India is such a hot topic these days with India's rise
as an economic giant. It is also hard to ignore what
is one of the world's most important and influential
cuisines. The British may have conquered India politically
but India had conquered Britain with its food with 70%
of British household having Indian food on a regular
basis. In this section, we will present articles on
Indian cuisine and food.
this page, we present interesting recepies for a few
may check out other interesting recepies
for desi cuisine online
- India's Super Food - Healthy, tasty and good for the environment
what chicken soup is in the west - comforting food. Dals or
lentils, peas and beans are cooked practically (twice) daily
in almost every Indian home, vegetarian or not. Each region
has its own favorites and cooking methods. Dals can range
from spicy-sweet to scorching hot, soup like or thick creamed
consistency or dry like a pilaf.
The world of dal in India is truly one of India's culinary
gem. Most dals do not need soaking. Roasted or oil sizzled
cumin seeds add an extra dimension to dal and aids in digestion
Pulses are the main source of protein in India. For India's
mainly vegetarian population pulses are a vital part of the
diet. For non vegetarians, pulses offer an alternative source
of protein without the fat but with a lot of fiber. Beans
and lentils are rich in complex carbohydrates, iron, vitamins
and minerals. Beans and other legumes have all the nutrients
now recognized as important in preventing heart disease, cancer
Dal is fat free and nature has designed it to absorb various
combinations of seasonings and spices. The tempering, or seasoning,
is what makes the dal come alive and transforms it into a
A Good for the Environmental Food
In her book, The State of the Environment Atlas, Joni Seager
states, 'In cycling our grain through livestock, we waste
90 percent of its protein and 96 percent of its calories.
An acre of legumes (beans, lentils, peas) can produce ten
times as much more protein than an acre devoted to meat production.
Thus the greater the human consumption of animal products,
the fewer people can be fed
The other factors that make lentils look good environmentally
is when we factor in the amount of water required to grow
lentils vs. meat, methane (a global warming gas) released
by cattle and the forests lost to cattle ranching. Lentils
have a far reaching effect on the future lifestyle of mankind.
of Beans, Lentils, Legumes, Pulses, Dal
are over 1000 legumes species. Pulses and legumes are in the
class of vegetables that includes beans, peas, lentils and
garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. Beans and Lentils have been
found in 5,000 year old settlements in the eastern Mediterranean
and Mesopotamia, in Egyptian pyramids, Hungarian caves, Britain
and Switzerland. Even earlier civilizations like Peruvian
Indians, Middle Eastern and east Indian civilizations.. Beans
and lentils are thought to have originated from the wild lentils
that still grow in India, Turkey and other Middle Eastern
peas, chickpeas and lentils are produced and consumed mainly
in Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and the Middle
East but because of interest in international cuisines, healthier
diets and the desire to use herbs, spices and seasonings and
low amounts of fat there is a new interest in beans and lentils.
have been eating legumes for thousands of years and these
foods are the main source of protein for people in many cultures
all over the world.
ARE LEGUMES (Beans and Lentils)?
or Pulses: the edible seed of certain leguminous plants' that
are from products Chickpeas, beans, lentils, peas and split
peas. Leguminous plants provide a valuable source of protein
for people and they that fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil,
which make them important for the environment. Beans and Lentils
are very low in fat and high in fiber and are frequently referred
to as a wonder food.
and pulses are classified into three groups: beans, peas and
lentils. They are eaten either whole or un-hulled (with the
skin still intact) or split in half with or without their
skins. In the west especially in USA long cooking beans are
popular. But if you want to make pulses part of your regular
diet (as it is tasty and healthy) try India's two moong dal
favorites - yellow moong and black moong (urad dal). These
dals cook quickly and are easy to digest because they are
low in the complex sugars that are not easily broken down
by the human digestive enzymes.
Initiation - New to Beans?
are a vegetarian and want to get the full nutritional benefit
of dal, gradually increase your consumption until you are
consuming at least three to four cups of cooked dal or lentils
per week. Also add rice, grains, yogurt to your meal so you
have all the amino acids or complete protein needs.
and lentils store best in dry airtight containers at room
temperature. Do not store dry bean in the refrigerator.
Once cooked, beans can be kept in the refrigerator in a covered
container for up to 5 days and in an airtight container in
the freezer for up to six months.
Beans and lentils can be stored indefinitely.
Always rinse and sort beans before cooking. Beans and lentils
can have very small stones but this is rare. Small stones
are difficult to remove from beans and lentils commercially
because stones are organic and have to be removed by human
Beans provide an economical source of vegetable protein, complex
carbohydrates, dietary fiber and vitamens.
Carbohydrates : 43g
Fat : 1g
Protein : 16g
Calcium : 52mg
Iron : 5.5mg
Sodium : 4mg
Potassium : 754mg
Dietary Fiber : 6.7g
Dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas are low in fat and
good sources of protein, starch ,fiber iron, calcium and minerals.
