Recipe index

-Basic Curry Sauce
-Bhel Puri
-Indian Vegetables
-Indian Veggie Salad
-Mattar Paneer
-Shrimp Thiyal
-Sothy with Rice Noodles
-Vegetable Curry

-Aloo Bhajee
-Aloo Tikki
-Cauliflower & Potatoes
-Indian Potatoes
-Kashmiri Potatoes
-Potato Onion Hot Pot

-Black-eyed Peas with Mushrooms
-Dhal Shorwa
-Kerala Sambar
-Thoor Dhal

-Sandwich Pakoras
-Vegetable Pakoras

-Lemon Rasam

Indian Recipes

Basic Curry Sauce

(reduce oil)

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (should look like the same amount as the garlic) (optional)
  • 2 mild fleshy green chiles, de-seeded and veined then chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste mixed with 4 Tbsp. water

Heat the oil in a heavy pan then add the chopped onion and stir for a few minutes with the heat on high. Add the ginger, garlic and green chili (if using). Stir for 30 seconds then turn the heat down to very low. Cook for 15 min stirring from time to time making sure nothing browns or burns.

Add the turmeric, cumin and coriander and cook, still very gently, for a further 5 minutes. Don't burn the spices or the sauce will taste horrid - sprinkle on a few drops of water if you're worried. Take off the heat and cool a little.

Put 4 fl oz cold water in a blender, add the contents of the pan and blend until very smooth. Add the tomato paste and water, and stir.

Put the puréed mixture back into the pan and cook for 20 - 30 minutes (the longer the better) over very low heat stirring occasionally. You can add a little hot water if it starts to stick to the pan but the idea is to gently "fry" the sauce which will darken in color to an orange-brown. The final texture should be something like good tomato ketchup.

Notes: This is the basis for many of the restaurant-style curries. The recipe makes between 8 and 9 fl oz of Sauce which is enough for 2 main course curries or a main course and some side dishes. The recipe doesn't work as well if you try to make a smaller portion. It will double nicely if you're making a number of curries but you will need to extend the cooking time a bit. If you have some sauce left over it will keep in good condition in the freezer but only for a few weeks. Even small amounts are useful for making a quick one-portion curry, it goes a long way.

Bhel Puri

  • Puffed rice (1 carton of Rice Krispies can be used)
  • 1 packet Bhel mix or Sev (this can be got at the Indian store or if inconvenient, can be left out of the recipe altogether. it just adds abit of crunch)
  • 2 cups mashed boiled potatoes (mashed coarsely and then salted)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 3 Tbsp freshly roasted and ground cumin to taste
  • Green chiles (I use crushed red peppers and they taste as good)
  • 1-2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • tamarind to taste
  • jaggery (or brown sugar)
  • 1 cup chopped onions

First boil the potatoes, mash them coarsely, salt them and add pepper to taste. Add some coriander leaves too. Roast the cumin and grind it. Dissolve about 4 Tbsp of tamarind concentrate in 1 cup of hot water, and let it simmer and thicken gradually. Dissolve in the jaggery or sugar until the sauce becomes tart and slightly sweet (be sure to get more taste of the sweet than the tanginess of the tamarind). Add about 1 1/2 tsp of salt and ground red paprika according to your taste. The sauce should thicken to a consistency slightly thinner than maple syrup. Pour into a serving container. Mix the puffed rice and sev/bhel mix in a large bowl. On a plate, serve the rice-bhel mix, add the potatoes, then the onions, chiles, and then dust the cumin powder over it. Next pour on the sauce and top with coriander garnish. (add salt/pepper to taste)


  • 2 C. Rice (white or Basmati)
  • 2 1/4 C. Water
  • 1/3 C. Margarine or vegetable oil
  • 1 Large onion
  • 1 Large tomato
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp. Ginger, chopped
  • 6 Green chiles
  • 1/4 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Fennel seeds, crushed
  • 5 Cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 C. cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 C. Mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 C. Cauliflower
  • 1 C. Carrots
  • 1/2 C. Green peas (dried)

