Monthly Archives: March 2015

Italian Recipe: Homemade Pasta

This dough is ALMOST how pasta is made in Northern Italy, but the easy way with a stand mixer and roller attachment (the roller attachment almost costs more than the stand mixer XD). I don’t have enough countertop space to roll out the pasta. With the mixer, it is very easy. In Northern Italy, no salt or oil is added to the dough.

(supposedly serves 4, but it really serves about 6)

400g 00 flour (preferred) or all purpose flour (not authentic but I use it and it still works well)

4 eggs

Directions for using the Stand Mixer + Pasta Attachment:

1. Add to stand mixer bowl.

2. Place the hook attachment.

3. Run on speed 2 for quite a while.

4. It will mix and later form small pieces of dough. As it keeps mixing it may form one big lump.

5. If it does not form after a pretty long time, add 1-2 tbsp water (don’t add too much water!) By the way, this step is not authentic. Traditionally it is only eggs. You can add beaten egg instead of course.

6. Now once it forms a mass, when you touch it, it is sticky. Continue on speed 2 for several minutes so gluten forms.

7. Now if you feel it, it is not sticky at all. Also it is very very elastic.

8. Now form one ball and put in the stand mixer bowl, cover with a plate for at least 30 minutes. Actually this step is optional if you have no time. In some recipes they don’t let it rest before rolling.

9. Now take it out and cut into 4 equal pieces.

10. Put three back into the bowl and cover with plate again.

11. Now do the following steps for each piece:

(maybe not authentic method? but this is what works for me)

12. Press down with your palm to slightly flatten.

13. Use the pasta rolling attachment. Turn to speed 2. Use setting 1.

14. Feed the dough through twice. Then fold in half. Repeat this once more. Then feed through twice again.

15. Use setting 2. Do the same as you did in 14.

16. Now feed through on setting 3 twice.

17. Now setting 4 twice.

18. Dust a surface with flour generously. Place the dough sheet. Dust on top with flour.

19. Now use the pasta cutter attachment. I used the fettucine one. There is also the spaghetti one, but TONS of dough stuck to it last time I used it! And it was impossible to remove any of the dough.

20. Turn to speed 2. Feed the dough sheet through.

21. Now form the noodles in a bunch, dust generously with flour, toss lightly. Place on a tray covered with flour. All this flour prevents noodles from sticking.

22. Now to cook ALL of the noodles, use 5 liters of water, plus a tbsp of salt (use even more for an authentic version!). For part of this recipe, you can use less. You can cover and refrigerate the rest (again, this is not authentic). Bring to a boil in a giant pot.

23. Add the noodles, stir. I use chopsticks, it’s much much easier than other.

24. Cover the lid, and bring to a boil. STARE at the pot while doing this! Really! If you don’t, it will EXPLODE when boiling. That’s what happened to me, even though I DID stare at the pot, LOL. But you still must cover or else it won’t ever come to a boil. So pay close attention. As soon as it starts bubbling a bit, open the lid!

25. Stir well again. Now cook and stir every minute. Also taste a noodle every minute to see how they are cooked. Cook until al dente. They will continue to cook after draining, because unlike Asian noodles, they are never rinsed in cold water to stop cooking.

26. Once al dente, quickly put noodles in a colander and drain well.

27. Now place onto the serving plates and spread. In some recipes, the pasta is placed into the pan with sauce and first mixed before placing.

28. If placed on the plate, quickly top with the sauce and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I like to stir it well at this point, then serve.

29. Enjoy!!

This time, I made almost authentic Ragu Bolognese to go with the fettucine. It is very yummy! 🙂

Recipe: Mung Bean Soup(绿豆汤)

This soup is a Chinese soup made with whole unpeeled mung beans. They are called 绿豆 (lü dou, also spelled lv dou, pronounced like “lee doh”) in Chinese, literally “green bean”, which is a good description because they are green colored and beans. But in English we already have a “green beans” (called 四季豆 or “four seasons beans” in Chinese) so we have to name them after the Indian name. In Hindi, they are called moong dal, so we call them mung beans in English. There are two main kinds, the whole unpeeled beans and the split peeled beans. I already introduced the whole unpeeled beans in my pesarattu recipe. They are also used to make a dal dish in India. The split peeled beans are also used to make dal, and they cook very quickly. In China, beans are always used to make sweet dishes, unlike India. So there are mainly two uses. The whole unpeeled ones make this soup, called 绿豆汤 (lü dou tang, “green bean soup”), and the peeled split ones make a sweet paste used as a filling for desserts, called 绿豆沙 (lü dou sha, “green bean sand”). In Cantonese, the soup is also called 绿豆沙, the same name as the paste.

Mung bean soup is always eaten during the summer in China. It is believed to have strong cooling effects, even though it is traditionally served piping hot. People who are too yin cannot eat the soup, and same with people who are older. But that’s just superstition because in India many old people eat mung dal and are fine. Actually in China there is less superstition now so more people can enjoy the soup. 🙂 But maybe they do have some cooling effect, hehe. When I visited China in the summer (every day 100 degrees Fahrenheit with over 90+% relative humidity, I almost had heat stroke twice…) there were many ice cream stands selling mung bean popsicles, yum! Anyways, it’s not summer, but it southern California even during Christmas it is over 80 degrees, and today it was over 90 degrees, so not as hot as China suring the summer but still quite hot. So try this soup to get cool! And although it is traditionally served piping hot, I prefer it just warm. You can even serve it cold like cold soups in western cuisines. Chinese people also sometimes eat it cold or room temperature. Or incorporate it into a popsicle, hehe. I serve the soup as a dessert after dinner. You can serve it for breakfast or lunch too or as a snack meal.

This recipe includes Chinese brown slab sugar. This ingredient is easily found in Chinese grocery stores. In soups, Chinese people use either yellow rock sugar (冰糖, bing tang, “ice sugar”) or brown slab sugar (片糖, pian tang, “slice sugar”). Use brown slab sugar for this recipe. They are sold in about 1 lb packages that have slabs of brown colored sugar inside.

