Tag Archives: slow carb

Curried mung beans

If you’ve ever been to a temple in India, you may remember being offered ‘blessed food’ or prasadam. Prasadam or prasad is often laddu or another sweet but can also be savory. Some temples are so well known for their prasad that I suspect some ‘devotees’ are really after the food. They’ve checked their offline version of Yelp and who can blame them? Those temple cooks can be really good!

One of my favorite foods to receive was curried mung beans. This is also a dish that is often served as a side at homes. While the spices add flavor, the mung beans and shredded coconut provide texture making this a great side dish to eat with rice and Daal.

All you need are a few spices and pantry items. You could also make this with black-eyed peas or chickpeas, both available canned. See notes.

Serves 4


  • 1 cup mung beans, soaked in 3 cups of water overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion, diced (roughly 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green chili, diced (optional, de-seeding helps reduce the heat)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 5-10 curry leaves
  • Pinch asafoetida
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Roughly 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons lime juice (fresh is best)


  1. Place the soaked mung beans in a pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes or till the mung beans are cooked and slightly mushy.
  2. In the meantime, prep the remaining ingredients and have all the spices ready to use.
  3. If you are using frozen coconut, thaw to room temperature. If using desiccated coconut, re-hydrate in 1/2 cup warm water for 5 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan or skillet over medium high heat. The oil is hot enough if you throw in a mustard seed and it sizzles.
  5. Carefully add the mustard seeds to the hot oil and wait a few seconds or till the seeds start spluttering. Add the curry leaves and asafoetida.
  6. After 10 seconds, add the green chili and diced onion. Cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally till the onion is translucent.
  7. Add the cooked mung beans, cilantro, shredded coconut, salt and lime juice. Mix well and taste. Add more salt / lime juice if you like.
  8. Serve as a salad or with rotis, chapatis, toasted tortillas. My favorite way to eat this is with rice, yogurt and mango pickle.


Soaking, rinsing and draining  any dried legumes removes some of the water-soluble carbohydrates that are typically hard to digest. You can  substitute 2 cans of either black-eyed peas or chickpeas (or one each). Rinse and drain before adding in step 7.


Filed under India, Recipe

A Winter Twist to Delicious Daal

It was the third cold, dark and rainy day in a row. The kind that leaves you with a slight case of the blues. But nothing that a pot of soul-satisfying Daal wouldn’t remedy. I’d had a hankering for my lentil curry anyway and got to work making it.

While the lentils were boiling away merrily, I peeked into the fridge to see what vegetables I could add. There were none but there was a big bunch of curly kale that I needed to use soon. Now, around here, we LOVE kale but I usually prepare it by itself and enjoy it with slices of fresh avocado. While there are plenty of leafy green vegetables in India, there is no kale. So it was a serendipitous idea to sauté the kale with the spices in the Daal Recipe kit and add it to the lentil curry. Or maybe it was just a matter of time. I’m sure others have discovered this already, but here’s my version. This recipe is a slight variation of the one included in the Daal kit.

I like curly kale best but any variety of kale will do. Lacinato kale (aka Dino or Cavalo Nero) is pictured.

Ingredients (serves 4)

½ bunch of kale (rinsed, stem ends cut and discarded, leaves cut lengthwise in the middle and then chopped into 1 inch pieces)
1 Delicious Daal kit OR
1 cup toor daal or split pigeon peas
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 curry leaves
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1.5 cups basmati rice (cooking instructions not included in this post)
1 small tomato (diced)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ lime (or lemon)


Place lentils in a thick bottomed pot and add 5 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat

Turn heat down to medium-low, cover pot with lid ajar and simmer for 35 minutes or till the lentils are fully cooked (flat and mushy)

Heat the oil in a big pot or wok over medium high heat. You know the oil is hot enough when you throw in a mustard seed and it sizzles. Don’t get the oil too hot as it will burn the spices.

Add the mustard seeds and wait a few seconds or till they just start crackling.

Add the cumin seeds, curry leaves and turmeric.

Add the kale after 2-3 seconds and stir to coat well with oil. Saute for 3-4 minutes or till the leaves have wilted slightly and are half the original volume.

Add ½ a cup of water, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot with a lid ajar. Cook for 3 minutes and then remove from heat.

Once the lentils have boiled, add the kale to the pot of lentils along with 1 teaspoon salt and the tomato. Mix.

Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 8 minutes or till the kale stems are cooked and the leaves are not tough (I do like a bit of crunch though)

Taste for salt and squeeze in juice of ½ a lime (more if you like). Serve over rice.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath before diving in spoon first into your hearty Daal. And feel the blues slipping away. Mmmmm.

p.s. What to do with the leftover kale? Simply saute in olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic. Add a cup of stock (or water and salt), bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid ajar and cook for 7 minutes or till the kale is cooked but still slightly crunchy.

