Saturday, July 16, 2016

Red Bell Pepper Chutney

I first tasted this chutney 17 years ago in Philadelphia.  My friend, Harini, had made it and I loved it!  We traveled to the east coast when my youngest was about 3 – 4 months old and my older son, 4 years old.  My husband had some work in Boston and we tagged along and made it a family trip.  We visited several friends and also squeezed in a trip to New York and Washington D.C.

It was tough traveling with young kids, but since we did not have an agenda or a checklist of things to see and do, it was not too stressful.

The highlight of this trip was meeting friends and family – Harini, Venkat, and Vinay; Anand and Latha (Samyukt was born a few weeks after our trip); Vara and Roopa; and Krithika

We went to Harini and Venkat’s place for dinner.  She had made an amazing vegetable pulao and this red bell pepper chutney.  I don’t know if she still makes this, but it is definitely my go-to recipe for entertaining.

I made this recently for a party.  My menu: medhu vadai, coconut chutney, red bell pepper chutney, regular idlis, kancheepuram idlis, sambar, coconut sevai, lemon sevai, black-eyed peas curry,  lauki kootu, parathas, yogurt rice, and ras malai

My friends brought 4 types of potato curry (my husband was in heaven), carrot salad, raitha, and watermelon

We had all done a tough hike that morning and so no one felt guilty about gorging on all the food at the party.


Here is what you need:

  • 2 – 3 tsp. oil
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp. hing (asafetida)
  • 4 – 5 dry red chilies
  • 2 Tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. split urad dal
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
  • salt to taste
  • 2 – 3 green chilies
  • 2 tsp. tamarind pulp
  • ½ cup cilantro


Here is how I made it:

  1. Heat oil in a pan.  Add mustard seeds.  When they sputter, add hing, and after a few seconds, the dried red chilies
  2. When the chilies start getting brown, add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and urad dal.
  3. Fry on medium flame till the urad dal starts turning reddish brown.  Add the red bell pepper strips.
  4. Cook covered on low flame for about 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times, till the red bell pepper is soft.  Let it cool.
  5. In a blender, add the red bell pepper mixture and all the other ingredients and grind to a slightly coarse paste.

Serve chutney with pakodas, vadais, idli, dosai, pongal, rotis, puri – or rice.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dal Tadka – Masoor Dal (red lentils)

It has been a while since I posted a recipe.  I have been away on a trip with my friends.  3 weeks went by in a blur.  We visited some amazing temples - built over 1,000 years ago, celebrated a special birthday, spent time just lazing around and being pampered, spent some short but invaluable time with family, before coming back to our routine.

My family managed really well without me – I think the only thing they missed was the food that “magically appeared” every meal.  

Anyway, I missed my kitchen too and it is good to be back!  I have been busy cooking and cleaning and sorting and organizing!  Summer is a great time for me to do “spring” cleaning because I have a lot of time on my hands and don’t have school work to worry about.  I have cleaned out my closet and am in the process of organizing 20 + years worth of photographs.  I am also determined to clean out my pantry. 

This means that other than fresh vegetables, I am not going to buy pantry staples until I have used up most of the supplies I have hoarded in my pantry! 

I have so many lentils and grains, I decided to start by using the easiest one to cook with – red masoor dal.  Red masoor requires very little time to cook and can be made in 20 minutes from start to finish.

I also made a dry aloo dum and pooris for lunch last weekend.


Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup (masoor dal) red lentils
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • ¼ tsp hing (asafetida)
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 coves garlic, minced
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 1 roma or ½ beefsteak tomato, diced
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

For tadka (tempering):

  • 2 tsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 red chilies
  • ½” ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • few curry leaves


Here is how I made it:

  1. Wash the red lentils in several changes of water.  Put these in a pot with water (add about 2 – 3 cups of water) and bring it to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium - low and simmer uncovered till the dal is cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat oil.  Add onions and sauté till translucent. 
  4. Add hing, garlic, and green chilies.  Fry for a couple of minutes
  5. Add tomatoes, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
  6. Sauté on medium heat till the tomatoes turn pulpy.  Add this mixture to the cooked lentils.
  7. Bring the lentil mixture to a boil again and turn the heat to low.
  8. Heat ghee in a small pan.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds sputter, add the cumin seeds and red chilies.  When the red chilies start browning, add ginger and curry leaves.  After 30 seconds, add the red chili powder.  Turn off the heat
  9. Pour the tempering over the dal.  Garnish with cilantro

Serve hot with rotis or rice.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...