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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RECIPES MAIN COURSES
MAIN COURSES VEGETARIAN
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RECIPES MAIN COURSES
MAIN COURSES VEGETARIAN
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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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Chilli Chicken is an Indo-Chinese dish, it is battered chicken fried and smothered in a soy and chilli sauce. You would normally deep fry your chicken for this dish. However, the idea of deep-frying too often doesn’t appeal to me much. I therefore shallow fried the chicken in a little bit of peanut oil and it was still perfect. Be careful not to over cook your chicken though, chicken breasts can become rubbery when over-cooked. If you won’t compromise on the crispness of your chicken then I suggest you deep-fry them. Deep-frying definitely makes the chicken more crispy.

There are saucy versions and dry versions of Chilli Chicken. I cooked the dry version but you can double the recipe for the sauce, if you want a more saucy dish.  This Chilli Chicken has the perfect balance of sweet and sour with the crunchiness of the peppers and onion, you definitely won’t have leftovers. My kids love this Chilli Chicken dish as they are not fans of chicken on the bone and they love the fact that this dish has chicken breasts. They also love Chinese food and although this is not exactly the Chinese food they normally eat but it still ticked all the boxes.

Chilli Chicken is great with some rice and a side of vegetables. We often have it with broccoli, it’s one of the vegetables that goes down well with my fussy boys. Another favourite Chicken dish is Spicy Thai Chicken Noodles so if you love spice and chicken then please do try it.

You can make this dish in a  jiffy and you won’t need that much coking skill. It also makes a perfect weeknight dinner, especially if you don’t have loads of time. You can increase or reduce the amount of chilli according to your preference. Although I didn’t  add salt to my dish, as I felt the soy sauce had enough, you can add more if you wish.

Unlike the curry dishes I usually prepare in advance, Chilli Chicken is best served immediately with some freshly steamed rice.


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Chilli Chicken

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MAIN COURSES CHICKEN
RECIPES MAIN COURSES

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Ingredients

MAIN COURSES CHICKEN
RECIPES MAIN COURSES

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Instructions
  1. Marinate the chicken with the egg, cornflour and ginger and garlic paste. I did not add salt as the soy sauce adds enough salt to the dish, however you can taste once its cooked and add more salt if required. Refrigerate the chicken for half an hour or you can fry it immediately if you don't have time

  2. Heat oil and fry the chicken in small batches. Set aside

  3. Heat 2 tablespoon oil and sauté the onion, white part of spring onion, chilli and pepper for about a minute. Reserve the green part of the spring onion for later

  4. In a bowl mix soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar and tomato paste (if using) together. Add this to the onion mix together with the fried chicken. Heat through

  5. Add more salt if required. Garnish with the spring onion. Serve immediately as desired


Recipe Notes

If you add the tomato paste and you find the sauce too acidic you can add a pinch of sugar


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According to my kids this Spicy Thai Chicken Noodles is better than takeout. It is a scorching day in Johannesburg today and my kitchen is like a furnace and I suppose it’s more a day for salads, it’s what my hubby and I are having for dinner. However, my kids love noodles and I guess even the heat can’t stop a mum from feeding her kids so I made them some. Another reason I didn’t mind is because it’s really quick and easy.

I’m getting quite good at this whole Thai flavour combination and I’m loving it. This Spicy Thai Chicken Noodles is so full of flavour, you won’t want to stop eating it…it’s that delicious.  It has tender pieces of chicken, crisp green pepper, spring onion and onion cooked in a spicy chilli paste and noodles tossed in a stir-fry sauce with a hint of sweetness.

We often get takeout for the kids from Simply Asia and they are totally in love with their Chicken Noodles so I tried to get mine to taste as close to the one we buy. I know one of the ingredients in the takeout meal is a roasted chilli paste, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to put the effort into making one but I found a simple way to still add some roasted chilli to make amazing Spicy Thai Chicken Noodles. I used fish sauce for the stir-fry sauce but you can use soy sauce as a substitute.  I also didn’t have galangal which is an Asian ginger used in Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian cooking so I used normal ginger. You can adjust the amount of chilli as well. The great thing about this recipe is that it was all done within 30 minutes so if you’re looking for a quick meal then this is the perfect recipe for you.

I am getting a lot more adventurous with my flavours and I think you can too, you just have to play around with flavour combinations and as you go along you will find the right balance.  There was a time in my life when I was too afraid to venture out and try new things, it’s a comfort thing I suppose but in cooking you have nothing to lose, except a bad tasting meal of course, but we can live with that provided it’s not too often. No bad tasting meal with this recipe but do give it a try and please let me have your comments or questions.

Have an amazing evening everyone!

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Spicy Thai Chicken Noodles
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MAIN COURSES CHICKEN
RECIPES MAIN COURSES
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MAIN COURSES CHICKEN
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Slit the chillies in half and spread it on a baking sheet together with the whole garlic cloves (skin off), drizzle with 1 tablespoon peanut oil and roast until it blackens a little. Mine took 10 minutes.
  2. Bruise the lemon grass and remove the thick outer layer. Chop it up and add to a food processor or blender together with the roasted chilli and garlic, juice of one lime and 1 tablespoon red thai curry paste. Blend into a smooth paste and set aside
  3. Cut up the chicken into small strips and refrigerate. Bring a pot of water to boil and add the noodles, cook for 4-5 minutes or until cooked. Drain and set aside.
  4. To make the stir-fry sauce whisk the fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar and set aside
  5. Heat 2 tablespoon peanut oil in a wok. Add the chopped onion, spring onion and green pepper. Cook for about a minute. Then add the chicken and the blended chilli paste. Mix well and cook on high heat until chicken is cooked
  6. Pour the stir-fry sauce into the noodles and toss well. Add to the stir-fried veg and chicken, add salt if required, heat through and sprinkle over the cashew nuts. You can garnish with more spring onion and sesame seeds with a drizzle of lime juice.
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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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Cuisine Indian
Servings
Makes 12
Ingredients
Cuisine Indian
Servings
Makes 12
Ingredients
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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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