Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog


Chari Phutana and Dried Red Chillies
Chillies and Chari Phutana (Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek and Mustard Seeds)

Dalma is a popular Oriya comfort food, and prepared with dal-vegetable combination. In dalma, the demure dal becomes dashing, due to a special spice-mix called chari phutana. You know how sunshine can cure winter blues? The chari phutana is the sunshine for this dal-dalma. While preparing Dalma, I realized the reason for the recent negative outburst on my website. Winter blues! No wonder people are cranky. I can’t wait for the spring and sunshine to get here.

Dalma recipe is courtesy of doctor, food writer and nutritional expert, the lovely Nandita of Saffron Trial. You can find her recipe and my photos in January edition of Men’s Health India magazine. I would like to thank Nandita, and Tithi Sarkar, the sub-editor of Men’s Health India for contacting and giving me this photo opportunity.

Dalma with Ruby Red Grapefruits
Dalma with Rice, and Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice ~ to Ease the Winter Blues

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Toor Dal, Chana Dal, Arati Kaaya (Plantain), Vankaya (Brinjal) (Friday February 8, 2008 at 4:44 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Cookery, Indic (2) ~ by Veena Parrikar

Cooking with Green Leafy Vegetables
by Shyamala Kallianpur

Published in 1997 by Shyamala Kallianpur at Secunderabad, in Andhra Pradesh, India. ISBN 81-7525-059-3. (Click on the Bookcover for Author’s image)

If I were Eve in the Garden of Eden, the genesis of my fall from grace might not be the rosy apple, but the seemingly mundane edible greens. Such is the sway that this earthy bounty holds over my taste and imagination. They beckon me at markets with their dewy-fresh looks in variegated shades of green and their promise of glowing health. Thus, each weekend sees the grand entry of a motley bunch into my kitchen. Some of them get used up quickly in a zuNka, aloo-somegreenorother, or a soup. Then my inner child awakens and begins to clamour for something different. This would trigger a search through my cookbooks while the greens waited in anticipation and then shrivelled up with disappointment. For, my cookbooks have plenty of vegetable recipes, but leafy vegetables are almost an afterthought. Even in books that provide a respectable number of greens recipes, the varieties are restricted to spinach and methi, and sometimes mustard leaves. Part of this negligence stems out of certain inherent traits of edible greens; namely, they tend to be stubbornly local and seasonal. Most of them are not amenable to traveling long distances; hence, there are variations in the types of greens found even between neighbouring states. Cookery books intended to reach a pan-Indian or global audience cannot afford to waste space on recipes with main ingredients that are not found everywhere or at all times. It is perhaps a reflection of this constraint that the only cookbook in English on green leafy vegetables in India is self-published by the author.

Cooking with Green Leafy Vegetables by Shyamala Kallianpur should not have gone out of print. It is the only book that provides recipes for over 30 different kinds of edible greens found in India. It has clear colour photographs of about 35 varieties of leafy vegetables. More importantly, greens are treated with the care and respect they deserve. With a couple of exceptions (such as the Sindhi Sai Bhaji), the recipes never involve pressure-cooking the leafy vegetables or overpowering them with spices. They are steamed, sometimes fried, or cooked just until soft or wilted. Thus, the greens retain their flavour, colour, and nutrients in the final dish. The author also demonstrates a meticulousness that is not often seen in Indian cookbooks. For example, she explains the difference between “roughly cut”, “chop”, and “finely cut” for leafy vegetables. She not only explains her rationale for giving the measurements for greens in volume, but further tells you how to measure them in the cup (“do not press….but just fill it”). There are many traditional recipes from different regions of India; however, there are also enough innovative dishes to satisfy the need to do something different once in a while.

