Tadka Dal

I’ve made Tadka Dal hundreds of times and it’s often my “go-to” recipe when my brain is having a moment and can’t decide on what to make for dinner, or if we have ran out of everything and I haven’t got round to doing the big shop (both happen regularly).

I decided to teach how to make this hug in a bowl for this week’s LIVE Spice Club “isolation cookery lesson” and the feedback has been amazing!

Dal is not a seasonal dish. I make it all year round and it’s a staple in most Indian homes. Everyone makes it their own way and this recipe is what I would consider to be my “full fat” version. Sometimes If I’m feeling lazy or if I am incredibly hungry I will omit the onion and make the tadka with just ginger & garlic or even just ginger on its own. Sometimes if I’m in a rush I make these lentils without soaking (perfectly fine to do with red split lentils). My favourite way to eat dal is on top of some steamed basmati rice and I never use a spoon. I always eat it with my hand. Extra satisfaction guaranteed!

If you missed the live cookery class but want to catch up and watch, you can do so by clicking here. Also, if you have any dish suggestions for next week’s live class, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

Tadka Dal

Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

To cook the lentils:

  • 1 cup (165g) red split lentils aka masoor lentils, rinsed well until the water runs clear. Not essential but ideally allow lentils to soak in a bowl full of water for a couple of hours
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water

To cook the tadka

  • 3-4 tbsp ghee/butter/oil or a blend og ghee/butter & oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of asafoetida optional
  • 1 small onion (90g) finely diced
  • 3 cms ginger grated
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 4-5 tbsp tomato passata
  • 1-2 green chillies or you can use 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp mango powder/amchur optional Amchur/Mango Powder or Lime/Lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Handful fresh coriander roughly chopped

Instructions
 

  • Place the lentils in a pot along with salt and turmeric and 4 cups (approx 1litre) of boiling water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat slightly. Cook lentils on a gentle rolling simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft and tender mixing every few minutes. Use a spoon to skim off any foam that forms and discard.
  • The water & lentils should be blended together & creamy in texture once cooked. If the water reduces before the lentils are cooked, you can add a little more.
  • Whilst the lentils are cooking, heat the ghee/oil in a separate pan. Add cumin seeds, and asafoetida. Then add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Now add the garlic & ginger. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until golden in colour. Now stir in the tomato passata and chilli.
  • Reduce the heat. Then add salt, paprika, turmeric and mango powder, Mix well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the oil begins to separate from the masala.
  • Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the pan the tadka was cooked in. Mix well and bring to a boil. If you think the dal is too thick you can add a little more water (you may need to adjust seasoning accordingly).
  • Finish with the garam masala and fresh coriander. Taste for salt and chilli adjust accordingly. Remove from heat and serve with rice or your favourite Indian bread.

Sukha Aloo – Punjabi spiced potatoes

We are all adjusting and adapting to a very new style of living right now. It’s resulted in huge change across the board and for every individual, that has translated to mean different things. The biggest change for me has been shutting shop at The Spice Club and closing my cookery school doors. It’s been very hard but I have been trying to focus on how I grateful I am that as a job, I get the opportunity to share my cookery knowledge with others and actually see my students benefit from it in their own kitchen.

Given the situation I am in, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to continue sharing. Via social media, posting recipes on here and as of yesterday by means of LIVE ONLINE COOKERY CLASSES on Facebook. I taught one of my favourite dishes yesterday, Sukha Aloo. It’s a fav because it takes 10 minutes to cook and scores high marks in the taste department (that’s an actual place in the brain). If you’d like to re-watch it and follow as I cook, you can do so here. Or if you’d rather not watch me jibber jabber, you can scroll down and read the recipe below.

I wil be doing regular FB Live cookery classes. My next one will be next Friday 3rd April at 4pm GMT. Hope to see you there!

Sukha Aloo

Ingredients
  

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion (approx 100g) thinly sliced
  • 2 heaped tbsp double concentrate tomato puree
  • 575 g potatoes red/desiree are ideal, cooked & peeled & cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp amchur/mango powder optional
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped or 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • Handful fresh coriander roughly chopped, optional
  • water

Instructions
 

How to:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. Give them a quick mix and then add the onions.
  • Sauté for 2-3 minutes on medium/high until light golden in colour. Now add the tomato puree along with 4-5 tbsp water and mix well.
  • At this point, add the potatoes and sprinkle over the salt as well as all of the dry spices and green chilli. Mix well.
  • Finish with fresh coriander and mix once again. Turn off heat. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly.

