Roz Ka Khana

A blog about everyday food. Mostly Indian. All vegetarian.

Archive for the category “Lentils”

Quick Snack – Spicy Sprouts chaat on Toast

This is for one of those muggy and rainy days when you crave something spicy with a hot cup of chai or green tea:).
It can also double as a breakfast dish if you prep ahead and have sprouts ready to go by day 2 (soak the mung beans in water overnight, drain the water the next day and transfer the beans to a moist cloth. Keep it covered for a day till see you begin to see the sprouting happen).


  • Sprouted mung beans – 1 cup
    Whole wheat or multigrain or gluten fee bread – 2 slices
    Olive oil – 1 tsp
    Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
    Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
    Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
    Chat masala powder – 1/2 tsp
    Salt to taste
  • Small red onion – 1/2 finely chopped
  • Green chilly – 1-2 finely chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Curry leaves -6-8
    Chopped cilantro – 1/4 cup
  • Home made green chutney (recipe here). You may also use store bought.


1. Mix the chopped onions, green chilly and cilantro in a bowl. Add the chat masala and lemon juice to this mixture. Keep this aside while you prep the moong sprouts.

2. Heat about 1 tsp olive oil or rice bran oil in a pan. When the oil is hot add the cumin seeds.
3. After the seeds sizzle add the curry leaves and the moong sprouts and sauté for about two minutes till the spices get well mixed and the sprouts are slightly cooked.



4. Take 2 bread slices and lightly toast them on a skillet. I prefer this method of toasting to the toaster as it keeps the toast soft while still browning it.


5. Spread some homemade green chutney (recipe here) over a slice of toast. Add the moong sprout mixture on top and garnish with more cilantro. You may also add some nylon sev (available in Indian stores) as garnish for a crunchy bite.






Ginger and palm sugar punch (Panakam), Spiced Buttermilk (Neer Mor) and Lentil green mango salad (Kosumalli)


This is a bit late for posting a Rama Navami recipe but as with all festival recipes, I record them here for posterity. I’m sure this will come handy in the years to come to me or to another reader so it’s better late than never. As always with all the festival recipes here, these are Amma’s recipes.

Panakam, Neer Mor are not just Rama Navami recipes by the way. While legend goes that this was served during Sita and Rama’s (Hindu mythological God and Goddess for the uninitiated) wedding and during Rama’s birth, the tradition seems to have stuck as these are the post celebration drinks served to this day during most traditional South Indian Hindu weddings and birthdays.

The best part – they are probably some of the easiest festival recipes to make. And they are all raw which means no stove top needed and no messy clean ups so as you can guess this is my favorite festival recipe as well:) (Not counting the tadka/seasoning to the buttermilk of course where there is some stove top heating involved, but that step can be skipped if you’d like it to be completely raw. I recommend adding the seasoning as that adds the real traditional South Indian taste)

The panakam can easily pass off as a summer cooler punch the next time you have a summer lunch  get together. Its sweet but the ginger and lemon give it the apple lemon tea kind of zing and tart taste, perfect for a hot day.

And the neer mor (moar) or light buttermilk spiced with ginger and curry leaves is the perfect coolant for a hot summer outing in the sun. “Buttermilk cools the system” as my Appa (dad) says- this is still his go to drink when he returns home from his trips to the vegetable market. And according to him the secret to his “zen”:)

Recipe for Panakam:

  • 1/2 cup palm sugar or jaggery
  • 1 tsp dry ginger pd
  • 2 cardamom crushed (you may add the skin as well for flavor but we used only the crushed seeds)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Method: Powder the jaggery in a bowl, add about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water. You can add or reduce the water depending on how sweet you like the punch. Strain the water to remove any sediments from the jaggery mixture.
Add dry ginger pd, and cardamom pd .Mix well. Add lemon juice. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Recipe for Neer Mor :
  • Yogurt -1/2 cup.
  • Water 1 1/2 cups 
  • Asafoetida -1/4 tsp
  • 1-green chili crushed,
  • few curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • seasoning -1 tsp mustard seeds , 1/2 chopped green chilli.
Beat the yogurt in a bowl and mix with water. Mix the asafoetida & salt with little water separately. Add this to the beaten yoghurt. Crush the curry leaves and add.
For seasoning the buttermilk, heat 1/2 tsp oil in a small kadhai or heavy bottomed vessel, When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Wait till it splutters then add the crushed green chili (optional). Pour this onto the buttermilk. Mix well.
Recipe for Kosumalli or Kosambri (Raw moong dal, green mango salad)
  • 1/2 cup Indian yellow moong dal (skinned and split green gram)
  • 2 green chillies
  • 3 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1/2 raw mango grated
  • /1/2 cucumber cut in to very small pieces
  • salt to taste
For seasoning – 1/2 tsp mustard; 1 green chili crushed (optional)1 tsp oil, asfoetida – a pinch, a handful chopped cilantro
Wash & soak the moong dal for about 1/2 hr till it gets a bit soft. Drain the water, add salt, add the chopped cucumber and grated mango and coconut.
For seasoning, heat the oil, add mustard seeds. When they splutter add the crushed green chili, asafoetida. Add this to the moong dal salad. Garnish with cilantro. You may also add 1 tsp of lemon juice if needed.

