curry leaves

spicy urad dal soup

by Heguiberto on February 9, 2012

spicy urad dal soup

spicy urad dal soup

Every now and then I try recipes from the journal, Gastronomica, published by UC Berkeley. I’m a big fan of this academic culinary periodical. Primarily the articles are stuff related to food history and culture. Their subjects are always off the beaten path. I savor each of issue.

Here’s what it says on Gastronomica’s about page:

Since 2001 we’ve been renewing the connection between sensual and intellectual nourishment by offering readers a taste of passionate inquiry through scholarship, humor, fiction, poetry, and exciting visual imagery. With its diverse voices and eclectic mix of articles, Gastronomica uses food as an important source of knowledge about different cultures and societies, provoking discussion and encouraging thoughtful reflection on the history, literature, representation, and cultural impact of food. The fact is, the more we know about food, the greater our pleasure in it. Welcome to our table!

And it is true! And no, I’m not receiving a cash payment for promoting this quarterly. Though if a check arrives in the mail I won’t be too sad about it.

Alas, what does all this flattery have to do with today’s post? Before we started this blog (that seems like a while ago!) I made a dosa recipe from a lovely article I read in the magazine etitled The Masala Dosas in My Life.

That one called for a small amount of split urad dal, but overenthusiastic, I bought a large bag. After having stored it in the pantry “for a while,” it was time to get inspired again. This urad dal soup has some of the features of my other red dal soup but with a creamier texture. This was excellent and I really don’t know why it took me so long to prepare this gourmet pulse.

I found a great pic of several kinds of urad dal on this excellent site, Manjula’s Kitchen, which I’m re-posting here.

several kinds of urad dal

several kinds of urad dal

spicy urad dal soup

2 cups split and hulled urad dal, picked over and rinsed
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 small russet potatoes, skin on, quartered
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 white onion, chopped
2 Serrano chili peppers, minced (seeds and ribs removed partially)
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 branch curry leaves
1 bay leaf
½ tsp chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 28oz can unseasoned chopped tomatoes and juices
Kosher salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Put dal, turmeric powder and 6 cups of water in a saucepan. Place it on stove, temperature on high and boil for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove any foam that may form at the top. Add carrots, celery and potatoes and continue cooking until everything becomes soft. Add more water if needed. Keep it warm.

Meanwhile put oil, mustard and cumin seeds in a large skillet on high. Cook until aromatic and mustard seeds start to pop. Add onions, Serrano chili and cook until onion becomes translucent. Add garlic, ginger, bay and curry leaves. Continue cooking until raw aromas of the garlic and ginger are gone. Next add coriander and chili powders and salt. Give it a good stir. Fold in tomatoes, add a cup of water, stir and cook for about 12 minutes on medium temperature. Mix it in the dal, taste and adjust salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Just before serving, transfer half of the soup to a bowl. Using a stick blender, blend everything together then return it back to the pot to thicken the soup a bit. Add chopped cilantro and serve! We had it with Brazilian style rice though it would also be excellent with roti.

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Savoy cabbage curry

by Heguiberto on February 3, 2012

I am always on the lookout for the next cabbage recipe, or for that matter any new recipe for Brassicas. It sounds super-glamorous when I put it like that, don’t you think? Sort of like I’m scouting little towns or obscure places for the next movie star or pop music sensation, American Idol style. Move over Randy, I’m here!

Savoy cabbage curry

Savoy cabbage curry

What can I do? I just love cabbage and all of her bewitching sisters. We’ve tons of stories already. Look here for refreshing cabbage mango salad, one of my all-time faves. Too cold for that right now? Then try this hearty and tasty vegetarian red dal and Savoy cabbage soup. Don’t know what to do with a Brussels sprout? Make this delicious shaved Brussels sprout sauté. Your guests will love you.

Having said all that, and contemplating checking into the Betty Ford Clinic for my Brassica addiction, I think this Savoy cabbage curry has become my newest darling for the Brassica Hall of Fame. I hope that you will like it, and if not, well… there’s always next time. I bet you thought that I was going to write something mean, didn’t you? Go ahead and admit it. But you, my dear readers, are all that matter. If you object, then let me know! Though personally when it comes to this one, I think that you might be a little bit silly. I’m just saying.

Savoy cabbage growing in our community garden

Savoy cabbage growing in our community garden

I’ve adapted the dish from this nice blog I have been reading lately, Vegetable Platter.

Savoy cabbage curry

½ head of a medium sized Savoy cabbage
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 branch curry leaves
2 green chile peppers, sliced fine
2 red chile peppers, sliced fine
1 tsp ural dal (hulled & split black mung beans)
1 tsp chana dal (hulled & split chickpeas)
½ tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt

Rinse and shred Savoy cabbage, add to a saucepan with half cup of water, sprinkle turmeric over, cover pan. Cook on high temperature until cabbage has wilted and reduced in volume by a third. You want it to be parboiled, al dente but not squishy soft and wimpy. Reserve ¼ cup liquid and drain the rest.

Put oil, mustard seeds and cumin in a skillet on high heat and cook until mustard seeds start to pop. Add chile peppers, urad and chana dals. Continue cooking for another minute just to soften the pepper and toast the dals. Sprinkle with salt. Add curry leaf branch and immediately remove from heat. Toss cabbage in pan, transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with some of the reserved cooking juices.

Serve as a side dish.

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mung bean dal soup

by Heguiberto on September 1, 2010

I think I mentioned this before: in the Indian culinary world, dal is used to describe any legume that has been split and had its outer skin removed. That’s why when you go to Indian shops the legume section is full of a dizzying array of dals. Red dal comes from red lentils; toor dal, from pigeon peas; and mung dal, from mung beans.

mung bean dal soup with basmati rice with black pepper and cashew nuts

Most Indian dal soups are sort of made in the same way. First you boil the dal until it gets soft then you temper it with spices. The tempering process is nothing more than sautéing the ingredients until the raw smells are gone and then adding everything to the soup. You can vary the amount of spices or use a different type of dal to create soups with varying flavors and even textures. They’re a snap to make once you’ve tried and inevitably taste great. Leftovers are even better the next day.

I served this soup with basmati rice with black pepper and cashews. Yum!

mung bean dal soup

1 lb mung dal (split-skinless mung beans)
1 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp canola oil
4 small fresh onions including green parts
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 Serrano pepper, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
5 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp madras curry powder
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
Kosher salt

Rinse mung dal then add to a pan with turmeric powder and madras curry powder. Submerge dal with hot water to cover it by one inch. Bring to a boil, reduce temperature to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes or so to prevent sticking. Add more hot water as necessary. Discard scum that forms at the top. Dal will be ready when it dissolves and turns into a thick paste with the consistency of porridge.

Heat up a saucepan with oil. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add minced Serrano pepper, ginger and garlic and cook for about a minute. Add onion and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add cumin and coriander powders followed by the curry leaves. Transfer this mix to the soup. Add salt and adjust flavors. Serve.

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