No-Cream Methi Malai Paneer| Methi Paneer

Methi Paneer or Methi Malai Paneer is a delicious North Indian-style gravy, a lovely accompaniment for rotis, naan, parathas and the like. Cottage cheese (paneer) is cooked in a flavourful, rich and creamy gravy with fenugreek greens (methi) in it. In today’s post, allow me to take you through the way I make Methi Paneer.

Methi Paneer or Methi Malai Paneer

A closer look at the Methi Paneer I make

Like most of my recipes, this Methi Paneer recipe too is simple at heart and doesn’t use very fancy ingredients – everything that goes in is commonly found in a typical Indian kitchen. I have tried to keep processed ingredients to a minimum, in an endeavour to keep it healthier. This gravy turns out creamy and delicious, in spite of the fact that I have not used any fresh cream in it. I have used minimal oil in it, too.

This recipe is completely vegetarian and gluten-free, but NOT vegan (plant-based). I have used home-made garam masala and chana masala here, both of which are gluten-free. In case you are using store-bought spice blends, do check the list of ingredients and make sure they align with your dietary requirements.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

This recipe is brought to you in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is run by a group of passionate food bloggers. Every month, the group members share recipes based on a pre-determined theme. The participants are paired up, and each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, which are then used to prepare a dish that fits into the theme for the month.

The theme this month is ‘Fear Not The Bitter’, suggested by Seema of Mildly Indian. Participants need to showcase recipes made using bitter-tasting ingredients like coffee, bitter gourd, fenugreek leaves and seeds. You guys should absolutely check out the amazing Karele Ka Bharta that Seema has made for the theme!

I was paired with Aruna of Vasu’s Veg Kitchen for the month, and gave the two secret ingredients of ‘tamarind’ and ‘jaggery’. She used them to make this wonderful, wonderful Kakarakaya Pulusu or Andhra-Style Bitter Gourd Gravy! Aruna gave me ‘turmeric’ and ‘fenugreek leaves’ as my secret ingredients, which I went on to use in this Methi Paneer recipe.


Other paneer dishes on my blog

You might also be interested in some other paneer recipes on my blog:

Paneer Butter Masala

Tandoori Paneer Tikka

Beetroot And Paneer Cutlets

Paneer Masala Dosa

Shahi Paneer Matar

Matar Paneer

Paneer Paratha

Palak Paneer

No-Fry Paneer Kofta

Mixed Vegetable And Paneer Dosa

Baked Mango Cheesecake

Orange-Infused Sweet Paneer

How To Make Methi Paneer

Here’s how I go about it.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1. A small bunch of fenugreek (methi), about 1 cup when finely chopped

2. 3 medium-sized tomatoes

3. 1 small onion

4. 10-12 almonds

5. A 1-inch piece of ginger

6. 7-8 garlic cloves

7. 200 grams paneer

8. 1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil

9. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

10. Salt to taste

11. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

12. Red chilli powder to taste

13. 1 cup milk or as needed

14. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder

15. 2 pinches of garam masala

16. 3/4 teaspoon chana masala

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left: Step 3, Above bottom right and bottom right: Step 4

1. Wash the methi leaves thoroughly under running water, to remove any traces of mud from them. Place them in a colander and let all the water drain out. Then, chop up the leaves finely.

2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the finely chopped methi. Saute on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the leaves wilt and are cooked through. If needed, sprinkle very little water when the leaves are cooking. Take off heat and keep aside when done.

3. Chop the paneer into cubes. Keep aside.

4. Peel the ginger, garlic cloves and onion. Chop roughly. Chop the tomatoes roughly too. Take the chopped ginger, garlic, onion and tomatoes in a mixer jar and add in the almonds. Grind everything together to a smooth paste, without adding any water. Keep aside.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Centre left and right: Steps 7 and 8, Bottom left and right: Steps 9

5. Now, we will start preparing the Methi Paneer. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the cumin seeds and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

6. Add the tomato-onion puree we prepared earlier to the pan. Turn the flame down to medium. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the puree goes away completely. Stir intermittently. The puree would have thickened up by this time.