Navaratri Recipes – Cous Cous Payasam, Easy Sundals, and Quick Ladoos

This is exactly a week late so let’s say this is more of a post Navarathri round up. But you could use these recipes for most festivals so I am classifying these as  Tambrahm (Tamil Brahmin) festival recipes:).

Between the green smoothie frenzy, golu (dolls) exhibits and a real Navarathri schedule, things weren’t just busy – they were chaotic. This was my first year actually celebrating Navarathri traditionally and to be perfectly honest I didn’t know where to begin.

For the uninitiated, Navaratri literally means nine nights and represents a celebration of the Goddess Amba, (the Power). Over the nine days and nights, nine forms of Shakti (the sublime, ultimate, absolute creative energy) are worshipped.

In South India, prayers are offered for the 10 days in honor of the Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. There is also the tradition of keeping a “golu”  – an exhibition of various dolls and figurines predominantly of Gods and Goddesses in Indian mythology, placed on odd (usually 3,5, 7, 9, or 11) steps (padis). Girls and married women are usually invited to homes to view the exhibits, and are given vermillion and gifts and a token of the offerings made during the 10 days. This festival symbolizes what I would call a true expression of “girl/woman” power in the Hindu tradition.

As you can tell, a celebration for 9 days and nights needs quite a bit of organization and planning to make it a stress free festival. This year, I was also starting a new job the same week so you can see why I was beginning to obsess about it weeks before it began:)

One phone call to my mother-in law was the antidote. She is by far the most resourceful person I know when it comes to planning for festivals and events. She has always been the  “cook it and leave (the kitchen)” type of person and her secret has been her inimitable way of organizing and planning her schedule. I say “inimitable” as there is no exact science to it – it’s all in her head and still quite well planned:)  She has a simple rule –

  • Start the day before – make a few easy desserts that will last you the 10 days.
  • Keep these desserts for those rushed mornings when you don’t have the time to make neivedyam (offering) from scratch
  • Create a schedule of payasams and quick desserts for the slightly relaxed mornings.

I felt so much better when I spoke to her. But I realized this was going to be an annual routine and I needed to record these somewhere to actually remember the tips. So I created a time table or menu of sorts for Navarathri.  Again, this is probably too late but am sharing it for posterity and for referring back to this next year. Plus these recipes are pretty standard Tamil festival fare, use them for Diwali, Varalakshmi puja,you get the gist:)

Day before Navarathri :

I made these simple rava and Maa laddos. Recipe courtesy – Indra V, my mother-in-law:).

Simple, ghee laden delicacies.The best part, they don’t need any cooking really and last through the 10 days, well refrigerated of course.

Rava and Maa Ladoos:

For Rava Laadoos:


  • 1 cup semolina or rava
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used raw sugar which may make the laadoos light brownish)
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 cup broken cashews


  • In a pan add 1 tsp ghee and roast the cashews till golden brown.
  • Remove the cashews and in the same pan, add the rava and roast till you get a nice aroma. Do not let it change color so ensure you keep stirring for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Let this cool completely.
  • Grind the rava to a fine powder.
  • Grind the sugar to a fine powder.
  • Mix the two in a bowl and add the cardamom powder. Mix well.
  • Transfer this mixture to a wide bowl. Add the remaining melted ghee slowly to this and mix well.
  • The mixture will begin to get a bit sticky like when you add water to sand. Take fistfuls of this mixture and make round balls. If there is enough ghee you will find it easy to make the balls. If not you may add a bit of milk to the mixture to ensure the balls hold together.
  • Allow the ladoos to cool and store in air tight containers.

