Indian Vegetarian Dish


Yellow Dal is comfort food at its best, it is a simple dish but a staple in most Indian homes. Growing up my mum always cooked us Yellow Dal with Rice and it something we devoured. I’m so glad I’ve introduced this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe to my kids. On our meat-free days my boys are content with a bowl of steaming rice and dal.

The yellow split peas is boiled until it’s soft and it is then cooked with a variety of spices. The tempering of the spices is what takes the dal to a whole new level. My favourite way to serve this dish is with rice but you can have it with your favourite bread too.

Everyone has their own method of cooking this dish. I remember my mum spending hours tempering her spices and creating a delicious mix to add to her dal. I must admit I am a lazy cook, for me it’s the easy way out as long as my food still tastes delicious without the added effort I am happy. It is about the flavour after all, right?

We call it yellow dal due to the fact that turmeric is added to it, this is what gives this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe a beautiful golden hue. I find my dried beans and peas takes much longer to boil in Johannesburg, due to the high altitude. If you didn’t know this “low air pressure causes boiling water to evaporate more quickly in high altitude”, now you should understand why our dried beans and peas take longer to cook. It’s why I have invested in a pressure cooker, makes life so much more simple.

This recipe makes a great dish for vegetarians and you can make it ahead and freeze. My fussy family will never eat food that’s pre-cooked and frozen but I have frozen cooked dal in the past, heated and served it to them. They didn’t know the difference. My hubby even went to the extent of complimenting me on how delicious the dal was, or should I say “leftover dal”. I hope you get to make a fresh pot of dal and enjoy!

You may want to try some of my other vegetarian recipes from my blog too, here’s the links below: https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/dhall/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/sauteed-okra-lady-fingers/

My friend Sonila makes a delicious Yellow Split Pea Soup, so if you want to try something different check her recipe out at:

https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com/instant-pot-yellow-split-peas-soup-with-spinach/

https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com/instant-pot-yellow-split-peas-soup-with-spinach


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Yellow Split Pea Dhall Recipe
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Instructions
  1. Soak dhall overight or for a few hours. Add the 3 cups of water with the turmeric and boil on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker until it's soft and smooth
  2. Heat butter ghee or oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once it starts bursting add spring onion (optional) curry leaf, chilli and onion and sauté until onion is translucent
  3. Add garlic and fry for a minute
  4. Add the tomato and cook on a low heat until the tomato is cooked
  5. Add the cooked dhall and season with salt, Add more water and bring to a boil, allow it to simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes. Water can be added according to your preference, if you prefer a thick dhall add less water, if you prefer it more liquid then add less water.
  6. Garnish with coriander
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South African Indian Dish

I have no time to try out new recipes so I am sticking to my old time favorites, at least until we move. Nothing beats the comfort of familiar homecooked food when stress levels are high. So if you need some comfort food why not try this Spicy Lamb Kebab Chutney, a typically South African Indian version of meatballs.

The tomato sauce or chutney for this sauce is made from tomatoes with a few simple spices and can be used as a base for many other dishes too. You will see from the recipe that the kebabs are spicy so you don’t need an overly spiced chutney. Feel free to reduce to the amount of chilli and chilli powder according to your preference.

Spicy Lamb Kebab Chutney is also a great make ahead dish. It freezes well so you can cook a big batch and freeze them for those lazy days or if you need a meal in a hurry.In our home we usually serve this lamb dish with Roti or naan bread, you always have to have that bread to dunk into the tomato chutney.

The lamb kebabs can be shallow fried or cooked in the oven but be sure not to overcook them. It just needs a few minutes of cooking on each side, they need to be tender and succulent.My food processor is one of my most loved gadgets in the kitchen, makes life really easy. I used mine to blend the ingredients for the kebabs, I didn’t make mine into a fine paste. I prefer my onion and herbs a little chunky but you can make yours into a smooth paste, especially if you don’t really like tasting the onion

Please do try my recipe and I would love to hear your comments.

