Tag Archives: lentils

French Green Lentil Salad

Till last year, I was a ‘one-dimensional lentil’ person.

Yep, that’s a phrase I just coined now. So let me explain; till last year, the only lentil I really cooked with was toor dal or split pigeon peas. While I did make different recipes using pigeon peas, it was more or less the only variety I stocked up in my pantry.

It’s not that I didn’t know about other lentils or pulses, but somehow never ventured outside the familiar zone and actually cook with any other variety. A decision to incorporate more lentils and pulses into our daily diet is what made me start experimenting initially.

I picked up a packet of the soup mix at our local shop, but instead of using it as a base for just soups alone, I started using it in this khichdi recipe and also to prepare regular dal curries. Soon I began to shop for all sorts of lentils and pulses from around the world incorporating it into various stews, curries etc…. I even made a delicious lamb curry and haricot beans which was one of my more recent finds.

But this was the first time I am making a salad using lentils.

French Green Lentil Salad -

I had heard much about the French Puy lentils but recently I also came across the French Green lentils which got me confused as both looked quite similar to me. A bit of research later, I came to understand that both lentils are the same variety except that the term Puy is given to the lentils that are specifically grown in the Puy region of France as these are cultivated in the distinct volcanic soil there. And these lentils grown anywhere else are called French green lentils.

Since I am a big believer of ‘shop local’, I found that I was able to buy French green lentils grown in Australia through Mount Zero Olives, hence that’s the brand I have used for this salad.

This French green lentil salad turned out to be one of the best salads I have eaten in the recent times. It’s fresh, vibrant, and healthy with oodles of flavour. It’s great as a salad dish but also works brilliantly as a side with grilled meats, seafood etc….

The French green lentils are small, mottled and almost grayish green in colour and not a vibrant green as you would imagine from the name. It has a slightly peppery flavour and a soft yet firm texture when cooked that makes it really unique especially in salads like this.

French green lentils - food photography -

French Green Lentil Salad -

No pre-soaking is necessary as the French green lentils cook really fast unlike other lentils. And as I mentioned, it does not get mushy and holds shape which adds a beautiful textural element to the salad.

So let’s hop right into the recipe and whip up this super delicious and healthy French green lentil salad.


  1. ¾ cup French green lentils; washed well and drained
  2. 1 red onion; finely chopped
  3. 5 baby qukes (or Lebanese cucumber); finely chopped
  4. ½ red bell pepper; finely chopped
  5. ½ cup olives; sliced
  6. 2 tbsp capers
  7. 2 medium tomatoes; finely chopped
  8. 2 tbsp fresh parsley; finely chopped
  9. 1 cup baby spinach; coarsely chopped
  10. 3 baby radish; finely chopped


  1. 2 tsp jalapeno mustard (use any kind of mustard)
  2. 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tbsp verjuice (replace with red wine vinegar, apple cider or any type of vinegar)
  4. Salt, to season


  1. Cook the washed green lentils in salted boiling water; drain and keep aside. (Takes approximately 15-20 minutes to cook)
  2. To the drained lentils, add the spinach leaves and mix through. The residual heat slightly wilts the spinach which is all the cooking that it needs.
  3. To a salad bowl, add the lentils with spinach and all the remaining chopped veggies and herbs.
  4. To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk well.
  5. Pour this over the salad just before serving; toss well to combine.
  6. Enjoy!

French Green Lentil Salad -





Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens

Khichdi – the comfort food of one half of the Indian population!

I say this specifically because khichdi is not a dish that is popular in my hometown, Kerala. And hence I was not aware of its existence for a very long time.

My first tryst with khichdi happened somewhere along the Pune-Mahabaleshwar route. We were living in Pune at that time and were visiting the hill station when we stopped at a roadside dhaba for a quick meal. Sam suggested that I try the khichdi (he had already developed a taste for it, thanks to his office mates) and hesitatingly I did. But oh boy, it was a revelation.