7. At this stage, add in the salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder.

8. Add in the jaggery powder.

9. Still keeping the flame at medium, add the milk at this stage, along with about 1/2 cup of water. Add the garam masala and chana masala. Taste the gravy and adjust salt and red chilli powder if needed. Mix well and cook on medium flame for about a minute.

Top left and right: Steps 10 and 11, Bottom right: Step 11, Bottom left: The Methi Paneer, ready to serve

10. Now, add in the cooked methi leaves. Keep the flame at medium. Adjust water if needed. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 2 minutes.

11. Now add in the paneer cubes. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, stirring intermittently. Switch off gas when all the ingredients are well integrated together, but the gravy is still a bit on the runny side. Your Methi Paneer is ready – it will thicken further in a few minutes. Serve hot with rotis or parathas.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use soft, good-quality paneer and very fresh methi, for best results. I usually use the paneer from Akshayakalpa or Milky Mist (not sponsored). I’m guessing kasoori methi can be used in place of the fresh greens I have used here, but I have never tried that.

2. Do not use more than the specified amount of fenugreek greens, otherwise the gravy might turn bitter.

3. I have used boiled and cooled full-fat milk from Nandini, here. I haven’t tried making this with vegan milk, and am not sure if it would work.

4. I have used almonds here, to thicken the gravy and make it creamy. You may use cashewnuts instead, or a mix of cashewnuts and almonds.

5. I like adding a bit of jaggery to my gravies, to give it a light hint of sweetness and round off the other flavours beautifully. I would not suggest skipping it.

6. I have used a mix of garam masala and chana masala here – I love the flavour this combination imparts to North Indian gravies. You may use either one of these spice blends instead, too. Since home-made masala is quite strong, you need to use very little – just a couple of pinches of garam masala and about 3/4 teaspoon of chana masala is enough. If you are using store-bought spice blends, you might need to use a little more.

7. I do not blanch the tomatoes or saute them with the onions, before pureeing them.

8. I add the paneer cubes directly into the gravy, without deep-frying them. You may fry them if you prefer.

9. Do not cook the gravy for too long after adding in the paneer – 3-4 minutes is good. Overcooking may cause the paneer to become hard and rubbery.

10. The Methi Paneer gravy thickens up in a few minutes after it is made. Remember to switch off the gas when the gravy is well-cooked but it is still a bit on the runnier side.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

Malai Kulfi| Creamy Kulfi Without Cornflour

Malai Kulfi is an evergreen classic in the world of frozen delicacies. I’m sure the simple dessert has many fans – I’m definitely one of them!

Today, let me share with you all how to make absolutely divine, creamy and delectable Malai Kulfi at home from scratch. The best part – it is made using natural ingredients, with no cornflour, store-bought cream, condensed milk or other processed ingredients. This is how my mom used to make it back when I was a school-going kid, and things like cornflour and condensed milk weren’t big. It’s such a simple thing to make, to be honest, with just the bare minimum of ingredients.

Delectable Malai Kulfi

It’s raining frozen delights at the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Shhhh Cooking Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The theme for this month, suggested by Pavani of Pavani’s Kitchen, is ‘Frozen Delights’. I’m drooling, looking at the gorgeous Easy Oreo Ice Cream that Pavani has created for the theme. I’m soooo trying it out!

For those of you who are interested, I’ll tell you about how the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge works. Every month, the group members are divided into pairs. Each pair then goes on to exchange two ingredients, unknown to the rest of the group. The pair has to use these ‘secret’ ingredients in creating a recipe that fits the theme of the month. Isn’t that super interesting?

I was paired with Narmadha, the warm and bubbly author of Nams Corner, for the month. She suggested I make a frozen food using ‘cardamom’ and ‘rose essence,’ and here I am with this Malai Kulfi recipe! I gave Narmadha ‘sugar’ and ‘raw mango’ as her secret ingredients, and she made these absolutely brilliant Raw Mango Popsicles using them.

How to make Malai Kulfi

Here is how I make it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 litre full-fat milk
  2. 1/3 cup sugar or to taste
  3. 20 cashewnuts
  4. 3/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  5. 4-5 drops of rose essence (optional)
  6. 5-6 almonds for garnishing (optional)
  7. A generous pinch of saffron threads for garnishing (optional)

Method:

1. Take the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place on high flame. Allow the milk to come to a boil, which should take about 5-6 minutes.

