Archive for the ‘About Indian Cuisine’ Category

Garnish Seasoning for Grilled Meats, Pizza & Corn

June 17, 2008

Try this wonderful piquant, minty, tangy garnish spice. Its unique spices include black salt, mango powder (sour taste), mint (cool fresh taste) and cumin.

This will be a great hit at your next party or next picnic.

This blend is a great seasoning garnish for boiled or grilled corn with this unique spice blend.  for grilled meats,  pizza and sweet fruits like pinapple, bananas, sweet oranges and sweet apples.

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=AjikaCornPizzaSpiceBlend2

Masoor Dal with Fried Onion Garnish

June 17, 2008

This is a recipe from Punjab. It is an absolutely lovely dal with a very pleasant taste and may be served with rice or scouped up with flat bread.

If you like you may substitute all spices with 2 tbsp. of Ajika Lentil spices.

Ingredients
7 oz. or 1/2 package Ajika Masoor Dal washed and rinsed with 2-3 changes of water and drained
1/2 t turmeric powder (haldi)
1 t ginger paste
salt to taste
1/2 package of frozen spinach
1 ripe tomato diced
½ t of garam masala
Spice Seasonings 
2 T ghee or vegetable oil
1 t cumin seeds (jeera)
1-2 whole red chilies
1/2 t asafetida (hing)
2 t ground coriander powder
Fresh Seasoning
1 thinly sliced onion pan fried till crispy brown
Garnish
4 T chopped cilantro

Method:
1. Add 3 cups of water to a heavy pot and add the dal, 1 T of ghee or oil, turmeric, ginger and salt to taste and boil the dal. Reduce heat add the spinach and garam masala and let it simmer.
2. As the dal is simmering heat ghee in a small sauce pan and fry the cumin seeds and red chilies till they brown. Add the asafetida. Add the coriander powder and fry the seasonings. For 2-3 minutes.
3. Pour the seasonings in the pot of dal and let it continue to simmer on low. Adjust the water so that the dal has the consistency you like( from soup like consistency to thick soup pour over rice or to eat with flat bread)
4. Fold in the onion garnish and if you like garnish with chopped cilantro.

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=RecDalMasoorFriedOnions

Cooking Lentils – Nature’s Perfect Food

June 17, 2008

In Indian cooking lentils and beans make up the dal family. We carry many of these varieties in our online store. Cook up one of the following or mix two and cook together: red lentils (masoor dal), yellow split peas, adzuki beans, red beans, chana dal, or hulled and split mung beans (moong dal). Dals cook best in a pressure cooker.

Step 1 – Boiling the Lentils with simple seasonings.
Lentils can have some organic material mixed in so they need to be picked through.
– Put them in a pot and wash them. Strain them in a strainer.
– Add the dal to a large pot and water or in a pressure cooker. The texture of the dal depends on the water to dal ratio. Obviously, more water produces a thinner soupier dal, less a thicker creamier dal. A good rule is 4 or 5 cups for every cup of dry dal. Pressure cooking only requires 3.5 cups to 4 cups of water.
– Add salt, turmeric and ginger paste. Bring to a boil. Add veggies at this time if you like.
– Reduce to simmer. As the dal cooks, feel free to add water if it becomes too thick. If using a pressure cooker, pressure cook for 10 minutes.
– When the lentils are done to your liking reduce heat to low/warm.
– Make the seasonings or masala.

Step2 – Flavorinf the lentils
– In a separate skillet, heat up some oil/ghee.
– Make sure there is enough oil in the pan to get a nice fry out of the spices (you don’t want them to scorch).
– To the hot oil add some or all of the following spices: cumin or mustard seeds, ground coriander, ground cumin, fresh curry leaves, cayenne, and hing or asafetida.
– When the spices begin to brown, splutter, change color and become aromatic, remove from heat quickly.
– Also consider adding chopped and sauteed garlic and onion.

Step 3 – Garnishing the lentils
Stir the masala or seasonings into the lentils.
– Season with lime juice or lemon juice – Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or coriander leaves
– Serve with rice or bread.

© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita Mehta

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=IndFood00030

Louki (Zucchini) Channa Dal

June 16, 2008

Ingredients
7 oz. or 1/2 package Ajika Channa Dal rinsed with 2-3 changes of water and drained
1/2 t turmeric powder (haldi)
1 t ginger paste
salt to taste
3 young zucchini peeled and cubed
½ t of garam masala
Spice Seasonings
3 T ghee or vegetable oil
1 t cumin seeds (jeera)
1-2 whole red chilies
1/2 t asafetida (hing)
2 t ground coriander powder
Fresh Seasoning
½ T fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. brown sugar or jaggery
Garnish
4 T chopped cilantro

Method:
1. Add 3 cups of water to a heavy pot and add the dal, 1 T of ghee or oil, turmeric, ginger and salt to taste and boil the dal. Reduce heat add the zucchini and garam masala and let it simmer.
2. As the dal is simmering heat ghee in a small sauce pan and fry the cumin seeds and red chilies till they brown. Add the asafetida. Add the coriander powder and fry the seasonings. For 2-3 minutes.
3. Pour the seasonings in the pot of dal and let it continue to simmer on low until the zucchini is butter soft. Adjust the water so that the dal has the consistency you like( from soup like consistency to thick soup pour over dal or to eat with flat bread)
4. Add the lime juice, sugar/jaggery and garnish with chopped cilantro.

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFMPageId=RecDalChannaZucchini

Cooking Lentils – Nature’s Perfect Food

June 16, 2008

In Indian cooking lentils and beans make up the dal family. We carry many of these varieties in our online store. Cook up one of the following or mix two and cook together: red lentils (masoor dal), yellow split peas, adzuki beans, red beans, chana dal, or hulled and split mung beans (moong dal). Dals cook best in a pressure cooker.

Step 1 – Boiling the Lentils with simple seasonings.
Lentils can have some organic material mixed in so they need to be picked through.
– Put them in a pot and wash them. Strain them in a strainer.
– Add the dal to a large pot and water or in a pressure cooker. The texture of the dal depends on the water to dal ratio. Obviously, more water produces a thinner soupier dal, less a thicker creamier dal. A good rule is 4 or 5 cups for every cup of dry dal. Pressure cooking only requires 3.5 cups to 4 cups of water.
– Add salt, turmeric and ginger paste. Bring to a boil. Add veggies at this time if you like.
– Reduce to simmer. As the dal cooks, feel free to add water if it becomes too thick. If using a pressure cooker, pressure cook for 10 minutes.
– When the lentils are done to your liking reduce heat to low/warm.
– Make the seasonings or masala.

Step2 – Flavorinf the lentils
– In a separate skillet, heat up some oil/ghee.
– Make sure there is enough oil in the pan to get a nice fry out of the spices (you don’t want them to scorch).
– To the hot oil add some or all of the following spices: cumin or mustard seeds, ground coriander, ground cumin, fresh curry leaves, cayenne, and hing or asafetida.
– When the spices begin to brown, splutter, change color and become aromatic, remove from heat quickly.
– Also consider adding chopped and sauteed garlic and onion.

Step 3 – Garnishing the lentils
Stir the masala or seasonings into the lentils.
– Season with lime juice or lemon juice – Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or coriander leaves
– Serve with rice or bread.

© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita Mehta

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=IndFood00030

Vegetable Lentil Medley – Recipe

June 16, 2008

INGREDIENTS
For the vegetables:
4 tablespoons ghee
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons subzi blend
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 cups of seasonal veggies diced or cut as you wish
1/2 inch sq. of jaggery
1 tsp. coconut shredded
Salt and pepper and fresh lime juice to taste

3 cups cooked channa dal

Garnish with fresh mint

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat ghee in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion; sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in subzi blend, and toast for 1 minute; add ginger and garlic, and cook 1 minute more.
Add veggies, jaggery and coconut. Cook until they are only slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water(enough for steaming veggies) salt and pepper to taste; stir well.
Steam covered, until the vegetables are completely cooked.  Stir in lime juice. Add cooked or serve over channa dal.

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFMPageId=RecVegLentilMedley001

Cooking Lentils – Nature’s Perfect Food

June 16, 2008

In Indian cooking lentils and beans make up the dal family. We carry many of these varieties in our online store. Cook up one of the following or mix two and cook together: red lentils (masoor dal), yellow split peas, adzuki beans, red beans, chana dal, or hulled and split mung beans (moong dal). Dals cook best in a pressure cooker.

Step 1 – Boiling the Lentils with simple seasonings.
Lentils can have some organic material mixed in so they need to be picked through.
– Put them in a pot and wash them. Strain them in a strainer.
– Add the dal to a large pot and water or in a pressure cooker. The texture of the dal depends on the water to dal ratio. Obviously, more water produces a thinner soupier dal, less a thicker creamier dal. A good rule is 4 or 5 cups for every cup of dry dal. Pressure cooking only requires 3.5 cups to 4 cups of water.
– Add salt, turmeric and ginger paste. Bring to a boil. Add veggies at this time if you like.
– Reduce to simmer. As the dal cooks, feel free to add water if it becomes too thick. If using a pressure cooker, pressure cook for 10 minutes.
– When the lentils are done to your liking reduce heat to low/warm.
– Make the seasonings or masala.