The rich, spicy, almost creamy consistency of rice and lentils with that generous drizzle of ghee made my tastebuds sing with joy.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens -

And while I consumed many plates of khichdi during my stay in Pune, I never ventured to cook it in my kitchen till about 2 years ago.

I think it’s the memory of that taste that encouraged me to make a khichdi at home. It’s no rocket science, but often we need a motivation or purpose to try out something new.

At its heart, a khichdi is nothing but rice and lentils cooked together, mashed and then tempered with spices. But that tempering is what makes all the difference. It can be as simple or as complex as you want and in my opinion, the whole flavour profile of the khichdi depends on it.

My version of the khichdi is not the most traditional but neither a fusion. It is perhaps an amalgamation of various styles based on flavours and spices that I like best.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens -

Khichdi is an extremely healthy dish because of its powerful combination of carbs and proteins. Usually prepared with just one type of lentils, but my version has a mixture of lentils and pulses along with some sort of greens like spinach, fenugreek or even carrot greens, as I have done today.

You can either make a mix of the lentils from what you have at home or pick up a packet of the soup mix like I do. Or use just one type of lentil; it’s totally your wish. When using a soup mix, it’s best to soak it overnight so that the cooking process is much faster.

How many of you use carrot greens as an ingredient? It has gained a lot of attention with the raw food movement and is often found as an ingredient in salads, pesto etc…. But I also love to use it in my dal (lentil) preparations just the way I would use spinach. Beetroot leaves can also be used this way but needs to be cooked more than the carrot greens.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens -

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens -

Even though I pressure cook the lentils and rice for time constraints, I always slow cook for a good 15-20 minutes after adding the tempering. A bit of extra time only helps intensify the flavours which I really want from my plate of khichdi. And a final drizzle of hot ghee is an absolute must!


  1. 1 cup mixed lentils; washed and soaked overnight
  2. ½ cup medium grain white rice
  3. Carrot greens (I used the greens from 4 small carrots); chopped
  4. Salt, to season
  5. Ghee/clarified butter; for serving
  6. 2 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  7. For tempering:
  • 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp caraway/shahi jeera seeds
  • 2 dry red chilli
  • 3 large shallots/small onion; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 large ripe red tomatoes; finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ inch piece of jaggery or ½ tsp raw sugar


  1. Wash the soaked lentils and rice together. Add to a pressure cooker or deep bottom pan and cook well with enough water (remember to season with a pinch of salt). The lentils and rice must be cooked enough to be able to mash well.
  2. In another pan, heat ghee and oil; add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  3. Then add the cumin and caraway seeds; as it begins to crackle, add the dry chillies and shallots and sauté till softened.
  4. Then add the garlic and ginger; sauté till the onions have turned light brown.
  5. Next add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat till the tomatoes have softened and turned mushy.
  6. Then add all the spice powders and jaggery; sauté till the whole masala comes together and oil starts appearing at the sides.
  7. Meanwhile mash the lentils and rice using the back end of a ladle or potato masher.
  8. Add the chopped greens along with the masala to the lentils and mix well; season with salt if necessary.
  9. Add more water if necessary and cook on the low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Finish off with the chopped coriander leaves.
  11. Serve warm with a drizzle of ghee on top.
  12. Tuck in!

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens -


Amaranth Lentil Curry + a Spice Hamper Giveaway

If you have read my ‘Burnt Garlic and Ancho Chili Rice’ post, then you would remember Liz of The Spice People.

Recently Liz asked me to do a guest post for her blog, and I decided to create a dish using one of her best sellers, the Curry Lentil Dahl; a fragrant, flavourful and aromatic blend of cumin, turmeric, garlic, coriander, bell peppers, mustard and chilli.


Liz had provided me with a sample of this blend to play around with and I have been using it quite a lot in my daily cooking. It adds just that extra bit of oomph to all my dal recipes. I even used it as a marinade for my fish fry; that’s how versatile the curry lentil dahl blend is.

