Monday, January 7, 2013

Four Whole spices tempered Dal made with split skin on Urad dal, Quinoa, split skinless masoor Dal and Barley. {Grain & Legume Mix Dal - Year round Indian comfort food}

I cooked  mix lentil Dal on the first day of the new year with mixture of black urad dal, Masoor dal, Quinoa and Barley. This Mix Dal is  prepared in pressure pan. Distinct  feature of this dal preparation is, use of four whole Indian spices (khada Masala) for  tempering. I skipped using ground masala powder. This versatile Dal recipe serves multiple meals like Dal, Khichdi and Soup.

Ingredients :
  • 3/4 Cup - Skin-on split Urad Dal (Black gram Dal)
  • 5 Tb.spoon- skinless split Masoor Dal (Orange lentil)
  • 5 Tb.spoon- Quinoa
  • 5 Tb.spoon- Barley (quick cooking type or pearl barley)
  • 1 small size onion - finely chopped (1 cup yield)
  • 7-8 big size garlic cloves - slice lengthwise each clove in 4-5 pieces.
  • 1 Tb.spoon Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) 
  • 1/2 T.spoon - Turmeric powder
  • 2 Roma tomatoes - diced
  • 2 inch - piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 Green chilies - finely chopped
  • 1 cup - chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tb.spoon oil + 1 Tb.spoon oil
Whole spices for Tadka/Tempering
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 T.spoon - shahijeera
  • 1 T.spoon - whole black peppers
  • 1 Bay leaf - 3 inch long
Method of Preparing Dal/ Mix Grain-Lentil Curry
  1. Combine Urad dal, masoor Dal, quinoa, quick cooking barley in a big size bowl, fill with water and thoroughly massage mixture between palms, drain all murky water. Repeat until water gets clear,  drain keep it aside. (In absence of quick cooking barley use pearl barley but you will need to soak in the water for at least one  hour.)
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pressure pan / pressure cooker, (3 quart or bigger size) don't let oil temperature to reach smoking point. First add bay leaf, followed by 4 cloves and 1 tsp whole black peppers, stir and sizzle for 20-30 seconds. Now add shahijeera, sizzle for 15 seconds. Quickly add chopped onions, saute over medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until they turn soft and transparent. Add sliced garlic, chopped green chilies, 1 tbsp Kasuri methi, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, saute for 1 minute. (Refer image-A cooking step below)
  3. Now add rinsed Urad dal-Masoor Dal-Quinoa-Barley, saute for 2-3 minutes over high heat, stirring often. Add salt and 4 cups water, when it starts to boil, (refer image-C) close pressure pan lid, allow to cook over medium high heat for 6-7 minutes. Once steam is built up inside pressure pan, reduce the heat to medium. Allow to blow quick 2-3 whistles. Quickly reduce heat to low and continue cooking for another 6-7 minutes. (Some pressure pans give short 5 second whistles, in such cases  you may continue cooking over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, wait until it blows short 5 seconds whistles at least 10-12 times, then reduce flames to medium low and further  cook for 6-7 minutes. Shut off the heat and let pressure pan cool.
  4. Once you open the lid, you will find all water has evaporated and Mixture of legumes  is well cooked. (Check images-D below) If you want to enjoy some wholesome Khichdi, take out some portion at this stage, enjoy by adding warm creamy milk and melted ghee.
  5. My pressure pan was small so I have to take another pot to cook Dal. If you are using 4 quart and bigger size pressure cooker you can do this step in a small pan and pour tomato ginger mixture  in pressure cooker. Heat 1 tbsp oil in minimum 4 quart heavy gauge pot. Add grated ginger, saute for 1 minute, quickly add diced Roma tomatoes. Saute over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Now add cooked Dal mixture, 2 cups water. Mix all well. Check and adjust salt level. You may increase or decrease water quantity as per your desired  consistency. Add fresh chopped cilantro, simmer over medium low heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring at intervals. Serve with hot  rice, roti or enjoy as soup by drizzling spoonful of  melted ghee or extra virgin olive oil.

Few Images captured while preparing Dal in pressure pan.

[Image-A] Sauteing 4 whole spices, onions, garlic in pressure pan.

[Image-B] Mixing rinsed Dals to sauteed Spice and onion base.

[Image-C] Dal starts boiling, time to close pressure pan lid.

[Image-D] Perfectly pressure pan cooked legumes and grains.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013...Sunset of 31st December. Morning time backyard bird watch on first day of the New year. First time sighting of European Starling in the backyard.

New year Greetings to all my followers, readers and visitors. I wish  you all a very  Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and successful  New year ahead.

During the peak winter time when nature is resting, one
 single beautiful  light pink Gerbera Daisy bloomed in the pot.

On the last day of the year I spent few moments watching the setting sun, it was beautiful Sunset with mix of Grey and  orange clouds. I watched it until bright orange glow vanished and horizon turned all grey. Our first day of the year  started with cloudy, cold and rainy weather. Morning time few birds came to eat seeds from the bird feeder. For the first time I spotted European Starling, also known as Common Starling (sturnus vulgaris). As soon as they landed over lawn they found suet feeder and made few rounds to eat. I could take few pictures through window glass. One more surprise was Squirrel, with her acrobatic stretching skills she made her first entry to the bird feeder. In just two attempts she drained all seeds and by evening she broke two resting hooks of the bird feeder, now I need to buy new  Squirrel proof bird feeder. Enjoy the images taken on the first day of the year.

Common Starling with beautiful black and brown body
  covered with brilliant white spots.

European Starling in NC backyard.

Squirrel skillfully got hold of bird feeder, behind is the suet box.

Squirrel makes second attempt to grab bird feeder.


On the first day of the year I cooked Mix Dal with Black Urad Dal, Quinoa and Masoor. This two whistle pressure pan Dal does not use any powdered spices instead I used whole cloves, shahijeera, black pepper and bay leaf. I will blog Dal recipe in the next blog post.

 Happy Healthy 2013...