Serves 4
Adapted from Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young, a great book filled with traditional Cantonese recipes including many healthy soups 🙂

Ingredients:
1 cup whole unpeeled moong dal / mung beans
1/4 cup lotus seeds (optional) (I did not use)
1.5 liters (1500 ml) water
1 1/2 slabs (3 oz) of Chinese brown sugar (you can also use rock sugar)

Directions:
1. Rinse mung beans and lotus seeds if using, drain.
2. Add to pot with 1.5 liters water.
3. Bring to a boil on high.
4. Simmer on low for 1 hour. Actually they cook very quickly and are already soft after 30 minutes, so you can stop then. You can partially mash after done.
5. Add sugar and cook until dissolved.
6. Serve hot (traditional), warm, or cold.

Enjoy!

(Sorry! I forgot to take a picture. I will next time :))

Recipe: Masala Fried Rice

Quick recipe to use up your leftover rice!

When I have leftover cooked rice, I either just eat it like regular rice during next day’s dinner, or make fried rice or sometimes congee (recipe later for cooked rice congee). I like kinchi fried rice, egg and green onion fried rice, vegetable fried rice, Indo-Chinese “Schezwan” fried rice,  and this Indian masala fried rice. This one is quite easy to make and very tasty.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked white rice

1 finely chopped onion (India size), or 1/2 American size

1 finely chopped roma tomato, for easy version use 1/2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp finely chopped garlic PLUS 1 tsp finely chopped ginger, or 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 1/2 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 sprig curry leaves

Masala Mixture: 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp fennel powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp red chili powder (I use Kashmiri), 1/4 tsp garam masala, 1/4 (or more if you wish) tsp salt

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a pan or kadai.

2. The rest of the recipe is done on different heat, depending on the step to avoid burning. Add mustard seeds and cumin, over medium.

3. Add curry leaves, garlic and ginger. Saute 5 seconds. If you use ginger garlic paste, don’t add yet.

4. Add onions and saute until translucent, medium high. If using ginger garlic paste, add now and saute 5 seconds more.

5. Add the tomatoes and cook until a paste and water evaporated. If using tomato paste, add and stir well. You can also add about 2 tbsp water to help because it is so dry.

6. Add the masala mix, medium heat. Stir well and saute 5 seconds.

7. Add the rice and stir well. Combine well so all of the rice is the color of the masala mixture. Stir fry, medium high to high until desired dryness.

8. Add cilantro and stir well, saute 10 seconds. Serve and enjoy! 🙂

  

Information: Panang Curry (Kaeng Panaeng)

This post is the explanation for ingredients. Not the recipe. That will be written sometime later.

Thai curries are popular all over the world! Especially in America, everyone loves eating them. Some people even want to make them at home because of how tasty they are! You can even find many recipes in English! Some even teach how to make curry paste from scratch! But wait…

All those recipes are highly unauthentic! Some of them are nothing like Thai curry! A Thai person would not even recognize it! For example, many green curry paste recipes include Thai basil in the paste, which would never happen in Thailand. And many recipes substitute lemon zest for lemongrass and ginger for galangal, skip many necessary ingredients, making a totally un-Thai curry.

Luckily, if you search hard, you’ll find a yummy recipe that is also really Thai. And that is what I will introduce to you in this post!

Thai curries are called Kaeng in Thai. I don’t know why we call them curries. Perhaps it came from what Americans call “yellow curry”, “kaeng kari” in Thai. But really, these are more like either soups or gravy dishes than curries. (They couldn’t call them soup because we already translated “Tom” as “soup”. A tom is like kaeng but kaeng uses a paste and tom uses whole herbs.) A “curry” is a British invented word to describe Indian cuisine, especially dishes with gravy. They created a blend of various Indian spices called curry powder, which is never used in Indian cuisine. Instead, it is used in Japanese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and some Cantonese dishes due to British influence. It is especially popular with chicken: chikin karē (Japan), kari ayam (Malaysia), ca ri ga (Vietnamese), ga li ji (Chinese), and of course the British chicken curry. But… this powder is not found in Thai “curries” except some people add it to the kaeng kari. Others just use spices including turmeric. But the Thai curries are barely like the other foods that are actually called curries (or kare, cari, kare, etc.) in their native language.

Anyways, due to the confusing translation of kaeng, we call the pastes used to make them “curry pastes”. Many Americans confuse this with “curry powder” and think they are interchangeable… well they are not related at all. Curry pastes are made from Thai herbs.

So Panang Curry is one type of Thai curry. Thai curries have those that are made in coconut milk (the ones found in America and also Thailand) and those without coconut milk (popular in Thailand but not USA). Panang curry is one of those with coconut milk. It is a very thick sauce containing meat and no vegetables. Some people think it originated in Penang, Malaysia, simply because they are spelled similar. Well, that is wrong and a coincidence. It was actually invented in Thailand.

Kaeng Panaeng is pronounced “kayng puh-nayng”. “Ay” rhymes with “lay”. I used to pronounce it “pah-nahng”, but that is wrong.

To make Panang Curry, one needs Panang Curry Paste. This can be made it home or bought in a can. I strongly recommend you to buy it in a can unless you have Thai food experience, a Vitamix (or a Thai granite mortar and over 1 hour free time plus extremely strong arms and tons of patience) AND several extremely challenging to find Thai herbs, explained below. Even if you can find these, it’s sort of a waste to make unless you cannot eat much spicy chilies or salt. This is because sadly, all the premade curry pastes in cans, packages, or cartons have tons and tons of salt and spiciness except the Americanized Thai Kitchen brand which costs too much and many Thai people don’t find very good. They are actually so salty that I don’t like them, and too spicy to eat too. So, I will explain how to make the curry paste below.

Ingredients Explanation Time!

If not familiar with Thai cooking, making this curry may be confusing. Don’t worry, I’ll guide you through.

First, you need the curry paste, introduced above. For premade, you can use the Mae Ploy brand in big tubs (authentic, extremely spicy, extremely extremely salty), or the Maesri brand in small cans (also very authentic, less spicy than Mae Ploy but more spicy than Thai Kitchen, less salty than Mae Ploy). Both have no preservatives and are natural 🙂
You can also buy red curry paste instead of panang curry paste. They are very similar and you just need to add some easy ingredients to the red one in order to get panang curry paste.
For making yourself, see below.

Second, you need coconut milk. Chaokoh, Mae Ploy, Aroy D are good, in cans. Aroy D has no preservatives but most people like the other two more. Mae Ploy is the best for curries as the oil splits easier. Often, I can’t get oil to split in Chaokoh. This is an important part of curry making, explained in the directions. If you can’t get it to split though, like today for me, it’s fine.