The Spice People has also joined hands with me to give away a spice hamper as a token of appreciation to all our readers, a small gesture for the festive season. But before we get to the giveaway, let’s talk a bit more of today’s recipe.

Today’s dish is an amaranth lentil curry which is inspired by the dal recipes of Kerala. A protein packed dish, this lentil curry has an irresistible aroma from the spices and a rich, creamy texture from the coconut paste. Best teamed with steamed white rice, this amaranth lentil curry can also be enjoyed as a hearty soup.


Amaranth actually refers to a group of perennial plants. These plants are cultivated as leafy vegetables in many parts of the world and are extremely healthy. The roots and stems are also consumed in many Asian countries. Amaranth seeds are a great source of protein and these are used as grains in Asian countries and Americas. The seeds are ground into flour and used to make breads.

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I used the amaranth leaves for cooking this lentil/dal curry; these have such a vibrant and beautiful colour, deep green and purple hues.

You can find the full recipe for Amaranth Lentil curry here – a rich, creamy yet rustic lentil stew from Kerala spiced with the curry lentil dahl blend, cumin and green chillies.


Note – If you cannot get your hands on the curry lentil dhal blend, then use a mixture of roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder.

And now the most exciting part; the giveaway!

As I mentioned, The Spice People has very generously provided me with a spice hamper to give away to my readers.
This spice hamper contains;

1. Mexican Tex-Mex
2. Curry Lentil Dahl
3. Tunisian Harissa
4. New Orleans Cajun Spice
5. Moroccan Ras el Hanout
6. Ancho Chillies (Whole)


This gift hamper is a true representation of my love for spices from across the globe. So if you would like to spice up this festive season, then all that you need to do is follow the rules below and enter the giveaway!

This is an international giveaway so that all my readers can participate. And do not forget to spread the word too…..

To take part in this giveaway, you need to complete all the four steps outlined below;

1. ‘Like’ the Spice Adventuress on Facebook.
2. ‘Like’ the Spice People on Facebook
3. Leave a comment below stating which is your favourite spice blend from this hamper.

Remember, it is mandatory to do all the three steps for your entry to be considered.

This giveaway will run till December 15th, 2014 and the winner will be notified through our Facebook pages.
All the best!

This giveaway is now closed and the winner is Binu T Mathew.

Adzuki Beans Curry with Kadai Spice Blend

Adzuki beans are small reddish beans commonly used in Japanese and Chinese cooking. In fact, the name ‘adzuki’ is of Japanese origin. In the East Asian cuisine, these red beans are common in sweets and desserts, often used as a paste or boiled with milk to make a reduction.

In India, dishes using adzuki beans can be commonly found in Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Referred to as Lal Chavali in Marathi which literally means red cowpea, chori in Gujarathi or ravaa’n in Punjabi, these beans are often used in chaats (Indian street food). I am not quite sure if there are other traditional dishes using these beans. If you know anything more about it, please do write to me and let me know.

I first came across adzuki beans at the local market; though the beans looked familiar to many others, I knew I had not cooked or tasted it before. So a pack of these came home with me and I have been trying out many dishes, especially Indian ones with these red beans.

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Recently, I made a batch of the kadai spice blend which is commonly used to flavour Indian curries. And it suddenly struck me to combine this spice blend with the adzuki beans and come up with an Indian curry of sorts.

This adzuki bean curry is as Indian as it gets; the curry paste is prepared by caramelizing onions and aromatics to which tomatoes and finally the spice blend gets added. Just like any other lentil, it is best to soak these beans overnight and then cook the following day to reduce cooking times. And yes, if you have the Indian pressure cooker, life is bliss!