For Maa Ladoos: (the exact same procedure only the ingredients are slightly different)


  • Roasted gram dal or pottu kadalai – 1 cup
  • Raw sugar – 1 cup
  • Ghee – 1/4 cup to 1 cup
  • Cardamom powder – 1.2 tsp
  • Cashews, broken – 1/4 cup







You can also make Date Almond Pooran Polis and/or Carrot Coconut Squares the day before.

Day 2 and Day 5:

Cous Cous Payasam

I had never made payasam with cous cous before though the method was the same as any other jaggery based payasam recipes. This one is adapted from Biny’s recipes. Result was a creamy payasam with the right texture and just the right amount of sweetness. You may substitute the cous cous with broken wheat as well to make on another of the days.


  • Couscous-1cup
  • Jaggery-1cup
  • Coconut milk-1cup
  • Hot boiling water11/2cup
  • Cumin seeds1/2tsp,roasted and crushed
  • Cardamom pods-3,crushed
  • Nuts and raisins-3tbsps
  • Ghee/Butter-2tbsp


  • 1. Heat about 1 tbsp ghee in a small kadai and when hot add the broken nuts and raisins. Fry till golden brown and keep aside.
  • 2. Take the cous cous in a bowl. Pour some boiling water (1- 1 1/2 cup) on the couscous and close the lid.
  • 3. Take the jaggery in another bowl, add some boiling water (2 tbsp) and heat it on a low flame till the jaggery melts,


  • 4. Add the jaggery to the cous cous. Also add the cardamom powder.
  • 5. Heat this mixture on a medium flame. until the cous cous and the jaggery are well mixed and the mixture becomes thick.
  • 6. Turn off the heat. Slowly mix in the coconut milk and mix well.
  • 7. Add the nuts and raisins.


You can serve warm or chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Sundal Varieties: 

Sweet Corn Sundal Recipe


Ingredients :

  • Sweet corn kernels- 1 cup
  • Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste

For the seasoning

  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal  -1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli – 2-3
  • Hing – a pinch
  • Green chilli – 3
  • Curry leaves – a sprig


  • 1. Microwave or steam the corn with some salt till it is cooked.
  • 2. Heat some oil in a heavy bottom vessel, add mustard seeds. When it begins to splutter, add the urad dal, red chili and asafetida.
  • 3. Now add slit or crushed green chilies and curry leaves.
  • 4. Add the corn and season with salt. Mix well. Garnish with grated coconut, cilantro chopped and some lemon juice if needed.

Peanut sundal:


  • 1 cup 
Grated Coconut
  • 3-4 thai green chilies
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves.
  • 1 inch ginger

For seasoning

  • 1 tsp 
Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp
 Urad Dhal
  • 2 Dry Red Chilly
  • Curry Leaves – a sprig
  • Asafetida – a pinch
  • Oil – 1 tsp


  • Pressure cook the nuts with some salt.
  • Grind the coconut, green chili, cilantro, ginger and curry leaves in a blender to a coarse powder.
  • Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, urad dhal and asafetida.
  • Add the curry leaves, red chili and stir for a minute.
  • Mix in the boiled peanuts and salt and stir well for a few minutes.
  • Add the ground chili coconut powder/paste and mix well. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

You can also make black bean sundal the same way as above (use either the corn recipe or the peanut sundal recipe, just substitute the corn with the black beans.


Lunchbox Series – “Bollywood” Burrito (Indian Rice and Beans Wrap)

IMG_0530Cliched name for a burrito I know – drives me nuts when anything desi (Indian) is termed Bollywood these days – it’s just that this is the actual name of the Indian-ised burrito I had at a Doodle and Switch cafe in Singapore recently. Doodle, a pasta bar and Switch, a salad/wrap chain recently opened a joint establishment at a mall near my office with quite some vegetarian options on the menu – enough reason for me to check it out over lunch.

Here is what their Bollywood burrito was all about  – cilantro lime rice, spiced lentils (yellow pigeon peas or toor dal), cucumber salsa, Indian spiced yoghurt, and choice of tofu or roasted chicken.

It was basically dal-chawal (rice and lentils) with raita (spiced yoghurt) in a roti/chapathi (wrap). To be honest it didn’t sound or look very appetizing when I read/saw it – yellow dal with rice or yellow dal with chapathi are good by themselves but can be quite bland when you put them all together. Adding the yoghurt probably doesn’t help and only dilutes the spices further. I ordered it anyway to hopefully prove myself wrong. Chipotle – I’ve never missed you more:).

