/sweetened, whatever you have)
  • Nuts to garnish (very optional)
  • Preparation
    1. Squeeze the liquid out of the rasgullas and set them aside. Be gentle and avoid squashing them.
      Mix the condensed milk, milk and coconut in a bowl and pour it in a serving tray.
      Add the rasgullas and stir them in gently.
      Garnish with nuts if you choose to and serve. Chill in the refrigerator if you plan to serve it later.

    The No Boundaries Meal

    Chana Dal & Oats Dosa

    Chana Dal & Oats Dosa

    Did I mention how amazing the weather’s been in NYC? School’s out and so are we, at least most of the time, which probably explains the lack of blogposts & recipes. I’m not lazy or anything. Really! And bartending at a Rooftop bar in Manhattan in this weather is not a job for the faint hearted so cut me some slack alright?!

    And while I’m being honest, the only new recipes that my brain have cooked up in the last entire month, are more of the liquid kind. So I decided to do what I do the best, reinvent the mighty Dosa, again!! I served this healthy (slightly inspired by the chilla from the East) Dosa with a spicy red chili & coconut masala calamari (slightly inspired by its Goan counterpart) & harissa sauce, straight from the Middle East. Nope, no boundaries for this meal.

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup Chana Dal, washed, soaked and drained.
    • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats, rinsed
    • Salt to taste
    • Butter to cook

    Preparation

    1. Grind the chana dal and oats using just enough water to make a smooth batter, slightly runnier than your average pancake batter.
    2. Season with salt.
    3. Heat a Dosa/crepe/non stick griddle and spread a ladle full of batter forming a thin layer of crepe. (YouTube video if you’re a first timer)
    4. Spread about a tbsp of butter evenly and let it brown on the underside.
    5. Roll and serve hot with your choice of accompaniment.

    Crunchy Cakes!

    Savory Chickpea Flour & Coleslaw Mix Pancakes

    Savory Chickpea Flour & Coleslaw Mix Mini Pancakes

    Thunderstorms and Raibows kinda week here in NYC. The Bambaiya in me keeps craving Pakodas & Chai. I gave into the chai but it’s going to take a lot more than thunderstorms to get me to eat a plate full of deep fried grease. Something like PMS maybe but I’ll deal with that when I have to.

    So here’s my super healthy version of savory pancakes that taste pretty much like ur rainy day pakodas but won’t interrupt that summer body in the making!

    Ingredients

    • 1+1/2 cup Garbanzo bean flour (besan)
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 tbsp yogurt
    • 1/2 cup coleslaw mix
    • 1 small tomato, chopped
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 1 tbsp paprika powder
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • Salt + Himalayan sea salt to taste
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
    • 1 Jalapeño, chopped (optional but highly recommended if you can deal with the heat)

    Preparation

    1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
    2. It should be pancake like consistency.
    3. Heat a non stick pan on medium flame. I used cooking spray on a mini pancake pan but you can easily make these on a regular non stick pan with canola oil or any other oil of your choice.
    4. Pour tiny portions of batter and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Think silver dollar Pancakes.
    5. Serve with mint chutney/ tomato ketchup.

    Pro tip from Master “budding” chef Karm (that’s what he’s been calling himself): Spread some pizza sauce on each pancake. Sprinkle some Pecorino/Manchego cheese on top. (I have to admit it was next level stuff)

    This little piggy went to Goa

    Goan Style Pork Curry

    Goan Style Pork Curry

    I love everything that has anything to do with Goa. The last I was in Goa was probably about 9 years ago and every time I think back, I have this vague memory of eating a bowl of delicious pork curry at some old school Portuguese restaurant, right off the Baga Beach. Well, this is my not-so-authentic version of that memory and it’s definitely healthier and very very quick thanks to my Instant Pot.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp coriander seeds
    • 2-3 cloves
    • 5-6 peppercorns
    • 1 cardamom
    • 1″ stick of cinnamon
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 red onion, sliced
    • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
    • 2 boneless pork chops, cut into cubes
    • 3 tbsp vinegar
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
    • 1-2 tbsp sugar
    • Salt to taste
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 2 tbsp smoked paprika powder
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 2 tbsp curry powder
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/4 cup non fat sour cream

    Preparation:

    1. Turn the Instant Pot on Sauté mode and heat the oil.
    2. Fry the seeds, garam masala and onions & garlic till golden brown.
    3. Add the pork and sauté till Brown.
    4. Add the vinegar, tomato paste & ketchup and cook for a minute.
    5. Add the spices and seasoning.
    6. Add the water and cover the lid and Seal.
    7. Switch to Meat setting and set the timer for 15 minutes.
    8. Let the pressure release naturally.
    9. Add the sour cream and cook for a few more minutes on Sauté mode till it’s semi-dry.
    10. Serve as tacos, kathi rolls or with roti. Or any other way you can think of!

    Take it with a grain of Quinoa

    Quinoa and Pigeon Pea Pulav

    Quinoa & Pigeon Pea Pulav

    No, this isn’t slowly turning into one of those Instant Pot blogs. It’s just that I’ve had very little time to cook lately and the pot is sitting right there in front of me saying “you know you want to do this”

    I’ve also had very little home cooked food lately (or any food you can call food really), unless you count multiple granola bars for breakfast and dinner as legit meals. Side effects of bar tending.

    So here’s my attempt to get some delicious and more importantly quick & fast healthy food in my system.