Like I mentioned, the kadai spice blend is quite common in North Indian cuisine and a regular feature in all restaurant menus. Quite a versatile blend incorporating the flavours of coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom and bay leaf, this blend can be used in other Indian curries too, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

So, here is the method to prepare Indian style adzuki beans curry with kadai spice blend;



1. 2 cups adzuki beans, soaked overnight
2. 2 red onions, finely chopped
3. 2 ripe red tomatoes, finely chopped
4. 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5. 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
6. 1 tea bag
7. 5 sprigs coriander leaves, finely chopped
8. Salt, to taste
9. 2 tsp kadai spice blend
10. ½ tsp turmeric powder
11. 1 tsp red chilli powder
12. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

Kadai Spice Blend:

This makes around half a bottle of spice blend; store the excess in an airtight container.

1. 6 tbsp coriander seeds
2. 1 tbsp fennel seeds
3. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
4. 1 ½ tsp black peppercorns
5. 8 green cardamom
6. 2 black cardamom
7. 1 inch cinnamon stick
8. 2 dried bay leaf
9. 10 dry kashmiri red chillies


To prepare the spice blend:

1. Dry roast all the ingredients (and as always, take care not to burn). Cool and grind to a fine powder. When dry roasting spices, remove from the pan onto a parchment or baking paper after switching off flame. Never leave it in the same pan itself as the spices continue to roast in the residual heat.

To prepare the curry:

2. In a deep pan or pressure cooker, heat oil and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Saute till the onions have caramelized well.
3. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
4. Turn down the heat and add all the spices. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Add the washed and soaked beans along with a tea bag (use an ordinary tea bag and not the flavoured ones). Adding the tea bag is optional; this is only to lend the deep dark colour to the dish and does not really add much flavour to the dish.
6. Season with salt and add 2 cups of water. Cook till the beans are done to the consistency you like.
7. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
8. Serve hot with rice or flat breads.




Why I write ….. And a recipe for Bengali Sweet and Sour Dal

‘Why I write’ is a blog hop event that was created to build blogger camaraderie and also enable you to bring out your creative best. I was invited to this event by the very enterprising Nova Morgan of Locavore Intentions. Now if you are intrigued by the term ‘locavore’, do stop by at her page; I am leaving it to the expert!

Why do I write?

I write, because it is the best way to express myself. I might seem to be socially outgoing but I am quite a ‘private person’ with my thoughts. Writing helps me to bring out the deepest thoughts instead of letting it build up inside. It makes me a happier and more positive person because I know how unsaid thoughts often take a negative tangent and before long, it gets out of control leading to depression, anxiety and a host of other problems.

I write, because I am a creative person. I am creative in all aspects of my life, be it writing, food, home décor or even raising my child. A dash of colour, a pinch of spice, a splattering of words….it keeps me happy and content.

What am I working on?

I am working on drawing inspiration from all things around me and then reflect it on my cooking. I want to better myself at photography, learn new cooking techniques, come up with new spice blends and cook with new ingredients.

How does my writing differ from others?

I believe my biggest quality to be ‘honesty and genuineness’ and for this very reason, my writing would be different from others. I believe that I am unique and a part of God’s plan just like every other soul on earth and no two people can write the same.

How does my writing process work?

I do not have a set process in place. I write at all times of the day, anywhere and everywhere. When the mood is right, I am either in front of the comp or with a pen and paper in hand jotting down my thoughts.

Blog Hopping….

And now it’s time to pass on the baton and I have two very capable hands;

The Adam and Eve of cooking aka Jofy and Satish Abraham of Foodie Adam and Cookie Eve.

This beautiful couple celebrates food, writing and photography and hence the perfect duo to pass on this baton.

why i write 1

A mum, freelance writer and blogger, Amrita Mukherjee of Amrita Speaks was a journalist and has a rich writing experience. She is just the perfect person for this blog hop event.

why i write 2

Today’s dish: Bengali Sweet and Sour Dal (Sweet and Sour Bengal Gram/Lentil Stew)

And after that long read, we are finally here for today’s dish.


This dal preparation is adapted from the famous vegetarian cookbook, India-the Vegetarian Table by Yamuna Devi. Split Bengal gram is the lentil used for this preparation which is sweet, sour and mildly spiced.

