Deprecated: Hook custom_css_loaded is deprecated since version jetpack-13.5! Use WordPress Custom CSS instead. Jetpack no longer supports Custom CSS. Read the WordPress.org documentation to learn how to apply custom styles to your site: https://wordpress.org/documentation/article/styles-overview/#applying-custom-css in /var/www/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6078
Lentils – Monica's Spice Diary – Indian Food Blog

Bengali Dal Pakoras

Yesterday’s live cookery class was a lot of fun. We headed over to the East of India and cooked up delicious Bengali style lentil pakoras.

Lentil pakoras are made all over India in a variety of ways. The types of lentil, spices and texture profiles are tweaked from region to region and they’re all absolutely delicious.

I made a couple of tweaks to the classic Bengali “Daler Bora” (sorry Bengalis – it’s the North Indian in me!) and hope you enjoy the recipe. If you are deep frying for the first time, have a look back at the live class as I broke down how to fry without fear! I also shared plenty of tips on how to ensure your pakoras are perfectly cooked on the inside and nice and crispy on the outside.

Do let me know how you get on with making these and how they turn out for you. Dipped into your favourite chutney or dipping sauce, they’re a hit with children and oldies alike!

Also, I am working on something *incredibly exciting*. I can’t say anything yet, however if you’re a spice lover and like the idea of mastering Indian cuisine you WILL want to sign up to my new exclusive mailing list. That way, you’ll be the first to know when I do make the grand reveal!

In the mean time, happy cooking! The next live is on 10th July! x

Bengali Lentil Pakoras

Servings 20 pakoras (approx)

Equipment

  • small wok or wide sauce pan
  • slotted spoon
  • Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup approx 165g masoor/split red lentils washed 3-4 times & soaked for 2 hours in water
  • 2 cms ginger grated
  • 1 large clove garlic grated
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 2 tsp whole coriander seeds coarsely crushed in a pestle and mortar (you can also use coriander powder)
  • 1/2 tsp amchur mango powder optional
  • 1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes according to taste
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small onion (90g) finely diced
  • Oil for deep frying sunflower/vegetable oils work well

Instructions
 

  • Soak the lentils in water for a couple of hours. Then rinse well and drain.
  • Measure 1/4 cup or 40-50mls of water and keep aside. Add the lentils to a blender along with half the amount of the water. Blend together. Then scrape down the sides of the blender jug and a little more water and blend again .You may need to repeat this once again.
  • Aim for the dal paste to be the consistency of a thick hummus. It can be a little grainy but should hold its form.You may need to adjust the water amount to achieve this so judge accordingly.
  • Heat oil in your pan (small wok work best) on low/medium heat.
  • Using a spatula, remove the lentil paste from the processor and add to a mixing bowl. Then add the ginger, chilli, salt, dry spices, fresh coriander and using your hand mix well. Finally, add the onions and mix again.
  • When the oil is hot, place 1 tablespoon of the batter into the oil. The pakora should come up to the top of the oil. Carefully shape and add more pakoras to the oil. Cook in small batched being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for a couple of minutes on a medium heat. Use your slotted spoon to gently turn them over every 10 seconds or so. When you see them turn light golden in colour, increase your heat setting to high and cook until fully golden. (It should take about 5 minutes in total).
  • Remove from oil with a slotted spoon. Allow the oil to drain off the pakoras fully. Then place on kitchen paper. Lower the heat and allow the oil to cool sightly before you do the next batch. Repeat and enjoy with your favourite dipping sauce!

Notes

Tip!
When making the dal paste, if you do find you have added too much water in error and it is too wet, you can add a little gram flour and a pinch of salt to help thicken. You should be able to spoon the mixture into a roundel.
 
 

Channa Dal Keema Mattar

Keema Mattar is one of my favourites. This recipe is cooked with channa dal (optional) which add delicious nuttiness and a lovely bite. I love to mop it up with hot buttery chapatis and sometimes with a fried egg on the side when I feel like I need an extra hug in the stomach department!

When I fancy something lighter I sometimes make keema lettuce wraps and sometime swap out the lamb for quorn (which also works a treat!).

There was no live cookery class this week but I shall be back next Friday, 15th May cooking up another delicious storm on my Facebook page so I hope to see you then. Until then, enjoy the below recipe!

Keema Mattar with Channa Dal

monicasawhney
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 6-7 tbsp oil for cooking
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom coarsely crushed, optional
  • 2 green cardamoms coarsely crushed, optional
  • 2" “ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion (150g) cut into small rough chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1" ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 5 tbsp tomato passata
  • 1 tsp double concentrate tomato puree
  • 2 birds eye green chillies sliced vertically in half
  • 400g lamb/mutton/quorn mince
  • 5 tbsp peas defrosted
  • 2 small potatoes cooked, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 150 g channa dal lentils soaked & boiled with salt for 45 minutes or until tender** – optional
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Large handful coriander
  • Juice of ¼ lime optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a pan. Blitz the onion, ginger and garlic, together in a food processor until coarsely ground together. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, crushed cardamoms, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds to the pan.
  • Now add the ground paste to the pan and cook on a medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Once you see the paste has turned golden in colour add 3-4 tbsp water and continue to cook for 7-8 minutes on a low/medium heat. If it ever catches, add a splash of water or a little more oil.
  • Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric and garam masala. Cook for a minute and then add the pasata and tomato puree as well as the chillies. When you see the oil separate from the masala, add the lamb/mutton/quorn mince and cook for 4-5 minutes or until you see the colour change. Then add the peas, potato, channa dal as well as the remaining spices and sugar. Mix well.
  • Add 1 cup of water then place a lid on top and cook for a further 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring every few minutes.
  • Finish with the coriander as well as the lime juice. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly.

Notes

*I cooked the dal exactly as I did for the lentils in my tadka recipe which can be found here. You can soak the channa lentils for 3-4 hours for warm water to help soften but it’s not essential. 

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.