Cilantro Chutney

Instructions from my co-worker, Vinu Patel, because you cannot stop cilantro from  growing in our herb bed:

Handful of cilantro.  (The way he held his hand looked like about 2 cups.)

1 jalapeno, seeds removed, 2 if you like it hot.  (That’s too much for him.  He thinks one is plenty if you use jalapeno.  If you use the long, red Indian pepper, use 2.  HE thinks they aren’t as hot.)

Little salt.

Little sugar

Little lemon juice. according to your taste. Less salt than lemon and sugar. (I would start with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp each of lemon and sugar.  He held his fingers about an inch apart when he was telling me)

If you have, a little fresh ginger and little cashew nut.

Taste it and adjust it how you like it.


Dal is easy

Dal is an Indian word for lentils. This one is all done according to taste so you have to play with it to figure out what suits you.

Chuck gets a bag of red lentils from the bulk section at our co-op.  And a 14 oz. can of coconut milk,  but you can just use water.  Frequently, there is a large sweet potato peeled and cubed up, or a package of paneer, likewise cubed into bite sized chunks.

He puts about 2 tablespoons of curry powder in as he starts (not garam masala, they are different).  Sometimes, he adds more at the end.  How much goes in depends on your taste and the strength of the curry powder.

Start with additional water in a pot on medium so you can add it as you go along as it is absorbed by the lentils, like you do with the broth for risotto. How much you eventually use really depends on how thick you want the dal to be.

For 2 cups of lentils, start with @ 4 cups of water, adding the coconut milk toward the end.

If you’re using sweet potatoes, put them in at the beginning.  If you’re using paneer, put it in at the end. Add salt and additional curry powder to taste as you are ready to serve.

Rasam Tomato Soup

(“Rasam” means delicious)

Modified from this recipe for Indian tomato soup from and this one from   Changes are because of what is actually available at local stores this time of year, what is in my kitchen already and ingredients we know and love.

5 small tomatoes, quartered
3 garlic cloves
8 cups water
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped curry leaves
1/4 cup oil
5 or 6 fresh jalapeno peppers, cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon garam masala
1/2  Tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt (Do not be stingy with the salt)
1 Tablespoon mustard seeds

Puree the quartered tomatoes with the garlic, cilatro, curry leaves and half the chilis in a  food processor. Set aside.

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan.

Add the tomato-garlic puree, the garam masala powder, cumin, black pepper, and salt and simmer 5 minutes.

For the tempering oil:
Combine the oil and mustard seeds in a small frying pan or saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover (the mustard seeds splatter and pop) and cook until you hear the mustard seeds crackle, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chiles and cook uncovered, stirring, until they start to brown, about 30 seconds. Pour immediately into the soup and stir. 

Serve hot.

Aloo masala

 Modified from a recipe from Manjulas Kitchen

  • 1-1½ lbs potatoes, diced
  • ¼ c. oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 1 finely chopped green chili (adjust to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ bunch chopped cilantro

  1. Boil the potatoes until they are soft and let cool a little.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium.
  3. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Seeds will pop all over the kitchen if the oil is too hot, but they do need heat to release the right flavors.
  4. Add turmeric, potatoes, green chili, and salt.
  5. Stir-fry briefly.
  6. Add lemon juice and cilantro.
  7. The potatoes should be slightly moist and not very dry.
  8. Serve hot.

Binita suggested using this to stuff poblanos and we liked it when we tried it. Chuck prefers the pepper halved and filled like a twice baked potato rather then tamping it in from the top.


Break a head of cauliflower into florets.  Dice 3 tomatoes.

In a 5 quart sauce pan, melt 2 Tbsp of ghee or oil

When it’s hot add in:
1 Tbsp of cumin seed
2 Tbs of finely minced ginger
1 Tbsp of dried red pepper flakes
5 cracked green cardamom pods.

When the cumin is browned a bit toss in 1½ tsp turmeric.

Stir it a bit then add in:
cauliflower and tomatoes
3/4 cup of moong dal
1 3/4 cups of Basmati rice 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
7 1/2 cups of hot water

Stir it around for about a minute or two then bring it to a boil.

When the mixture is boiling, place a lid partially covering the pan and turn the heat to low.

When the liquid is all absorbed and the rice is cooked, it’s done.

Sprinkle the kitcheree with another 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro and then

Drizzle the dish with 2 Tbs of ghee or butter.

Serves 6 to 8 people as a main dish.

Recipe from Colors of Indian Cooking Meatless Monday.  I made it for Meatless Tuesday and it is GREAT!

Gajar No Halwo (Indian Carrot Dessert)

This is called Halwa at local Indian restaurants.  I think that’s the Americanized way to label it.  My Indian coworker, Binita, gave me instructions for this. I made it tonight and Chuck says “Namaste, Binita!”

Grate 1 lb carrots on the medium size hole.
Cook on medium heat with @ 2 Tbsp ghee until softening.
Add 1 c. milk and continue cooking the milk down until the carrots are creamy.
Add 1/2 c. sugar 
and 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom.

Take off the eye and allow to cool a little while you have dinner.

(There are recipes online, now that I know the correct name to look for, that add cashews, almonds, pistachios and/or raisins at the end.  We are having plain and will try nuts later.)