What all is in a typical vegetarian dinner at my home ?

Today i met my friend and neighbor and while talking to her I realized that there are many ingredients in Indian cooking that might be new to someone who is new to this cooking.My aim through these blogs is to bring forward the real Indian cooking.Also, I want to bring forward is that Indian cooking is not only easy but can also be easily incorporated in an American diet.For example, one of the staples in Vegetarian Indian dinners- Lentils,can be easily eaten as a soup and with a slice of bread and some veggies on the side, it can be a complete meal.So,before I move any further with my blogs,I feel I should give some introduction to some of my upcoming blogs.This will help you get familiarized with some basics involved.

First of all, I want to introduce to you a typical everyday Indian vegetarian dinner.It includes a lentil preparation(which is kind of a thick soup most of the time but can sometimes be dry),a vegetable dish(either dry or can be a gravy based depending upon what kind of lentils are prepared.If lentils are dry then veggies are gravy based and if lentils are soupy then veggies are dry), salad and whole wheat flat bread.Flat bread can be also of different kinds depending upon the lentils and veggies prepared that day but most of the time it is whole wheat flat bread.Sometimes there are accompaniments with the dinner like chutneys,pappads etc.

I am planning to write couple of my next blogs on different kinds of lentil dishes.These can be eaten with any kind of bread( white sandwich bread to a whole grain baguette)on the side.Veggies (grilled,steamed,sauteed etc) can be added to make a complete meal.

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Dal Makhani- Black Lentils

Well….today I made one of my dishes……which looks as if it took ages to make but really is soooo easy. It is black gram lentil dish, called Dal Makhani.If you are a regular at Indian restaurants, you would have noticed it on the menu…..a very popular dish! My recipe is not only easy but also very low in fat as compared to it’s restaurant counterpart!

Ingredients:

Black Gram /Urad Dal 1 cup

1/2 onion,chopped

1 -2 green chilli chopped( optional)

Ginger garlic paste(I use Laxmi brand) 1 tbsp

Salt to taste

1/8 tsp turmeric powder

5 cups water

Add after lentils are cooked-

1 puréed tomato

1 tbsp each of plain yogurt and cream

Tempering:

1 tbsp ghee or butter

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 whole red chilli

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp dry fenugreek leaves(optional)

Method:

1. Wash the lentils. Pressure cook in a pressure cooker with rest of the ingredients for 40 minutes on low after 1 whistle.

2. After pressure subsides, use a whisk to blend the lentils with the soup/ water to get a creamy texture.Lentils should still hold shape.

Add 1 tomato – puréed.Add 1 tbsp of yogurt and 1 tbp of cream( light ro heavy).Be careful not to curdle these so stir while you add.

3. Heat butter/ghee on medium high and add cinnamon,red chilli,cumin and switch off the burner.Add red chilli powder and fenugreek if using.Add to lentils.

4. Serve hot with butter on top.

This preperation combined with salad of tomato,onion and capsicums and whole wheat flat bread makes a complete meal.Hope you try this…..it’s worth it!

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Meal 2- Vegetable Cutlets and Avocado Salad

Can’t believe how yummmmmy this combo turned out to be! Yummmmm. The avocado salad is a variation of Paula Deen’s recipe while the recipe for the cutlets is a pure invention……a yummy invention!

I normally make potato cutlets for breakfast once in a while…..but I wanted to make cutlets which had vegetables,protein and carbs in it.Cutlets with salad turns out to be not only a yumm combo but also a balanced one! If you still feel deprived,you can add a whole wheat  toast  to the dinner to make it more filling!

Vegeable cutlets

Ingredients:

Mixed frozen vegetables(corn,peas,carrots,beans) 1 cup,thawed in the microwave.

Potato 1, boiled and peeled

Paneer(Indian cheese) OR Extra firm Tofu, crumbled 1/2 cup

Egg 1

1/2 onion,chopped

Green chilli, 2 chopped

Salt, according to taste

Red chilli powder( optional), acording to taste

Bread crumbs, 1 cup or more to bind the mixture

Canola oil 1/2 cup. Or enough to pan fry

Method:

1.Blend mixed vegetables,green chillies, onion, and egg in a food processor.

2. Mash potato in a big bowl.Add the above mixture,salt,red chilli powder and enough bread crumbs to bind the whole mixture so that the final mixture can be shaped into ovals or flat discs.

3.Heat oil in a non stick pan and pan fry until crisp on both sides. Serve with ketchup or spicy ketchup.

Note: We love a spicy ketchup called Maggie hot and sweet – you can find this at Indian grocery store!

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Meal 1 – Vegetable Pulao

Like I mentioned in my previous blog,I like to make meals that are balanced. I try to include good carbs,vegetables,some kind of protein and healthy fats.

My first recipe is Vegetable Pulao.It is a complete meal with rice,loads of veggies and for protein,there are soy nuggets( you can get then at any Indian grocery store or online-I like the brand called Ruchi). This Pulao is traditionally served with plain yogurt(I use Stonyfield Farms yogurt,incase I do not have home made yogurt).The Plain yogurt should be thinned out a little bit using water and beaten smooth with an egg beater or a spoon.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup basmati rice(washed and soaked in water,water should cover the rice plus 2 inches more)

2 tbsps olive oil or canola oil

1/2 cup mixed frozen vegetables( I like a mix of peas,carrots,corn and beans)

1/4 cup dry soy granules

1/2 cup frozen cauliflower florets

Salt- to taste

Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp

1/2 yellow onion chopped

1 tomato on the vine chopped

1 green chilli chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Coriander powder 1 tsp

Red chilli powder 1/2. Tsp

1/2 inch cinnamon stick

1 clove

1 Blake cardamom

1 bay leaf

1 tsp cumin seeds

Method

1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom flat frying pan on medium high heat.Add cinnamon stick,clove,cardamom,bay leaf and cumin seeds.Hea till the seeds crackle,about 1/2 minute,or less.

2. Add chopped onion and sure on medium heat till light brown.Add ginger garlic paste and cook another 2 minutes on medium heat.Add the turmeric powder,coriander powder,red chilli powder and salt.Add chopped tomatoes and green chillies.Sauté on medheat high he’s till tomatoes aremushed and leve oil on the sides.

3. Add all the vegetables, soy nuggets and rice.Add 1 cup water .

4. Boil on medium high till 3/4th water is absorbed.Cover and cook on low medium heat for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve with plain yogurt.

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Hello world!

Hello all!! I am soooo excited to start the journey towards sharing my cooking experiences with you all!!

I try to cook foods that are real, balanced and healthy.Another thing i try to do is to try different cuisines and also try to cook fusion dishes.

Hope to have wonderful journey with you all !!

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