Soak the rice at least 2 to 4 hours in water. Cut the onion in julienne strips (thin long strips). Chop and grind the tomato coarsely. Grind ginger, green chiles, and garlic in 1/4 C. of water. Grind (crush) fennel, cinnamon and cloves in spice or crush it with rolling pin on the cutting board. Heat a heavy large pot (3 or 4 qt.). Add oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until lightly browned. Add the ginger mixture and sauté for about 1 min. Add tomato and cook for 2 min. Add turmeric and cinnamon mixture and cook for 1 min. Add the green peas and cook for 2 min. Drain the water from the rice and add the rice and sauté for 3 to 5 min over medium heat. Add 2 cups of water, salt, cilantro and mint leaves. Add the cauliflower and carrots. Bring the water to boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer until the rice is cooked (takes about 30 to 45 min).

Indian Vegetables

  • Cauliflower (parboiled), peas, beans, or carrots
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2-3 green chiles, chopped
  • sprig of coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds

In a wok or non-stick pan, heat the oil. Add mustard seeds and cumin till they splutter. Add green chiles and turmeric.

Add vegetables. Mix well. After a few minutes, add garam masala powder. Mix well and take off the heat.

Indian Veggie Salad

  • 250 gm yogurt
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 5-6 green beans
  • 1/4 C. cauliflower flowerets
  • Some cabbage (shredded)
  • 1/2 small carrot (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin (Jeera) seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. green chili (chopped)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fresh coriander (chopped)
  • 1/4 C. cream
  1. Whisk the yogurt.
  2. Chop the onion and tomato.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the cumin seeds, stir until they begin to crackle.
  4. Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. (stir the vegetable to avoid browning)
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Return to the heat and add the yogurt, coriander and half the cream. Bring to boil.
  6. Stir in the remaining cream and season with salt.

Mattar Paneer
(Curried Peas and Cottage Cheese)

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 10 oz. frozen peas
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 4 Tbsp. oil for frying
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1 lb. paneer
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 inch cube ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 C. water

Cut paneer in 1-inch cubes and deep fry. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add ginger and garlic when the oil is hot and fry for 2 minutes. Add onions and stir until the onions turn translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric and the remaining oil and stir for a couple of minutes. Add peas and paneer and water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer to reduce the water by half. Sprinkle garam masala and serve.

Shrimp Thiyal

Yield: 8 servings

  • 2 lbs. Large shrimp
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind concentrate
  • 2 Tbsp. hot water
  • 1/2 C. grated unsweetened coconut, ground finer in blender or food processor
  • 1/2 C. onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • water as needed
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 C. water

Spice Mixture

  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves or 4 bay leaves
  • 4 dried red peppers
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Shell and devein shrimp, set aside.

In small bowl, dissolve tamarind concentrate in hot water and set aside.

In a wok or large frying pan, over medium-high heat toast coconut and 1/2 C. onion in 1 Tbsp. oil, stirring constantly, until coconut is dark brown. In a food processor or blender, process mixture into fine paste, using as little water as possible. Set aside.

In same wok or pan, wiped clean, over medium-high heat, fry 1 C. onion in 2 Tbsp. oil until soft. Stir in 1 C. water, spice mixture, green chili, and salt. Turn heat down to medium, add shrimp, and cook 5 min. Add coconut mixture and tamarind to shrimp, simmer 5 min or until shrimp is opaque. Remove from heat.

In small covered frying pan over medium-high heat, heat mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red peppers in 1 Tbsp. oil until mustard seeds begin to pop. Pour contents of skillet over shrimp and stir. Taste for salt.