The chapters are organized according to specific greens: the commonly available ones such as spinach, methi, amaranth, Malabar spinach (see photo below), and cabbage have separate chapters. Within these chapters, the recipes run the gamut from dry sabzi and gravies to soups, snacks, and salads; especially for the first four of the aforementioned greens. With 64 recipes for these greens, I am now never at a loss when faced with yet another bundle of spinach or methi. The chapter titled Other Leafy Vegetables deals with other easily-available greens such as bathua, green-stemmed and purple-stemmed colocasia leaves, coriander leaves, curry leaves, gongura, kulfa (purslane, paruppu keerai), ambat chuka (khatta palak), mint, mustard leaves, manathakali leaves, spring onion stalks, and saranti saag (ponnanganni). It is the last chapter, however, that I find the most interesting. Rather awkwardly titled, Some More “Other Leafy Vegetables” covers greens that grow in home gardens and are not available in the market, or not used much despite their market availability. Here you will find recipes for beetroot leaves, cauliflower greens, radish leaves, carrot greens, garlic leaves, pumpkin leaves, pomegranate leaves, drumstick leaves, tamarind leaves, brahmi, shepu (dill) taikiLo, omum (celery) leaf, and gherkin (kundru) leaf. There are only a few recipes for each of these vegetables, but the book gives a glimpse of the sheer expanse of possibilities that exists with edible greens.

Before writing this review I tried, rather unsuccessfully, to find the total number of edible leafy vegetables that grow in India. It is no secret that the undocumented heritage of Indian cuisines far exceeds the documented, but I can think of no other area, besides edible greens, where this truism applies more strongly. This study identified 42 species of plants with edible leaves or flowers in a single district in West Bengal. Our awareness is limited to only those greens that make it to the market, either through wholesalers or small village vendors who sell seasonal homegrown fare. Kallianpur’s book should have been just one in a long series of such works by various authors from several Indian states. This might be a tall order for commercial publishers, but an initiative funded by the government or NGOs with a nationwide reach might be one of the ways to highlight this rich culinary biodiversity and preserve it from the forest-fires of globalization.

Recipe: Kothchol (Indian Red Spinach with Bottle Gourd)

Adapted from Shyamala Kallianpur’s Cooking with Green Leafy Vegetables

Top: Malabar spinach, also known as Indian Red Spinach. Bottom: Bottle gourd

Chopped Indian red spinach – 4 cups
Tender stalks of the spinach, cut into 2-cm length – 2 cups
Bottle gourd – ¼ kg (peeled and diced into small cubes)
Jaggery – 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste

Grind to a fine paste:
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Dried red chillies – 5 (sauté them in a little bit of oil first)
Raw rice – 1 tablespoon (soak it water for 10 minutes)
Tamarind – one lime-sized ball (use less if your tamarind is strong)

Oil – 1 teaspoon
Garlic – 8 to 10 cloves, crushed (no need to peel).

Take the chopped stalks in a vessel, add one cup of water, cover and cook on low heat till the stalks are tender. Then add the diced bottle gourd and salt. Cover and cook until the bottle gourd is just-cooked, but not too soft. Now add the chopped spinach, jaggery, and ground masala. Bring to a boil and simmer until the spinach is cooked. Remove from heat. Prepare the tempering: heat oil in a small pan or tempering vessel and sauté the garlic, but do not let it brown. Pour the oil and garlic pieces onto the hot cooked vegetables and cover them quickly. Keep for five to ten minutes, then serve hot with rice.

This is a typical dish from Shyamala Kallianpur’s Chitrapur Saraswat community.

Text and Photos: Veena Parrikar

Previously in the Cookery, Indic series:

Salads for All Occasions - Vijaya Hiremath

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Spinach, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Coconut (Fresh), Reviews: Cookbooks, Veena Parrikar, Bacchali(Malabar Spinach) (Monday February 4, 2008 at 12:03 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Green Tomatoes

Photo Purchase Keywords: Tomato, Coconut
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

During winter time, I tend to look for the greenest, unripe tomatoes at the grocery stores. I keep them in a basket on the kitchen countertop at home. Though it takes two to three days to mellow, the resulting home-ripened tomatoes are worth the wait for their flavor : my solution to poor quality tomatoes of winter season.

