Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Instant konkani daal-( Daali Thoay)

There are many tasty food created with minimal ingredients. Daali Thoay is one of them. Armed with the instant dal mix you can prepare this tasty dal in 10 minutes without a pressure cooker.

Konkani community love this dal. It is a must in every festive meal and it is served in temples during community meals. It is always present in the wedding feasts and finds its place in the daily menu of most of the Konkani families.

I was a picky eater in my childhood and used to eat this dal often as I could not tolerate the spice level of other food. Eating the same dish most of the days made me dislike the very same dish I adored. So when I started cooking ,this dal was ignored by me for many years. I plan my weekly menu  and try not to repeat a dish for many months. This has made me enjoy Daali Thoay again. Though this dal is traditionally made without tomatoes and cumin- adding them makes it interesting.

Since this blog is all about cooking with limited means I have not garnished it with coriander (cilantro) leaves. You may garnish it if it is available. 

For all of you who are cooking in the rice cooker:

If you are cooking in a rice cooker with 2 pans. Cook the rice in one of its pan remove and keep it aside and then cook dal in another.
If you have a single pan in your rice cooker then cook the rice first and tranfer it into a bowl and then in the same pan you can prepare this dal.


NEW! This recipe is available as a printable label. Click hereto print it out and stick it on your Instant dal mix-2 jar.

Appliance required:Rice cooker or microwave or stove

Cooking time:          15 mins if prepared with just the  Instant dal mix -2
                                  25 mins if you are adding tomato.

All you need is:
  •    1 tomato (deseeded and chopped into small pieces) 
  •    2 tbsp instant dal mix-2 
  •    2 1/4 cup water 
  •    coriander leaves, ghee, lime juice (optional)     


  1. Take a microwave safe glass bowl/ rice cooker pan (which comes inside the rice cooker) or a sauce pan. Fill it with 1 cup water.
  2. Add  tomato pieces into it and boil for 10 mins.
  3. Take 2 tbsp Instant dal mix -2 into a bowl and add 1/4 cup water. (don't takeout the dry red chilli now)
  4. Stir this instant dal mix and the water with a spoon to get a paste.
  5. Add 1 cup water to this  and stir well. Add one dry red chilli from the instant mix now.
  6. Add this dal into the cooked tomato and boil for another 15 minutes.
  7. Eat with soft boiled rice and papad. You can put 1/2 tsp ghee on top.

  • See that you add one dry chilli from the mix each time you make the dali thoay.
  • You can add a green chilli slit lengthwise into the boiling dal if you want the dal to be on the hotter side.
  • Squeeze few drops of lime if you are not using tomato.
  • If you are not eating it immediately you will find that the dal has thickened. All you need to do is add some hot water and boil it till it is heated through.

Sending this to SIC - Event happening @ Nivedhanams, Event by Anu's Healthy Kitchen


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Tasty plain dal/ Varan / Tovve

In Maharashtra this Plain dal goes by the name 'Goad Varan' and in Karnataka this dal is called 'Tovve'. It is eaten with soft steamed rice with a spoon of ghee. This is a most preferred meal to eat when you are just recovering after an illness. Just make a bowl of this dal for any of your friends when they have recovered from any illness, they will be glad to eat it.

I know it sounds boring but do think about this. This is too good.

*It is SIMPLE just add water and boil
*It is HOMEMADE with all known ingredients which you may be already using in your
daily cooking.Sodium level is also under control.
*It is FLEXIBLE you can have it plain or throw in a green chilli, ginger (dried in microwave) or crushed black pepper corns if you find it bland.
*It is FAT FREE and PRESERVATIVE FREE so unlike ready made mix you can eat it when you are just recovering from a flu.
NEW! This recipe is available as a printable label. Click here to print it out and stick it on your Instant dal mix-1 jar

Appliance required: Rice cooker or microwave or stove
Cooking time:          10-15 mins

All you need is
  • 2 tbsp
  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • salt if required
  • 1/4 tsp sugar or jaggery
  • 1/2 tsp ghee (optional)
  • lime juice (optional)
  • 1 greenchilli (optional) or 1/4  tsp crushed black pepper

    1. Take  in a bowl.

2. Add 1/4 cup water and stir to make a paste.

You can do this in the same vessel in which you are cooking the dal.