Step2 – Flavorinf the lentils
– In a separate skillet, heat up some oil/ghee.
– Make sure there is enough oil in the pan to get a nice fry out of the spices (you don’t want them to scorch).
– To the hot oil add some or all of the following spices: cumin or mustard seeds, ground coriander, ground cumin, fresh curry leaves, cayenne, and hing or asafetida.
– When the spices begin to brown, splutter, change color and become aromatic, remove from heat quickly.
– Also consider adding chopped and sauteed garlic and onion.

Step 3 – Garnishing the lentils
Stir the masala or seasonings into the lentils.
– Season with lime juice or lemon juice – Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or coriander leaves
– Serve with rice or bread.

© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita Mehta

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=IndFood00030

The World of Dals and Lentils – Versatile

June 16, 2008

An Ancient Jewel

Beans and Lentils have been found in 5,000 year old settlements in Mesopotamia, in Egyptian pyramids, and in even earlier civilizations like Peruvian Indians, Middle Eastern and East Indian civilizations. Even today lentils are produced and consumed mainly in these regions

The use of lentils all over the world is growing as people get more interested in low fat diets, international cuisine, use of more herbs, spices, seasonings and in environmentally good foods.

Wonder Food
Legumes are wonder foods as they are low in fat and absorb the flavor of spices and herbs, making them fun and tasty to eat. Lentils have been the main source of protein for people in many cultures all over the world.
Beans and other legumes have all the nutrients now recognized as important in preventing heart disease, cancer and obesity. They are high in complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber and they are extremely low in fat.

Is this made of lentils too?
There are many many varieties of beans and lentils and there are myraid ways of cooking lentils such as desserts, snacks, savories, crepes (dosas), curries, kebabs, soups, hummus like dips, stews, spice podis, salads, rice/lentil pilafs and using it as a spice or the main ingredient.

© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita Mehta

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=IndFood00020

Flavoring and Seasoning Dals or Lentils

June 16, 2008

Dal is what chicken soup is in the west – comforting food. Dals or lentils, peas and beans are cooked practically daily in almost every Indian home, vegetarian or not. Each region has its own favorites and cooking methods. Dals can range from spicy-sweet to scorching hot, soup like or like creamed thick soup or dry like a pilaf.

The world of dal in India is truly one of India’s culinary gem. Most dals do not need soaking. Roasted or oil sizzled cumin seeds adds an extra dimension to dals and helps in their digestion.

Tempering or Spicing Up Dal
The tempering, or seasoning, is what makes the dal come alive.  The dal is first boiled with turmeric and ginger and optionally tomatoes. The turmeric makes the dal turn into a lovely golden hue. The dal is then dressed with spices – this is called tempering the dal or giving it a “Chonk“.

At this time the Dal is fat free and nature has designed it to absorb various combinations of seasonings and spices. 

The most common ‘Chonk” is heating ghee in a small pan and then adding  asafetida, mustard seeds or cumin seeds, red chilies or chili powder, and optionally curry leaves.  Let these spices sizzle and then pour this seasoning on the dal.

Fresh lime juice is added if the dal in the end if the dal is cooked without tomatoes. Finally, Dals are garnished with fresh chopped cilantro and served hot.

Ajika Dal Spice Blend
Dal may be cooked with the Lentil Spice Blend. Boil lentils with tomatoes and salt. Heat ghee/oil and add the blend. One may also add onions and saute till onions are transclucent. Add to the dal.

© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita Mehta

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=IndFood00010

The Healing Powers of Turmeric

June 16, 2008

Turmeric is a wonder spice.  In India India it has been revered for its healing properties and used as a daily supplement.  In the Ayurveda system of health, turmeric has many medicinal properties and is an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic. Because of its effects on enzyme related to inflammation, turmeric may have the same mode of action as anti-inflammatory medicins. In It is used for cuts and burns and is known as an anticeptic and an antibacterial and for ulcers in the stomach. 

Also called curcumin, is a mustard-yellow spice from India. Indians use it more for its healing properties (as a daily dietary supplement) than for taste.  It has an astringent taste but is otherwise tasteless.  It also provides a wonderful color to foods making them more apetizing. 

According to a 2005 article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Common Indian Spice Stirs Hope,” research activity into turmeric’s active ingredient, is exploding. Two hundred and fifty-six curcumin papers were published in the past year according to a search of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The U.S. National Institues of Health has four clinical trials underway to study curcumin treatment for pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma, Alzheimer’s, and colorectal cancer. 

© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita and Vinay Mehta

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=SpiceTurmeric