Last weekend, I purchased two pounds of “just looking at them will make your mouth pucker” kind of firm-fleshed, unripe tomatoes. I couldn’t resist making an old classic with them for today’s meal. The following recipe is a traditional preparation from Nandyala, India. The intense, tangy ruchi of unripe tomatoes is matched by fresh coconut sweetness and chilli-ginger spiciness. A good meal to have on a mind numbing, cold winter day.

Unripe Tomato and Fresh Coconut
Unripe Tomato and Fresh Coconut ~ Ingredients for Kura


1 teaspoon peanut oil
Pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds
4 - green, unripe tomatoes (Round, Big variety)
4 - green chillies (Indian or Thai variety)
2 tablespoons - grated coconut, fresh
1 tablespoon - grated ginger
Salt and turmeric to taste

Wash green tomatoes and then cut them to bite-sized pieces - about four cups.

Place a wide skillet on stove-top. Add and heat peanut oil. Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the tomatoes. On medium-high heat, cook the tomatoes to tender-soft (but not too mushy or paste like).

Meanwhile, take the coconut, green chillies and ginger in a blender or Sumeet style mixer. Add a pinch of salt. Blend to fine paste.

Add this coconut-chilli paste to the simmering tomatoes. Also stir in the turmeric and salt. Mix. Cook, covered for another five minutes.

Serve the tomato kura hot with chapati or parathas for a light meal.

Unripe Tomato Kura
Kura with Unripe Tomatoes ~ Meal Today

Recipe Source: Amma, Nandyala

- Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Coconut (Fresh), Ginger & Sonti (Tuesday January 29, 2008 at 6:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Chutney with Fuzzy Melon (Mo Qua)

Fuzzy Melon (Mo Qua, Mo Gwa)
Fuzzy Melon (Mo Qua)

If you come across a fuzzy melon, also sold as “Mo Qua” at Asian grocery shops please don’t hesitate to pick it up. This fuzzy looking vegetable with green mottled skin has sweet tasting white flesh, and cream colored seeds that are typical of gourds and squashes. It has almost ridge gourd like flavor, and a pleasant, thirst-quenching type of taste. Delicious raw and assimilates enthusiastically with other ingredients when cooked, it’s my kind of vegetable.

I have been trying out different recipes with fuzzy melon since last December. Here is a recipe I liked very much. It’s chutney, made in a classic south-Indian style.

Fuzzy melon, onion, green chillies are skillet-roasted first and then together with tamarind and salt are blended into chutney. Just another ordinary preparation, but together with the other four ingredients, fuzzy melon delivers an applause-worthy performance on taste buds.

Fuzzy Melon, Red Onion, Green Chillies and Tamarind
Red Onion, Mo Qua, Green Chillies and Tamarind


  • Fuzzy melon: Firm, fresh looking vegetable, about 4 to 6 inches in size. Wash, peel the skin and cut into big chunks. about 2 cups.
  • Red onion or shallots - cut to big chunks, about a cup
  • 4 to 6 - Indian or Thai styled green chillies
  • Marble ball sized tamarind - soak in quarter cup of water.
    (To soften, so that it can blend well.)
  • ¼ teaspoon - salt
  • 1 tablespoon - peanut oil

In an iron skillet, add and heat peanut oil to smoking point. Add the onion, green chillies and fuzzy melon. Keep the heat on medium-high, and saute the vegetables to tender brown. Turn off the heat, and wait for the skillet contents to cool down to room temperature. (This waiting process is essential, makes a difference in how the chutney tastes.)

Add the skillet contents to a blender or in mortar. Add tamarind and the water it soaked in, also salt. Blend to fine. Remove to a cup and serve fresh. Makes a great side dish for any kind of grain based meal.