3. Now add 2 cups of water to this and   
     simmer for 10 mins.

4. Keep stirring in between.
    Adjust salt.
    You might need 1/2 tsp salt.
    Add the sugar/ jaggery and boil it 5 mins.

Time saving tip

If you are not eating it immediately you will find that the dal has thickened, when it has cooled. All you need to do is add some hot water and boil it.

If you don't want it mild  .. add one green chilli roughly crushed into this dal while it is boiling. OR You can dry 2 green chillies in microwave on high and mix into .

To eat with what ?

This varan (simple dal) tastes best on hot white steamed rice with little ghee (1/2 tsp) on the top. Rice should be cooked till soft i.e., 
When cooking rice add 2 1/2 parts -3 parts water to 1 cup rice.

You can eat this with little lime juice if you like tart flavor.

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Instant INDIAN DAL Mix

I think this will be one of my lengthiest posts as this is about Indian dal. In India we have a array of dal recipes each unique to its region or community. Every house has its own recipe.

Indian Dal is appreciated by everyone  world wide . Due to a largely vegetarian diet, we Indians tend to use a variety of split lentils and beans (all go by the name Dal).
So we have Green gram dal or mung dal, Chick pea dal/ chana dal, Split pigeon pea/ arhar/ tur dal etc.

Dals and pulses are energy giving food. They are a good substitute to meat as they are rich in proteins, vitamin B, phosphorous and iron. They are not easily digested if they are not cooked properly (i.e., till soft). Cooking them on stove takes long hours so pressure cooking is preferred. Preparing your own instant dal mix is therefore sensible as you won't be requiring a pressure cooker. In addition it eliminates soaking,cooking and clean-up time too.

With a slight variation in the tempering ingredients you can prepare dals from any region of India. By sneaking  in veggies like gourds, leafy vegetables you can increase its flavor by leaps and bounds.

First we will be making the BASIC INSTANT INDIAN DAL MIX. It makes about 500g.

 What you need is -

300 ml split pigeon peas (tur dal or arhar dal)
150 ml split mung beans(yellow mung dal)
100 ml split chick pea(chana dal)
2 tbsp  rice grains(any variety)
1 1/2tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp asafoetida powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
6 tsp salt

You can interchange the amount of dal. Among these dal -Mung dal is easiest to digest. Some people find Chickpea (chana) dal hard to digest - it can be replaced  with equal amount other dal.

1. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet or sauce pan. Put in all the split beans (dal) and rice.

2. Dry roast on a low heat for 5 mins, i.e., till you get a pleasant aroma of roasted dal). Switch off the heat and stir in turmeric, asafoetida, ginger powder and salt. Cool completely.

3. Grind them in parts in a coffee grinder to get a fine powder.

4. Sieve the mix and re grind the bigger pieces. Dal is tastier if the powder is fine.
    Above ingredients are sufficient to make and Ambat. These need no tempering.

5. Now you have to temper the dal if you want to prepare various other Indian dals such as
  •    Masala dal
  •    Variety of dal with veggies like Andhra Pappu, Ambat, Amti, Dal Hariyali
  I will keep posting recipes of all these dal recipes and will update its link here.

6. Now with 4 labelled instant dal mix jars (about 125g each) in your cupboard you are ready to cook any Indian dal.

Each of these dal has an unique taste because of the different tempering used in the instant mix. So to make things simple divide this plain instant mix (got from step-4) into 4 equal parts and temper them as shown here below.

click the picture to have a good look at all the tempering ingredients you can use


    Instant dal mix -1

    Keep first portion plain. This can be used to make and Ambat.

    Store this in an dry- air tight- labelled container. 

    Instant dal mix -2

    Second portion  is tempered to make Tomato Daal/ Daali Thoay, Instant Bisibele Bhath, Saraswat style Radish  and Amti

    For tempering-
    1 tbsp oil
    1 tsp mustard seeds
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    15 curryleaves
    5 dry red chillies


    Heat oil in a small saucepan put in mustard,cumin and when it starts jumping switch off the heat and immediately add curry leaves and red chillies. Pour this tempering over the second part and mix well. Let it cool completely. Store this in an dry-air tight-labelled container.