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Spicy Lamb Kebab Chutney
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MAIN COURSES LAMB
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Lamb Kebabs
Chutney
MAIN COURSES LAMB
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Lamb Kebabs
Chutney
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Instructions
  1. To make the lamb kebabs add one onion, 2 green chillies, ginger/garlic paste, kashmiri chilli powder, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, salt, mint and coriander leaves to a food processor and process until it resembles a rough paste or smooth if your prefer
  2. Chop up the spring onion and add to this mixture. Add mince and egg and mix it well
  3. Divide the mixture into equal sized balls and side aside
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and fry the lamb kebabs and set aside. Be careful not to overcook them.
  5. For the Chutney Heat 2 tablespoons oil and add the onion, chilli and curry leaf
  6. Saute the onion until it's translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute
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My hubby cannot cook, he can barely fry an egg but he can make some amazing rustic salads…I have to admit his salads taste delicious. He made us this Baked Bean Salad, I think it’s his absolute favourite and he made it with such love I can’t help but share it. I don’t think his mum knew how to make many creative salads but she did make a mean baked bean salad so I think it’s where he got his tips from. Even my 9 year old enjoyed his dad’s salad. I am lucky in many ways, I have a husband that is truly a family man, I never had that before and I’m so blessed to have someone that really goes out of his way to take care of us. If someone tells you they have a perfect marriage then they need their heads checked, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage or a perfect human being, marriage is hard work and a work in progress. We work at ours every single day, there’s no denying that and the key is communication, respect and most of all trust. If it’s one thing I can say is that I trust my husband 100%,

So this recipe post is dedicated to my amazing but sometimes cranky husband, Mickesh whom I love to bits.

This is a simple salad and I know it was a salad at every braai during our childhood, I don’t remember loving it very much when I was younger but now it’s absolutely yummy and even more yum with some braai sausages.

I always have a few canned goods in my cupboard or should I say more than a few, I sometimes forget what I have and buy more so I probably end up with a whole lot of canned stuff that could last me a year, thankfully they have long expiry dates. Now that it’s summer in SA you will need loads of salad recipes so you can add this one to your list. I have a rather pedantic hubby so he’s even counted the number of mint leaves he used in the salad so here you have it, a very precise recipe.

 


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Baked Bean Salad

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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix together the baked beans, red onion, tomato, mint, coriander and green chilli

  2. Add the chilli sauce and the lemon juice. Mix well and season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve


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Every once in while we love having a braai, the kids love it. I don’t love it as much because I think it’s too much work, my kitchen is always a total mess on “braai days”, not to mention the cleaning up after. However, on a positive note everything braaied is always delicious. I don’t think my kids will mind having a braai everyday, if they had their way. We have the perfect weather for a braai in Johannesburg, skies are blue, no wind and it’s a scorcher.

Braais brings back memories of the good times we used to have as a family at my middle sister’s home in Durban, we spent lots of time at her beautiful home and she was quite the entertainer. I do miss those days and we will never get it back as she is now living in Australia and we see each other not as often as we would like. I am pretty close to my sister, we could be twins as we are a year apart in terms of age. We have a close bond and when she was still in SA we always shopped for each other, I always called her if I wanted an opinion on something, well I still do, we borrowed each others clothes and if I was upset with her I was sure to give her an earful too. I am the sister with the “big mouth”, I have a kind heart and I love helping people but I will not stand for injustice either, if it’s wrong its wrong and I will let you know how I feel. I have a reputation for speaking my mind, sometimes I get into trouble for it but I would rather be real that to pretend to be something I’m not. So if you are a part of my life you will always know where you stand with me. Likewise if I am wrong I can accept that.  If it’s anything I appreciate in life it’s good, kind people with a sincere, caring heart and I think I’m at an age where I can read fake people pretty well. I have never been wrong in my judgement of people in my life, well except for one big error in judgement, when I was 19, if you read my story about I am a survivor! you will know.