Chutney Ingredients
Chutney Ingredients ~ Skillet Roasted

Mo Qua Chutney with Couscous-Vegetable Upma
Mo Qua Chutney with Couscous-Vegetable Upma, and an Orange ~ Meal Today


Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Fuzzy Melon (Wednesday January 23, 2008 at 7:19 pm- permalink)
Comments (12)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Sorakaya Pappu (Dudhi Dal)

Photo Purchase Keywords: Dal, Bottle Gourd
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

A good many people seem to have a mental block against bottle gourd (= Sorakaya, Dudhi, Lauki). I too did have some time ago, but lately the availability of fresh looking and young vegetables at nominal price made me revisit the old classics as well as do little experimentation with bottle gourd.

The following recipe is one of many pappu (dal) arrows from my mother’s recipe quiver. If you do not like eating raw vegetables, then cook them with toor dal. That’s the common practice at my home, and also in many homes in Andhra Pradesh. It works perfectly. See, now I’m addicted to vegetable-dal combinations.

In this dal recipe, the slightly sweet bottle gourd is protein powered with toor dal, flavored with tamarind and chilli, and seasoned with tadka. Definitely, this will ease your way in any bottle gourd battle.

Bottle Gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi, Lauki, Opo Squash) and Toor Dal
Bottle Gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi, Lauki) and Toor Dal


¾ cup - toor dal (kandi pappu)
1½ to 2 cups - finely cubed bottle gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi)
¼ cup - coarsely chopped onion
½ teaspoon each (or to taste)- red chilli powder and turmeric
Marble ball sized tamarind

For popu or tadka:
1 tablespoon ghee or peanut oil
6 each - curry leaves, crushed garlic
Pinch each - cumin, mustard seeds and hing (asafoetida)

Take toor dal in a pressure cooker. Rinse the dal with water. Add the bottle gourd cubes, onion, chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind. Add about one to two cups of water. Mix. Close the lid and steam-cook until toor dal reaches the fall-apart stage. Then add salt, and coarsely mash the ingredients together.

The dal benefits greatly from my daily vitamin dose, I call popu or tadka. Let’s heat ghee or oil in a vessel. Add the curry leaves and garlic. Toast them to pale brown, and then add the cumin, mustard seeds and hing. When the seeds start to pop, add the mashed dal to the vessel. Mix and serve the dal with rice or with chapati.

For a true Andhra experience, mix the dal with rice and ghee. Shape into small rounds like shown below. Dip them in pickle or podi. Enjoy.

Sorakaya Pappannam Mudda (Bottle Gourd Dal mixed with Rice and Shaped to a Round)
Sona Masuri Rice mixed with Sorakaya Pappu, and Shaped to a Round ~ A Bharath Experience

- Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Amma & Authentic Andhra (Monday January 21, 2008 at 7:14 pm- permalink)
Comments (31)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Bottle Gourd, Fuzzy Melon and Silk Squash

Photo Purchase Keyword: Squash
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

Bottle Gourd, Silk Squash
Bottle Gourd, Fuzzy Melon & Silk Squash ~ Pitta Pacifying Vegetables
for This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Bottle Gourd is also known as Sorakaya (Telugu), Anapakaya (Telugu), Dudhi (Hindi), Lauki (Hindi), calabash (Italian?), Opo squash.

Fuzzy Melon is sold as Foo Gwa and Mooqua at local Vietnamese grocery.

Silk Squash, other names are Neti Beerakaya (Telugu), Silk Melon and Chinese Okra (Chinese grocery shops).

- Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Beerakaya-Neti(Silk Squash) (Sunday January 20, 2008 at 7:03 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Flavors of Life ~ Banana Vendor

Banana Vendor by Sree of Sree's Canvas
Flavors of Life ~ Banana Vendor
Painting by Sree (Colored Pencils on Paper)

Many like her were selling bananas in front of the Virupaksha Temple at Hampi. The fruits were not offerings to God, but to the large number of cows in front of the temple! I don’t know whether you would agree; to me the banana is the most humble of all fruits. It’s available through the year and affordable to all. The banana selflessly offers itself to mankind. We eat both raw and ripe fruit, the stem of the plant and the banana flower. We use the banana leaves for religious offerings and cooking. I recently read somewhere that the nutrients lie in the ripe skin of the fruit. Any takers?:)

by - Sree

(Flavors of Life by Sree: Introduction)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Arati Kaaya (Plantain), Bananas, Sree (Saturday January 19, 2008 at 12:26 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Lauki Chole

Photo Purchase Keywords: Chickpeas, Bottle Gourd
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

I am sure you must have come across people who constantly fish for opinions. “Should I do this?”, “What do you think about this?”, “Do you think this suits me?” The first few times it’s endearing, and then it starts to get annoying. “I see a head on your neck, don’t you have a functioning brain?” You want to hurl back the questions. Whenever I see such fishing activity in virtual world, I wonder whether this coquettish routine is a clever manipulation for comments or a confused cry for help. Whatever the reason might be, it is always better to avoid such people who act like they need to conduct focus groups for everything.

When it comes to cooking, here is a recipe that doesn’t need a focus group to know it tastes good. Well, the recipe is lauki-chole, and it has silk like lauki also known as bottle gourd and smooth tasting chickpeas. Chickpeas are one legume that can stand on their own in taste department. They can pamper other ingredients without pandering to them. That’s a good company to have.

Bottle Gourd, Sorakaya, Lauki, Dudhi
Bottle Gourd (Lauki, Sorakaya, Dudhi), Chickpeas and Tomato

(for two, for two meals)

1 tablespoon - ghee
1 onion- finely chopped
4 tomatoes - finely chopped
1 small bottle gourd (lauki, Dudhi, Sorakaya), about 6-8″
3 cups chickpeas, pre-soaked in water
1 tablespoon chana masala powder (homemade or store-bought)
Chilli powder, turmeric, salt, and lemon juice - to taste
1 tablespoon - kasuri methi

Cook chickpeas to tender in salted water. Drain. Separate about half cup and puree to fine, for a low-calorie chole thickener.

Lightly scrape the bottle gourd’s (lauki) skin, cut to middle lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out and then cut the white part to bite-sized cubes.

Heat ghee in a big pot. Add onions and tomatoes. Saute to soft mush. Add the cubed bottle gourd. Saute to tender. Add the chickpeas and the chickpea paste. Also stir in the spices - chana masala powder, chilli, turmeric powders, and salt. Add about a cup of water. Mix well. Simmer, covered for about 15 to 20 min. At the end, sprinkle the kasuri methi and lemon juice. Mix and serve right away.

I like chole. The chickpeas in chole are good with vegetable combination, and they make filling meal with minimum effort. This type of vegetable chole satisfies any grain - rice, chapati, pasta, millet and even the toasted bread.

Lauki Chole
Lauki-chole with Rice, Lemon and Pickled Pepper ~ Meal Today

Lauki in Ayurveda, Lauki at backyard garden
Bindiya’s Kashmiri recipe with lauki


Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki) (Thursday January 17, 2008 at 9:09 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:


Kandulu (Whole Tuvar/Toor Beans - In Dried Form)
Kandulu (Tuvar or Toor Beans, in Dried Form)

Kandulu (Whole and Dried Tuvar/Toor Beans Cooked in Salted water)
Yesterday I feasted, so today I must fast.
Kandulu, Simmered in Salted Water ~ An Andhra Snack for Jihva

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jihva For Ingredients, Fresh Tuvar (Kandulu) (Thursday December 6, 2007 at 3:38 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Fragrant Basmati Pilaf with Fresh Tuvar

Fresh Tuvar (Toor Dal, Kandulu)
Fresh Tuvar (pacchi kandulu)

Toor dal is among the most easily digestible of all food, and can serve as central element in a meatfree diet. The nourishing toor dal starts its life as an oval-shaped bean in beautiful green, neatly tucked in a row in a tuvar pod. Each tuvar pod contains about four to six plump tuvar beans. Exquisitely dense and full of spring-flavor, fresh tuvar, like green peas and green garbanzos, is a culinary delight when lightly cooked.