Sothy with Rice Noodles

Yield: 4 Servings
from Food and Wine

  • 1 1/2 C. canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 C. thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 serrano or Thai chiles, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/8 tsp. turmeric
  • 14 curry leaves
  • Salt
  • Water
  • 8 oz. rice sticks (see Note)
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the coconut milk with the shallots, serrano chiles and turmeric. Add 8 of the curry leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of water and simmer over moderate heat until thick and the shallots are softened, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk and bring just to a simmer. Cover and remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice sticks and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, return to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain well and divide the noodles among 4 bowls.
  3. In a small skillet, combine the oil, mustard seeds, dried red chile and the remaining 6 curry leaves. Cover and cook over moderately high heat until the mustard seeds pop. Stir the spice mixture into the sauce along with the lime juice and a generous pinch of salt. Spoon the sauce over the warm rice noodles and serve immediately.

NOTE: This Sri Lankan dish, a coconut curry, is usually served with homemade rice noodles called iddyappam, but rice sticks make a simple substitute. It's important to get rice sticks the thickness of angel hair pasta, between vermicelli and fine spaghetti.

Vegetable Curry

(reduce oil)

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 head cauliflower - washed, cut into small florets and dried (or other vegetables as desired)
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin seed
  • One-third to one-half a batch of Basic Curry Sauce
  • salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan over a moderate heat. Add the cauliflower florets in the pan and stir-fry until the cauliflower begins to brown. Sprinkle the chile powder, turmeric, coriander and cumin over the cauliflower and stir-fry for a minute to mix in and warm the spices. Add the Basic Curry Sauce and salt and simmer on a low heat until the cauliflower is just cooked.


Aloo Bhajee

(reduce oil)

  • 1 lb potatoes, washed, boiled in water with their skins on until just soft; then cooled
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 6 - 10 thin green chiles, de-seeded and coarsely sliced (I used a small can of Ortega green chiles)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. hot chile powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • salt to taste
  1. Remove the skins from the potatoes and cut into approximately 1" dice. Cut the onion in half down through the growing tip to the root end. Cut each half into 1/8" thick slices.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add the onion slices, cumin and mustard seeds and stir for a few minutes. Add the crushed garlic and chiles, stir and fry for a minute then turn the heat down to low. Add the ginger, turmeric, chili powder and coriander and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the diced potatoes and salt. Mix gently until the potato pieces are covered in oil and spices. Cook on a low heat for another 15 minutes stirring very gently (so as not to break up the potatoes) from time to time.
  4. Serve garnished with more sliced green chiles.

Aloo Tikki

by Madhur Jaffrey

  • 4 large potatoes (2.5 lbs)
  • 3 thick slices country white bread soaked in water for 15 mins until crusts are mushy
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped chili
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

Boil, then peel, then mash the potatoes. Squeeze as much water out of the bread mush as you can. Squish it between sheets of kitchen paper. Mix the potatoes and bread with the rest of the ingredients. Coat your hands with oil and form patties. Flatten slightly (3" diameter, 3/4" thick). You can then deep fry them or just fry them on both sides in abundant hot oil. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with ketchup and chutneys.

Phool Gobi Aur Aloo Ki Bhaji
Cauliflower with Potatoes

(reduce oil)

Serves 4-6

  • 1/2 lb (225g) potatoes
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower (you need 1 lb (450g) of flowerets)
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2-1 fresh, hot green chili, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Boil the potatoes in their jackets and allow them to cool completely -I usually cook them in the microwave. (Day-old cooked potatoes that have refrigerated work well.) Peel the potatoes and cut them into 3/4"(2cm) dice.

Break up the cauliflower into chunky flowerets about 1 1/2 " across at the head and about 1 1/2 " long. Soak the flowerets in water for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large preferably non-stick frying pan over a medium flame. When hot, put in the whole cumin seeds and let them sizzle for 3-4 seconds. Now put in the cauliflower and stir it about for 2minutes. Let the cauliflower brown in spots. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about 4-6 minutes or until cauliflower is almost done but still has a hint of crispness.