2. Add the sugar to the pan. Mix well. Reduce flame to low-medium. Allow the sugar to get completely dissolved in the milk. Taste and adjust sugar if needed.

3. Take the cashewnuts in a small mixer jar. Powder them coarsely.

4. Keeping the flame at low-medium, add the coarsely powdered cashewnuts to the milk, stirring constantly.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

5. Continue to cook the milk at low-medium flame for a good 15-20 minutes or till it is well reduced and thick. Stir intermittently. Cream will form on the sides of the pan – scrape it back into the pan with a spatula. When the milk has reduced more than half of its original volume, switch off the gas.

6. Mix in the cardamom powder.

7. Mix in the rose essence, if using.

8. Allow the milk mixture to cool down completely. Now, transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight freezer box. Place in the freezer. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours, after which the Malai Kulfi will be ready. Cut into slices using a knife and serve immediately, garnished with saffron threads and chopped almonds (if using).

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom right and left: Steps 7 and 8

Tips & Tricks

1. Use full-fat milk for best results. I have used Nandini full-cream milk here.

2. The rose essence is optional, but I would highly recommend using it. I think it elevates the appeal of the Malai Kulfi quite a bit. If you are sceptical about using essence, use a 100% natural brand that does not contain any chemicals.

3. I have used cashewnut powder here to thicken the milk. You may use almond powder or cornflour instead.

4. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use as per personal taste preferences.

5. Make sure you use a heavy-bottomed pan to cook the milk.

6. I have used home-made cardamom powder here. I grind a good handful of cardamom to a fine powder, along with the skins, and store it in an air-tight bottle. I use it as required. You may use store-bought cardamom powder instead, too.

7. You may add some finely chopped almonds to the milk, while it is reducing. I have not done so.

8. Make sure the milk mixture has thickened well and it has reduced more than half of its original volume. Only then will the Malai Kulfi be creamy and delicious and set beautifully.

9. Make sure the milk mixture has completely cooled down before you go about freezing it.

10. I have used a simple, air-tight stainless steel box to freeze the Malai Kulfi. You may use a plastic or Tupperware freezer box instead, or use kulfi moulds.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Verkadalai Chutney| Peanut Chutney For Idlis And Dosas

What is your favourite side dish with idlis and dosas? Today, I’m going to tell you about my personal favourite, Verkadalai Chutney. This, apart from my love for dunking idlis and dosas in Udupi-style sambar. 🙂

Verkadalai Chutney or Peanut Chutney

What is Verkadalai Chutney?

Verkadalai‘ in Tamil refers to peanuts. ‘Verkadalai Chutney’ is, therefore, chutney made using peanuts. It is a delicious confection, flavoured with tamarind, green chillies and ginger, and very easy to make too.

This chutney is quite commonly served in restaurants in Bangalore, alongside idlis, dosas and paniyaram. However, the restaurant version is on the runnier side. The chutney in the picture above is more thick.

This Verkadalai Chutney is different from the groundnut chutney I had shared on the blog, a couple of years back. Both the chutneys are made using peanuts as the base, but the flavour profiles are quite different.

How to make Verkadalai Chutney

Here is how I prepare it.

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups):

  1. 3/4 cup peanuts
  2. A small piece of tamarind
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 3 green chillies or as per taste
  5. 1 teaspoon oil
  6. 1-1/2 tablespoon chana dal
  7. 1-1/2 tablespoon urad dal
  8. Water, as needed
  9. Salt to taste

For the tempering:

  1. 1/2 tablespoon of oil
  2. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 1 sprig of curry leaves
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 2 dry red chillies

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water, for at least 15-20 minutes, for it to soften. Set aside and let it cool down.

2. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame, in a heavy-bottomed pan, for 4-5 minutes or till they turn crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn.