The aroma that wafts from the spices and aromatics is heavenly; a dash of brown sugar sweetens the lentils and the addition of yoghurt makes it sour and tangy. And the addition of coconut lifts the flavours of this lentil stew making it a rich, hearty and comforting dish.

Have it as a soup or with a bowl of steamed white rice (and now a beautiful Bengali babe tells me that they usually have this with puri or laccha parathas), this dal preparation is one to be enjoyed and cherished.



1. Split chana dal/Bengal gram – 2 cups
2. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
3. Ground ginger – ¼ tsp
4. Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
5. Ghee – 2 tbsp
6. Brown mustard seeds – ½ tbsp
7. Cumin seeds/jeera – 1 tsp
8. Hing/asafoetida – ¼ tsp
9. Brown sugar – 3 tbsp
10. Fresh grated coconut – 3 tbsp
11. Zest and juice of 1 medium-sized lemon
12. Salt, to season
13. ¼ cup yoghurt
14. Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves – ½ cup, finely chopped


1. Wash and soak the lentils for at least 2 hours. Cook with turmeric powder, ground ginger, red chilli powder, 1 tsp ghee and salt till soft and mushy.
2. Heat ghee in a small pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. As it beings to splutter, reduce heat and add sugar and asafoetida. Stir for 15 seconds and add to the mashed dal.
3. Place the dal on medium heat and add coconut, zest and juice of 1 lemon and season with salt if necessary. Bring to boil and then simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Taste to see if you have got the right balance of spice, sweet and sour or adjust seasonings accordingly.
4. Remove from heat and garnish with yoghurt and coriander leaves.
5. Serve hot with steamed rice.


If you are a few extra seconds to spare, do hop over to my Facebook page and show a bit of ‘like’ love.


Shorbat Adas – Arabian Lentil Soup

The past week was a busy, hectic and demanding one with the new blog and other writing commitments. I also went into a ‘cooking overdrive’ trying out and experimenting with different types of dishes and cuisines. And the result - thoroughly burned out by Friday, desperately needing a weekend break from the kitchen.

All I wanted to do was put my feet up with my favourite book and a glass of wine. Cooking was the last thing on my mind and I could see the ‘poor us’ look on my son’s and hubby’s face. With winter attacking us in full force (Melbourne witnessed one of the harshest winter with temperatures dropping sub-zero last week), going out to dinner was not the best idea either. Only the ‘takeaway God’ could help us!

We live in a highly multicultural suburb and there are plenty of eateries and restaurants specializing in all kinds of cuisines. But it is a pity that most of these do not offer home delivery and if they do, the minimum price is set so high which makes the whole process way too expensive. Fast food seems to be the only affordable choice here and honestly, I am tired of the burgers, pizzas and pastas.

Well, the takeaway turned out to be pizzas as always but to lift my spirits; I decided to have a long chat with one of my girlfriends who reside in Mumbai (India). My bestie is a chronic takeaway eater; she spends half of her life inside the Mumbai local travelling to and fro from work and cooking is the last thing on her mind when she reaches home. As I started to complain to her, she asked me if there aren’t any online food delivery systems like Foodpanda out here.


Naturally, this piqued my interest and after some Google hopping, I realized that this online food delivery system operates in more than 40 countries with a large presence in India as well. Pity, they haven’t entered the Australian market or I am sure, I will be one of their first customers. My friend said she loved the fact that the site also offers a ‘cash on delivery’ option as she is not too keen about online payments. And of course, the discounts and offers only add more appeal making takeaways an affordable option. Foodpanda operates in many Indian cities including Mumbai, so do visit the site to find out if your city is covered. And if you are using a smartphone, you can even download an app for the same.


Is this post going on and on? Guess so….ok, let’s jump over quickly to today’s dish.