Put in the diced potatoes, ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, green chili, ground roasted cumin, salt and some black pepper. Stir gently to mix. Continue to cook uncovered on low heat for another 3 minutes or until potatoes are heated through. Stir gently as you do so.

Madhur Jaffrey describes this as "a kind of comforting homey dish that most North Indians enjoy - it has no sauce and is generally eaten with a bread."

Indian Potatoes

(use nonfat sour cream, no butter)

  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. yellow asafetida powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 3 C. sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  1. Boil the potato slices in lightly salted water in a saucepan until they are cooked but firm. Remove and drain.
  2. Add the olive oil to a medium sauce pan, over moderate heat and when hot, add the asafetida. Sauté momentarily; add the rosemary, pepper, and turmeric and stir briefly. Add the sour cream, melted butter, salt and water. Whisk it into a smooth sauce and remove from the heat.
  3. Combine the potato slices and sour cream sauce in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle with paprika, and place in the top of a preheated (200 C) oven. Bake for 30 min or until the top is golden brown. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.

Kashmiri Potatoes

  • 1 kg medium size potatoes, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chile powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp. asafetida, optional
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (2 cm) stick cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 C. buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. cashew nuts, crushed
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste

Prick the potatoes with a fork. Heat oil and fry them to a golden brown. Keep aside. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a pan and fry cumin seeds. Add all the masala powders, asafetida, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon and the bay leaf. Cook till golden brown. Put in the fried potatoes and the buttermilk. Add the salt and 1 cup of water. Cook in a tightly covered vessel till potatoes are tender. Sprinkle water occasionally if required. Serve garnished with crushed nuts.

Potato and Onion Hot Pot Salad

(use nonfat yogurt, reduce oil)

Baby potatoes and baby onions cooked in curd (plain yogurt)
Yield: Four servings


  • 12 baby potatoes, boiled
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. green chili-ginger paste
  • 10 g mint leaves, chopped fine
  • 3 Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • salt to taste


  • 12 baby onions, parboiled
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 3 Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • salt to taste
  1. To prepare the potatoes: heat oil and season with cumin seeds. Add baby potatoes, green chili-ginger paste, mint leaves, yogurt and salt. Sauté till the yogurt almost absorbed and potatoes are evenly coated with spices.
  2. To prepare the onions: heat oil and brown cumin Seeds. Add the parboiled baby onions, chili powder, garlic paste, yogurt and salt to taste. Sauté till the yogurt gets absorbed and onions are evenly coated with spices. Mix both the vegetables roughly before serving.


Black-eyed Beans with Mushrooms and Tomatoes
Lobhla aur Khumbi

(reduce oil)

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1/2 lb (225g) dried blackeyed peas, picked over, washed, and drained
  • 2 pints (1.15 litres) water
  • 1 lb (225g) fresh mushrooms
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • A 1 inch (2.5cm) stick of cinnamon
  • 5 oz (150g) onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 14 oz (400g) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander/cilantro (fresh parsley may be substituted)

Put the beans and water into a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit, covered and undisturbed, for 1 hour. While the pot is resting, cut the mushrooms through their stems into 1/8 inch (3mm) thick slices.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high flame. When hot, put in the whole cumin seeds and the cinnamon stick. Let them sizzle for 5-6 seconds. Now put in the onions and garlic. Stir and fry until the onion pieces turn brown at the edges. Put in the mushrooms. Stir and fry until the mushrooms wilt. Now put in the tomatoes, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric and cayenne. Stir and cook for a minute. Cover, turn heat to low and let this mixture cook in its own juices for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat under the frying pan. Bring the beans to a boil again. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until beans are tender To this bean and water mixture, add the mushroom mixture, salt, black pepper, and fresh coriander. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, on medium-low heat for another 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick before serving.

Serve with rice or Indian breads.