Oh well – you could blame it on my fiery Indian taste buds but then again, why call it a Bollywood (rolling my eyes) burrito if you don’t spice it right.

In any case the dish did inspire me to make my own version of Bollywood burrito – rajma chawal (kidney bean curry with rice), achar (pickle) and raita in a wrap. I thought this was the perfect desi answer to this Mexican dish.

Rajma is just the right substitute for pinto or black beans with salsa, raita for sour cream and jeera rice (cumin flavored rice) for the cilantro lime rice.

This looked good enough to be featured in Nikhil’s lunch box today:)

The Rajma and jeera rice were leftovers from the evening before so you can make them ahead of time and assemble the morning of.

Ingredients: (for making 2 wraps) 

  • 1 cup prepared Rajma (kidney beans curry – recipe will follow soon. This is quite a common North Indian dish best enjoyed with hot white jeera rice or with hot wheat tortillas – chapathis). Alternatively you could saute boiled kidney beans in some salsa and add some cumin powder and garam masala powder to spice it up.
  • 1/2 cup Jeera rice (I used brown rice but white rice works too. Saute some brown butter or clarified butter (ghee) in a hot skillet, add 1 tsp cumin seeds. Once they sizzle add the cooked rice and a pinch of salt to taste.)
  • 2 Whole wheat tortillas or wraps – I used whole wheat chia wraps but you can use any
  • 4 leaves of Romaine or butterhead lettuce
  • 1/2 cup Cucumber raita (chopped cucumber mixed with hung or greek yoghurt and spiced with cumin and chili powder)
  • 2 pieces of Indian red chili pickle or mango pickle chopped into pieces (Available at any Indian store. This is optional if you like your burrito Indian spicy:)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion


1. Warm the tortillas on a skillet.


2. Place 1 lettuce leaf on each tortilla.

3. Add 1/2 cup rajma to each. Top with 1/4 cup of jeera rice.

4.  Add the cucumber raita and the chopped pickle pieces.


5. Top with some onion slices.

6. Now finish with another lettuce leaf.


7. Roll the wrap to make a burrito. Wrap in foil.

The lettuce leaves ensure that the burrito doesn’t get too soggy for an afternoon lunch.

Verdict – The lunch box came back clean with one comment – “it was amazing!” That doesn’t come by very often so it must have been good:) Oh and the critic also suggested that it may be good to add some paneer to the rajma. Then it truly is a desi substitute for Mexican food (I hadn’t added any alternative to Mexican cheese you see:). Good one, that. Will be trying it the next time around.

A Lebanese feast – Foul Mudamas, Hummus, Baba Ghanouj and Mohalabiya

I have been in that rut again – weeks of travel, adventurous eating, travel bellies – in that particular order – has me battling an ominous backlog of posts and pictures. And just looking at the volume has me wondering where to begin. I’ve had this happen to me before and this is typically how the vicious cycle starts and persists.

I’ve tried a few tactics in the past to get me out of this rut – for one the food events and “We Knead to Bake” deadlines have been an inspiration, but then again, I can’t always use those as crutches – that’s not why I started blogging. The idea was to be more of an daily blog – a somewhat live commentary of my experiments with food. At times I wish I treated this more like a Tumblog, just capturing those key instant moments in time and the food visuals as and when I enjoy them. But somewhere along the way, just like everything else, I get caught up with trying to make it perfect – articulate that story behind that recipe or capture that perfect picture in the right amount of daylight, only to lose sight of the moment and muddle along, getting buried in loads of stories and pictures – somewhat like the mind and the gazillion thoughts that eventually distract me from everything.

And just like that – I feel the need to snap back into the present – time to dust off the baggage and get into more “mindful blogging”. Which does not mean that I will push aside those travelogs and recipes from the past month. It’s just that I will need to learn to start somewhere, catch up and hopefully be more “in the present” with my blogging – and living in general:)

To reminisce the origins of this recipe or this Lebanese feast, flashback to our visit to Bangkok this past May where we visited a popular Lebanese restaurant, Beirut with some friends. This was a mixed bag of sorts – I was meeting a good friend after almost 2 decades, catching up with another relatively new but very good friend and her family and meeting a new acquaintance/friend – all at this dinner:) I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive on how we would pull this off and ensure that everyone had a good time and was comfortable. Thankfully the food was awesome to break the ice and so was the company. We hit it off like we had known each other for ages.

