Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani

Hasini was doing subtraction the other day. She was puzzled and I impatient. She asked me if every time we borrowed, we borrowed only 1 and not more. I looked at her genuinely curious face. I felt sorry for being harsh. Yuvan meanwhile was singing “Dumka, A dumka, A dumka dumka dumka!” and writing the wrong spelling. The two giggled uncontrollably. I felt myself teetering between laughing and yelling. I couldn’t make up my mind which way to go. Many times I go berserk and hate myself for it. I will never understand how after dropping the bournvita on the floor, colouring the eraser black, drenching the AC remote, plotting with the thatha paati to secretly eat ice cream, losing the 3rd water bottle in 2 months and stapling together the pages of their rough book, they can look as innocent as they do when they sleep. A wave of guilt and remorse washes over me as I watch their sleeping faces, yuvi sleeps with half closed eyes, Hasini with her mouth slightly open, her arms under his head, he hugging his cheetah, his legs kicking her back. They take turns waking up during the night, to go to the toilet, to complain about the snake, the tiger, the skeleton; I pat them back to sleep without opening my eyes promising to slay them all. They insist they have to go “chuchi” and pat me to sleep and go to the toilet.  How and when do these little creatures grow up and what are the mothers to do then? Cut to morning 7:35 am I turn up the heat on the dal makhani, heat the dosa tawa and sprint to the fridge to get the dosai maavu (dosa batter) while Yuvan stands on the little stool in the kitchen tying his tie and asking what I am making for lunch. Hasini walks in with hair brush and hair bands in her hand for her ponytail, I ask her to wait, she stares out the kitchen door dreamily, Yuvan brings a bottle of milk from the fridge asking for a bournvita. He demands an answer, I tell him its Dal Makhani and Ghee rice, he kicks and screams that it is not what he wants, that it’s always Hasini’s favourites, I make a dosai, brush Hasini’s hair, take out the dosai, Hasini says it’s not her favourite either, I warn them...
Chapathi dal grilled chicken - Diet meal

Chapathi, Dal and Grilled chicken – Diet meal

At times it’s hard to believe that something as good as it tastes could be good for you. It was so with this Chapathi, Dal and grilled chicken combo. Delicious, wholesome and satisfying. I wouldn’t mind having this meal again and again. Except for the chapathi, the rest of the components of this meal are almost no effort.   There are hundreds of flavours for your grilled chicken. I happened to have some leftover Thai red curry paste which I rubbed into the chicken and let it marinate for an hour before placing it on a cookie sheet in the hot oven and grilled for 30 minutes, flipping half way through. While the chicken cooked, I pressure cooked toor dal with salt and green chillies till soft, mashed it and finished with a simple tempering of mustard seeds and oil. I cut up a couple of carrot and beans into long strips and steamed them in my idli steamer. I made chapathis last. You can buy Thai red curry paste at stores if you don’t want to bother making it at home. If you are not crazy about Thai red curry flavour, you could try Tandoori style, Teriyaki or a simple lemon-salt-black pepper version. This is a meal you can serve your whole family. But good luck with the steamed vegetables. I ate most of them. Happy Dieting! Let’s do this – Project 50k!

Oriya Dalma

I’ll never be making paruppu (Dal) the same way anymore. In doing this state-wise blogging marathon, I’ve realized that paruppu (dal) features in almost every state but with just a tiny twist here, a little tweak there. And these tiny twists and tweaks do wonderful things to the un-assuming paruppu. The Dalma (adapted from here) is Orissa’s, sorry Odisha’s way of making dal – toor dal cooked with potatoes, eggplants and a dash of ginger and topped with ghee tempered panch phoran. Panch phoran is magical – I absolutely love the 5 of them. Yuvi enjoyed his rice and dalma and that is saying something. Till recently, he’s have his afternoon meal while riding his cycle. I’d wait while he has a bite and then cycles down the road, turns around and cycles back. With the Dalma, he did not dodge me while turning around. When he’s feeling particularly wild or doesn’t like the food, he likes to come near me but swiftly swerve away before I can thrust in the spoon. I’ll definitely be making Dalma again. Odisha is an ancient land, as old as the Mahabharata. It lies on the east coast of India above Andhra Pradesh and below West Bengal. Odiya or Oriya is the language spoken there. There are several wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha that are popular tourist attractions. From what I read Odiya people are dessert lovers – chhenapoda, rasgulla, chhena jheeli, kakara peetha are sweets made in Odisha. The Chhenapoda has been on my to-do list for quite some time now ever since some of my blogging friends posted it. They really aced it. I need to try it too. Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 25 mins Serves: 4 Ingredients Toor Dal – 1 cup Potato – 1 medium, peeled and cubed Eggplant – 2-3 stalks removed and quartered Green chillies – 2 slit lengthwise Ginger paste – 1 tsp Turmeric – ½ tsp Asafoetida – a pinch Salt to taste Ingredients – Spice powder Whole dry red chillies – 4 Cumin seeds – ¾ tsp Ingredients – Tempering Ghee – 2 tbsp Mustard seeds/Kadugu – ½ tsp Cumin seeds/Jeera – ½ tsp Fenugreek/Venthayam – 1/8 tsp Fennel seeds/Sombo/Saunf – 1/4 tsp Nigella/Kalonji – ¼ tsp Method 1.      Rinse dal in 2-3 changes of water and transfer to a pressure cooker. Throw in the cubed potatoes, quartered brinjals, ginger paste, green chillies, salt,...
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