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

Dazzling Dals ~ Chard with Masoor Dal

There is nothing like a green leafy vegetable and dal combination. Otherwise difficult to like fibrous green leafy veggies magically render to mellow texture when combined and cooked with Indian dals.

Last Sunday, in addition to fresh amaranth, I also bought chard at local farmers market. 5 chard leaves for a dollar and thirty cents. Chard leaves are almost the size of young banana leaves. That big but they are delicate like spinach. They also taste similar to spinach. Makes a good meal when combined and cooked with masoor dal or toor dal.

Chard and Masoor Dal
Fresh Chard Leaf and Masoor Dal


1 cup - masoor dal (red lentils)
5 - fresh chard leaves, coarsely chopped
1 each - onion and tomato, cut to big chunks
8 to 10 - finely chopped Indian variety green chillies
Cherry fruit sized, raw tamarind
½ teaspoon each - turmeric and salt

For popu or tadka:
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
¼ teaspoon each - cumin, mustard seeds, and minced garlic
6-8 curry leaves

Take masoor dal in a pressure-cooker. Rinse with water and drain the water.
Add the chard, onion, tomato, chillies, tamarind and turmeric, along with three cups of water.
Mix and pressure-cook for about 10-15 minutes on high heat and then allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the lid, usually the dal will be cooked to tender. Add salt and lightly mash the ingredients. The dal is now ready for the final “Popu or tadka” touch.

In a skillet, heat the ghee until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Keep the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves and garlic. Toast to pale gold color. Then, toss in cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the whole thing to mashed dal. Mix and serve.

Chard-masoor dal tastes good with rice and chapati.

A Bowl of Chard-Masoor Dal with Tomato Pickled Rice, A glass of Coconut Water and a cup of Blackberries ~ Our Meal Today


Dazzling Dals ~ From My Digital Cookbook:

1. Amaranth Dal (Thotakura Pappu) ~ from Nandyala
2. Brinjal Dal (Vankaya Pappu) ~ from Nandyala
3. Fenugreek Dal (Menthi kura Pappu) ~ from Nandyala
4. Gongura Pappu (Ambadi Dal) ~ from Nandyala
5. Khatti Dal ~ Hyderabad Style
6. Lemon Cucumber Dal (Budamkaya Pappu) ~ from Nandyala
7. Mango Dal (Maamidi Kaya Pappu) ~ from Nandyala
8. Ridgegourd Dal (Beerakaya Pappu) ~ from Nandyala
9. Spinach Dal (Palakura Pappu) ~ from Nandyala
10. Spinach - Garlic Dal ~ from Kosta Region, Andhra
11. Spinach Mango Dal (Palakura Pullakura) ~ from Telengana
12. Spinach-Split Pea Dal ~ American Influence
13. Sprouted Masoor Dal ~ North India inspired
14. Tomato Dal (Tomato Pappu) ~ from Nandyala
15. Tindora Dal (Dondakaya Pappu)
~ from Nandyala

16. Moongdal Aamti with Kokum and Goda Masala ~ Maratha Influence
17. Mungdal and Ridgegourd (Beerakaya Pesara Pappu) ~ from Andhra

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Dals (Lentils & Legumes), Masoor Dal (Red Lentils) (Tuesday August 7, 2007 at 6:38 pm- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Black-Eyed Bean Dip


I had an another recipe in mind with black-eyed bean sprouts for today’s meal. But I accidentally over-cooked the beans to mush. Thus born the bean dip for rotis.

The beautiful pale red color of the dip is from chipotle chillies. I really love how the spicy chipotle perk up a recipe with smoky flavor. I have also added fragrant cumin and lively lime juice to the pureed beans. The dip may be a last minute solution to the mushed bean problem, but the result was attractive and had a great taste, similar to refried beans that they serve in Mexican restaurants.

Overcooked Black-Eyed Bean Sprouts and Black-Eyed Bean Dip


Precooked black-eyed bean sprouts or beans - 1 cup
Dried chipotle chillies - 2 (presoaked in warm water for about 30min)
cumin - half teaspoon
salt - half teaspoon or to taste
Lime juice -2 tablespoons or to taste

Take the chipotle chillies and cumin in a Sumeet style mixer or food processor. Pulse few minutes until the chillies are very smooth. Add the black-eyed bean sprouts, salt and lime juice. Process to fine puree. Remove to a cup and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the flavor develop. Serve with roti/tortillas or corn/taro root chips.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Blackeye Beans, Dried Red Chillies, Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday August 6, 2007 at 2:48 pm- permalink)
Comments (8)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Series of Sprouts ~ Black-Eyed Pea Sprouts

Alasanda Molakalu

Black-Eyed Pea Sprouts

These black-eyed peas are from Indian grocery shop (Apna Bazar, Bellevue), and are imported from India like most of the lentils and legumes. Sprouting was easy with these peas. But when I tried the same last week with some American store-bought black-eyed peas, they didn’t sprout. Same thing happened with Adzuki beans.

Are these American peas and beans genetically modified? Why aren’t they coming to life?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Blackeye Beans, Sprouts (Molakalu) (Sunday August 5, 2007 at 9:40 pm- permalink)
Comments (17)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Multnomah Falls

Recently we explored the beautiful Columbia River Gorge region. This is one snapshot from many we captured.

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls ~ Photo by Singari Vijay
(Lens: Nikon 28mm f/2.8, Camera: Nikon F3)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday August 4, 2007 at 10:53 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Mahanandi Selections ~ Grain Mill

I often get asked via comments and email, to recommend cooking utensils and products. I am extremely particular about the products that I buy for my kitchen. I wasn’t sure my taste is your cup of coffee, so I was reluctant all these years. Now, I have decided to take up the challenge. “Mahanandi Selections”, the shopping suggestions series is going to be a new one on Mahanandi and features products that I have at my home or would like to have in my kitchen.

I hope you find this new series interesting and useful.


Grain Mill (Issurayyi, Tiragali)

Image courtesy: Life in the Holyland

Back home, my family uses stone-made grain mill, similar to the one shown in the photograph to mill grains. This circular shaped stone mill is called “Issurayyi and Tiragali” in my language Telugu. We use it mainly for making flour for sweets like sunnundalu and attarasalu (adhirsam). The flour fineness matters a lot for these traditional sweets. Too fine powder, the sweet will stick to the roof of the mouth. Too coarse, it would be difficult to shape them. The advantage of stone-made grain mill is we can manually control the milled particle size, which in turn helps to make perfect sweets.

The one at my parent’s home is much smaller in size. The circular stones are about the size of big dinner plates and about the thickness of steroid-fed biceps muscle. It’s quite old and my mother keeps it in good condition. I remember turning the stone mill to help my mother.

This is how the stone grain mill works: A jute cloth will be placed on the flour and the stone mill will be placed on the cloth. The mill is essentially made of two circular stones. The lower circular stone stays stationary and the upper stone moves. It has an upright handle on the corner and this is used to turn the stone. The grain will be poured, a handful at a time, through the hole in the center of upper millstone, while the stone is turned continuously. Friction and weight created by the upper stone mills the grain. And the flour will get gradually pushed to the edge and falls out on to the cloth. Depending on the speed at which it is rotated and by the strength applied, the milled grain consistency varies - from fine, to medium to coarse. It may sound complicated but the whole thing operates on simple friction based principle. Looks wise Issurayyi is a real beauty. Operating wise, it’s a great way to keep the upper hands slender.

After moving to US, I was looking for a grain mill that operates in issurayyi style. I found one few years ago at a shop called Tuesday Morning. It’s a Porkert brand grain mill. A different look and feel but operates on the same principle. A big plus is it is very well made and of quality materials. The one I have has both ceramic and metallic burr plates. Ceramic ones are used for grinding oily nuts etc and metallic burr plates are great for grains and lentils like rice, urad dal etc. We have to assemble the parts and fix the machine to a table and operate it manually by rotating the handle. I have been using it to prepare sunnundalu mainly. This sweet is that important to us and cannot be made of flour from a coffee grinder or Sumeet style mixer-grinder.

If you have a traditional preparation requirement, where the milled grain size matters a lot, then go for this type of grain mill. It’s a hard, sweat inducing upper arm workout but the end result is definitely worth the effort. I have to warn you though, these manually operated machines are not magic abracadabra kind of things. A real zeal and know-how is essential for good experience.


1. You need to make some trials before you could get the required flour fineness. This could be done by adjusting the gap between the millstones, handle turning speed, and by adjusting the quantity of grains through the hopper.

2. This machine looks and works great. But also consumes considerable amount of time and effort to get the required results.

Machine Details


PORKERT’s Kitchen Grinding Mill ~ A Kitchen Gadget that I Own
Preparing Sunnundalu Sweet at home with PORKERT’s Kitchen Grinding Mill, Type 150

To purchase:

Porkert’s Manual Grain Mill

Different types of Grain Mills from

Previously on Mahanandi Selections :
Sumeet Mixer Grinder
Aebleskiver Skillet (Ponganalu/Paniyaram/Uniyappam Pan)


Note: The things that I feature at ‘Mahanandi Selections’ (MS), reflects my own cooking style. You may regard a tool that I deem essential as an expendable thing or vice versa. I have absolutely no interest to convince you otherwise. It is good to be realistic about our own capabilties, limitations and what we can afford.
MS Comment Policy: Brand wars and malicious hearsay with intent to damage a brand reputation - comments of this nature will get scrubbed from comment space.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Kitchen, Indian Utensils, Mahanandi Selections (Friday August 3, 2007 at 1:30 pm- permalink)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Bell Pepper Zunka

Bell Peppers with Besan:

Bell Pepper and Besan (Gram Flour or Sanaga Pindi)

This one is easy to prepare and puts the bell peppers in season to good use.

Slice the peppers, (green, red or yellow) length-wise into thin strips. Do pan-saute and season with spices and besan. The subtle sweet flavor of besan (gram flour) complements the bell peppers greatly. Lovely to look at, even lovelier to consume, bell peppers with besan also known as Bell Pepper Zunka in Marathi, is an ideal dish for bell pepper fans.


3 bell peppers - green, yellow and red, cut to thin strips of 1-inch length
3 tablespoons - besan (gram flour)
¼ teaspoon each - chilli powder, salt and turmeric (or to taste)
Popu or tadka ingredients:
1 teaspoon oil
Pinch each - cumin, mustard seeds, and a sprig of curry leaves

In a wide skillet, heat the oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Keep the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves and toast to pale brown. Toss in cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to splutter, add the bell peppers. Stir-fry few minutes, until bell peppers become crisp and fork-tender. Sprinkle the besan, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Mix. Sauté, stirring often. Do not cover the skillet at this stage. When the pale yellow besan starts to get pale brown, time to turn off the heat. Serve the bell pepper Zunka hot. Makes a tasty meal when eaten with chapati or rice and dal combination.

Chapati with Bell Pepper Zunka, and Cantaloupe ~ Brunch Today

Bell Pepper Recipes:
Marathi Mirchi Bhaaji ~ from Kay
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Green Bell Pepper Saute with Dalia Powder (Pappula Podi)
Red, Yellow and Green Bell Pepper Curry
Bell Pepper Masala

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Gram Flour (Besan) (Thursday August 2, 2007 at 10:38 am- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Chipotle Chilli Chutney

My enthusiasm for food blogging events has been going south in recent months. I am not able to muster up much energy like before. Even my beloved event JFI, featuring an ingredient that I worship (chillies) couldn’t pepper me enough. The motivation is there, but I don’t know what’s going on with me, it’s not manifesting into actual results. Well, I guess this is another food blogging phase that I have to go through.

After observing my mental struggle, my kind husband Vijay offered some help. “Tell me what to do, I will make it and will take the pictures. But in writing and publishing the results, you are on your own buddy”, he said. How can I resist such affectionate offer? So here it is, the chipotle chilli chutney for JFI: Chillies. My recipe through Vijay’s magic hands.

Chipotle Chillies, Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic
Chipotle Chillies, Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic ~ Ingredients for Chipotle Chilli Chutney


Chipotle chillies - 6
Cherry tomatoes - 1 pound
Garlic cloves - 6
Sea salt and cane sugar - Half teaspoon each
Peanut oil - 1 tablespoon

Soak the Chipotles:
Take chipotle chillies in a cup. Pour and cover with hot water, about half cup. Soak until pliable about 30 minutes.

Grill the Tomatoes and Garlic:
In a wide cast-iron skillet, heat the peanut oil to smoking point. Add and brown the garlic first, then add the cherry tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are lightly browned. Turn off the heat and cool completely.

Transfer the chipotles and the water they soaked in to a Sumeet style mixer. Pulse for few minutes. Add the roasted garlic, tomatoes, salt and sugar. Blend to smooth. Remove to a clean, glass jar.

Chipotles bring not only spiciness but also a unique smoky flavor and the chutney tastes terrific with chapatis, French fries etc.

Chapatis with Tomato Dal and Chipotle Chilli Chutney ~ Our Meal Today and
My Contribution to JFI:Chilli, Hosted by Lovely Nandita of Saffron Trail

Kitchen notes:
Chipotle chillies are mature jalapenos that have been dried and smoked, can be purchased at Mexican grocery shops. Unlike the Indian variety dried red chillies, Mexican originated chipotles have a hard bark like skin. Prior soaking in water is needed for easy, smooth blending.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies, Jihva For Ingredients (Wednesday August 1, 2007 at 2:44 pm- permalink)
Comments (17)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

« Next Page —