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Chaulai Dal: Amaranth Leaves with Lentils

7 Feb

Of leaf vegetables, my kitchen staples are spinach and fenugreek. Till a while ago, cooking with amaranth greens was unchartered territory for me. What better way to start a new year, I thought, than with tackling a new beast?

I had been reading on the goodness of this power food (no wonder that the word "amaranth" comes from the Greek amarantos, meaning "unfading" ) often of late, and then learnt that amaranth in Hindi is chaulai, the leaves of which my grandmother used in chaulai saag. That got me curious, and I was soon trying ways to cook amaranth in my own kitchen.

Amaranth leaves with lentils has come to be a special favorite. I love to mix and match, and this recipe puts that to great use: it’s a combination with boiled dal, which you can make ahead for more than one meal and assemble in different ways later (tomato toor dal another day, spinach dal the meal after?)

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Curry Leaf Pulao

11 Aug

Seeing that a nutty ingredient does a great job of taming the bitter notes of other ingredients (think curry leaf peanut chutney or sesame fenugreek chutney), I dared to make a rice dish seeped in curry leaf, with a load of cashews for good effect. And I loved the result.

Here’s my curry leaf pulao recipe – for those who share taste buds similar to mine :-) How many of you?

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Potatoes in Garlic Sauce

16 Jul

This one’s especially for garlic fans – a flavorful Indian curry of potatoes in garlic sauce.

Baby potatoes go very well with heavy spices – this dish is a classic example. Team up potatoes in garlic sauce with something simple like boiled rice and a raita, for a complete meal.

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Curry Leaves and Poppy Seed Chutney

1 Jul

Fresh curry leaves coax you to use them all up before they start to dry, but there is only so much you can add to tempering. How do you make the most of a fat bunch of fresh curry leaves? If you ask me, I’d say make chutney.

Curry leaves and peanut chutney is the recipe I usually turn to, but I tried out an unusual combination this time – a recipe that adds a touch of sweetness to offset the bitterness of curry leaves. With extra notes of nuttiness from poppy seeds and tartness from tamarind, this curry leaves and poppy seed chutney is a one to add to your cherished family recipe handbook.

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Palak Toor Dal: Spinach with Lentils

22 Jun

Palak toor dal (spinach with yellow pigeon pea lentils) has everything your nutritionist would give the nod to – and your palate would agree. Proteins, minerals, iron, and great taste!

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Bread Tomato Upma

20 May

Traditional cooks who, when prompted ‘upma’, say ‘semolina’ in a word association game, will probably raise quizzical eyebrows at this recipe. Upma without its core ingredient! No doubt the brainchild of someone with a large loaf of bread on hand along with a batch of tomatoes and an allergy to sandwiches. Bless the sandwich-hater for this brilliant recipe – "bread tomato upma", the nicest way to use bread when it’s best-before date has arrived.

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Tomato Pickle with Garlic and Curry Leaves

4 Feb

With tomatoes at throwaway prices in these parts nowadays, who wouldn’t be tempted to buy the red juicy vegetable (fruit?) by the sackful? I gave in to the lure and have been happily cooking tomato-based stuff since – pasta in tomato sauce one day, potatoes in tomato gravy the next.

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