3. In the meantime, peel the ginger. Chop the ginger and green chillies roughly. Keep them ready.

4. Transfer the roasted peanuts to a plate. Allow them to cool down completely.

5. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the chana dal and urad dal, and reduce the flame to medium. Roast on medium flame till the lentils start browning and start emitting a nice fragrance. Take care to ensure that the lentils do not burn. At this stage, add in the roughly chopped ginger and green chillies. Roast on low-medium flame for about a minute, then switch off gas. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left: Step 4, Bottom centre and right: Step 5

6. When all the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar, along with the roasted peanuts. Add in the tamarind along with the water it was soaked in. Add in salt to taste and enough water to help with the grinding (if required).

7. Grind everything together to a smooth paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl. If needed, add in more water as needed, to bring the chutney to a semi-thick consistency – this is purely optional.

8. Now, we will temper the chutney. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Now, add in the curry leaves, asafoetida and dry red chillies. Allow these ingredients to stay in the hot oil for a few seconds, taking care not to burn them. Switch off gas.

9. Transfer this tempering to the chutney in the mixing bowl. Mix well. Your Peanut Chutney is ready. Serve it with idlis or dosas.

Left top and bottom: Steps 6 and 7, Top right: Step 7, Right centre and bottom: Steps 8 and 9

Chutney Special at the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I’m sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of enthusiastic food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The members are grouped into pairs, and each pair exchanges two secret ingredients that are then used to cook a dish that fits in with the monthly theme.

The theme this month is ‘Chutneys’, suggested by Priya Vijayakrishnan, author of Sweet Spicy Tasty. Do check out the lip-smacking Raw Mango Chutney that she prepared for the theme!

My partner for the month was Poonam, a very talented chef and the author of Annapurna. She assigned to me the two ingredients of ‘peanuts’ and ‘tamarind’, and I decided to use them to make this Verkadalai Chutney. I gave Poonam the ingredients ‘red chilli powder’ and ‘jaggery’, and she used them in a beautiful Bengali Tomato Khejur Amshottor Chaatni. Yum!

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the quantity of tamarind, salt and green chillies as per personal taste preferences.

2. Make sure the tamarind is free of seeds, strings and other impurities before using it in making the chutney.

3. Add as much water as needed to bring the chutney to a semi-thick consistency. If you want to keep the chutney thick, you may avoid adding the water.

4. Make sure the ingredients do not burn while roasting, as this might alter the taste of the chutney.

5. Make sure the roasted ingredients cool down fully before using them in making the chutney.

6. Sesame oil goes best in this Verkadalai Chutney. However, if you don’t have it, you may use any other variety of oil you prefer.

7. This Verkadalai Chutney recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.

8. This chutney is not gluten-free as it contains asafoetida. Most commercial brands of asafoetida available in India do contain wheat flour and are, hence, best avoided if one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can get your hands on 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely go ahead and use it.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Strawberry Kesari Bath| Rava Kesari With Strawberry

The daughter is big on naturally coloured foods at the moment. She is thrilled if I present her with a green soup or orange idlis or a pink roti or a blue payasam. That’s how this idea of Strawberry Kesari Bath came about. I had a box of strawberries lying in our refrigerator, and I thought of using them to create this pretty pink dessert for her. And, yes, she loved it! 🙂

Strawberry Kesari Bath or Rava Kesari with strawberry

A closer look at Strawberry Kesari Bath

Kesari Bath aka Rava Kesari is a popular sweet dish in South India, made using rava i.e. sooji or semolina. Redolent with ghee, it is a common feature on the menu in several Bangalore restaurants and at weddings as well. Pineapple Kesari is a variation of this sweet dish, equally popular in Bangalore.

I made this Strawberry Kesari on the same lines as the Pineapple Kesari, substituting one fruit for the other. Strawberries are in season now, and you get really lovely sweet ones, which are just perfect for this kesari. They lend a lovely natural pink colour to the dish too. Quite apt for this time of the year, considering it is the ‘month of love’ and all that! The Strawberry Kesari tastes absolutely delicious, too.

‘Warm Desserts’ theme at Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I’m sharing this recipe for Strawberry Kesari Bath with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I’m part of.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of enthusiastic food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The members are paired together every month, and each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest of the group. Each pair then uses these two ingredients to cook a dish that fits the theme of the month. The other group members then try to guess what the two secret ingredients could have been. Interesting, right?

