Tag Archives: Indian

Dal Makhani

I mentioned in my Chicken Shawarma post that I hesitate to use traditional names for ethnic dishes. This dish definitely falls into that category. I am not from India. I have honestly never consumed this dish at any Indian restaurants. I have no idea what the “real” dal makhani is like, other than recipes I have found online.

With that disclaimer, this is one of my new favorite Indian dishes to make at home. This comes together fairly quickly and packs a huge flavor punch. And it is the best way I have ever had lentils. Enjoy!

Dal Makhani (Serves 6-8)

Dal Makhani

½ tablespoon canola oil
½ large onion, diced
¾ cup diced carrot
1 small bell pepper, diced
½ jalapeno, diced (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
1 clove garlic
1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated or minced small
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cardamom pods, smashed
2 cups pureed tomatoes (3-4 tomatoes pureed in food processor)
1 cup red lentils
1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans (about 2 cans, rinsed and drained)
1 cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion, carrot, bell pepper, and jalapeño until onions are softened and becoming golden. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, curry, garam masala, and cardamom. Saute until fragrant.

2. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, beans, and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low (enough to keep it simmering). Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Stir frequently and add more water as needed to keep enough liquid to cook lentils. Just before serving, stir in heavy cream.

3. Serve warm over rice and garnish with cilantro.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 235
Protein: 12 g
Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 14 mg
Carbohydrates: 35 g
Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 104 mg

Recipe Notes: My curry powder is quite strong and hot, so I don’t use a lot. Feel free to adjust the levels of curry powder and garam masala to your preference. I have also used black beans in this. I preferred the flavor of kidney beans, but it worked well enough. I only found red lentils at my grocery store. You can use any variety that you like. However, look at the label to see how long they take to cook. If they take longer than 30 minutes, you may want to partook them a bit first, or you will need more pureed tomatoes and water. Your choice.

Source: adapted from http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/dal-makhani-restaurant-style-recipe/ and steamykitchen.com

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Curry Chickpea Nachos with Mango Salsa and Raita

Lunch is a really difficult meal for me. I don’t want to expend much effort, but I want something delicious. Sometimes, a pb&j is that sweet spot. I find on the weekends, however, a simple lunch just won’t cut it. Weekends feel like they should have special, slightly more indulgent meals to me.

These nachos seem like a bit of work, but they come together fairly quickly. And the reward is huge. Most things taste better on a chip with dip, don’t they? Don’t skip the salsa or the “raita” like sauce. Both make this dish even more special.


Curry Chickpea Nachos with Mango Salsa and “Raita” (Serves 6)

Curry Chickpea Nachos

1 cucumber, grated (peel half of the peel if regular cucumber, can leave peel on if English cucumber)
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
5 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and diced
2 tomatoes, diced, divided
1 red bell pepper, diced, divided
1 red onion, diced, divided
½ cup lightly packed coarsely chopped cilantro, divided
1 avocado, diced (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sriracha or hot sauce
½ large bag baked tortilla chips (basically, enough to make a good layer on a baking sheet)
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1. For the raita, squeeze out and discard the excess liquid from the cucumber. In a bowl, combine the cucumber, yogurt, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and mint. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Can be done up to 24 hours in advance.

2. For the mango salsa, combine mango, ½ the bell pepper, 1 diced tomato, ¼ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and avocado if using. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Can be done up to 24 hours in advance.

3. Preheat oven to 375.

4. Heat a olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute remaining onion until translucent. Add beans, remaining pepper, remaining tomato, curry powder, garam masala, and cumin. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from heat. Stir in sriracha, remaining lime juice, and black pepper.

5. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange tortilla chips in a single layer on baking sheet. Top with mozzarella, followed by curried beans and feta cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and chips are hot and crisp, about 12-14 minutes. Top with remaining cilantro. Serve with mango salsa and raita.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories:  403
Protein:  21 g
Fat:  15 g
Saturated Fat:  6 g
Cholesterol:  33 mg
Carbohydrates:  51 g
Fiber:  9 g
Sodium:  527 mg

Recipe Notes: I kind of chop all the ingredients at once, and even have made the dips as the beans cook. It works just fine that way, you are just very busy right then. The original recipe called for ground turkey or lamb, which I’ve subbed beans for, but I like going the vegetarian route. It also says to drain all the liquid from the salsa and pour it over the top. I kind of like the liquid in the salsa since I prefer to dip it. Draining the liquid means draining flavor to me, but you can try that if you prefer a “dry” salsa.

Source:  adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Aloo Gobi

I have to admit, I’m always a little nervous to try new things when I go to an Indian restaurant.  If I don’t like it, I’ll feel like I wasted money.  When we lived in Chicago, my husband found an “all you can eat” Indian restaurant that was very unique.  It had a few items on a buffet (lentils, rice, dessert), but most of the food was brought out to you in small portions, and you could ask for more of any item you liked.  Almost a dietitian’s dream buffet, because if you have to ask, you’ll likely stop eating sooner.  I also loved the small portions because I then had room to try 19 different dishes!  My favorite find in the bunch – aloo gobi.  It is a yummy curry made of cauliflower and potatoes. I knew I had to try and make it at home.

This is a great vegetarian dinner that leaves you feeling full and your house smelling delicious.  Also, it is cooked in 1 pan and will feed an army.  I usually serve mine with brown rice and maybe naan if I’m feeling industrious.


Aloo Gobi (serves 6)

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups water (see note)
1 large head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1 teaspoon ginger powder or 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
2 cardamom pods, smashed or 1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 plum or roma tomatoes, diced
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen peas

1. Heat oil in large (12″ or larger) skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add potatoes and water. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the cauliflower, ginger, garam masala, curry, cumin, turmeric (optional), mustard, coriander, and cardamom. Simmer, covered, for about 5 more minutes.

4. Stir in tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and peas. If pan is out of water, add about 1/2 cup more at this point. Continue to cook, covered, over medium-low to medium heat for 10 minutes (or until cauliflower cooked to your preference), stirring occasionally.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 274
Protein: 10 g
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 47 g
Fiber: 10 g
Sodium: 166 mg

Recipe Notes: The original recipe did not have garbanzo beans. It included tofu. I prefer the garbanzo beans, as it is something I have on hand (and my husband doesn’t like tofu). Chop your cauliflower into SMALL florets. If they are big, it will take a very long time to cook.  This recipe is one of the few places I like my veggies cooked well, not just “al dente”.   The original recipe only called for 1 cup of water – but I find that isn’t enough. You can start with just 1 cup and add more later if you like.

I know it is a long list of spices, but there is wiggle room if you don’t want to buy all of them. I never add the turmeric, as it is mostly to give it color. I often forget the cardamom and coriander, and it still tastes great. The original recipe only called for garam masala OR curry powder, but that wasn’t enough for me. When it comes to the adding the spices, I would add the minimum amount and then increase if it doesn’t look or smell right. I often eyeball the spices (I did measure this time), and add more based on smell – it should smell like curry. That being said, we like spicy food, so I usually add closer to 2 teaspoons of curry.

The original recipe says 6 servings. If you serve it with rice, this could easily feed 8 people.

I did not include rice in the nutrition analysis.

Source: adapted from epicurious.com

Low iodine adjustment: Use no salt added beans or cook your own garbanzo beans from dried.

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