The sick person’s comfort food – Simple Mung Dal with Ghee

I have been a bit under the weather of late. Not sure what ails me but a strange sense of melancholy seems to have gotten hold of my mind and I can’t seem to shake it off. Plus a very bad back pain doesn’t help do anything to the mood either. I have had to slow down and almost confine myself to the bed, so I can get better.

And we all know who we miss and long for when we are sick, yes our mother. I really have been missing her more than I do because of how I am feeling right now. So the best thing I can do to feel that she is around me is to cook something she used to make for me whenever I used to be sick.

So I have been making a lot of plain “Mung dal” and drowning myself in a bowl full of it. Typically the dal is just boiled with some Salt and Turmeric and served on some hot rice with a big dollop of Ghee on it. However even as a child I used to love my flavors so I used to never eat the plain dal and beg my mom to add some spices and Tomatoes.  And to please me my mom used to do the same and even give it a tempering with Garlic and Ghee.

Also those were the having a bit of an extra Ghee and putting on weight was not a big issue. So she would put another dollop of Ghee of my dal and rice and boy it always managed to cheer me up. It is so simple and plain but is very nutritious and very comforting. And that is what I have been craving for, so I made it for myself and felt instant gratification.

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Here is the recipe (cooking time 30 minutes, serve 4 – 5)

1 1/2 cup yellow mung dal.

1 large Tomato finally chopped

2 – 3 green chillies slit into 2

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp Ghee (Do not substitute it with anything else)

Salt to taste

1 tsp Asafoetida

3 cloves of Garlic sliced thinly

1) Wash the Dal and put it in a pressure cooker with Tomatoes, Green chillies, Salt and Turmeric.  Add 3  cups of water and  pressure cook it for 3 whistles.

2) Turn the heat off and let all the pressure release.

3) In a small pan heat the Ghee once it is hot add the cumin seeds, Garlic and Asafoetida, once the Garlic starts to turn brown add the tempering straight into the pressure cooker on the cooked Dal.

Serve it hot with some Rice and maybe, just maybe if you are feeling a little greedy add another dollop of Ghee.

Comfort food for my sore back – Peas and Potato curry

I am in no mood to cook this week due to a terrible back ache. I feel tired and distressed and have no energy. So obviously cooking is the last thing on my mind. But one has to eat. “D” offered to get dinner from a restaurant but I only wanted home cooked food.

I had my trusted Peas in the freezer and the only thing that would come to my mind was Peas and Potato Curry which is a comfort food for me. And the best thing is that it gets cooked under 30 minutes and I have to do almost nothing.

So I made my favorite curry and was instantly gratified in the first bite. The next day I shared the recipe with my bestie “A” and like any best friend she promptly made it for lunch, giving me rave reviews of the curry.

So even though I did not intend to, I decided to blog about this lovely dish. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the steps I took to make this dish, like I usually do. But I hope that will not deter you from making this curry and giving me your feedback.

IMG_8589Here is the recipe (Cooking time under 30 minutes, serves 4)

1 Big Onion (roughly cut)

2 medium sized Tomatoes

2 – 3 Green chillies (optional)

1 tsp Ginger paste (you can use a small piece of Ginger if u don’t have paste)

1 tsp Garlic paste (you can use fresh if you want, if there is no paste. Just add 3 cloves)

2 Tablespoon Yogurt at room temperature

4 medium sized Potatoes chopped into chunks

1 ½ cup frozen or fresh Peas

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powder (if you don’t have green chillies increase the quantity of red chilli powder to 1 ½ tsp instead of just 1)

1 tsp Coriander powder

Salt to taste

2 tsp Oil

1 tsp Cumin seeds

Freshly chopped Coriander

Add the Onions, Tomato, Ginger, Garlic paste, Yogurt and Green chilies in a grinder. Add 1/2 cup water and blitz everything together till it makes a smooth paste (if you don’t like Coriander on top you can also add it in the grinder else just use it for garnishing)  .

Heat  oil in a Thick bottomed pan or a pressure cooker. Add 1 tsp Cumin seeds and then add the puree on a slow flame. Be careful as it will splatter on your clothes. Cover and let it cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes or till all the oil starts to separate on the top. You can actually smell the raw onion in the beginning and as it cooks the smell will disappear. This is an important step and make sure the raw smell has disappeared completely.

Once you see the oil separate and the watery gravy become thick, add chopped Potatoes and green peas. Add the salt, turmeric, Coriander and chilli powder and mix well. Letting the Potatoes soak up the colour for around 5-7 minutes. Now add 2 cups water or less and cover and cook till the Potatoes are cooked. If you are using a pressure cooker, cook it for 4 whistles. If you feel the gravy is too watery you can just remove the cover and let it cook till some of the water evaporates.

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The consistency has to be nice and thick not runny. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve on a bed of Rice.