At Nandyala, fresh tuvar pods appear at farmers markets for a few weeks during summer time. Streetside vendors sell boiled tuvar pods in paper packets for as little as your pocket change. At our home, we used to simmer the whole pods in salted water and then shell the pods to snack on the cooked beans. Luckily, in recent years, the local Indian grocery shops in the United States have started importing fresh tuvar from India. Already shelled and in frozen avatar, a pound is usually priced at two to three dollars. It’s a good buy.

If you haven’t tried this protein powerhouse yet, you must now. Lightly cook fresh tuvar beans in salted water for a delicious snack. Or add them whole to vegetable curries or kurmas, and to rice preparations. This lentil lifeline instantly livens up any preparation.

For today’s meal, I made basmati pulao with fresh mint and tuvar. Easy to cook, incredibly fragrant and best of all, it’s so rich in flavor because of fresh mint and tuvar, that it needs little enhancement. Imagine pasta or orzo tossed in flavorful mint pesto ; almost the same taste here, but with basmati rice.

Fresh Coconut, Mint and Tuvar
Fresh Coconut, Mint and Tuvar

(for four to six people)

2 cups basmati rice
1 cup fresh tuvar
¼ cup roasted cashews
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon peanut oil

To prepare masala: Take about 2 cups fresh mint leaves in a Sumeet style mixer. Add two tablespoons of fresh, grated coconut, 5 green chillies, 4 cloves and a one-inch cinnamon piece. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and blend them together to fine paste.

To prepare Mint Pulao: Heat the oil in a big pan over medium heat. Add the onion and Tuvar. Saute to tender. Next, add and cook the ground masala paste, over low heat, stirring for about five minutes, until it turns to pale green from bright green color. To the cooked masala, add the basmati rice, salt and about 5 cups of water. Mix. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until water evaporates and rice cooks to tender. At this stage, add the cashews, and fluff the rice gently with a spoon. Let it sit, covered for five minutes and serve hot.

This mint pilaf is definitely delicious enough to eat on its own, but I have prepared aloo kurma and cucumber raita to go with it. Good meal.

Mint Basmati Pilaf with Fresh Tuvar
Basmati Pilaf with Fresh Mint and Tuvar ~ for Linda’s Toor Dal Jihva

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mint, Basmati Rice, Fresh Tuvar (Kandulu) (Tuesday December 4, 2007 at 9:16 pm- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Fresh Tuvar and Turai ~ for Jihva

If you are a follower of my website, then you must be getting a vague sensation of being stalked with toor dal.:) My love for toor dal knows no boundaries and I tend to go little overboard on Mahanandi, when it comes to toor dal.

Looks like I have a company now.

Meet Linda, the fabulous food blogger from Michigan. Like me, Linda finds it impossible to resist the tantric tunes of tuvar.:) She is featuring, of all the ingredients in the world, the “Toor Dal” for Jihva December. And, on her latest post, she has written…

“Day and night, I couldn’t stop thinking about toor dal — ’till one morning I found myself wanting to toss some toor dal into a bowl of cottage cheese and sprinkle some sambhar powder, just to see how that would taste. I may be slightly obsessed.:)”

You are my toor dal dosth, dear Linda. :)

Here is another one for you. A curry with fresh tuvar and turai. Two fine Indian ingredients and one delightful dish. Perfect for chapatis, and for Jihva.