Third, you need palm sugar. I use Dragonfly brand in plastic cylindrical-shaped tub. It’s found at Hawaii supermarket and pure palm sugar, easy to cut with knife, easy to eat like candy (very sweet but yum), and in smaller sized pieces. If you can’t get it, use sugar.

Fourth, you need fish sauce. Don’t use Three Crabs or any Vietnamese brand for Thai cooking. Use the Thai brands. Tiparos is cheapest and favorite of most Thais. There also also other good brands. The one with a scale on it is the best, I forgot its name. Squid brand is okay and used by some Thai people but some Thai people don’t like it much. Use Tiparos for cheapest and good quality.

Fifth, you need Kaffir Lime Leaves (not a good name because in South Africa, kaffir is a rude word towards black people like the n word in USA). These are found in Hawaii supermarket. Most Asian supermarkets call them “lime leaves”. They can be hard to find. Some people find them in the freezer section. Hawaii has them next to the other herbs. They have a very strong fragrance. Actually, I don’t really like too much of it because it overpowers everything so I use very little of it. You can skip it too if you really can’t get it but the flavor is very distinctive and a big part of panang curry. When you buy them, freeze them in a Ziploc because they come in really big packages and nobody can use all of them before they go bad unless you run a restaurant or feed the village in Thailand.

Okay, now if you want to make the curry paste yourself to decrease sodium and spiciness, you need some harder to find ingredients. First, I’ll explain some easier ones.

Dried red chilies. In Thailand, the super extremely spicy Thai chilies with seeds are used and set your mouth on fire. Then, cooking the curry they add EXTRA fresh chilies with seeds generously on top. If I eat this, I will be sent to the hospital in Thailand! So, use mild red chilies to decrease spiciness. I recommend California chilies. I go to a Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, and slightly Chinese grocery store. I can not only find Indian spices as crazy as caraway and mace and asafoetida (but no amchur and tej patta!!) but also like 20 something varieties of Mexican chilies. California chilies are not spicy at all. If you use the seeds, they are a LITTLE spicy. But they are very red and make the Thai curry look very vibrant and mouthwatering. To increase spiciness, add an arbol chili (or Thai chili!) to the recipe and to your taste. You can make it once and then adjust to your flavor with more arbol or Thai chilies. Or make it with all arbol chilies (you need a ton in order to get the correct amount of red) or even Thai chilies!!

Garlic. Used in just about every cuisine on earth!

Shallots! Don’t substitute onions. Really, I can get them at Vons (grocery store here in southern CA, everything costs a ton and the only worth it there is the bread, which is unfortuantely extremely high in sodium)! For $2 per shallot, but still.

But these are super easy to find you say? okay then, let’s go on a bit.

Lemongrass is now also found in some non-Asian stores (rarely). To prepare for Thai curries, remove the outer layer and cut off a little from the bottom. Then cut off quite a bit from the top (like half of it!), you can freeze it to make tom yum or tom kha later. Then slice very very thinly diagonally (this takes a while). It is very fibrous. There is no substitute, no matter how many un-Thai websites say to use lemon zest.

Galangal is only found in Asian stores. I recommend the frozen one, you have to freeze the fresh one anyways. The frozen one is also more strongly flavored (very desirable for curry paste) and from Thailand, AND a lot cheaper than the fresh one. If you have to use the fresh one for some reason, you have to freeze it unless you are making curry paste for several villages. FIRST SLICE, THEN FREEZE! Or else you must defrost it every time you use it!

Shrimp paste is found in Asian stores. When you get near it, it smells unpleasant. It is made from krill. They are made into a paste and fermented for a long time. It smells very unpleasant unless you are Southeast Asian. It is to add umami to the paste and is necessary to use. Before using, it is wrapped in a banana leaf (or aluminum foil) and roasted over a flame. The Pantai Norasingh brand is easiest to find but is low quality and MSG. So use that brand that only has Thai writing on it if it is available. Use Pantai if you can’t get the better quality one.

But wait, you can still find these ingredients in Hawaii Supermarket or other store? Okay, then let’s see the next ingredients.

Cilantro roots:
How to obtain. 1. Fly to Thailand. 2. Buy. 3. Return. They will go bad though. And customs will find out. Not possible.
Maybe, 1. Grow cilantro. 2. Take out roots. 3, Laboriously clean. That takes too long. Actually some people do this!
Or, 1. Hope your Asian supermarket has them frozen. 2. Actually find that 1 is true. Buy. But step 2 usually isn’t possible. Unless you go to a Thai supermarket.
Even Hawaii doesn’t have them. They have whole frozen armadillos and raccoons, but no cilantro roots.
Cilantro roots are widely used in many Thai dishes. If you can find, BUY.

Kaffir Limes:
Thought Kaffir Lime Leaves were hard to find? Well think again.
You either have to grow a tree and hope it produces fruits, or find them frozen in the Thai supermarket.
But they are only used for their zest, and only a tiny amount. And these are only used in curry paste, rarely in other dishes. So if you can’t find them, just substitute finely chopped kaffir lime leaves and regular lime zest… But still the kaffir lime zest is best if included. I only recommend the substitution if you really just can’t handle the spiciness and/or saltiness of the premade.

Spices: cumin seeds, coriander seeds, white peppercorns (or the powdered versions are fine, preferably roasted cumin and corainder)
Optional, just for panang: peanuts (roasted, or roast yourself in a pan) or peanut butter for the easy version.

Okay, NOW if you can find ALL of those ingredients you can make the curry paste 😀
See the recipe when it is released! 🙂

Recipe: Punjabi Dry Karela (Bitter Melon) Subzi

A subzi is an Indian vegetable dish. Punjabi dry subzis are really easy to make. But some of them take too long to make, like the aloo beans subzi I already posted. That was REALLY good but it takes forever to cook the potato. I was even surprised that the potatoes actually cooked! And the dry aloo gobi takes even longer! But this karela subzi is super fast and easy to make!