    Instant dal mix - 3

    Third portion is tempered to make Gujarati dal (sweet and sour dal) and some spicy stir-fry with gourds (Bhakar bhaji). You can also make  Dal Dhokli (wheat dhoklis ... these are like Indian wheat pasta in dal) for a filling one dish meal.

    For tempering-
    1 tbsp oil
    1 tsp mustard
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1" cinnamon broken into 4 pieces
    4 cloves
    1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds

    Other things that go into this are-
    • 2 tsp jaggery (broken into small pieces) or brown(demerara) sugar
    • 1/2 tsp tamarind (separated into small pieces for even distribution in the mix)or 3 Kokum pieces or 1 dried prune(if you don't find these don't worry, add lemon juice or tomatoes later)
    • 2 dry dates broken into pieces and the seeds discarded (optional)
    whole and chopped dry dates

    Heat oil in a small saucepan put in mustard, cumin and when it starts jumping put cinnamon, cloves and fenugreek. 
    After few secs, switch off the heat and while it is still hot add 2 tsp chilli powder and 2 tsp coriander-cumin powder (optional) and give it a quick stir. When cool, mix in jaggery, tamarind(kokum), nuts and dry dates. Mix well. Pour this tempering over the third part and mix well. 
    Let it cool completely. 
    Store this in an dry-air tight-labelled container.
    Note- I have used Kokum pieces in the above mix. Each time you prepare the dal make sure to use 1 piece of Kokum,2-3 pieces of dried dates and 1 red chilli along with the mix.
    Instant dal mix -4

    The last portion is tempered to make Dal Tadka, Dal Fry, Hariyali Dal, Dal Palak (spinach), Dal Methi (fenugreek leaves).

    For tempering-
    1 tbsp oil
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1"piece cinnamon( broken into 4 pieces)
    4 cloves
    1 bay leaf (broken into pieces)
    4 dried red chillies

    Other than these you will require-
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp ginger powder (it is already added in the basic mixture, add more if you like its taste )
    1 tsp garam masala powder
    1 tsp chilli powder

    Heat oil in a small saucepan put in cumin and when it starts jumping, put cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and red chillies. Switch off the heat and mix in the given powders.
    Pour this tempering over the fourth part of the instant mix and mix well . 
    Let it cool completely.
    Store this in an dry-air tight-labelled container.


    When you put curryleaves or green chillies in hot oil, the oil tends to splatter all over the stove and the backsplash making it greasy. In order to prevent this what I do is --After heating oil in the sauce pan for tempering I put the mustard,cumin and when it starts to pop I carry this pan near the kitchen sink and then put in green chillis and curry leaves. Sink area is easier to clean than the stove - isn't it?

    New! Print out all these 4 recipe labels. You can stick them on to the instant dal and kadhi mix jars. Also check for other recipe labels here...

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    Monday, 8 July 2013

    Tropical Salsa and Masala Guava Slices

    For foodies, street food tops  on the list of favorite things from ones hometown. Each part of India has its own street food.
    Outside my daughter's school there's guava vendor. Once you choose a guava,he cuts it into quarters and sprinkles masala over them. When you bite into a slice, it tastes delicious. Star fruit, Pineapple slices and raw mango slices are also sold this way. I just love these tropical fruits.

    I remember the vendors sitting outside my school gates in Bangalore, selling these and several such mouth watering delights. School children would rush to them in the afternoon to buy one of their favourite munchies after they had finished eating from their lunch boxes. There were roasted peanuts and chickpeas, cucumbers coated with very hot green chutney, charcoal grilled corn cobs smeared with masala powder.

    Masala guava slices

    Few guavas (raw or ripe)-sliced lengthwise
    1tsp Kashmiri chilli pd
    ½ tsp salt

    Mix salt and chilli pd. Apply or just sprinkle this salt on the slices and eat immediately.

    Tip: Guava seeds should be just swallowed, don’t try crushing it with your teeth.

     Now let me come to the actual recipe I wanted to share with you. It is a colourful tropical salad or salsa. Fresh fruits and veggies are mixed with orange juice and pepper. There are many possible variations and good thing is that you can eat it as a salsa with burgers or on taco shells too.

    • For seafood lovers : This goes with any seafood like grilled white fish, prawns (skillet roasted along with salt and pepper).
    •  Tastes excellent with grilled chicken. You can shred the chicken and mix into this salad.
          Buy these grilled ones to save time.