Back to the braai, today I got hubby to help me braai some Moroccan FIsh Skewers, these taste amazing when made on the braai,what can be more amazing than chargrilled fish. If you don’t feel like getting a braai going you can grill these on the stovetop using a griddle pan.This fish is spicy and full flavoured, you will definitely be asking for more. THis is a perfect summer meal, you can add some red onion, tomatoes and slices of pepper to your skewers, I added tomatoes and onion. It’s best to use a firm white fish as fish does crumble quite easuly on the braai. It takes about 15 minutes to cook, I grease a piece of foil with some oil and I place that on the braai grill and then add my fish, I find it easier to cook it this way, I’ve had disasters placing it straight on the grill so I don’t take any chances. Fish marinated in any acidic marinade shoud only be marinated for about half an hour and not more, the acid will “cook” the fish and your fish must be refrigerated, do not allow it to stand at room temperature.

 

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Moroccan Fish Skewers with Saffron
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skewers
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skewers
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Instructions
  1. To make the marinade add the lemon juice, garlic, saffron, olive oil, coriander leaves, salt, chilli flakes, red onion, paprika and ground coriander to a blender. Blend into a smooth paste. You can add a few drops of water just to loosen the ingredients when blending, only if required.
  2. Cut the fish into cubes., about 3 x 3 cm. Add the marinade to the fish and mix it into the fish> Refrigerate for half an hour
  3. Soak skewers in some water for about 30 minutes, this will help prevent it from burning on the grill
  4. Thread the fish into the skewers. If you are using peppers, onion and tomatoes you can add them in between the fish
  5. Grill on a hot braai or in a griddle pan, on the stovetop on medium-high heat. I grease a piece of foil with some oil, place it on the braai grill and then I cook my skewers on the foil. You can place it straight on the grill if you are comfortable with that. Serve hot with a drizzle of lemon juice and a fresh salad
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The name of this dish derives from the fact that it is cooked in an Indian wok, called Kadai and it’s cooked with tomatoes, onion and bell peppers. It is different to Paneer Makhani, I would say not as rich and creamy. There are two different variations to cooking Kadai Paneer, one is the dry version and the other with gravy. Paneer has become so popular and there are hundreds of recipes using paneer. I have posted a Spicy Paneer recipe previously. You can use the same recipe and just omit the herbs and spices.

I am excited to try other paneer dishes and if I do I will definitely share them with you.

 

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Kadai Paneer
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Instructions
  1. Blend the onion, chilli and ginger/garlic paste until smooth. Heat oil and add the onion mixture until onion is translucent.
  2. Add the chill powder, coriander powder, garam masala and turmeric. Fry for a few seconds.
  3. Add the pureed tomatoes and bell pepper. Season with salt and simmer until tomatoes are cooked
  4. Add the cream and heat through. Add fenugreek and paneer. Turn off heat and garnish with coriander. Serve with roti or naan bread
  5. Recipe adapted from https://vegecravings.com/kadai-paneer-gravy-recipe/
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Today is Heritage Day in South Africa, a public holiday where people are encouraged to celebrate their culture and diversity. Although we have our problems, some days more than others, I still love living in our beautiful country.It can be stressful when we hear about the escalating crime and have to constantly look over our shoulders and be extra vigilant. Amongst the negativity I choose to remain positive and hopeful, it’s the only way to live in South Africa, there is always hope. We do have some amazing people in South Africa, I have friends and neighbours from different cultures, we may all look different but our beliefs and value systems are all the same. I am blessed with a home, food on my table and clothes on my back, I’m thankful and it’s all I need right now.

It’s also national braai day and whilst I’m sitting in my lounge, typing away, I can smell the aroma of the grilled meat, coming from my neighbour’s property. We unfortunately have started our month long “abstaining from meat” for religious reasons so no braai for us. However, I cooked my family a vegetarian feast and hubby dearest said it was absolutely delicious, he couldn’t stop raving about how delicious lunch was. I’m glad he did as I slogged in the kitchen for a good few hours and would have been rather disappointed if the critic was not good.