Karela is called bitter melon in English and it has a bitter taste. Anyways I dislike the bitter taste so I cannot eat very much of it whenever I make it… But it is a very, very healthy vegetable, especially when it is hot, because it is classified as a cooling vegetable in Chinese medicine. It is also good to purify the blood and is especially good for people with diabetes. It is high in vitamins and other healthy chemicals, and can treat constipation. In China (also Japan) bitter melon is very popular in the summer because of cooling effects. I’m not sure about its qualities in Indian medicine though. Anyways, people actually naturally dislike bitter melon taste! Humans naturally dislike bitter foods because many poisons are bitter, so we evolved this way. Sadly, many non-poisonous things are also bitter. But we can get used to them. My mom used to dislike it but now she loves bitter melon.

This time, my mom tasted my karela subzi and said it was even more delicious than Chinese bitter melon dishes! She said that the flavor of the spices went really well with the bitter melon and mellowed the bitter flavor too. I agreed! Anyways you should totally try this dish if you can stand the flavor of bitter melon. I warn you if you haven’t tried the vegetable before, you will probably hate it! Some people actually like it naturally though, but that is uncommon. 

This recipe is adapted from Veg Recipes of India again. As you can see I LOVE the website and you should check it out for tasty Indian food 🙂

Ingredients:

5-6 small to medium Indian bitter melon, but I used 2 small to medium Chinese bitter melons. Indian ones are actually more bitter. Cut the bitter melons in half and use a spoon to remove all the seeds with most of the white part. Actually in India they don’t remove the white part! But I always do because you do in Chinese and Japanese recipes. If using Indian one, you can also peel the bitter melons if you wish (it is optional). Don’t peel the Chinese bitter melon because it barely has a “peel” and it won’t do anything to peel except waste. Then slice the melons thinly.

2-3 medium size onion in India, or 1 American sized onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tbsp ginger julienne or 1 tsp minced ginger, plus 1/2 tbsp thinly sliced garlic or 1 tsp minced garlic. (both ginger and garlic are optional)

2 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 heaping tsp red chili powder (I used Kashmiri for non-spicy)

salt (I used 1/4 tsp for lower sodium)

1/4 heaping tsp garam masala

1/4 to 1/2 tsp amchur powder (or 1 to 2 tsp lemon juice) to taste

chopped cilantro leaves (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat a kadai, pan, or wok. I use Staub Perfect Pan (I love it!!).

2. Add oil. Fry ginger and garlic if using for 10-15 seconds.

3. Add onions and saute 2-3 minutes, they become translucent.

4. Add bitter melon and stir well. Then saute 2-3 minutes. You can saute 4-5 minutes if using Indian bitter melon. 

5. Now add the salt, turmeric, red chili powder. Saute until it is how tender you like it over medium heat. Stir every few seconds so it doesn’t stick to the pan. 4-5 minutes should be enough for me, but most Indian people prefer longer, about 7-8 minutes.

6. Add garam masala, amchur, and cilantro. If using lemon juice, don’t add yet. Saute 1 minute.

7. If using lemon juice, add now. Stir quickly, taste for salt, chili, and amchur/lemon, adjust to taste.

8. Take out to a plate and serve!

You can serve with phulkas (whole wheat rotis) or parathas or cooked basmati or other rice. Enjoy also with a bowl of plain or sweetened yogurt. I served with super easy lassi. The recipe are below. I prefer the sweet version. The karela is also good served with dal and rice (see my dal bhat recipe) or Punjabi kadhi (recipe coming later!) and rice. Enjoy!

Super easy sweet lassi: 1 cup cold plain yogurt, mix with honey or sugar to taste (I used about 1/2 tbsp honey) and then add one or two ice cubes and dilute with cold milk or water to desired consistency (about 1/4 cup should be good). You can also add a pinch of cardamom powder, and/or a tiny amount of rose water (be careful! VERY powerful) if you like, but I prefer without.

Super easy salty lassi: 1 cup plain yogurt, mix with 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder (dry roast cumin and crush in mortar) or to taste and 1/8 to 1/4 tsp black salt (kala namak) or to taste (or regular salt, 1 pinch or to taste), and 1-2 ice cubes. Dilute with cold milk or water to desired consistency (about 1/4 cup should be good). Garnish with a little chopped mint leaves if desired. 

Super easy chaas: Make salted lassi with 2/3 cup water instead of 1/4 cup.



Recipe: Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani + Mirchi ka Salan and Side Dishes

(BTW, I will bold the ingredients sometime)

Biryani is a rice dish with many variations throughout India and other countries. In India, biryani is made from layered basmati rice, meat or veg curry, yogurt, and herbs, infused with flavor from whole garam masala, then cooked over “dum” (will be explained later in the post!). Hyderabadi Biryani comes from the city of Hyderabad in India. This version is a vegetarian version. To make it vegan, use oil instead of ghee, and use cashew yogurt, almond yogurt, soy yogurt, coconut yogurt, or other vegan alternative. This dish is quite time-consuming to make, but it is worth to make when you have time. This is one of the most delicious Indian foods I have ever tasted. I hope you enjoy it too!

All Recipes Are Adapted from Veg Recipes of India

Part 1: The Rice

1. Wash 1 1/2 to 2 cups white basmati rice. Don’t use the rice cooker cup. Use a regular measuring cup or measure 375 to 500 ml rice. I recommend using 2 cups rice. However, if you want less carbs and more veg, then 1 1/2 cups rice is good too. The dish will also be more flavorful with less rice. You don’t need to overwash basmati because it doesn’t have so much cloudy starch like Japanese rice. Then cover with water and soak for 30 minutes.

(Meanwhile! Dice 100 grams carrot. Cut 150 grams potato into bite-size cubes. Remove hard ends of 100 grams green beans and cut into 1/2 inch lengths. Measure 1/2 cup frozen green peas or fresh green peas with shell removed. I did not use cauliflower because I didn’t have any. If you have, then cut 150 grams into bite-size florets. If you didn’t have like me, use a larger potato, mine was about 200 grams. Also, thinly slice 1 American size onion or 1 1/2 Indian large size onions or 2 Indian medium size onions. Cut 2 tbsp finely julienned ginger, and 1 to 2 tbsp chopped or thinly sliced garlic. Julienne one or two green chilies or none, if you want non-spicy version like me. Measure out the spices you need on two small plates. On each plate, put 2 green cardamoms, lightly crushed, 1 black cardamom, lightly crushed, 2 cloves, 1 inch long cinnamon stick, 1 small size Indian bay leaf AKA tejpatta, 2 strands mace. Since I don’t have tejpatta and mace, I use a pinch of grated nutmeg instead of mace and skip tejpatta. Remember, you should have two identical plates now. Then, on one of the plates, add 1 heaping tsp caraway seeds AKA shahjeera. If you don’t have, use cumin, but it has a very different flavor. Lastly, if rice is still soaking, then get 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro and 1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves. Combine them together. If you don’t have the herbs or dislike their flavor, you can skip them. Congratulations! You are now done cutting everything! If you still have time, heat 2 tbsp milk in the microwave until warm, I did 15 seconds, then add 1 pinch saffron and let sit. If you still have time, beat 200 to 300 grams yogurt until smooth in a bowl (store bought yogurt doesn’t really need beating but homemade is often clumpy). If you didn’t have time, do these while cooking rice.)