So, this month, our hostess for the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is Rafeeda, the author of The Big Sweet Tooth. True to her blog’s name, Rafeeda is a huge dessert lover. You will find several interesting sweet dishes on her blog, such as this Lotus Milk Cake and this Lime Olive Oil Cake. She suggested that we all prepare some warm desserts this month, desserts that are best had straight off the gas (or oven).

My partner for the month was Anu of Ente Thattukada. She gave me two simple ingredients – raisins and sugar – and I decided to incorporate them into this Strawberry Kesari Bath. I’ve always loved kesari piping hot, so I didn’t have to think much when it came to the theme. 🙂

I suggested that Anu use jaggery and rice to make her dish, and she prepared this beautiful Sweet Pongal. Do check out her recipe!

How to make Strawberry Kesari Bath

Here is how I made it. This is a simple dish to make, requiring just a few minutes to put together.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 3/4 cup fine rava (sooji or semolina)
  2. 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons of ghee
  3. 1 tablespoon raisins
  4. 10-12 cashewnuts
  5. 1-1/2 cups water
  6. 3/4 cup sugar
  7. 6 big strawberries, 1 heaped cup when chopped

Method:

1. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons ghee, then add in the rava. Roast the rava on medium flame for about 2 minutes, till it starts giving out a lovely aroma and becomes the consistency of wet sand. Ensure that the rava does not burn.

2. Immediately transfer the roasted rava to a plate. Keep this aside.

3. Remove the tops from the strawberries and grind to a coarse puree, in a mixer. Keep this aside.

4. Chop the cashewnuts roughly. Keep ready.

Top: Step 1, Bottom left and right: Step 3

5. Take the water in the same pan and place it on high flame. Allow it to come to a rolling boil.

6. At this stage, turn the heat down to medium. Stirring constantly, add the roasted rava to the pan little by little.

7. Now add the sugar to the pan, as well as the strawberry puree. Continue to keep the flame at medium. Mix well.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom right, bottom left and above bottom left: Step 7

8. Cook everything together on medium heat for 2 minutes or so, or till the mixture starts to thicken. Stir intermittently.

9. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee in another small pan. Add in the chopped cashewnuts and raisins, and reduce flame to low. Fry on low heat till the raisins plump up and the cashewnuts get brown, ensuring that they do not burn. Add the ghee, along with the fried cashewnuts and raisins, to the mixture cooking in the other pan. Mix well.

10. Continue to cook for about a minute or so more or till the mixture has thickened up but is still a bit runny. Your Strawberry Kesari Bhat is ready at this stage – it will thicken further upon cooling. Serve the kesari hot, warm or at room temperature.

Top: Step 8, Bottom left and right: Steps 9 and 10

Tips & Tricks

1. Use fine rava – also called Bombay rava – to make the kesari. The more granular Bansi rava doesn’t really go well in this dish.

2. I have used only cashewnuts and raisins in this Strawberry Kesari Bath. You may add in some almonds too, if you prefer.

3. For best results, use a heavy-bottomed pan to make the kesari.

4. Adjust the quantity of sugar as per personal taste preferences. The above quantity worked perfectly for us.

5. Use ripe, sweet strawberries for best results. This will give a nice, fruity flavour to the kesari, whereas sour strawberries will make the dish taste sour-ish.

6. You can keep the strawberry puree coarse or smooth, as you prefer.

7. Remember to keep the flame at medium and stir constantly while you are adding the strawberry puree to the pan. This will help in preventing the formation of lumps.

8. Make sure the raisins and nuts do not get burnt while frying them, as that might alter the taste of the dish.

9. You can add more ghee to the Strawberry Kesari Bath, if you prefer. I use a little less than is usually done.

10. I use only water to cook the kesari, while some people use a mix of milk and water. You can do so too, if you so prefer.

11. Switch off the gas when the kesari is still a bit runny. Remember that it thickens up more on cooling.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Dal Ka Shorba| Indian-Spiced Lentil Soup

If you are looking for a simple but hearty soup that’s hugely satisfying on a winter day, I have just the right thing for you. I’m here today with the recipe for Dal Ka Shorba, an Indian-style soup.

Dal Ka Shorba or Indian-Spiced Lentil Soup

What is Dal Ka Shorba?

