Dal maharani – I don’t know the reason for this name or origins of this dal but this is one of my favorite dals. Urad dal cooked with onion, tomato, and spices. This is an in house speciality at my home. Some dishes taste best when cooked by certain people and this is surely one of them. My aunt’s signature dish which I relish with hot parathas or bajra rotis.
A very simple dal but with a difference. It does not need any trips to the grocery store but yet will pack a punch on those cold rainy nights. I enjoy this mostly on its own with a dollop of ghee. Bajra roti or parathas are the perfect companions for this nutritious treat.
- 2/3 cup urad dal soaked in plenty of water for 3 hours
- 2 inch piece of ginger
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 green chillies
- 2 tbsp oil/butter
- ¼ tsp tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 2 dry red chillies
- 1 big onion finely chopped
- 1 big tomato finely chopped
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
Wash and soak the urad dal in plenty of water for 3 hours. Drain the water and put dal in a pressure cooker. Add 2 cups of water and some salt and cook for two whistles or until it is cooked. The dal is cooked when it gets mushy when you mix it. Keep it aside.
Grind ginger, garlic, and green chillies coarsely.
Heat 2 tbsp butter/oil in a kadhai or a thick bottomed pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the seeds pop, add curry leaves, and dry red chillies. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli paste and onions. Saute and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and little salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, and garam masala and mix well. Cook till oil separates and tomatoes are mushy. Add the cooked dal and mix well. Taste and adjust salt. Cook on slow gas for 7-10 minutes mixing in between. Serve hot with a dollop of butter and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Paneer is a must order curry for most of us when we eat out and it is also one of the most cooked dishes in my kitchen. I have done innumerable experiments (some were successful too) to cook restaurant style capsicum paneer gravy and never came as close as this one. Got this recipe from a friend and who in turn got it from a chef (connections you bet). This comes closest to the Paneer capsicum at the restaurants and that too without an overdose of butter.
I prepare the gravy in advance and use it with paneer, peas, capsicum, corn and even sandwich fillings when required. You can substitute oil with butter if required but it really does not alter the taste much. Fresh paneer tastes the best and if you are using frozen paneer, do dip it in hot water for few minutes before using it.
You can have this curry with roti and rice both. I have even tried it as a sandwich filling with whole wheat bread and it tastes superb!
- 4 tomatoes quartered
- 1 big onion quartered
- ¼ cup cashew nuts broken
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 ½ tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 ½ tsp kitchen king masala
- 1 small capsicum diced
- 1 cup paneer
- 1 small onion chopped
- ½ tsp honey
- 2 tsp kasoori methi (lightly roasted and crushed)
- 1 tbsp fresh cream for garnishing (optional)
Boil tomato, quartered onions, and cashew nuts for around 8-10 minutes. Drain the water and let the onions, tomatoes, and cashews cool down completely. Grind them to a fine paste and keep it aside.
Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped onions and capsicum. Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes. Add paneer and mix well. Add the ground paste, red chilli powder, coriander powder, kitchen king masala, and salt. Mix well and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Add little water (2-3 tbsp) if you find the gravy too thick. Add honey and kasoori methi and mix. Cook for one more minute and switch off the heat. Garnish with a dollop of fresh cream and serve hot with roti or jeera rice.