Thanks M and family – it felt like old times – so happy to reconnect even after all these years, thanks B and family for making it a super fun evening and lastly to our new friends – G & F, great to meet and know you and a big thank you for sharing these cherished and authentic Lebanese recipes from your kitchen.

I tried these recipes as soon as I got home for the next dinner event at our home and they turned out perfect. I had tried hummus and baba ghanouj several times before and the hummus almost always needed something, some oomph:) This was just the right texture, the perfect spice and taste. I made the foul and the mohalabiya for the first time and was quite proud of the results. For those wondering (since this was a mezze platter of sorts), I did try to make the falafels as well and they didn’t turn out just as perfect this time around, so in case you do want to try making falafels along with these dips, you could use this recipe from my previous posts.

Read more…

Chane Jaisalmer Ke (Black Chickpeas in Spiced Yoghurt gravy)

I’ve never been good at planning weekly menus or cooking by my fridge and pantry list for the week. That, like any organized planning, is an art. I’ve usually done the opposite – stocked up my pantry and fridge with the best intentions of cooking only to discover them eons later, expired and disheveled, and finally into the trash can:(

The last few months have been a whirlwind craze – home repairs, packing, moving, unpacking, cleaning – all in a span of three months and less. And this has forced me to begin to clean up my mess – literally! I’ve started to create pantry and fridge lists and also discovered a new iPhone app – Menu Planner – that allows you to create daily breakfast, lunch and dinner menus from the input, with links to suggestions and recipes:)…for an app junkie like me, this was a dream come true. Well, its week 2 of me using the app so it must be working.

In any case, one ingredient I had too much of in my freezer and pantry was “kala chana” or also known as black chickpeas or bengal gram. These are what I would call a type of Indian super food, known for their high protein content and also for lowering cholesterol in the bloodstream. I’d obviously bought a lot of this over the months, with the intention of making “chana masala” or “chana salad” etc, which, as you can tell from the recipe list, never really made the cut. But one tip that helped was to boil a few cups and freeze them in freezer bags. This way, I did use them in salads, quick curries etc.

I got this recipe from watching Sanjeev Kapoor’s “Khana Khazana”. This is also one of his recipes in his recent book “Marwari Cooking”. A quick and very healthy dish that can be enjoyed with wheat chapatis or rotis or with hot rice and some salad on the side.


Black Bengal gram (kala chana) –  1 1/2 cups
Yogurt, beaten well with a fork – 1 1/2 cups
Gram flour (besan) –  4 teaspoons
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons
Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Green chillies,chopped – 3-4
Pure ghee – 3 tablespoons
Asafoetida – a pinch
Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
Fresh coriander leaves,chopped – 2 tablespoons


1. Soak kala chana overnight in four cups of water.

2. When ready to cook, drain the liquid, add four cups of water and pressure cook till done. Make sure to reserve the water you cooked the chana in, as this has all the nutrients from the boiled chana.

3. Take the chanas in a bowl and mash them lightly.

4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix yogurt, gram flour, turmeric powder, salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and whisk well so that no lumps form. Add the chopped green chillies and mix. Add one cup of the reserved liquid and mix.

5. Take a heavy bottomed pan, and heat the ghee. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the yogurt mixture and stir.

6. Add the boiled chana, and add some more of the reserved liquid. Bring it to a boil and cook for five minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Indian Cooking Challenge – Gujarati Dal

I have been slacking again, and to be honest, nothing very inspiring has come along. I’ve tried a few dishes here and there over the last few weeks but didn’t have much to write home about, literally speaking. You know I’ve had that Indian Cooking Challenge badge for months now, and I’ve been following Srivalli of the Indian Cooking Challenge but never really got down to trying any of the challenges, for whatever reasons. I’m not making much sense, I know and am frankly running out of excuses too.

But I did glance at some of her past challenges and something I caught was probably inspiring enough to get me started again. I do have a weakness for Gujarati food, so the title is what got me going this time. This is about one month too late, though so I’m not submitting this post for the challenge but I did try:)

This recipe was apparently adapted from Sukham Ayu by Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain.


