Brown Lentil Daal / Sabut Masoor Daal

One of my goals for this year, in terms of blogging, was to share more traditional Pakistani fare and to share more of what we eat on a regular basis.  I have always had a hard time photographing Desi (hailing from the South Asian Subcontinent) food, and I guess I’ve allowed it to be the reason why I didn’t share much of it.  It’s funny because we eat more Desi food than any other cuisine at home, but this little virtual space doesn’t reflect that.  I hope to change that in the coming months.

As for the recipe I am sharing today, Daal translates to lentils, and there are literally hundreds of variations of soupy curries that can be made with these humble pulses.  This Daal is one that I make on a weekly basis.  It screams comfort and is homely.  It’s simple, filling, nutritious, and delicious. It’s great piled on rice, with some yogurt and sliced onions on the side.  Consider it Desi comfort food 🙂

 

 

Sabut Masoor Daal

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

Note: measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.

  • 4 – 6 cups water
  • 1 cup brown lentils/ sabut masoor daal
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • Handful mint leave, chopped, optional

Directions:

In a large vessel, combine water, lentils, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, and red chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until lentils are softened and water has significantly evaporated, about 45 to 60 minutes. Be sure to check on daal often, stirring and adding extra water as needed.

Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to pulse daal to desired consistency. Add salt and keep covered.

Warm oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cook, while stirring often, until they start to show signs of browning. Add cumin seeds and cook until the onions are golden brown. Pour oil and onion mixture (tempering) over the daal, and let it sit undisturbed, and covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. If using mint, stir it in to the daal, and let it sit covered, and undisturbed, for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Burns Road Lentil Dumplings In Yogurt Sauce / Burns Road Ke Dahi Baray

Karachi is arguably (not debatable in my opinion 😉 ) the foodie destination of Pakistan. The city is a melting pot of ethnicities, and that aspect of it is best represented in the food Karachi has to offer. Admittedly, I didn’t get to enjoy as much of the street food I had hoped to, but whatever I did manage to get was amazing!

I had mentioned previously that I’ve come back so inspired from the amazing eats of Karachi, and this recipe here is a direct result of that! Burns Road is an area in Karachi that is famous for a few reasons- all food related, by the way. The dahi baray (lentil based dumplings that are soaked in a spiced yogurt mixture, and served cold) of Burns Road are famous throughout Karachi! While most recipes call for urud lentils, these are actually made from finely ground moong dal (split yellow mung beans) flour. What also sets these dahi baray apart from others is how small the fritters are. I would describe them as being no bigger than one or two bites (traditionally, the baray are medium-sized patties/fritters).

I hounded the internet and fell upon this recipe, adapted it and tested it a few times, and now I can confidently say that you don’t have to travel to Pakistan to enjoy Burns Road Dahi Baray 🙂

 

 

Burns Road Ke Dahi Baray

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

Note: measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.

For Yogurt Mixture/ Dahi:

  • 3 cups yogurt
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • A few tablespoons milk or water, as needed
  • 2 cups chickpeas

For Lentil Fritters/ Baray:

  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons split yellow mung bean flour/ moong dal flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ – ½ cup water, as needed
  • Oil, for frying

For Garnish:

  • ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon chaat masala

Directions:

Make Yogurt Mixture/ Dahi:

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt and sugar until completely smooth. Add milk or water, as needed, and whisk until a smooth and thick consistency is reached. Add chickpeas and set aside.

Make Fritters/ Baray:

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add water, a little bit at a time. Mix until smooth. The consistency of the batter should be so that when poured from a spoon, it falls off in dollops (not a steady stream).

Set aside a large bowl of cold water.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. To check the temperature of the oil, drop a small amount of batter into the oil. If the oil starts bubbling and the batter starts making its way upward, the temperature is perfect. Stir the batter, and use a teaspoon to drop spoonful’s of batter into the oil. Cook until the fritters are golden all around. Transfer to the water and allow them to soak for a few minutes. Squeeze the water out of the fritters using the palms of both hands, and arrange them in a serving dish.

Pour the prepared yogurt mixture over the fritters.

Make Garnish:

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and lightly roast. Transfer seeds to a bowl and coarsely crush. Set aside.

Add red pepper flakes and chaat masala to the skillet and cook until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with crushed cumin seeds and mix well. Sprinkle the spice mixture on top of the dahi baray (yogurt and fritters).

Serve cold.

Minced Meat and Lentil Biryani / Keema Masoor Biryani (Memon Masoor Pulao)

2 posts in one week? Whaaaat?

Well, this is my first shot at the Muslim Food Bloggers Challenges. Every month there is a new theme, and the month of February’s was Biryani. Biryani is basically just a spiced rice dish (often times paired with meat). In the South Asian culinary scene, the difference between Biryani and Pulao is that biryani is cooked in layers (the rice is par-boiled and then layered with the meat/masala), whereas in pulao the rice is cooked with the spices in a broth.