Notes

To cook the potatoes, you can boil them. OR I cook mine in the microwave as it’s easy/no washing up. To do this, wash potatoes, then place in a freezer safe bag (or any clean small plastic bag) and tie it up. Pierce a hole in it and then place in the microwave on high for 8-10 minutes or until cooked.

Punjabi Samosas

Presenting my Punjabi samosas! I didn’t intentionally make these samosas to be part of the #spiceclubstaples recipe collection but upon reflection I think they deserve a place here.

The pastry is made from plain flour, oil, salt & water = store cupboard classic. Stuffing wise, the classic is spiced potatoes & peas, but actually, you can technically stuff them with whatever you like. Sweet potato, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, paneer – feel free to mix together what you have in your fridge to create your own bespoke samosa. I’ve made chocolate and marshmallow samosas in the past so you have permission to go crazy.

There is a step by step tutorial on my Instagram Highlights which may help with giving you a better idea on things like dough texture etc. Making samosas are best shown how to be made in person but I have tried my best to jot it all down for you in this recipe!

Little tip – once the samosas have been filled and sealed, you can actually freeze the samosas. Then, when you’re craving a fresh samosa in the future, you can simply remove from freezer, defrost and then fry until golden! Also – if you have any leftover pastry, you can cut them into rounds using a cookie cutter and then fry until light golden and crisp – these are Indian savoury tea biscuits called Papdi – we eat these alongside a hot cup of chai!

Disclaimer – samosas are a labour of love to make, but they’re ABSOLUTELY worth the effort. I hope you enjoy making (and eating) them!

Punjabi Samosas

Servings 8 samosas

Ingredients
  

To make the dough:

  • 1 cup plain flour approx. 130g
  • ¼ tsp carom seeds (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup approx water using same vessel that was used to measure flour

To make the stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds crushed
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated (optional)
  • 8 tbsp peas (frozen peas work well)
  • 4 large cooked potatoes (approx 500g in total) I cook mine in the microwave but you can also boil.
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp amchur/mango powder If you can’t source this, you can add a squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped
  • Large handful fresh coriander finely chopped

You will also need:

  • 2 tbsp plain flour mixed together with 4 tbsp water to create a thick, smooth paste (this will be our pastry glue)
  • oilf or deep frying

Instructions
 

To make the dough:

  • To a bowl, add the plain flour, carom seeds, salt and oil. Spend a couple of minutes rubbing the oil into the flour. It should create a bread crumb type of consistency. Once the oil has completely mixed in, gradually add the water little by little. Mix continuously – you are looking to create a tight dough that is quite firm. (Note, you may need to adjust the amount of water slightly depending on your brand of flour).

  • Cover dough with damp cloth or cling film and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.

To make the stuffing:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. Mix. Then add the crushed coriander seeds, ginger and peas and cook for 1 minute on medium heat. When the ginger turns light golden, turn off heat and keep aside.
  • Using your hands, peel the potatoes. Then roughly mash the potatoes using your hand, into the pan. Add the salt, remaining spices and fresh coriander and mix well. Taste for salt/chilli/tartness and adjust to accordingly.

To prepare the samosas:

  • Heat a non-stick frying pan on a very low heat.
  • At the same time, pour 4-5” oil in a small sauce pan/wok and heat on a low heat. (We will be frying our samosas in this oil).
  • Divide the dough into 4 portions and roll each one into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out a dough ball into a circle (approx. 8″ diameter).
  • Place the rolled out circle on the non-stick frying pan for 10-12 seconds and then remove and transfer to a chopping board (cooked side down, raw side up). Be careful not to overcook the dough – we cook it slightly to help firm it up so it is easier to handle. Cut the circle in half to create 2 semi-circles.
  • Spread the flour paste around all the edges of each semi circle and using both hands, fold the semi circle into a cone shape. Hold the cone and ensure that the joint of the edges creates a sealed seam in the middle of the cone. Hold this in one hand and begin to stuff with the potato mixture so the cone is 3/4 full.
  • Press the filling down with your fingers and seal the top of the cone to form a triangle shape. Pinch along the top edge to ensure it is completely sealed. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  • Once the oil is hot, add each samosa to the wok for frying. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan (it’s best to fry in batches). Fry on low/medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Turn the samosas in the oil every couple of minutes. Once done, they should be golden brown all over and the pastry should be crisp to touch. 
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove each samosas – being mindful to drain off as much oil as possible before draining on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining samosas and serve with your favourite chutneys.