Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Niti's Dal Makhani

I really like a North Indian lentil dish called Dal Makhani, especially the way my friend Niti makes it, her home version is a little lighter than the typical cream-laden restaurant version of the dish (which I also love). Here is her recipe, I made it tonight for the first time and it turned out pretty good! But not as good as Niti's for some reason. Will have to figure out what went wrong and update.

Niti's Dal Makhani


-- 1 1/2 c. dried whole urad dal (with peel) (could substitute regular black or green lentils for this)
-- 1/4 c. dried whole kidney bean (with peel)
-- 1/4 c. dried split chana dal

(this is easiest to measure using a 2 cup measure, fill up to 1 1/2 cups with urad dal and add the other two until it reaches 2 c.)

-- 1 t. tumeric
-- 2 whole black cardamom pods
-- 4 garlic cloves, peeled

-- 2 large onions, chopped
-- 1 1/2 inch knob ginger, peeled and minced (approx. 3 Tablespoons)
-- 1 long green chili, cut into half (I omitted this for Kiran's sake but it would be better with it)
-- 3 Tablespoons coriander powder
-- 1 1/2 Tablespoons cumin powder

-- 2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
-- milk, if desired for more soupy consistency
-- 1 1/2 Tablespoons amchoor powder (dried mango powder available in Indian stores, if you can't get it you can use lemon juice instead)


1. Rinse beans, cover with water, and soak for 3 hours or overnight.

2. Rinse beans again, add to pressure cooker with 3x the water, add in tumeric, whole cardamom, and garlic cloves. Cook in pressure cooker for 3 whistles, or until beans are soft.

3. While beans are cooking, saute onions, ginger, chili, coriander, and cumin in a large pot over medium heat until soft. You don't want to brown the onions, just get them soft and sweet.

4. Once the pressure cooker has come back to normal pressure, add cooked beans and bean water to cooked onion mixture. Remove cardamom pods. Add in salt and boil for 30 minutes or until the flavors seem to meld.

5. At the end, add in milk until dal is the consistency you want it (I like it soupy), and the amchoor powder.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mushroom bolognese

I love meat bolognese sauce, but because my husband and son are vegetarian I never make it at home. Plus, it's not that healthy. When I saw this Eatingwell vegetarian version that uses mushrooms instead of the meat, I had to give it a shot. This isn't going to convince anyone it's real meat sauce but the recipe is easy to make, healthy, and has at least an echo of that bolognese flavor/texture in it (more if you add lots of Parmesan cheese). So, worth remembering.

from Eatingwell


    •  5 ounces spaghetti
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
    • 10 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt, or to taste (I used more than this)
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (I used 1/2 teaspoon dried)
    • Parmesan cheese, for serving


1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook pasta until a little less than you want it done. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain pasta.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, carrot, mushrooms, salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have wilted and the juices have evaporated, about 12 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and oregano and cook, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. 
3. Add the pasta to the sauce with some reserved pasta cooking water and let bubble for about 1 minute to cook some of the sauce flavors into the pasta. 
4. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.  
  • Make Ahead Tip: Make the sauce (Step 2), cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Chilaquiles Casserole

Eatingwell magazine often features inventive, healthy vegetarian main dishes that are easy enough to make on a weeknight, so when one is good, it ends up being a real keeper. This is a dish we tried recently, Kiran helped me make it and we all agreed it was good. I changed the recipe a bit, this is what I made:

from Eatingwell


    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1 medium zucchini, grated 
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed
    • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
    • 1½ cups corn, frozen (thawed) or fresh  
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 12 corn tortillas, quartered
    • 1 10-ounce can mild red or green enchilada sauce
    • 1¼ cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. 
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and red pepper and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.  
3. Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil.
4. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3 and refrigerate for up to 1 day.