I made dhall puri to go with the veg curries I cooked. This an Indian flat bread that is stuffed with a dhall filling and deep fried. It is buttery, a little crisp with a hint of cumin, it tastes better than any Indian bread I make and if I could I would make it often, but it is deep fried so I restrict myself to making every few months, as a treat for my family. I learnt to make this from my mum-in-law. At first I wouldn’t even attempt it as I thought it was a time-consuming, tedious task but once you get the hang of making it, it is really not that bad. Takes a little bit of patience and a few attempts to perfect the art of making dhall puri.

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Dhall Puri
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Makes 12
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Cuisine Indian
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Makes 12
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Instructions
  1. For the filing:
  2. Soak dhall overnight. Rinse well and boil until soft but not mushy, dhall should be soft when pressed between your fingers. Once cooked, drain excess water and set aside to cool
  3. Place dhall in a food processor and pulse until it's processed into fine breadcrumb like consistency. Do not over process.
  4. Heat the butter in a pan, saute the spring onion for a few seconds, add the cumin and tumeric together with the dhall. Season with salt and mix well. Allow it to cool and add the coriander
  5. To make the puri:
  6. Sift flour and baking powder. Rub the butter with your fingertips into the flour. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yogurt. Pour the milk, you may need more or less milk depending on the weather so please do not pour in all the milk at once, along the edge of the flour and bring the dough together. Knead until you form a soft, smooth dough
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll them into round balls
  8. Flatten each ball a little, place it in the palm of your hands and add a tablespoon and a half of filling to the centre of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough together and seal it well.
  9. Roll each filled ball on a lightly dusted surface. Be very gentle when rolling or the filling will leak out.
  10. Heat oil on medium heat and fry each puri individually. Once it puffs up, turn and cook the other side. Be gently when turning it. Place individually on paper towels, to drain excess oil
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It’s been a hectic day, from having a sick child and tons of laundry to wash, I barely had time to breath. Luckily, I had some paneer in the freezer which I made about a week ago. I could never freeze meals and feed that to my family but paneer is not a cooked meal so it’s okay to freeze. I have a spoilt family that has gotten used to the idea of having freshly cooked meals everyday. I guess when you quit your corporate job and stay home your family expects a clean home, clean laundry, fresh food everyday…and then some days I still get asked the question “what have you been doing all day”. Never mind the fact that I have a helper only a few days a week and I clean on other days, I play chauffeur to the kids, I do homework, I have clients and I play maintenance lady. I fix things that I can, call on people to help with things I can’t, doesn’t my day look all rosy! So I shouldn’t be complaining about cooking???

Enough of my ranting! Let me share with you my paneer recipe. I always thought it was difficult to make but it is about the easiest thing ever! You boil milk, add lemon juice and you’ve got paneer. For those that don’t know what’s paneer, it is a cheese made by curdling milk with an acid such as lemon juice and vinegar. It is used in Indian cooking and normally homemade but you do get store bought paneer too.

I tried to be a little adventurous so I made my paneer a little different to how it’s usually made. I added some spice to it and it didn’t turn out bad at all. I’ve never seen anyone else do this before so I thought it was quite ingenious, if I should say so myself. I used this paneer in my Paneer Makhani and it was delicious!