Dhal Shorwa
Spiced Dhal Soup

  • 100 grams channa dhal
  • 1 1/2 pints water
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 3 dried red chiles
  • 1 Tbsp. shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbsp. ghee
  • 8 oz. tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. tamarind water (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • lemon slices and sprigs of coriander to garnish

Wash the dhal thoroughly in several changes of water. Put the dhal into a pan with 1 pint of water (600 ml). Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until tender.

Grind the cumin, coriander, fenugreek, chiles and coconut in a small coffee or electric grinder or by hand. Heat the ghee in a heavy pan or griddle and add the mixture and fry, stirring, for 30 seconds. Set aside.

Mash or liquify the dhal and transfer to a large saucepan. Stir in the tomatoes, spices, turmeric, tamarind juice, if using, salt and remaining water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 min. Taste and adjust seasoning and turn into a warmed serving dish. Garnish with lemon slices and coriander sprigs and serve hot.

Kerala Sambar

(reduce oil)

Yield: 4 Servings
From Food and Wine

  • 1/2 C. thoor dhal or yellow split peas (3 1/2 ounces), rinsed in several changes of water
  • 3 1/4 C. water
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. asafetida
  • 1/4 lb. okra, trimmed
  • 1 medium boiling potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 C. cilantro leaves
  • 1 serrano or Thai chile, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp.salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. tamarind concentrate, dissolved in 1 Tbsp. boiling water
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 8 curry leaves or 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the dhal with 1 1/4 cups of water and 1/8 teaspoon of the turmeric and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until soft, about 30 minutes (45 minutes for yellow split peas). Partially mash the dhal with a potato masher.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the fenugreek and asafetida and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant and lightly colored, about 1 minute. Add the okra, potato, tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano chile, coriander, salt, cumin, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric, dissolved tamarind, cayenne and black pepper along with the remaining 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 18 minutes. Add the mashed dhal and simmer 10 minutes longer.
  3. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chile. Cover and cook over moderately high heat until the mustard seeds have popped for a few seconds, then stir into the vegetable and dhal mixture. Add the lemon juice and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 up to 1 day ahead.

Thoor Dhal with Tomato and Onion

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 C. thoor dhal (7 ounces)
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 1/2 C. water
  • 2 serrano or Thai chiles, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves or 2 bay leaves
  • 2 dried red chiles
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the thoor dhal and turmeric with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Add the serrano chiles, onion, garlic and ginger and simmer until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and salt and simmer until the tomato is softened.
  2. In a small skillet, combine the oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chiles. Cover and cook over moderately high heat until the seeds pop. Stir the spices into the dhal and serve with rice.


Pakoras are popular spiced, batter-dipped, deep-fried, vegetables that make perfect snacks or hors d'oeuvres. Ghee is the preferred medium for frying pakoras, although you can use nut or vegetable oil. Serve hot pakoras with your favourite chutney or dip. Try batter-frying various types of vegetables. Cauliflower pakoras are probably the most popular, but equally delicious are potato rings, zucchini chunks, spinach leaves, pumpkin slices, eggplant rings, baby tomatoes, sweet potatoes, red or green pepper slices, asparagus tips, and artichoke hearts. Cook pakoras slowly to ensure that the batter and the vegetables cook simultaneously. You needn't precook the vegetables.



  • 1/2 cup Besan
  • 5 oz Warm water
  • 1/4 tsp Red pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • Paprika (optional)
  • 1 Small onion
  • 1 Potato
  • A few spinach leaves
  • Oil for deep frying

In a bowl put the besan and half the water and stir until it becomes a thick batter. Beat hard for 5 minutes. Gradually add the rest of the water, and leave to swell for 30 minutes. Add salt, pepper and Garam Masala and beat again. Wash peel and slice the onion and potatoes. Wash and pat dry the spinach leaves. Heat oil until smoking hot, dip the vegetables in the batter and deep fry until golden brown. Serve hot.