2. Drain the rice well. Add to a pot. Add 2 cups to 2 1/3 cups water, depending on amount of rice. Then add the plate of whole spices that did NOT have caraway seeds. The water will not cook the rice all the way through. Cover, bring to a boil. Actually, the rice will absorb all the water so it might not boil! Don’t let it burn! Ok, now stir well. Cover and cook on low for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Stir well again. Then cover and let sit until needed.

3. Heat 3 tbsp ghee in a large pot. I use a Staub cocotte. The pot will later cook the rice. You need a tight lid, so a cocotte is the best choice. Then add the second bowl of whole garam masala, the one with caraway seeds in it. Fry until the spices are fragrant and a little darker.

4. Add the onion and fry until golden brown and soft. Caramelizing the onions this way gives a great flavor to the curry. Then add the garlic, ginger, and green chilies. Saute one minute.

5. Add heaping 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and heaping 1/2 tsp red chili powder (use Kashmiri red chili powder for non-spicy). Stir well for another minute.

6. Now add all of the veggies. That means: potato, cauliflower, carrot, green beans, peas. Actually if you use frozen peas you can add them later, right before adding the rice, but it’s easier just to add everything. Stir well and saute a couple minutes.

7. Now lower the heat. The yogurt that you beat in the bowl, remember? Add about 1/2 of it. Then stir well. If you are lucky, it will be fine. If you are like me, it will become tiny pieces of paneer. This is because yogurt curdles easily when heated. Some tips to prevent curdling: use full fat yogurt (which I didn’t have), and you can add a tsp or two of besan (chana dal flour) or garbanzo bean flour while beating it until smooth. Anyways, if it curdles, don’t worry too much since it is okay in this dish.

7. Now add 3/4 cup water and salt. I used 1/2 tsp salt (I like lower sodium so you can use 1 tsp salt if you want, just base on what you usually like). Stir well. If it doesn’t really cover the veggies, add more water to cover. I used about 1 cup water total. Now cover and bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat until potatoes and cauliflower are mostly cooked. They do not need to be all the way cooked. I cooked until the potatoes could be cut with a fork, but were still too hard for my liking. That is the perfect amount of time you want to cook, because after adding the rice, you must cook 20 more minutes.

(While cooking, mix the milk and saffron mixture with the rest of the yogurt.)

8. When done cooking, you can leave on low heat or turn off the heat. Sprinkle all the dry fruits and nuts evenly. 1 heaping tbsp golden/green raisins, 2 heaping tbsp cashews, halved, 1 heaping tbsp sliced almonds (you can soak 2 heaping tbsp almonds for some time, then peel and slice yourself). I used whole almonds, but they are pretty big for this recipe so I would recommend sliced.

9. Now, sprinkle 1/2 or 1/3 of the chopped cilantro and mint evenly. Then sprinkle 1/2 or 1/3 of the yogurt mixture (I just put dollops evenly around the pot). Lastly add 1/2 or 1/3 of the rice and spread very evenly.

10. Repeat this process to make 1 or 2 more layers or rice (depends whether you used 1/2 or 1/3). Now that there is rice, after dolloping the yogurt, I spread it evenly on top.

11. The final layer should be rice (no yogurt or herbs on top). If you want, sprinkle 1 tsp rose water evenly on top. Careful! The rose water is very strong. Don’t add too much. When assembled, cover the pot tightly.

12. Cook over medium heat (or low heat if your stove is more powerful that mine) for 20 to 25 minutes. During this time, the rice absorbs the liquid from yogurt and the simmering curry. It’s crazy how the top of the rice can get cooked, but that is because the curry evaporates and the liquid goes up. It’s also crazy how the bottom rice is not overcooked! Anyways, this method of cooking is called “dum”. This differentiates a biryani from a pulao. In pulao, everything is put on the stove and cooked mixed together. Biryanis have everything layered and cooked on dum. You can also bake at 190 Celsius for 20 minutes instead of cooking on stovetop. Make sure that it is oven-safe. The Staub cocottes are all oven-safe. If you use other cocotte, make sure the lid handle is not plastic. 🙂

13. Serve with raita, kachumber, mango pickle, roasted papad, and Hyderabadi mirchi ka salan. (If you dislike or don’t have one or more of these, don’t serve with it!) Prepare these while simmering the vegetable curry or cooking the rice on dum. The mirchi ka salan takes the longest so start making it early on.

Raita: Grate 1 cucumber. I used Persian cucumber and did not peel. You can peel if you use a cucumber with a bitter peel. If you use a large cucumber like American cucumber, don’t use the whole thing. Then mix in 1 cup yogurt. Add 1/8 tsp cumin powder (preferably from roasted cumin), 1/8 tsp red chili powder (optional), 1/8 tsp chaat masala, 1/8 tsp kala namak or sendha namak or regular salt. Mix well. Optionally, garnish with a few chopped cilantro or mint leaves.

Kachumber: Chop 1 Indian size onion or 1/2 American size, 2 roma tomatoes or 1 larger, 2-3 small Persian cucumbers, 4-5 mint leaves, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1 green chili (optional). Add to a bowl with 1 tsp lemon/lime juice, 1/4 tsp cumin powder preferably roasted (optional), 1/4 tsp red chili powder (optional), kala namak or sendha namak or regular salt to taste. Mix well. Adjust lime/lemon and salt to taste.

The mango pickle must be made a long time in advance and the correct kind of mango is not available here. You can use a jarred one or skip.

