Dakshin paneer do pyaaza

Regional flavours of India are truely amazing. The same type of dish will taste differently in every state of India. The secret lies in the spices of course. Each state and sometimes even cities have some favourite spice which is dominant in most dishes. Todays recipe is the do pyaaza. Almost every indian is familiar with this dish where onion is used in 2 forms, a ground paste of onions as well as sliced onions. In todays recipe, I have used whole shallots ( also called sambhar onions) as well as sliced onions. The Dakshin or southern twist is in the simple masala made dominantly with udad dal also known as black lentils. Udad dal rules southern India where its use in almost all idli and dosa preparation is extensive. Using Paneer in this dish gives it a north Indian twist.

Growing up in Pune, my knowledge of south Indian food was limited to dosa, idli and medu wada. Going to Priya restaurant for these treats was often, and something to look forward to. The fragrance of food as you entered this small and cozy restaurant on main street was mouth watering . Of course, the waiters would always direct us to go upstairs where it was for families and ladies only.

My interest in cooking led me to try out different dishes from all over India, leaving a medly of recipes in my cookbook. Spices in the south use udad dal which is roasted slowly and powdered with red chillies and asafoetida, peppercorns etc. Aside from the mainstays,South India also has a huge variety of delicious vegetatarian and non vegetarian food.

Todays recipe is based on chettinad style of cooking. Please do try this simple dish and serve with chappaties or adai rotis made with rice flour.

Ingredients

200 gms paneer cut into cubes

15 shallots

1 sliced onion

2 sprigs of curry leaves

1 tbsp tamarind paste

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 th tsp hing/ asafoetida

2 or 3 dry red chillies

15 black peppercorns

1 tbsp split udad dal

Corriander leaves to garnish

Method

1. Dry roast together, udad dal, black peppercorns and dry red chillies. When the dal turns a light golden brown, shut the flame and keep aside to cool. Grind into a fine powder and keep aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add mustard seeds , hing and curry leaves.

3. Now add whole shallots and stir fry on a low flame till the out skin of the shallots starts turning soft and light golden…about 4 to 5 mins.

4. Add the paneer and stir fry further for 5 mins and add sliced onions. Also add the tamarind paste.

5. Add salt to taste and powdered spice mixture. Mix well.

6. Cook further for few mins and add chopped corriander leaves.

Serve hot.

Coconut Dal

The indian comfort food which we all have grown up with is Dal and chawal, right from  the time when we are babies, we are fed dal and khicadi, wholesome food and protein packed. Dal or lentils, as it is known in the west is a must at almost every meal in India. It is the source of protein for most vegetarians. There being a vast variety of lentils, each having a different texture after being cooked , gives options to the home makers in giving a varied menu to her family,. Of course each region or for that matter home, will surely have their own favourite dal. The south indians, love their sambhars and rasams both made of Tur dal or split pigeon peas, but having a different texture, while a sambhar is thick , rasams are like a thin spicy broth. The north Indians love the whole moong dal , which is cooked to a creamy thick consistency and  served in the Gurudwara at langars, which is a community kitchen where meals are served free of charge.And so on, the ways of cooking the humble lentils differ from state to state, in some parts of India, dal is cooked on a charcoal flame or sigris, for a few hours gently simmering away to give a beautiful aromatic and creamy result.  Dal is mostly eaten with rice or sometimes with some indian flat bread like chappatis or parathas. The Indians love their dal, to the extent of incorporating it into their desserts like the maharashtrain puran poli, which is an Indian flatbread stuffed with a boiled and mashed chana dal which has jaggery and cardamon powder added to it, when well made it literally melts in the mouth. And the Bengal moong daaler payesh which has a creamy consistency and is made with milk, moong dal and jaggery.

Dal in the sindhi home which has received world wide fame is  the Dal Pakwan,  a dish of simple boiled chana dal topped with a sweet and sour chutney and onion relish or kechumbo as its called in sindhi and served with a pakwan which is a cummin flavoured flat bread deep fried to a crunchy crispness. The pleasure derived in every bite of the contrasting textures is what  has made this breakfast dish so popular. Today I will share with you a simple coconut dal recipe, It is a recipe given in our cooking group, by our group member Neetu. I have tweaked the recipe a little and made a few changes. Do try this amazing dal, which can be eaten with rice or phulkas. The addition of coconut  cream takes its texture to a new level..

Coconut Dal

Ingredients.

1/2 cup yellow moong dal, soaked and boiled to a mushy consistency.

6 tbsps of fresh grated coconut

4 dry red chillies, broken into pieces

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3 tbsps coconut cream [ I used kara]

2 tbsps coconut oil

Ingredients for tempering

1 sliced big onion

3  whole dry red chillies

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cummin seeds

1/4 tsp hing or asafoetida

A sprig of curry leaves

1 tbsp of ghee

Method..

Boil and mash the dal, keep on a simmer.

In another pan,add coconut oil and grated coconut.. saute for a while and add the broken red chillie and garlic, saute till fragrant. grind this mixture with a little water till smooth and add to the dal along with the turmeric powder,IMG-20170812-WA0053 season to taste with salt.

At this point, your dal will be a pretty peach colour., simmer for abt 5 mins more.

Add coconut cream, check the consistency  of the dal which should not be watery .

Next, heat ghee in a seperate small pan and add mustard and cummin seeds to the hot ghee, also add the sliced onions, curry leaves, hing and whole red chillies.. saute till fragrant and add  this tempering to the simmering dal.

Serve dal with rice or phulkas.. enjoy.