Quick and Easy Lemon Urad Dal


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Quick and Easy Lemon Urad Dal

Sometimes of all the legumes I have stocked in my pantry, I crave split dals. I appreciate the substance they add to mixed dal dishes and soups. Those times when I feel like a brothy soup, I sometimes add just a few small handfuls to fill out a soup with more protein and substance. And then there are particular dishes that really highlight the distinct character of individual split dal, so that they shine in the dish rather than primarily serving as a backdrop.

This lemon urad dal is a perfect example.

Read this recipe »

Creamy Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Creamy Peanut Butter Cheesecake

It's a rare occasion indeed when I make something this rich and decadent, but I do enjoy cheesecake occasionally and I happen to adore peanut butter, and when you put the two ideas together, it's a heavenly combination. What I especially like about this cheesecake is how well it all comes together and also, while it is incredibly rich, it isn't actually sickeningly sweet as are many cakes that can be had from bakeries and grocery stores. Be warned, you really only need a small slice and you may want to wait awhile after you've had dinner in order to enjoy the full goodness of this dessert. I might add that it really happens to be good for you if you don't overindulge as it is full of protein and one wouldn't even need feel guilty if served up for breakfast.

Read this recipe »

Malaysian Curry Vegetable Soup (Laksa)

Malaysian Curry Vegetable Soup (Laksa)

Since I started getting more experienced in the kitchen, I have relied more and more on my own homemade spice blends and always try to get the best quality herbs and spices when possible. So I tend towards being a little mistrustful when it comes pre-made spice blends purchased from grocery stores and even from smaller stores that specialize in particular cultural cuisines.

However, I was recently offered a chance to try a few blends from RawSpiceBar. This company offers high quality whole and ground toasted spices from around the world. Free of additives, many of the spices are organic and most of the blends are salt-free, gluten-free, paleo and vegan friendly. You can get a spice subscription, and they also offer gift subscriptions and starter sets. As a home cook who recognizes the importance of high quality spices to really enhance the flavor of dishes and also one who enjoys a culinary exploration of cuisines from various cultures and traditions, I was intrigued by the vast selection, and more than delighted to try a few samples.

Of the three blends I received, the most inspiring was a Malaysian curry powder as it contained some of my favorite aromatic spices. The aroma by itself was enough to try it out right way in a vegetable-based soup to showcase and taste the results for myself. After some research, I decided to make a vegetarian laksa and began to draft a recipe. The result of my efforts was a soup that very much reminded me of many of the vegetable Thai soups I have made in the past.

I'm now eager to try more of the many spices and blends offered up by this company. If the Malaysian curry powder is any indication of the quality of the offerings, I would highly recommend you take a look around.

But back to the laksa.

Read this recipe »

Crispy Potato Wedges in a Spanish Chili Tomato Sauce (Patatas Bravas)

Crispy Potato Slices in a Spanish Chili Tomato Sauce

If asked to choose a favorite vegetable, I do believe potatoes would be high on the list of many people's preferences. For me, I find them especially satisfying during the cold winter months when more substantial food is often preferred. What I especially like about potatoes is their versatility. There are so many ways to prepare and showcase them. Appetizers and little bites, soups and salads, mains, sides and even in desserts. The title of Raghavan Iyer's most recent book celebrating the mighty spud as it is enjoyed throughout the world certainly has it right - Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked--and Fried, Too!.

Patatas Bravas is a Spanish side dish, or small plate that is a popular feature of tapas restaurants around the world. It's best served hot so the potatoes maintain their crispness when smothered with the silky, spicy and somewhat smoky sauce. The vinegar adds a tartness to the zesty tomatoes along with the heat from the chilies. Personally, sometimes I enjoy an entire tapas-style meal featuring small plates, but this makes a lovely side to fill out a meal.

Read this recipe »