Hyderabadi Mirchi ka Salan

(First, soak 1 tbsp tamarind in 1/2 cup hot water for 15-20 minutes or so, then mash well when ready.)

1. In a pan, heat 1/2 tbsp oil or so, and add 1 Indian size onion, sliced or 1/2 American size. Cook until translucent and maybe lightly browned.

2. Add 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut and saute until lightly browned.

3. Add 1/4 cup roasted peanuts and 1 1/2 tbsp roasted white sesame seeds. Saute 1-2 minutes.

4. Add to a blender with 2-3 garlic cloves, 1/2 inch ginger, 1/2 tsp red chili powder (or Kashmiri), 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala. Blend to a smooth paste, you can add a little water for help.

5. You need 10-12 green chilies that are not too spicy. You can use jalapenos. Remove the stem. Remove the seeds if you don’t want to die of spiciness (unless you can REALLY stand it!). Cut a slit in the chilies but do not cut in half. For people who do not eat too spicy food, use strips of very mild green chili like poblano. For people who cannot eat spicy at all, don’t make this dish because it literally means “chili curry”.

6. Now heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan or kadai or wok etc. Add chilies and saute a few minutes until partially cooked. Then remove. Try to leave as much oil in the pan as possible. Add more oil to get 2 tbsp in the pan.

7. Now add 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds and as soon as you hear the POP, add 1/2 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji) (skip if you can’t get) and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds. Saute a few seconds.

8. Now add 7-9 curry leaves and saute a minute. Add the ground paste. Saute 3-4 minutes until the oil separates.

9. Strain the tamarind liquid and get rid of the solids. Add the juice, with 2 cups water. Stir, bring to a boil, simmer 5 minutes.

10. Add the chilies and salt to taste, simmer 7-9 minutes. Sprinkle chopped cilantro for garnish.

Enjoy with the biryani or with any rice dish.

If you make this biryani recipe, I hope you enjoyed as much as I did 🙂

Recipe: Allam Pachadi (అల్లం పచ్చడి)

Allam Pachadi (అల్లం పచ్చడి) is a ginger chutney/pickle from Andhra. It is served with dosa, idli, pesarattu, etc. I just posted a recipe for pesarattu, which is very good with this pickle. You can also just eat it with rice. It is very spicy, sour, salty, sweet, and flavorful, like many other Indian pickles. You can adjust the amount of tamarind, jaggery, etc. to taste. The pickle lasts for a very long time in the fridge as long as it is not contaminated.

This recipe is also adapted from Swasthi’s Recipes. Check out the website for a great recipe of Instant Allam Pachadi (Ginger Chutney) if you are pressed for time before making your dosa/pesarattu.

Ingredients:

250 grams ginger

heaping 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

100g “seedless” tamarind (it comes in blocks, and is not actually seedless. often it is called “wet seedless tamarind” which is a mistranslation of the Thai word for it.)

50 to 75g jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) or palm sugar or raw sugar or white sugar

6 tbsp red chili powder (Use Kashmiri red chili powder unless you want your mouth to catch on fire!! You can also use paprika for non-spicy. You can also decrease to 4 tbsp)

salt as needed (Traditionally, a lot of salt is used in pickles. like a tbsp. But I make a lower sodium version. It’s your choice. But it lasts longer with more salt.)

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

90 ml oil (6 tbsp) + 1 tbsp oil for ginger (do NOT reduce the amount! Indian pickles must contain a lot of oil)

1 heaping tsp black mustard seeds

2 sprigs curry leaves (don’t add the stem)

2 dry red chilies, cut in half (remove seeds for less spicy, skip for even less spicy)

a few garlic cloves, crushed with side of knife (or sliced/minced)

1/8 tsp hing (asafoetida)

1 heaping tsp split peeled chana dal (optional)

1 heaping tsp split peeled urad dal (optional)

Directions:

1. Wash ginger and peel off skin if desired. I don’t remove the skin because it is edible and adds more flavor, hehe.

2. Put tamarind in a bowl. Cover with hot water. Don’t use too much because we don’t want too much liquid in the pickle. Let soak for about half an hour.

3. Dry roast fenugreek seeds until fragrant and a little darker. Then remove and cool. Grind to a fine powder.

4. Chop ginger into bite size pieces.

5. Heat a pan, add 1 tbsp oil. Fry ginger for 3-4 minutes until fragrant and a little golden. Then remove and cool.

6. Grind ginger into a smooth paste without adding water. It doesn’t need to be extremely smooth like a smoothie, but maybe like jam. Don’t leave it too coarse though. (Leave the ginger in the blender since we’ll use it later)

7. Take the tamarind in the bowl and mash it very very well to distribute through the water into a paste. Then put in a mesh strainer and press down to strain well. Discard the seeds and solid part.

8. Add tamarind, red chili powder, turmeric, and salt to ginger. Blend until combined well.

9. Now add the jaggery or other sugar and blend well. This will thicken the mixture.

10. Now taste to see if it is sour, sweet, and spicy enough. You can adjust the taste. It should be quite sour and spicy and sweet.

11. Now heat the rest of the oil (90 ml = 6 tbsp) in a pan.

12. Add mustard seeds, then the two dals if using. Fry a little. Then add garlic (if not using dals, just add right after mustard). Fry a little more. The dals should be golden. Then add hing, chilies, and curry leaves. Fry until the leaves are crisp. Just 10-15 seconds should be good.

13. Now pour in the blended mixture. Be careful because it may splatter everywhere. Stir well and heat up. Then turn off the stove and cool down.

14. Transfer to a glass jar. Make sure you use clean utensils and jar. You can sterilize the jar if you wish.

15. Cover with airtight lid. You can store in fridge for about a year if handled correctly!

Serve the pickle in small amounts with idli, dosa, pesarattu, rice, etc. Enjoy!

Recipe: Pesarattu (పెసరట్టు)

Pesarattu (పెసరట్టు) is a crepe-like pancake from Andhra, a state in South India. It is made from whole green moong dal, called pesalu in Telugu language and lü dou / lv dou (绿豆) in Chinese. The dish is gluten free and very healthy. It is very similar to dosa in shape but different in way of making. First, dosa uses urad dal and pesarattu uses moong dal. Second, dosa uses a lot of rice, more rice than dal, and the proportion of rice:dal is 4:1 or 3:1. Pesarattu doesn’t even need to have rice in it, and if it does have rice, it has very little. Third, dosa is fermented, and pesarattu is not. Pesarattu is also a lot easier than dosa because it doesn’t use fermentation. There are also some other differences, like pesarattu having ginger, chilies, and cumin in the batter while dosa doesn’t.