Fresh Tuvar (Toor Dal, Kandulu)
Fresh Tuvar (pacchi kandulu)


1 tablespoon peanut oil
Pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds, and a sprig of curry leaves
¼ cup - finely sliced onion or shallot (Erra gadda)
1 cup - fresh tuvar (Pacchi Kandulu)
2 cups - finely cut turai (ridge gourd or beerakaya)
2 tablespoons - fresh coconut, grated
1 teaspoon - finely ground green chilli
¼ teaspoon or to taste, - salt and turmeric

In a wide skillet, heat oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles.
Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds.
Wait for the mustard seeds to splutter and then add onions and fresh tuvar.
Frequently stirring, saute them to tender.
Add the turai pieces. Sprinkle the coconut, green chilli, salt and turmeric.
Mix and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes, on medium-high, until the water leaked from turai evaporates. Serve hot with chapatis.

Tuvar and Turai Curry with Chapatis
Tuvar and Turai Subji with Chapatis, Gulab Jamun and Coconut Water ~ for Jihva-Toor Dal

Fresh Tuvar beans (frozen) are available at Indian grocery shops. 12 oz packets, priced at 2 or 3 dollars. Check the refrigerated section.
Turai or ridge gourd, and fresh coconut are available at Indian and also at Chinese grocery.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Jihva For Ingredients, Fresh Tuvar (Kandulu) (Monday December 3, 2007 at 9:28 pm- permalink)
Comments (15)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Parval ~ a Pictorial

Pretty and Pleasing ~ Parval

Sliced Parval

Parval Cooked to Crisp with Curry Leaves and Garlic

Parval is a beautiful looking vegetable, popular throughout north-India and little seen elsewhere. They are used especially in curry and stews. It has a satisfying soul which makes a filling curry that lifts the spirit. They are little bit hard to find in the United States even at Indian grocery shops, but they are well worth the hunt!


15 to 20 fresh parvals
1 tablespoon peanut oil
10 fresh curry leaves
5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
Pinch each- cumin and mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon red chilli flakes and salt, or to taste

Rinse parvals under water. Dry them with a kitchen or paper towel. Make a vertical cut in the middle. Then slice each half again into four thin pieces lengthwise.

In a wide skillet, heat peanut oil. Add and toast garlic and curry leaves to pale gold. Next goes the cumin and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add the parval pieces. Mix and cover the skillet. Cook on medium heat for about five to ten minutes. Covering the skillet creates steamy environment that helps to soften the parval. When they start to get tender, remove the lid. Sprinkle turmeric, red chilli flakes and salt. Toss gently and cook for another five minutes, until the parval turn to crisp like shown in the photo above.

Serve right away. Enjoy with rice and dal, or with chapati or dal.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Parval (Wednesday October 31, 2007 at 9:55 pm- permalink)
Comments (25)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Chole with Punjabi Tinda

The mere mention of chole, the famous Punjabi recipe with chickpeas, elicits feelings of comfort and good eats. Bring in the Punjabi tinda, the chole becomes extra special.

The food I prepared today inspired by two Punjabi specialties “chole with Punjabi tinda” turned out to be excellent. Along with Punjabi tinda, I also added tomatoes and potatoes to chickpea chole. Few teaspoons of kasuri methi livened up the chole with wonderful aroma.

A harmonious, energizing and filling meal!

Punjabi Tinda, Tomato, Cooked Chickpeas
Tomato, Punjabi Tinda, Cooked Chickpeas

(for two, for two meals)

1 tablespoon - ghee
1 onion- finely chopped
4 tomatoes - finely chopped
1 Punjabi tinda – Peeled and the white flesh cut to cubes
1 potato - peeled and cut to cubes
3 cups chickpeas (cooked to tender)
(Separate ½- cup chickpeas and puree to smooth. Added to thicken the chole)
1 tablespoon - chana masala powder (homemade or store-bought)
Chilli powder, salt, and lemon juice - to taste
1 tablespoon - kasuri methi

Heat ghee in a big pot.
Add onions and tomatoes. Saute to soft mush.
Add Punjabi tinda and potatoes. Saute to tender.
Stir in chickpeas, the chickpea paste, chana masala and chilli powders, and salt.
Add about one cup of water. Combine. Simmer, covered for about 15 to 20 min.
At the end, sprinkle the kasuri methi and lemon juice.
Mix and serve right away. Great with chapati/roti and rice.

Chole with Punjabi Tinda, Dahi Mirchi, Roti, and Persimmon with yogurt ~ Meal Today

Punjabi tinda is a small variety squash native to North India and prized for its pleasant taste.
Features: green skin and white colored flesh, firm texture, mildly sweet taste, size about an apple.
Available at local Indian grocery shops during Oct-Nov(seasonal), and also frozen and in tins.
Kasuri Methi = Sun-dried fenugreek leaves

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas, Indian Vegetables, Punjabi Tinda (Tuesday October 30, 2007 at 1:40 pm- permalink)
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Dazzling Dals ~ Punjabi Tinda Dal

Punjabi Tinda

Pretty looking Punjabi Tinda is a type of winter squash, common to north India. This is a seasonal vegetable and available at Indian grocery shops - fresh, frozen and also preserved in brine, in ready to use tins. Punjabi Tinda is easy to recognize. Pleasant pale-green color and perfect round shape, they resemble green tomato or green apple in color, shape and size. The skin is tough though, needs peeling, or scrubbing. When cut open, you see firm flesh in snow-white color, and seeds will be in white or brown color depending on the maturity of the gourd. Punjabi Tinda can be steamed, stuffed, or stir-fried. It has sweet taste with a light papaya scent. Absorbs flavors well and tastes superb in strong-sauced curries and with dals.

Punjabi tinda was introduced to me by Deviji, the kind neighbor we had when we lived in Pittsburgh. She is about my mother’s age and came to Pittsburgh to visit her son. She stayed for about six months. We struck a friendship through our interest in cookery. She couldn’t get enough of my idly, dosas and I of her traditional Punjabi cooking. Together, we would prepare an elaborate meal combining both south and north Indian dishes, have a nice lunch and save the rest for dinner. She is a military wife, traveled all over India with her husband. She is like Annapoorna and Saraswathi when it comes to food and knowledge. I learned so much from her about ingredients and techniques that were new to me. There is nothing that compares to first hand learning that comes through the interaction with an experienced person. This rich experience started with just a “hallway hello”. And that was the best experience I ever gotten for a friendly hello.

The following recipe is from Deviji. Punjabi Tinda cooked with toor dal and seasoned with tomato, onion and tamarind. A very good dal!

Punjabi Tinda
Punjabi Tinda ~ Whole, Halved and Cut to Chunks


¾ cup toor dal
1 Punjabi tinda, peeled and cut to big chunks
Tomato and onion, one each and 6 green chillies, cut to chunks
Tamarind pulp - two teaspoons or to taste
Turmeric and Salt - to taste or quarter teaspoon each
Popu or tadka ingredients

Take toor dal and two cups of water in a pressure-cooker.
Cook to soft, and then mash the dal to smooth. Keep aside.

In a pot, heat oil and do the popu(toast cumin, mustard and curry leaves in oil).
Add Punjabi tinda, tomato, onion and chillies to toasted popu. Saute to tender.
Stir in tamarind, salt and turmeric.
Add the cooked toor dal and about one cup of water.
Simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes.
Serve or spoon into a small bowl and enjoy with rice or chapatis.

Dal Prepared with Punjabi Tinda
Punjabi Tinda Dal with Rice and Sliced Pears ~ Light Lunch Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Punjabi Tinda (Monday October 29, 2007 at 1:47 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Punjabi Tinda, Parval and Tindora

Punajbi Tinda, Parval and Tindora
Punjabi Tinda, Parval and Tindora (from Lt to Rt)
Fresh Vegetables of India ~ for This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Dondakaya(Tindora), Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen (Sunday October 28, 2007 at 1:35 pm- permalink)
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