Split red gram (Toor dal) ½ cup
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Dry soft kokam 4-5 pieces
Hard dry dates (optional) 4, halved
Drumstick 4-5 pieces, 2 inch length
Groundnuts 1 tbsp
Green chillies 2, slit
Ginger 1 inch piece, chopped fine
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Garam masala (refer tip, p. 49) ¼ tsp
Coriander leaves to garnish
Powdered rock salt to taste

The tempering

Butter or ghee 2 tsp
Mustard seeds ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds ½ tsp
Dry red chillies 2
Asafoetida powder ¼ tsp
Curry leaves 5-6

1. Wash and soak red gram for half an hour. Pressure-cook in 2 cups water along with turmeric to a soft consistency. Churn well.

2. Pour the churned gram into a thick bottomed pan and add all the ingredients (except garam masala, coriander leaves and tempering). Add 1 cup water and allow to simmer over low flame for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In a wok, heat ghee for tempering. Pop the mustard and then add the fenugreek. Reduce flame and with the browning of the fenugreek, add cumin, red chillies, asafoetida powder and curry leaves.

4. Pour this tempering into the simmering dal. Allow to boil for another 5 minutes. Switch off flame and garnish with garam masala and fresh coriander leaves.

Serve with hot rice or chapathis.

I skipped the jaggery in this recipe and just used the dates. This dal is sweet so if you don’t care for the tangy sweetness you can skip the dates too.

Brunch – Pondicherry Masala Dosai

I had dosai batter coming out of my ears this weekend, thanks to my mom’s foresight and planning. That probably didn’t sound the way it was supposed to, but I mean that in a very nice way, actually. She just went back to visit India so she made sure she stocked my fridge with idli and dosa batter for those evenings when I could have a quick dosa dinner after work. Because she realizes that after almost 8 months of being here with me, I’ve had to re-learn things including quick dinners on weekdays. Not that I didn’t cook when she was here (it was mostly on the weekends to try out new recipes). Just in case you wonder why my posts were still not that frequent. All right, I’ve been busted. Excuses, excuses.

So I got around to making aloo masaal (spiced mashed potatoes with onions), spicy red chutney and was all set to make Pondicherry Masala Dosai. I’ve also heard this being called Mysore Masala Dosai. But I got this name from a chef at a restaurant in Plano, where I live. I’m not sure if this restaurant still exists so I will leave the name out, but this was a dish on their menu. When asked about the name, he said he used to live in Pondicherry and just learnt the recipe there so dedicates the dish to the name.

And so I tried this for the first time and it was so good that I decided to call this Pondicherry Masala Dosa as well:)


Dosa batter – 2 cups (for about 15 dosas)

For aloo masaal:

Potatoes – 4

Onions (red or yellow) – 1 large

Green chilies – 4-5

Ginger, crushed – 1/2 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Urad dal (black gram dal) – 1/2 tsp

Chana dal (bengal gram dal) – 1/2 tsp

Peanut oil – 1 tsp

Cilantro, curry leaves, a few sprigs, chopped

Method for aloo masala

1. Heat the oil in a kadai or heavy bottomed fry pan.

2. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. After it starts to splutter, add the urad dal and chana dal.

3. Add ginger, onions, curry leaves and fry well till the onions become transparent.

3. In the meantime, boil the potatoes and mash them well.

4. Add the mashed potatoes to the oil. Add turmeric, salt and mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes, add cilantro.

Spicy red Chutney


Dry red chilies – 10-12

Garlic pods – 2

Red bell pepper – 1/4 chopped into pieces

Tamarind paste – 1/2 tsp

Grind all the above in a blender with some salt and keep aside.

Method for Pondicherry Masala Dosai

1. Heat a flat griddle and add a tsp of oil.

2. Spread the dosa batter with a ladle on the heated griddle or tawa. Add another 1/2 tsp of oil and let it cook on the griddle. When it is half cooked or when brown/red spots start appearing, spread the spicy red chutney on the dosai.

3. Now heap the potato masala in the center of the dosai and fold the dosai. Let it cook for a minute more and gently take it off the tawa onto a plate. Serve hot with sambar.

“Maharashtrian Dal” (Lentil Soup – Maharashtrian style)

An easy yet healthy (as always) entry from Anusuya’s kitchen. She insisted that I not call it a Maharashtrian Dal as she isn’t really sure if this is authentic Maharashtrian, but given that it tastes better than the the dals I’ve tried and the fact that it required “Goda Masala”, a must spice ingredient in authentic Maharashtrian cuisine – these were reasons enough for me to give it the original name. I’m adding the quotes just for her sanity:). This is an easy recipe as it calls for red gram dal and Rotel..once again, a creative twist to an otherwise common dish, true to Anusuya’s kitchen.