There is also a faster version using split and peeled moong dal. You can find it on Swasthi’s Recipes, where I adapted this recipe from. It’s called “Instant Pesarattu”.

Pesarattu is served with allam pachadi, a chutney/pickle made from ginger. I will post a recipe for both the regular way and the “instant” way. It can also be served with coconut chutney (I have the recipe in the blog already), or many other chutneys, like cilantro chutney, etc.

Pesarattu is also often served with upma. I did not serve it with upma this time, but you are welcome to do so.

Adapted from Swasthi’s Recipes (Check out the website for healthy South India cuisine recipes :))

Makes: about 7 (serves about 3-4)

Ingredients:

1 cup whole unpeeled green moong dal (also called mung beans)

if using rice: 1/4 cup white rice (optional)

water

3/4 inch ginger (optional but traditional)

2-3 green chilies (I skip for non-spicy version, but traditional)

1/2 to 1 tsp cumin seeds (optional, but traditional)

small handful cilantro, 1/4 cup (optional)

1/2 tsp salt (I used 1/4 tsp for lower sodium)

an onion, chopped finely

oil

Directions:

1. Wash and soak dal preferably 4-6 hours. I soaked overnight, 8 hours, which is too much. If you only soak a short time, the pesarattu is more crispy. But if you can’t, then just soak overnight. (If using rice, soak along with the dal!)

2. Drain the dal, add to a powerful blender. Add all of the other ingredients except onion, oil, and water. Now, to add water, just add just to cover the dal. (I use the soaking liquid) Don’t add more or less. That is the perfect amount of water.

3. Blend very smooth. In my Blendtec, I use 50 seconds on high. The Blendtec is VERY POWERFUL! I think that if your blender isn’t powerful enough, you shouldn’t make this dish.

4. Pour everything into a bowl. Take a ladle that can hold about 1/4 cup or so.

5. Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp oil. Add the onion and stir-fry. You can also add 2 green chilies, chopped for more spiciness. When onion is translucent and lightly browned, transfer to a bowl.

6. For making pesarattu or dosa, you need a seasoned pan or nonstick pan. Using a nonstick pan is poisonous, so I don’t use it. I use a Staub enameled pan. Cast iron is the best material for dosa making. Heat the pan until very hot (that’s why nonstick is poisonous).

7. Add 1 drop of oil and spread very evenly over the surface of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat.

8. Now take the ladle and add a heaping ladle or so of batter in the center. Then, use the back of the ladle, slowly forming circles from the center, spreading the batter into about 8 inches diameter circle. Maybe watch a video of dosa making if you don’t understand.

9. Your first pesarattu may be not shaped well. Don’t worry! The later ones will be better. Now, see the edges. When they are brown, flip it over. But meanwhile add a few small drops of oil on the sides of the pesarattu.

10. Flip! See if it is brown enough (look at a picture). If it isn’t, cook more less time. If it’s burnt, cook less next time. Now cook until this side is brown enough. Flip again.

11. Now lower to medium-low heat (if the side wasn’t brown enough, use a higher heat). At this point, I spread a spoonful of allam pachadi or a chutney on top evenly, then sprinkle about 2 spoonfuls of cooked onion. Then I fold it in half and take it out of the pan. You can also put upma on it. The masala dosa potato filling would also be very delicious.

12. Serve! You can enjoy with sambar, rasam, or neither. This is traditionally a breakfast food, but would also be good for lunch. About 2 pesarattu serves 1 person. Enjoy!

I usually cook 1 pesarattu, then make the next one while eating the first one or give to someone to eat. That’s the best way. 🙂

Allam pachadi recipe coming soon.

Recipe: Sweet Glutinous Rice Balls(汤圆)

(Note: sorry for the large text! I wrote this in the Notes app before pasting into WordPress. I’ll try to fix it!
Update: I think I fixed it! :))

Tang yuan(汤圆 – tang yuan – tong ywehn – “soup circle”)are small balls made from ground glutinous rice. When I was in Chengdu, I tried Lai tang yuan several times. A lot of foods in Chengdu are named after the creator. In this case, a man with the last name of Lai moved to Chengdu in 1894. He started to work in a restaurant, but lost his job. He started to sell tang yuan on the street, then opened a shop on Zongfu Street. This shop is still there (according to Land of Plenty, there is a KFC on the second floor. although it was written in the 90s, so maybe it isn’t there anymore). Sadly, unlike the Chen Ma Po Dou Fu Restaurant, I did not get a chance to eat at the Lai Tang Yuan Restaurant. However, I did try these in at least three restaurants AND the Chengdu International Airport, found most right on the 2nd row (which has a wonderful street food food court with AMAZING dan dan noodles found 2nd on bottom row, guo kuei [crispy flatbread that I really want to try making at home one day] not shown, Long wontons most right on top row, Zhong dumplings most right on 3rd row, and other delicious treats. I liked it better than the restaurants that served these!) 

(There was originally a picture of the meal here, sorry. That’s why it talks about rows. It is not on my phone anymore! I will put it up sometime.)


This was the airport’s set meal at the street food court. It costed around 10 US dollars, quite expensive for a meal in China. But it was at the airport and quite a lot! Tang yuan are traditionally served on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar. This day is called the Yuan Xiao Festival(元宵节 – yuan xiao jie – ywehn syall dzyeh)in China. It is the last day of traditional Chinese lunar new year celebrations. In 2015, this was March 5, yesterday.

I started writing this post last June! I came back to it after making the tang yuan yesterday for the Yuan Xiao Festival. Anyways, the Yuan Xiao Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. This is the first full moon of the year. On this day, people decorate the city with Chinese lanterns, which light up at night. People eat tang yuan as an important tradition. In old times, people would only eat tang yuan once a year, during the Yuan Xiao Festival for most Chinese. (But Chinese Malaysians eat it on the Winter Solstice Day, so maybe people in Fujian also do?)