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Paneer
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Instructions
  1. Heat milk on medium heat until bubbles form on top
  2. Add 4 tbsp. lemon juice and mix until it starts to curdle. Wait a few seconds and if it doesn't curdle add more lemon juice until the curds and the whey starts separating
  3. Line a stainless steel colander with a cheese or muslin cloth
  4. Pour the curdled mixture into the cloth and allow all the whey to drain out
  5. Add the herbs, chilli, salt and spices. Mix well
  6. Bring the ends of the cloth together and squeeze out the excess whey. Wrap it into a neat little bundle and place something heavy on top, I use a heavy pot. Set aside for 30 minutes
  7. Cut into cubes. Paneer can be frozen
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Authentic South African Recipe

There is a perception that it’s the only those that live in Durban can make the perfect Lamb Curry. I was raised in Durban so I hope that counts. However, my mum who still lives in Durban makes the best “Durban Lamb Curry“.

I try my best not to use too much oil in my cooking and it’s something I take into account when cooking a lamb curry too. However, my 17 year old thinks it’s the reason my Durban Lamb Curry is not authentic enough. I definitely should add more oil and more masala, according to him that’s what takes the Durban Lamb Curry from good to great.

So here I was put to the test to replicate my mum’s Lamb Curry and I think I have done pretty well, This lamb curry turned out perfect with it’s robust flavours and melt-in-your-mouth potatoes. I think I have finally passed the test.

South African Indian dishes are a little rustic compared to dishes cooked in India, we do not blend everything into a smooth paste. You would also notice that we refer to the sauce in our curries as the gravy, somewhat confusing for those that don’t understand the South African Indian “lingo”. I think people are more familiar with seeing the gravy placed in a separate vessel on the side of the dish.

Lamb Curry was my absolute favourite dish until I had to quit eating red meat, nothing beats a good Lamb Curry. This recipe can also be used in a “bunny chow”. If you don’t know what that is, let me explain. It is a hollowed-out half or quarter loaf of bread filled with a curry of your choice and I think the Lamb Bunny Chow is one of the most popular bunny chows.

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Durban Style Lamb Curry
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MAIN COURSES LAMB
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MAIN COURSES LAMB
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil, add cinnamon stick, black elachie, star aniseed and bay leaf. Fry for a few seconds until it is fragrant. Add onion and curry leaf.
  2. Once onion is translucent and slightly brown add the ginger/garlic paste. Saute for a minute.
  3. Add masala, turmeric, soomph and garam masala and fry for a further minute. It will form a nice thick paste. Add a few drops of water if required.
  4. Add the lamb and mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, Add tomatoes, season with salt and cover and cook until sauce starts to thicken
  5. Add the potatoes to the meat and allow it to cook for 5 minutes, be careful not to let it burn. Add a cup of water. Here you can add less water if you do not want too much gravy and if you are using very soft cooking potatoes. Sometimes the potatoes cook quite fast and your gravy would not have thickened by then, leaving you with a watery curry. Turn the heat down to a low setting and allow your curry to cook until gravy is thick and potatoes are soft.
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During the week breakfast is simple as everyone is always in a rush, getting 3 “boys” out the house is quite a mission. As much as I am organised the mornings I must admit are most stressful. Even more so when they can’t find all their stuff, are mum’s supposed to take care of everything and know where all their stuff is. If I had to make them all fancy breakfasts everyday they will never leave the house on time nor will I be able to breath for the hour and a half before they leave home. So I stick to making more “elaborate” breakfasts on the weekend, my kids don’t like eggs much but my hubby loves his egg breakfasts. I tried making him an Indian inspired omelette and he said it tasted just like chilli-bites, if you wondering what that is let me explain. It is a spicy deep fried Indian fritter which is delicious. So here my Chilli-bite inspired Omelette was born.


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Chilli-bite inspired Omelette

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Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 200 deg celcius.
    Beat eggs and cream until light and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 to 4 minutes

  2. Heat olive oil and saute the onion, tomato, garlic, chilli and spices for a minute. Remove from heat and set aside

  3. Grease a non-stick pan with butter. Pour in the eggs. Keep tilting your pan so the eggs cook. I make a few slits in the middle to ensure the eggs cook well.

  4. Add the tomato/onion mixture to the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese over

  5. Pop the pan into the oven for 45 seconds. Garnish with coriander and serve.


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