Dal Ka Shorba – also called Dal Shorba – refers to a soup made using lentils, spiced the Indian way. It is full of protein, warm and comforting and delicious. I make mine with toor dal and give it a burnt garlic tempering to make it extra special.

I have had the pleasure of tasting Dal Ka Shorba at several North Indian restaurants, and I especially love the one at Moti Mahal. The recipe I have shared here is inspired by these restaurant versions, tried and tested several times over and toned down to just the way my family and I like it.

Why you should try out this Dal Ka Shorba

– It is super easy to make. Once the lentils are cooked, it takes bare minutes to put the soup together.

– This soup needs the bare minimum of ingredients, all easily available in a typical Indian kitchen. There are no fancy or processed ingredients in there – only clean and humble everyday ones.

– Like I was saying earlier, this Dal Ka Shorba is full of protein. It is very nutritious and hearty.

– It is a completely vegetarian and vegan recipe, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is gluten-free as well.

– This soup manages to be light and appetising in spite of the addition of lentils. It makes for a great addition to a North Indian-style meal.

– It’s delicious! All of us at home absolutely love it, especially the touch of burnt garlic in it. It is so much more than the water left over from cooking lentils.

How to make Dal Ka Shorba

Here is how I make it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/2 cup toor dal
  2. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  3. 4-5 cloves of garlic
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 3/4 to 1 cup of water
  6. Salt to taste
  7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
  8. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
  9. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander or to taste

Method:

1. Wash the toor dal thoroughly under running water. Drain out all the water and place in a wide vessel.

2. Add in enough fresh water to cover the toor dal completely. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 7-8 whistles on high flame or till the dal is well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Once the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash it well with a buttermilk churner, to give it a smooth consistency. Keep aside.

4. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop very finely. Chop the coriander finely. Keep aside.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Above leftmost bottom and leftmost bottom: Step 3, Bottom right: Step 4

5. Heat the oil in a pan, and add in the chopped ginger and garlic. Turn the flame down to medium. Cook on medium flame for a minute or till the garlic gets brown. Take care to ensure that it does not burn.

6. At this stage, still keeping the flame at medium, add the cooked and mashed toor dal to the pan. Also add in water, as needed to adjust the consistency of the mixture. I used a little more than 3/4 cup of water.

7. Add in the salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well.

8. Cook everything together on medium flame till the mixture comes to a boil. Then, reduce flame even further and simmer the mixture for a minute more. Switch off gas.

9. Mix in lemon juice and chopped coriander. Your Dal Ka Shorba is ready. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Above leftmost bottom and leftmost bottom: Steps 7 and 8, Bottom right: Step 9

#HotPot theme at Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I’m sharing this recipe for Dal Ka Shorba in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of enthusiastic food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme every month. Each month, the group members are divided into pairs, and every pair exchanges two ingredients unknown to the rest of the group. These two ingredients are used by each pair to cook the dish that fits the group’s monthly theme.

It was my turn to suggest a theme for the group this month and, considering it is winter, I chose #HotPot or dishes that are best served piping hot. I was paired with Sasmita of First Timer Cook for the month, and she assigned to me the two secret ingredients of ‘pepper’ and ‘lemon’, and I decided to use them in this beautiful Dal Ka Shorba.

I gave Sasmita ‘curry powder’ and ‘lemon’ as secret ingredients. You guys must definitely check out the wonderful Roasted Cauliflower Soup recipe she has developed using these ingredients!

Tips & Tricks

1. You can use ghee or butter instead of the oil I have used here.

2. The garlic can be omitted, if you don’t prefer to use it.

3. Make sure you chop the ginger and garlic really fine, for best results. You may even julienne the ginger.

4. Make sure the toor dal is well cooked before proceeding to make the soup.

5. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice, salt and pepper as per personal taste preferences. Black pepper powder can be used instead of the freshly ground pepper – that said, I would highly recommend the freshly ground pepper.

6. Adjust the quantity of water depending upon how thick you want the soup to be. I prefer keeping it only slightly thick – not overly so – and not very watery.

7. You can add a dash of roasted cumin (jeera) powder to the soup too. I usually don’t.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!