August 27, 2012

Mulor tarkari (Radish with Bengali five-spice)

Mulor Tarkari (Radish with Bengali 5-spice)

The Farmer's Market in Ann Arbor is in full swing. All kinds of vegetables, flowers, plants, fruits are available now. If you go to the market Saturday morning, it is packed with people and kids. Little kids on feet, in strollers, babies with their eyes wide open in wonderment looking at the crowd and the colorful display.

Lil A loves going to the market as well. He refuses to sit in his stroller nowadays and walks around looking at each vendor. His favorite is the blueberries stall which has several small ducks perched on top of the blueberries. And nothing beats the apple cider either! At one time, I think, he had a few samples of the cider, before we bought him a pack.

This past weekend we picked up a couple of bags full of vegetables. In it was a big bunch of red radish. One bite into the succulent radish and I ate a few more with just salt and pepper. The rest I made into a simple stir fry with panch phoron (Bengali five-spice).  Keeping it mild and simple really let the  flavors of the radish shine.

Big bunch of red radish (1 1/2 lbs
2-3 tbspoon olive oil
3/4 tspoon panch phoron
2 green chillies
1/4 tspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tspoon cumin powder
salt to taste

Wash and quarter the radishes. Set it aside. In a pan heat oil and then add the panch phoron and the green chillies. Once they sizzle add in the grated ginger, and tumeric powder. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add in salt and cumin powder and maybe a little bit water and let it cook for another 4-5 minutes (closed lid on medium heat) till the radish is soft.

Mulor Tarkari (Radish with Bengali 5-spice)
Take it off the heat and serve with rice or roti.

August 20, 2012

Moong Dal Laddoo

Moong Dal Laddoo

 It inevitably happens when my parents come and go or when my MIL is visiting us, the blog reflects that shift with the recipes that are posted. After all this is a place to record our home cooked food. Sometimes I go back in history to browse (doesn't happen that frequently now what with the little one) and it's so interesting to see what was cooking in the kitchen the same month in different years and so on.

This Moong Dal Laddoo is a traditional offering in my Mother-in-Law's household for Janamasthami. So we decided to make it this year with her help. It wouldn't have happened if she was not here or if she didn't suggest it. It needs a little bit of prep with roasting the moong dal and then grinding it to a powder. But you won't regret the time spent as the sweet delicacy sits in your palm ready to eat.

Making sweets or desserts from moong dal is not something we did often growing up. But I would look forward to the moong dal halwa which our neighbors sent over every diwali. The halwa would be full of ghee and nuts and we would all devour it after lighting the crackers. Other than that, this is the other dal sweet which I came across. How else could you make a dessert/sweet with moong dal?

This moong dal laddoo hit the right spot and I have to confess I ate 2-3 together before I had to push the plate and say "the photo shoot is over" :)

Here is how we made it:

2 cups yellow Moong Dal (Split GreenGram)
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Ghee (clarified butte)
1/2 tspoon cardamom powder

Moong Dal Laddoo

Dry roast the moong dal until it turns dark golden and gives a strong aroma. Remove from heat and keep it aside to cool.  Grind the roasted moong dal into a powder with the sugar and keep it aside. Add the cardamom powder to the mix.

Now heat a thick bottomed pan and melt the ghee. Add all the ingredients and let it cook for 3-4 minute on medium low heat.

Take it off the heat and then divide the mix into equal portions and make then into round balls with firm finger pressure.

Moong Dal Laddoo
This stays for up to 2 weeks  but there's nothing like a good warm laddoo.

August 09, 2012

Toker Dal (Bengali mango dal)

Tok er dal (Bengali mango dal)

Summer is going too fast. As I type this rain is steadily falling, the temperatures have dipped to 70s, and I am warming my hands on a hot cup of tea. Lil A is sitting next to me (barely) complaining that his wagon is "all wet" and is demanding to go outside immediately.

The relief from heat is much needed but I am reminiscing about the hot summer afternoon when I came home to find a big bowl of toker dal.  I had been telling my parents about toker dal and that I haven't had it in forever, and also that I need to make it soon. After that I forgot all about it. Then I come home one day to find this hot, mildly sour, little bit sweet bowl of dal waiting for me. I probably ate all my lunch with this dal that afternoon.

This dal reminds me of hot summers and summer vacations in India when we would have this with coolers running and fans whirring. What do you associate with hot summer afternoons?

I didn't get a chance to record the podcast before they left, so I called and asked them for the recipe. Here it goes:

 1 1/2 cup masoor dal (red lentil)
1 big raw mango (or 2 small ones) - chopped into thin medium pieces
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon sugar
Salt to taste

For tadka
2 tbspoon oil
1 tspoon mustard seeds
2-3 red chillies
1/4 tspoon hing (asafoetida)

Tok er dal (Bengali mango dal)

Boil the dal with salt and turmeric powder and set it aside. My masoor dal is done in a pressure cooker in 2 whistles. Set it aside.

In a deep pan, heat the oil and add hing, mustard seeds and red chillies. Then add the chopped mango pieces and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the boiled dal, a cup of water if need and let it boil on low medium heat for 4-6 minutes till the mango pieces are soft. Add the sugar, adjust salt and take it off the heat.

Tok er dal (Bengali mango dal)
Serve it with hot rice and bhaja (fries) of your choice. We had ours with some bhindi aar aloo bhaja (okra and potato fries).


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