    Tropical salad

    1 cup mango cubes

    1-2 cups pineapple pieces

    2 tbsp pomegranate

    1 red tomato (deseeded and chopped)

    1 onion (cut into tiny bits or minced in food processer)

    2 tsp mint or coriander or basil leaves

    3tbsp orange juice(fresh or from tetrapack) or 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon

    1 tsp sugar  or 1 tbsp honey ( more if  the fruits are not sweet enough)

    Salt and black pepper powder

    2tbsp chopped macadamia or cashew nuts (roasted on skillet for a minute or microwave it on paper plate for 30 seconds)


    You can replace some fruits and veggies with cucumber, papaya, water melon, cantaloupe, kiwi fruit, straw berry,water melon or red bell pepper(capsicum).

    In a small bowl mix orange or lemon juice, salt, sugar or honey and pepper.

    Take a big bowl and mix all the fruits and vegetables.

    Mix in the orange juice mixture into the fruits just before you eat.

    You can arrange this on a bed of iceberg lettuce. (See that the leaves are washed and dried with a cloth or paper napkin).

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    Tuesday, 2 July 2013

    Can a Rice Cooker cook anything other than rice ?

    Friends keep asking me how I manage to cook when we travel and also how do we manage to cook in a small rice cooker for a family of four? Cooking in a dorm room or while traveling involves planning since cooking time, number of cooking utensils, serving dishes, availability of fresh food and managing them, the weight of luggage are some of the things to be considered.

    In the above pictures you can see 2 types of electric rice cookers-

    The one on your right is a small one with aluminium pan of 2 cup capacity. It does not come with a steamer. We bought an extra pan from the same company to make cooking easier. It is handy when you travel.
    Second rice cooker to your left has a non-stick pan of 3-cup capacity (so no need to buy a spare pan) and a steamer. This is ideal for dorm cooking or as an accompaniment to other appliances in your kitchen.

    There are more meals out there to be made in a rice cooker than you would think! Here are a few that I tried out myself: soups, coffee, tea, boiling milk, porridge, custard, carrot halwa, upma, vermicelli pulav, soups, kadhi, sambhar, dal fry, vegetable stir-fry, scrambled eggs, mac n cheese, noodles, various flavoured rice like pulav, lemon rice and lots more!
    NOTE: All credits for the picture goes to Kenwood limited, no copyright infringement or brand advertising intended.

    Rice cookers come in various features

    A few desirable features you have to check when you buy-

    • a 0.6 litre (3 cup) capacity (if you are cooking for 1 or 2 persons using instant mixes)
      • a easy to clean non-stick inner pot, with which you can cook or fry as required.
        • a glass lid for viewing during use.
        • a steaming basket with which you can steam- idlis, vegetables and a variety of other food. It also can be used as an colander.
          • insulated handles so you never have to worry about burning yourself.
            • a measuring cup don't discard this. Always use this while measuring rice and water, if you add rice in excess it might overflow.

            The rice cooker is not only convenient but it is also a safe item to use. It may get a little hot about the sides and bottom, but that's about it.Keep a newspaper or a cloth below the cooker to keep if there is any spills. A rice cooker only generates water vapor when in use, and usually you can get away with it even in an enclosed room or you can keep it near a window. It is light in weight to carry around.


            HAPPY COOKING!

            You might also like to check these out given below and many more by going to
            top of the page and pressing the tab titled- Cooking for beginners
            1. Frying in rice cooker
            2. Toasting nuts in rice cooker
            3. Steaming in rice cooker
            4. Boiling pasta in rice cooker
            5. Boiling eggs in rice cooker 
            6. Scrambled eggs in rice cooker
            7. Frying pancakes in rice cooker
            8. Boiling milk in rice cooker
            9. Cooking rice in rice cooker etc 

            As the Instant mixes are cooked using the stove top, all the recipes in this blog can be cooked using the rice cooker .

            Check out the some recipes from my other blog- sameveggiemanyways.
            You can cook these in rice cooker too.

            Easy Kolhapuri masala -Kaanda lasun masala
            This masala is used in various gravies and stir-fry.

            Hope you found this recipe useful. Please visit again and stay connected. 

            You can just give a simple click on Facebook/ Twitter/ Google+ / email buttons below and share it with your friends today. Thank  you !