Sandwich Pakoras

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 small loaf bread, sliced
  • 100 gms. flour (maida)
  • 300 gms. boiled potatoes
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 tblsp, ginger-green chili paste
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • garlic chutney or tomato ketchup as required
  • salt to taste
  • string
  • oil as required

Mash the potatoes well. Add onion, ginger-chili paste, pepper, coriander, garam masala, sugar and salt. Stir in lime juice and mix thoroughly to make a smooth paste. Set aside. Sift flour with 1/4 tsp of salt. Add enough water to make a light batter of coating consistency. Set aside. Cut off bread crusts. Take two slices, put 1 Tbsp. of the potato paste on one, and 1 tsp of garlic chutney or tomato ketchup on the other. Sandwich filled sides together and secure firmly with a string. Dip in flour batter and deep-fry in hot oil as you would for pakoras. Serve hot.

Vegetable Pakoras

YIELD: 2 dozen large or 3 dozen medium pakoras

  • 2/3 cup (165 ml) chickpea flour
  • 2/3 cup (165 ml) plain flour
  • 2/3 cup (165 ml) self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons (12 ml) salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
  • 1 teaspoon (7 ml) turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoons (7 ml) ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • about 2 cups (625 ml) cold water, or enough to make a smooth batter
  • bite-sized vegetable pieces of your choice
  • ghee or oil for deep-frying
  1. Combine the flours, salt, powdered spices, and green chiles in a bowl. Mix well with a wire whisk.
  2. Slowly add cold water while whisking the batter until it achieves the consistency of medium-light cream. When you dip the vegetable in the batter, it should be completely coated but neither thick and heavy nor runny and thin. Have extra flour and water on hand to adjust the consistency as required. Let the batter sit for 10 to15 minutes.
  3. Heat fresh ghee or oil, to the depth of 6.5-7.5 cm (2-3 inches),in a wok or deep-frying vessel until the temperature reaches about 180 degreesC/345-355 degrees F. Dip 5 or 6 pieces of vegetable in the batter and, one at a time, carefully slip them into the hot oil.
  4. The temperature will fall, but try to maintain it between 173-180degrees C (345-355 degrees F) throughout the frying. Fry until the pakoras are golden brown, turning to cook them evenly on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Continue cooking until all the pakoras are done. Serve immediately or keep warm, uncovered, in a preheated cool oven for up to 1/2 hour.


Lemon Rasam

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 gram dhal
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 green chiles
  • 1-inch piece ginger, scraped and shredded
  • 3/4 tsp. peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 C. water
  • 1 small bunch coriander leaves chopped fine for garnishing
  • Salt to taste

For tempering

  • 2 tsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. asafoetida powder, optional
  • 1 red chili halved
  • a few curry leaves

Pressure cook (or cook in ordinary pot - just takes longer!) the red gram dhal, set aside. Grind together the ginger and green chiles, set aside. Powder the cumin seeds and peppercorns, set aside. Add to the cooked dhal 1 1/2 cups water, salt, turmeric powder, chili paste, and bring to the boil on a low heat. Heat the ghee and add all the ingredients for tempering. Add also the pepper-cumin seed powder. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the dhal mixture. Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice.

Garlic and Pepper Soup

(reduce oil)

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • 50 grams toor dhal (yellow split peas)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 12 peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin seed
  • 10 grams tamarind pulp soaked in 1 Tbsp. warm water for 10 min
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 25 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • Pinch asafetida
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • Chopped cilantro to serve

Combine tomato with 3 cups water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes or until very soft. Combine split peas, turmeric, peppercorns, half the cumin seeds and 2 C. water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer about 20 min or until split peas are mushy, adding extra water if necessary, then add to tomato mixture. Strain tamarind mixture, with lightly crushed cloves of garlic and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until garlic is tender. Season to taste with salt. Heat oil in a small saucepan, add mustard and remaining cumin seeds, garlic paste, asafetida, and curry leaves and cook until the seeds begin to pop, then stir into soup. Serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro.