Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lentil powder to flavor veggie stir fries and rice dishes

I am notorious for making different rice dishes as quick one pot meals. Cook some rice, use some frozen veggies, mix them together with some spices. If you have this kind of powder ready, you can make a one pot meal in a jiffy. I have a distant relative who, when called is always late or they might not even show up. I never cook anything for them when they say they are coming. When they pull up their car on the drive way, I start to cook the rice. Always have frozen veggies in the freezer. I just mix them up and add some kind of spice powder to make an one pot meal.
My mother always used Vangibhath powder to flavor the rice if she is making some rice dish with vegetables. I do that too sometimes. But, that powder has many spices that are aromatic and strong that can interfere with the flavors of some vegetables. When I saw the recipe for this powder in a book, I was intrigued since it had moong dal in it. I have not seen any powder with moong dal in it. It is usually chana dal and urad dal. I tweaked the recipe and here is what I came up with. A very flavorful lentil powder that you can use to make plain stir fries more interesting.
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Ingredients: 
Chana dal / Dehusked, split chickpea - 1 cup
Urad dal / Dehusked, split blackgram - 1 cup
Moong dal / Dehusked, split mung beans - 1 cup
Coriander Seeds - 1/2 cup
Red chillies (whole) - 2 cups
Asafoetida - Pea size or about 1/2 tsp if using powder (optional - See Notes)
Turmeric - 2 tsp

Method:
In a skillet, dry roast each dal/lentil separately until golden. Set aside. In the same pan, dry roast coriander seeds until they smell toasty and start popping here and there. Set aside. Roast the red chillies. Don't let them blacken. The entire roasting needs to be done by frequent and constant stirring. They brown pretty fast and the burned smell is not a nice one. When cool enough to handle, powder all of them together along with asafoetida and turmeric in a dry grinder or a mixie. It need not make very smooth powder. A little coarse powder would do just fine. I actually sifted the powder through a medium holed sifter. Mix well and store in an air tight container. Use within 4 months.

To use:
You could use this powder to flavor the stir fries or the rice dish with veggies. If using it for flavoring the stir fry, use about 1 TBSP for every 4 cups of veggies. When vegetables are cooked, add this powder and mix. Use more if you feel it is not strong enough. For flavoring the rice, for every cup of uncooked rice, when mixing with other vegetables, use about 2 - 3 TBSP of this powder. You could either use lime or lemon to give the tang to the dish or skip it if you have used tomatoes as part of the veggies.

Notes:
If you are among those people who add garlic to everything, omit asfoetida. Garlic and Asafoetida/hing do not go together. You could however make this without and add garlic or hing to whatever dish you make separately. We don't use garlic for everything so I added hing.

Enjoy.
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21 comments:

  1. seems very versatile, thanks for sharing!

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  2. Definitely these kind of spice powders are definitely handy,i do prepare quite often a variety of spice powders too..Quite a versatile spice powder..

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  3. My mother-in-law always uses the podi's in her cooking. She will vary the podi and change its texture totally. I love the podi and use it a lot in sambar.

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  4. this is new to me , love the spoon , whr did u get it from ? podi looks delicious, we make one with mustard and fenugreek to add to tamarind rice etc

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  5. never made or used lentil powder but DH loves the fiery hot gun powder with rice. this sounds nice...love that quick rice meal idea.

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  6. Wow.. this is a lovely idea. Bookmarking your recipe :)

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  7. this is a terrific entry. But you don't recommend adding any liquid to a dish when you add the lentil powder to it?

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    1. Mindy,
      No, we usually cook rice and add it to the stir fry of veggies with this powder. It is more like a seasoning. No liquid is necessary.

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  8. are you quite sure that you mean TWO cups of red chiles to a total of THREE cups of dal? really?

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    1. Mindy,
      Yes. It is not powder. The whole chillies. Along with adding the flavor, this is the base for the heat for the dish too. You use only 2 TBSP of this powder. It isn't much. If you still think you cannot handle this much heat, you can try with just one cup.

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  9. but your directions say to POWDER the chiles along with the other spices. ??

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    1. I said powder the roasted dal/lentils, coriander seeds along with roasted chillies. 3 cups dal + 2 cups whole red chillies + 1/2 cup coriander seeds. I have not used any other spice except hing which is not a spice at all.

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  10. this is very confusing. I am not Indian and I have no idea what you mean. Do you want us to grind 3 c. dal WITH 2 c. chiles and WITH 1/2 c coriander seeds? Because that is how it reads to me. Or do you want us to grind 3 c. dal with 1/2 c. coriander seeds and add a few WHOLE red chiles when you add 2T of the ground dal/coriander to the rice/veggies?

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    Replies
    1. You have to toast the 3 cups of dal (3 different varieties) then toast 1/2 cup of coriander seeds, 2 cups of whole red chillies. You probably will have about 35 - 40 red chillies in 2 cups of whole red chillies. You combine all of them and grind into a powder. You get about 4 - 5 cups of powder from this recipe. This will last for me for about 3 months even if I use few times a week. Alternately, try using 1/4th of the recipe. You will not have to add any red chillies or powders to your stir fries if you like very mild heat. If you need more heat, you will have to. I hope this makes sense. This is used in very less quantity to season the veggies. So, 2 whole cups of red chillies is not a lot.

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  11. This is interesting. We also very different kind of powders for Kuttu, sambar or just mix with rice. I will try this one.

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  12. o.k. champa, so you mean exactly what your recipe says. well, for ME, making a powder that is 2 cups red chiles out of 5 1/2 cups total of powder(dal + coriander+ chiles) is ALOT of red chiles! wowww!thank you for the affirmation.

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  13. "I have a distant relative who, when called is always later or they might not even show up." - these are the type of guests that make us better more-organized smart cooks! :) Will try this powder soon..

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  14. wow..sounds absolutely yummy & inviting..bookmarking..:)
    Tasty Appetite

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  15. Wow ....i do make similar powder ..

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