Insoluble fiber is found in peas, beans and lentils, wheat
bran, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and breads. Insoluble
fiber speeds up the passage of food through the intestine
and helps in improving regularity. Insoluble fiber is believed
have a role in the prevention of colon cancer. Lentils contain
mostly insoluble fiber, while beans and peas contain both
soluble and insoluble fiber.
Found in beans, peas, chickpeas, oat bran, fruits and lentils.
Soluble fiber stays as a gel inside the digestive system and
is thought to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and delay
entry of sugar into the blood stream.
Beans and lentils are rich in the B vitamin, folic acid. Folic
acid is important at the time of conception and after conception
by women and low amounts of folic acid could put the fetus
at risk of Neural Tube Defects.
Pulses are an excellent source of potassium which contributes
to a regular heart beat, regulates transfer of nutrients to
cells, controls water balance and helps regulate blood pressure.
Pulses are good sources of niacin, thiamin, panthothenic acid
and pyridoxine, necessary for healthy brain and nerve cells,
for normal functioning of the skin nerves and digestive system
in the chemical reactions of the amino acids and proteins.
Pulses are good sources of vegetable protein which must be
combined with a complementary protein to become a complete
protein containing the nine essential amino acids. Beans and
Lentils, when combined with nuts, seeds, rice or grains, fulfill
the requirements of a complete protein.
Protein is required by the body for enzymes, antibodies, transport
vehicles, cellular pumps, tendons, ligaments, scars, cores
of bone and teeth, filaments of hair, materials of nails and
Traditional Complementary Protein Combinations
and South America
are Moong Dal Whole, Urad Dal Whole, Urad Dal Chlka, Tuvar
Dal/Toovar Dal/Toor Dal, Makhan Urad Dal without skin, Kala
Channa, Kabuli Chana, Moong Dal Split and without Skin, Masoor
Dal, Channa Dal, and Rajma
sample for Louki Chana Dal
1 cup Chanadal, soaked for 1 hour
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp. ginger paste
3 young zucchini peeled and cubed
½ tsp. of garam masala
3 Tbsp. ghee or vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds (jeera)
1-2 whole red chillies
1/2 tsp. asafoetida (hing)
2 tsp. ground coriander powder
(I sometimes add a tablespoon of sweet coconut to my dish-
this is optional but it makes this dish just wonderful - Kavita)
½ Tbsp. fresh lime juice
salt to taste
For the garnish - 4 Tbsp. chopped cilantro.
Pick through the dal and wash it. Drain the water. Add 3 cups
of water to a heavy pot and add dal, 1 Tbsp. of ghee or oil,
turmeric, ginger and salt to taste. Boil the dal. Reduce heat.
Add zucchini and garam masala (add coconut - optional) and
let it simmer.
As dal is simmering, heat ghee in a small sauce pan and fry
cumin seeds and red chillies till they brown. Add asafoetida,
coriander powder and fry the seasonings for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the seasonings into dal and let it continue to simmer
on low until the zucchini is butter soft. Adjust the water
so that the dal has the consistency you like( from soup like
consistency to thick soup, pour over dal or to eat with flat
Add lime juice and garnish with chopped cilantro.
(Dal and Vegetable Soup)
1 cup Split Moongdal
8 cups water
2 bay leaves
1" cinnamon stick
1 tsp. turmeric powder (Optional)
1 Tbsp. butter
10 oz. or more vegetables of your choice ( washed and cubed)
1 tomato chopped
1 Tbsp.ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp.cumin seeds (Optional)
2 dried chilies
1 tsp.ginger paste
1 Tbsp.chopped cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
1. Clean and wash the dal. Drain. Set aside.
2. Combine water, salt, bay leaves, cinnamon in a sauce pan/crock
pot and boil.
3. Add dal to boiling water.
4. Lower to medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes.
5. When dal becomes tender, remove froth that collects on
6. Add butter, turmeric powder.
7. For the seasoning,
Heat 2 Tbsp. of ghee in a small pan, add cumin seeds and red
Stir once. Add ginger paste and fry for 5 seconds.
8. Pour seasoning into the dal.
9. Drop in cut vegetables and tomato, replace lid and cook
until vegetables are tender.
11. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
12. Serve dal soup with rice or bread.
Masoor and Greens Dal from Punjab
1 1/2 cups masoor (split red lentils) dal
2 cups boiled greens (spincah,fenugreek leaves and cilantro)
1 chopped onion
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. amchur (mango powder) powder
1 chopped tomato
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
3/4 tsp. chili powder
3 tbsp. ghee (clarified butter)
Salt according to taste
ground into a paste:
6 cloves garlic
6 green chilies
1/2 tsp. ginger
1.Cook the dal separately with 2 cups of water.
2.Heat the Ghee(clarified butter) in a pan, add the onion
and cumin seeds and fry for at least 2 minutes.
3.Add the cooked dal, the greens, amchur (mango powder) powder,
tomato, turmeric powder, chili powder, paste and salt and
cook for a few minutes.
article copyright to Indian Foods Company, authored by
Kavita Mehta, was originally published in indianfoodsco.com