I chose to share the recipe for a very traditional Memon (the sub-ethnic group that I hail from) recipe, Masoor Pulao. It’s a bit of a misnomer because although it is called a pulao, it’s actually cooked in layers like biryani.

I’m excited to share this recipe for several reasons, but mostly because (a) I’ve always had trouble taking pictures of traditional Pakistani food, and I’m ready to take the plunge, and (b) it’s a recipe that has been passed down in our family, and I’m happy to finally be sharing it with actual measurements (y’all know how much trouble it is to find a desi recipe using actual measurements and not “a little this, a little that”!)

Enjoy!

keemamasoorbiryanipic

Keema Masoor Biryani

(Memon Masoor Pulao)

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

Note: Measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.

  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 2/3 cup brown lentils
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1-2 green chilies, to taste, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppers
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • Handful chopped mint
  • Handful fried onions
  • 3 boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half

Directions:

Rinse rice in cold water a few times, cover with water, and set aside.

Heat a small saucepan filled with water over medium-high heat. Add lentils and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until mostly cooked through (should not be mushy; there should still be a bit of bite to the lentils, as they will continue cooking with the rice later). Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add meat and ginger-garlic paste and cook for a few minutes. Add chilies, coriander powder, black pepper, garam masala, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add yogurt, mix well, and cook until mostly dry. Add lentils, mix, cover, and remove from heat. Set aside.

Heat water (enough to boil rice in) in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add black peppers, bay leaves, and salt. Once it comes to a boil, add soaked rice (drain before adding), and cook until about 75% cooked through. Drain and set aside.

In a large vessel, drizzle in a bit of oil. Top with half of the rice, followed by the meat and lentil mixture. Top with cilantro, mint, and fried onions. Cover with remaining rice. Sprinkle on additional fried onions, and gently place the boiled eggs on top. Cover. Cook over low heat until the rice has finished cooking, about 30 minutes.

 

 

Check out everyone’s interpretations and adaptations of this month’s challenge below!

Arabic Lentil Soup

I am a total novice when it comes to making soup.  My mom’s post-op recovery was the first time I dabbled in the business of making soup.  Unsurprisingly, my first few attempts were less than stellar…  much less. My mom was such a sweetheart though.  She would never complain about the lack of flavor, or the fact that I had no idea what I was doing.  One day she suggested making a vegetarian soup, and I instantly remembered that Sawsan had recently posted a recipe for Arabic Lentil Soup on her blog.  Not only is her recipe simple (a plus for soup-novices like me), but the simple ingredients cook and simmer to form a light and delectable soup that anyone would be proud of. I’m home now, but I’ve made this soup a handful of times and every time I sip a spoonful I think of my parents and brother.  I miss them a little more with each spoonful of this soup 🙂

ArabicLentilSoupPic

Arabic Lentil Soup

Yield:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and soaked for 1 hour
  • 2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose or wheat)
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, for garnish
  • Freshly squeezed lemon or lime, for garnish

Directions: In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  Add sliced onion and sauté until soft. Add drained lentils and flour, and stir so that the flour does not retain any clumps.  Add water and stir so that the flour has dissolved.  Allow the water to come to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and allow the soup to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.  Remove from heat. Puree the soup until smooth.  Top with remaining olive oil and salt to taste.  Serve with black pepper and lemon (or lime).

South Asian Rice and Lentils/ Khichri

Khichri, a dish consisting of rice and lentils, is the epitome of South Asian comfort meals.  Just like any other comfort meal, Khichri can be prepared in a number of ways.  Some people, like my Mummi, cook it with mung beans and to a mushy consistency, while some people, like my mother in-law, cook it with green mung beans and like a pilaf.  Khichri can be eaten plain, with yogurt and mixed pickles on the side, or with any curry.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one that was taught to me by my mother in-law, Ammi.  She is known in her circle of friends for her amazing cooking skills, and I have been very fortunate to have learned a number of things from her.  This recipe is very basic, and can easily be customized to one’s preferences.  Enjoy!

 

AmmisKhichriPic

 

 

Ammi’s Khichri 

Yield: 2 – 3 Servings 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ½ cup split mung beans with husk/ green moong daal
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ½ onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 small pieces cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 ¼ cups boiling water

Directions:

Combine rice and mung beans in a bowl and soak in cold water for at least 2 hours.

In a large vessel, warm oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté until transparent.  Add cumin, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and black cardamoms and cook for a few minutes.  Add ginger-garlic paste and salt and cook until the oil begins to separate, 3 to 5 minutes.  If the mixture is sticking to the pot, add a splash of water.

Drain rice mixture and add it to the simmering spices.  Mix well and add boiling water.  Once the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 15 minutes without disturbing the rice.

Remove from heat and allow it to sit undisturbed for an additional 15 minutes.  Stir and serve.