Shorbat Adas or Arabian lentil soup is a dish very close to my heart because it is from my childhood. While living in Dubai, one of our favourite takeaway joint (see, I go off to takeaways again!) was Al Usman restaurant; they sold the most ah’mazing tikkas and kebabs. But my favourite was this sweet and sour simple lentil soup.

I have searched this recipe for years; I had no clue of its name or ingredients except for the taste of this soup which I had cherished forever in my taste buds’ memory. And now, I have found it.


Shorbat adas is very famous across Middle East and is often served free of cost. There are several different variations; some add pieces of leftover lamb or use meat stock for added flavour. In Morocco, you can find a thicker version using only red lentils and lamb. Here, I have used homemade chicken stock to add that extra body of flavour but you can keep it vegetarian by using vegetable stock or just water.


The sour tanginess of the citrus paves way for the sweet smokiness of the caramelized onions ending with the robust simplicity of cumin spiced lentils. In culinary heaven!

Recipe Courtesy - Traditional Arabic Cooking by Miriam Al Hashimi



1. 250gm lentils (soup mix), you can use just one type of lentils also
2. 2 red onion, sliced finely
3. ½ tsp roasted ground cumin
4. 2 tbsp lemon juice (variable)
5. vegetable oil, to fry the onions
6. salt, to season
7. freshly milled black pepper, to season
8. 1 cup homemade chicken stock
9. water


1. Soak the lentils for at least an hour (it really helps to cook the lentils faster) and cook till mushy.
2. Meanwhile, sauté and caramelize half the onions and keep aside. Fry the remaining half onions till crispy brown but not burnt.
3. Once the lentils get cooked, mash well and add the caramelized onions, ground cumin, chicken stock and cook on low heat for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. The consistency of this soup is quite runny but you can add less stock/water and thicken it up.
4. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Add one tsp, taste and keep adding till the right balance of sour, salty and sweet has been achieved. I like the tang and used about 2 tbsp but it might vary according to your taste preferences.
5. Garnish with crispy fried onions.
6. Serve hot with bread.



I served this simple yet flavourful soup in my new Akasuzki bowls which I won in a giveaway hosted by Nami of justonecookbook (the blog to be if you are interested in Japanese cuisine). Yes, it is a Japanese brand and sells beautiful Japanese products but I have used it for my Arabian lentil soup. It’s a small world, isn’t it!


Goan Dal (Indian style Lentil curry with coconut and black kokum)

Goa – the most ‘tourisity’ place in India. Even I have visited Goa, as a tourist, and somehow the experience has not been the best for me. I liked the place, the beaches, the historical monuments, visit to the spice plantations, etc… but it was all through the eyes of a tourist without really imbibing or living the culture of the land. For me, the best kind of travel experience is when I get to understand and experience the culture, lifestyle and food of the region as a local. Only then does the experience become truly inspiring.

For us, this particular trip to Goa was more of a family time above anything else. Our son enjoyed it and that made the trip worthwhile in itself, but I would still like to go back someday and experience this beautiful land as it deserves to be. Unfortunately, no food photographs from the trip but here are a few of our favourite and memorable clicks…..


So, did u notice the dolphin??

Today’s dish is a lentil curry from Goa and is perfect for all seasons, especially for autumn and winter as it is hearty, comforting and also packed with protein. And like any typical Goan recipe, this dal also incorporates coconut and kokum (I used the black kokum variety but you can use the red one too). Mildly spiced, this rich and delicious Indian style lentil curry is perfect with steamed white rice or with Indian flat breads. Thin it out a bit and you can even enjoy it as a bowl of soup on these cold winter days.

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This is quite a versatile recipe where you can use any type of lentils you have at hand. Kokum is easily available at most Indian or Asian grocery stores but if you cannot find it, use tamarind paste instead. Coconut is a must as it lends the creamy texture to the dal.