1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)

4 cups water

1 can Rotel (mild or medium)

1/2 tsp Goda Masala (this was a generous contribution from Anusuya’s kitchen)

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

2-3 green chilies (optional)

1 small red onion

Curry leaves – a few

Oil – 1 tsp


1. Boil the red lentils in about 3 cups water in a saucepan, till the lentils are cooked.

2. Add a can of Rotel.

3. In a small frying pan, add a tsp of oil. When the oil gets hot, add finely chopped onion, the cumin powder, coriander powder, goda masala, curry leaves. Fry till the onions get transparent. You may also add chopped green chilies for extra spice.

We had it for lunch with some hot quinoa and aloo methi (potato with fenugreek leaves). Finger-licking good!

Bisi Bele Bhath Huli Quinoa (Spiced lentil and quinoa Gumbo)

A friend of ours recently introduced us to quinoa and all its benefits. Quinoa or KEEN-WAH as it is pronounced,  is 100% whole grain and I was excited to note that not only does it have fewer carbs than rice but is a great source of protein – 12% to 18%. To learn more about Quinoa and its benefits, go here.

We had been trying to find alternative methods to cut down rice from our diet. Brown rice, broken wheat are all great alternatives, but I find that neither has the protein content that quinoa provides. Basically, quinoa seems the closest to providing a balanced nutrition, the carbs, protein, Vit.B etc.

Of course, we tried it as an alternative to plain rice and then mixed it with plain yoghurt for the traditional South Indian staple, thayir saadhan or rather thayir quinoa! The other characteristic of quinoa that differentiates it from brown rice or broken wheat is that though there is a slight nutty flavor, you cannot taste it at all when you mix it with spices or curries. This, to me, is a perfect alternative to white rice!

Girish came up with the brilliant idea of trying bisi bele huli quinoa today for lunch and my mother got equally excited with the idea and pulled out her staple recipe for bisi bele huli bhaath. She and I got busy making it and I have to say it was awesome. So if you truly want to try this with rice, the recipe is just the same, only replace the quinoa with cooked rice.


Boiled Toor Dal (yellow pigeon peas)  – 1 cup

Cooked quinoa – 1 cup (1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a pressure cooker, or a rice cooker)

Madras Sambar Powder – 2 1/2 tsp (you can use the MTR brand)

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Tamarind – lemon size soaked in water and made into a paste

Beans – 1/2 cup julienne sliced

Carrots – 2 julienne sliced

Peas – 1/2 cup

Cauliflower – florets 1/2 cup

Masala – to be ground into a paste

Onions – 2

Garlic – 8 pods (optional, if you dont like the smell of garlic, you can skip)

Red chilies – 8-10

Ginger – 2 inches

Khus Khus – 2 tbsp (poppy seeds)

Cloves – 4

Cardamom – 2

Dalchini (Cinnamon sticks) – 2

Grated coconut – 1/2 cup

Oil – 1/2 cup

Garnishing: cilantro – 1/2 cup, cashew pieces – 1/2 cup, mustard seeds – 1 tsp, curry leaves – a bunch, red chilies – 2


1. Take 2 tsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add all the ingredients for the masala and fry lightly for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the turmeric powder and fry again for 2 more minutes. Allow to cool.

3. Put all the ingredients in the pan, add the tamarind and the tomatoes and grind to a smooth paste. Keep this aside.

4. Now take the same kadai, add the remaining oil and lightly fry the vegetables for about 5 minutes.

5. Add the ground paste and continue to fry until the oil separates, for about 10 minutes. Then add the sambar powder.

6. Now add the boiled and mashed toor dal, add about a cup of water and leave it to boil, for about 5-7 minutes. Add salt to taste.

7. Now add the cooked quinoa to the above mixture, and mix well. Cook a little more for about 5 minutes until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

8. In a separate pan, add a little oil, about 1 tsp. When the oil gets hot, add the mustard seeds and fry till they crackle. Now add the curry leaves and the red chilies. Add cashews and fry till they brown a little.

Add this to the bisi bele huli quinoa. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.


Submitting this post to Cooking with Seeds event devised by Priya’s Versatile Recipes.

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