Anyways, tang yuan are made from glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice is gluten free. The word “glutinous” comes from a Latin word meaning “sticky”. This is because the rice has a sticky texture due to a starch in the rice called amylopectin (I think) that is found in higher quantity. Other names for the rice are sticky rice and sweet rice. These names are misleading because Americans call Japanese rice “sticky rice” too and glutinous rice is not sweet. For this recipe, it is preferred to use soaked glutinous rice flour, made from soaking glutinous rice, then grinding into flour. It is dry and no longer wet. The “soaked” is not labeled in English. However, the brands found in plastic bags frim Thailand with green printing are all of this variety. It call it Thai glutinous rice flour. The best brand is the Erawan brand which has a three headed elephant on it. They also have a soaked rice flour labeled “rice flour” in English, with red lettering. This is not the same thing as glutinous rice flour because it is made from regular rice. It will have a very different texture and cannot be substituted for the glutinous rice flour. Some recipes for tang yuan do contain this though, to create a slightly different texture, but all of the recipes for tang yuan contain glutinous rice flour.

Tang yuan are super easy to make at home, especially the non-filled versions. The filled versions are very easy, too, just don’t let them leak! The dough is very easy to make. Some people make it more challenging by using hot water, adding other flours like wheat starch, etc., but the easy dough made from glutinous rice flour and water is very good.

Choose your favorite filling! I included 3 filling recipes. You can also make more than one filling. Another popular filling is peanut, which I haven’t made yet. Some people do not use a filling. Plain, these tang yuan taste like rice. Often, the plain ones are added to a syrup. This is most common in Malaysian recipes. It is often common to color the tang yuan if they are plain. You can use food coloring, or beet juice for pink and panda  extract for green.

This is my own recipe! 🙂
Although it’s not exactly a recipe but rather a method of making.

Ingredients for Dough:
3/4 cup Thai glutinous rice flour
less than 1/2 cup water, as needed

Ingredients for Black Sesame Filling (mix all together)
1 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds, crushed coarsely with rolling pin in bowl or mortar
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp lard (traditional), coconut oil (gives coconut flavor), or butter
(You can also make a white sesame filling!)

Ingredients for Red Bean Filling:
prepared sweet red bean paste (I often use Wang Zhi He brand. Some Asian stores have fresh ones. You can also use canned ones. Also, If you have a pressure cooker and a blender and some time to “stir-fry” the paste, you can make your own. I will put a recipe sometime.)

Ingredients for Sesame and Red Bean Filling (mix together):
2 to 3 tbsp prepared sweet red bean paste
1 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds, crushed coarsely with rolling pin in bowl or mortar

Directions:
1. Put glutinous rice flour in a bowl.
2. Add water, mixing. You should not need all of the 1/2 cup. Mix slowly. It is done when a dough is formed that you can shape into a ball. This dough easily breaks and is quite soft, because it has no gluten, unlike wheat flour dough.
3. Form small balls. This amount should make around 20 or so.
4. To fill: make a dent in a ball so it forms a hole. Spoon a little of the filling inside. Then push up the sides gently to close well. Don’t put too much filling because it won’t close. If it doesn’t close well, it will leak into the boiling water. You can also not fill the balls and just boil them.
5. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add tang yuan, bring back to a boil. Wait until they float. Once floating, simmer 1-2 minutes.
6. Drain the tang yuan. To serve hot, add the cooking water in the bowl. To serve warm or cold, add room temperature or colder water to the bowl.
7. Enjoy! Tang yuan are eaten as a dessert or snack. They would also be good as part of a breakfast.

元宵节快乐!
Happy Yuan Xiao Festival!

Recipe: Dal Makhani (दाल मखनी / ਦਾਲ ਮੱਖਣੀ)

Dal makhani (Hindi: दाल मखनी) (Punjabi: ਦਾਲ ਮੱਖਣੀ) is a famous dish from Punjab. Now, it is popular throughout India and is one of India’s most famous dishes. The dish is made from whole unpeeled black urad dal and red kidney beans (rajma). They are soaked overnight and pressure cooked until very soft, then partially mashed for a creamy consistency. The seasonings include onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, chilies, many spices, butter and cream. These seasonings are very typical of Punjabi cuisine.

This post contains one versions of the dal makhani recipe! This version is the home style dal makhani, which is super easy and only requires a pressure cooker and no other pan. All you have to do is put everything inside and cook. There is no necessary masala mixture to prepare. It is also healthier because it doesn’t need cream (but you can still add cream if you wish). This dish is just like how most Punjabi people make it at home. Another version is the restaurant style dal makhani. This one is more complicated and less healthy. However, it is richer so it tastes better. This kind of dish is eaten in restaurants and also during special occasions. I do not include this recipe in this post, but it is found on Veg Recipes of India, a really good and comprehensive Indian food blog. You should search it on Google if you want to know the recipe.

Anyways, the recipe is again adapted from Veg Recipes of India. The website has even more recipes like restaurant style dal makhani (more complicated and rich), dhaba style dal makhani (similar to restaurant version but less complicated I think), mah di dal (has no rajma), mah chole ke dal (includes chana dal), rajma (red kidney beans), chole (garbanzo beans), and many, many other recipes for dals.

Home-Style Punjabi Dal Makhani

Ingredients: 

1 cup whole black urad dal

1/2 cup kidney beans (rajma)

4 cups water

1 tsp cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp red chili powder (use Kashmiri red chili powder for not spicy version)

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 medium size (in India) or small size (in USA) onion, finely chopped

2 medium size tomatoes (Roma tomatoes in USA), finely chopped

1 inch ginger, finely chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp Punjabi garam masala

2-3 tbsp butter

2-3 tbsp cream (optional)

salt to taste

cilantro leaves for garnishing (optional)

Directions:

1. If making in morning, soak urad dal and rajma overnight. If making for dinner, soak in the morning.

2. Drain. Add everything to a pressure cooker except cream and cilantro.

3. Pressure cook until soft. (12-15 whistles)

4. You should be able to mash with a spoon.

5. Simmer 12-15 minutes, mashing partially until it gets a creamy consistency.

6. Stir in cream if using and simmer 1-2 minutes.

7. Garnish with cilantro is using. Enjoy!

Serve dal makhani with rotis, naan, or jeera rice. All of those recipes are on Veg Recipes of India site. 🙂