So, let’s get cooking this warm and hearty Goan dal (Indian style lentil curry with coconut and kokum)

Recipe adapted from Veg Recipes of India



For the dal:

1. 2 cups yellow pigeon peas/toor dal – soaked for at least 2 hours
2. 1 tsp turmeric powder
3. 2 black kokum pieces – washed well (if you are using tamarind, add 1 tbsp tamarind paste)
4. salt – to taste

For the coconut paste:

5. 1 cup fresh grated coconut
6. 1 small onion or 2-3 shallots
7. 1 tbsp cumin seeds/jeera
8. 4-5 garlic cloves

For the tempering:

9. 1 tsp mustard seeds
10. 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
11. 2-3 sprig of curry leaves
12. 2 cloves garlic, crushed lightly
13. 1 or 2 green chilies (optional) / dry red chilies can also be used instead of green chilies
14. a pinch or two of asafoetida
15. 2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee or any good vegetable oil
For the garnish:
16. Fresh coriander leaves, chopped


1. Pressure cook the toor dal with water, salt and turmeric for 3 or 4 whistles; open and mash well.
2. Blend to make a paste using the ingredients 5-8; you may use a little water to get a paste like consistency
3. To the cooked dal, add the coconut paste and the kokum pieces.
4. Add water to adjust consistency as required and season with salt. Bring to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
5. To prepare the tempering, heat oil in a pan, crackle the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, chillies and garlic. Saute till the garlic is lightly browned, switch off heat and add asafoetida.
6. Pour this over the hot dal and mix well.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

Note – Remove the kokum pieces after 1-2 hours as the flavour continues to seep in if the kokum if left inside which may end up making the dish sour and tart.




Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils


A nourishing and healthy vegetarian dish for Meatless Monday!

Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils -

This recipe is a variation of a traditional Kerala-style spinach lentil curry. Usually this dish is prepared using toor dal (yellow pigeon peas) and green spinach leaves. I decided to use a mix of lentils and pulses (often referred to as soup mix) along with baby spinach leaves.

The rationale behind using the soup mix was to ‘up’ the protein quotient of the dish making it a much healthier version. In fact, it can be taken as a lentil soup to boost energy rather than as an accompaniment for white rice. And I prefer using lentils in the boiled and mashed form (my hubby can’t pick up the lentils and throw it away then, rite). It’s a cheat – but I am happy as long as the family stays healthy.

There are usually two types of soup mixes sold; one is a mix of only lentils while the other (as I have used) is a mixture of lentils and pulses. There are atleast 8-10 different lentils and pulses in this mix and forms the base for this warm and nourishing curry/soup.

Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils -

You can also replace spinach with other leafy greens; in fact, I have tried this recipe with beet greens, bok choy, drumstick leaves etc. and the result has been great every single time. I like to use baby spinach when I am pressed for time. There is no need for any extra cleaning apart from wash and dry.

So let’s get cooking this protein packed lentil curry with baby spinach leaves….

Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils -

(If you can’t get soup mix, just mix equal proportions of the lentils and pulses that you would like to use)


  1. Soup Mix – 1 cup; soaked overnight
  2. Baby spinach leaves – 2 cups
  3. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  4. Salt – to season
  5. Grated coconut – ¾th cup
  6. Green chillies – 2 – 3
  7. Garlic – 3 cloves
  8. Jeera/cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  9. Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
  10. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  11. Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  12. Dry red chilli – 3


  • Soak the soup mix overnight so that the cooking time is reduced. Pressure cook the lentils with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt to season till soft and almost mushy. Open and mash lightly.
  • Blend coconut, green chillies, garlic and cumin seeds to a fine paste with a little water and keep aside.
  • To the mashed lentils, add the baby spinach and cook for 1 minute. Then add the coconut mixture and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add water depending on how thick you prefer the gravy. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
  • In a pan, heat oil and crackle mustard seeds; add curry leaves and dry red chilli. Add this to the prepared lentils and mix well.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice or Indian breads; this can also be enjoyed as a soup with crusty bread.

Baby Spinach with Mixed Lentils -