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp cumin + 1 tsp coriander seeds
    • 1 cardamom
    • 3-4 pepper corns
    • 1″ stick cinnamon
    • 2-3 cloves
    • 2 sliced shallots
    • 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
    • 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
    • 1 can pigeon peas
    • 1 cup quinoa
    • 1+1/2 cup water
    • Salt
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 1-2 tbsp paprika
    • 1-2 tbsp curry powder

    Preparation

    1. Set the Instant Pot on Sauté mode and heat the oil.
    2. And the seeds & whole garam masala.
    3. Add the onions & ginger-garlic paste and sauté till they’re golden brown.
    4. Add the mint & pigeon peas.
    5. Add the quinoa and water.
    6. Add in the spices & season with salt.
    7. Close the lid and seal.
    8. Turn it to Manual mode and set the timer to 1 minute.
    9. Let the pressure release naturally once the timer goes off.
    10. Serve hot!

    The Savory Shot

    Spiced Red Lentils & carrot soup with grilled blue cheese fingers

    Spiced Red Lentils & Carrot Soup with Grilled Blue Cheese Fingers

    In my opinion (I do have way too many) there are 3 different kinds of Soup people in this world.

    1. The Broth people: How any human being doesn’t need a meal 10 minutes after having a bowl of brothy soup is beyond me. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

    2. The Chunky Soup people: Oh and call it Soup all you want, that’s a whole entire meal and you know it.

    3. The Thick Soup people: It’s Purée. Call it Purée. I belong to this category but I’ll be honest and call it Purée. Just own it.

    Know any more Soup people kinds? I’d love to hear all about them.

    But for now here’s my new Spiced Red Lentils & Carrot Soup recipe and it’s made instantly in the Instant Pot. I decided to serve it in a shot glass with some Grilled Blue Cheese fingers but feel free to have it your way. Quick, easy, and pretty appetizers are my favorite kind. This ones quite healthy too because there’s no cream or butter. Sure you can add some if you’re into that but I can guarantee you won’t be needing any. I recommend you eat this meal clean but that’s again, just my opinion.

    Ingredients (soup)

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2-3 cloves garlic
    • 1 inch piece of ginger
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into big chunks
    • 1/2 cup red lentils (masoor dal), washed & soaked
    • 2 cups water + extra to adjust the consistency.
    • Salt
    • Pepper (freshly ground is better)
    • 1-2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 1/2 tbsp paprika
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon sugar

    Preparation

    1. Set the Instant Pot on Sauté mode. Heat the oil. Add all the ingredients in order and mix.
    2. Close the lid and seal.
    3. Set on soup mode for 8 minutes.
    4. Let the pressure release naturally.
    5. Blend once slightly cool and adjust the consistency & seasoning.

    Ingredients (grilled blue cheese fingers)

    • Whole grain bread slices
    • Crumbled blue cheese
    • Olive oil

    Preparation

    1. Sandwich a healthy amount of crumbled blue cheese in between 2 slices of bread
    2. Drizzle some olive oil on a hot frying pan.
    3. Grill the sandwich on low to medium heat for an even golden brown color.
    4. Drizzle some olive oil on the top slice before flipping it over. Takes about 2 minutes on each side.
    5. Let it rest on the chopping board for a couple minutes before cutting them into appropriately half inch sized fingers.
    6. Serve with hot soup, shot glasses optional of course!

    Holi Thi!

    Coconut Laddoo Macaron

    Coconut Laddoo Macarons

    I know, this post is at least a week overdue. But I officially went back to work after a 7 year long sabbatical so cut me some slack won’t you?

    Say hello to the new bartender at one of the cutest Rooftop bars in Manhattan! So while I should have been making laddoos for Holi for my one and only mini halwai, I was busy shaking up some cocktails for thirsty tourists (who by the way, don’t really get the American tipping system that well!)

    So let’s get back to my almost Holi mithai-macarons. These are not as complicated as you might have heard but then they’re not authentically French either so that might give you some confidence to bring out those oven mits and give it a try. I used my trusty Kingarthur flour macaron recipe for the shells so posting the link to it. 👇🏻 (just follow the shell recipe, filling recipe’s on the bottom*)

    https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/macarons-recipe

    *For the coconut laddoo filling, follow the following recipe.

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups desiccated unsweetened coconut
    • 1/2 can (8oz) sweetened condensed milk

    Preparation

    1. On a low flame, dry roast the coconut till golden brown, preferably in a non stick saucepan.
    2. Add the condensed milk and keep stirring till the mixture is semi dry but not too dry.
    3. Set aside to cool completely.
    4. Fill in the centers of the macaron shells.

    Note: This mixture is a lot harder than your average cream based fillings so gently place the top shell on top and resist the urge to push them together. They will crack. Trust me.

    Chicken curry for the soul

    Coconut Chicken Curry (Instant Pot)

    Coconut Chicken Curry

    Okay, let’s get one thing straight. This ain’t no butter chicken but it’s definitely better chicken. It’s delicious, easy, quick and a whole lot healthier. It’s the kind of chicken recipe you need when you have a 6 year old who thinks you’re some sort of a genie who can just blink some dinner into existence at the shortest notice. Well it’s not exactly as easy as blinking but it comes pretty close if you have an Instant Pot.

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp each of mustard & cumin seeds
    • 1/2 red onion (large), chopped
    • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
    • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
    • 8 chicken drumsticks, skinless
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tbsp paprika powder
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 tbsp sambhar masala (optional)
    • 1-2 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
    • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
    • 1 (14oz) can lite coconut milk
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

    Preparation

    1. Instant Pot on the sauté mode, heat the oil and fry the seeds, onions, garlic & ginger.
    2. Add the chicken and sauté till they turn golden brown.
    3. Add the spices and seasoning.
    4. Add the tomato sauce and coconut milk.
    5. Stir and close the lid while sealing.
    6. Turn the Instant Pot on Manual mode and cook for 5 minutes.
    7. Let the pressure release naturally.
    8. Simmer for a couple minutes on sauté mode so the curry thickens.
    9. Add the cilantro and it’s ready to go!