Or make kale chips. Toss with olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and a big pinch of sea salt. Roast in oven preheated to 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.


Filed under India

Making Green Beans Indian Style

I made green beans along with pumpkin curry as part of an Indian style thanksgiving menu meal. The classic green bean casserole is nice but tends to get sidelined. So how about an Indian take on this dish for something different? It’s easy and a lot healthier than cooking with cream of mushroom soup.

This recipe below is inspired by the recipe for South Indian style curried vegetables or ‘palyam’ but with a few changes that I thought were appropriate for thanksgiving.


(serves 6 as a side)

  • 1 lb tender green beans, rinsed and ends cut
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened grated coconut (if using desiccated coconut, re-hydrate in warm water for 5 minutes before using.)
  • 1-2 teaspoons lime juice


Spread out the beans on a plate and microwave on high for 4 minutes. This greatly reduces the cooking time later.

Heat the oil in a skillet large enough to hold all the beans, over medium high heat. You know the oil is hot enough if you put in a mustard seed and it ‘crackles’.

Add the mustard seeds and wait for ten seconds or till they start popping. Immediately add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Saute till the onion is caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Stir regularly to ensure the onion doesn’t burn.

Add the green beans and mix well to coat the beans with oil. If the pan gets dry, add a bit more oil. Add a 1/4 cup water, cover skillet with lid, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or till the beans are just cooked. I like my beans just slightly crunchy.

Mix in the grated coconut. If you’re using frozen coconut, bring it out of the freezer about 30 minutes before you need it. Turn heat off once the coconut has fully defrosted and mixes easily with the beans.

Taste for salt and squeeze lime juice and mix just before serving. Adding the lime juice at the end maintains the vibrant green of the beans.


Grated, desiccated coconut can usually be found in the bakery aisle in your supermarket.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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Filed under America, Holiday, India

A Basic Curry Recipe

There is just so much to write about when it comes to the Indian cuisine (or any cuisine for that matter) that I’m having a difficult time deciding what to write about next :-P.

If you’re reading this and are really interested in authentic Indian food, what is the biggest issue you’ve ever had with cooking it? What are some things you wish you could learn about? I would love to hear what you think would be useful information. And if I can help, I will certainly do so.

Today, I thought I would share a very basic recipe for creating a curry base or sauce. It’s not hard at all. And you can use it for different vegetables or meats – it is really flexible. The recipe is very similar to the curry base for many North Indian dishes.

Some basic ingredients I always have around the kitchen are onions, tomatoes, cilantro and of course spices. (Check out the first blog post for must-have spices for Indian cooking.)

And with just the ingredients listed above, you can make a yummy curry! Here’s the recipe.

You’ll need:

Onions >2 (about 1 cup finely diced)

Tomatoes > 2 (about 1 cup finely diced although I like having slightly more onion than tomato in my sauce)

Garlic > 1-3 cloves (peel and mince or purée)

Ginger > 1 inch (peel and grate or just extract the juice)

Cilantro > about 10 stems (remove the thick stems and chop)

Green chilies > 0-3 (remove stems and dice)

Bay leaf > optional

Butter > optional

Spices (Lightly roast the following whole spices in a skillet over medium low heat for 2 minutes and then grind them to a powder)

  • coriander (1 tsp)
  • cumin (1 tsp)
  • cloves (2)
  • cinnamon (1 inch) – optional
  • cardamom (2) – optional

You can also just use 2-3 tsp of a good quality garam masala blend if you have it instead of making the mixture above.

Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. When the oil is hot enough a piece of onion added to the oil will sizzle. Throw in the diced onion and green chilies along with a bay leaf, add a pinch of salt and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir till the onion is golden brown. The constant stirring helps avoid burnt onion and ensure an even brownness that will add a rich, deep color to your curry. Add the spices and continue to be careful to stir for 2-3 minutes to prevent the spices from sticking to the skillet. Add tomatoes and another pinch of salt. When the tomatoes get mushy, add ½ a cup of water. Lower the heat to medium and cover the skillet. Check every few minutes that the sauce is not burning. If it is getting dry, add a bit more water.

You’ll know the sauce is cooked when you see a thin film of oil form on the top. You now have your sauce base. You can add a vegetable or meat to this sauce, or just make a big batch and refrigerate/freeze it for later use. I like to purée the sauce once it has cooled down a bit (and before I add vegetables). It makes for a smoother taste and look.

Adding vegetables to this sauce:

Chickpeas (1 can, drain and rinse well), potatoes (diced into 1 inch pieces) and peas are particularly well suited to this curry. Tofu might work well too. Once you try this curry, you’ll get a feel for what you think will work with the sauce.  Unless it is a vegetable that cooks very easily, I would recommend that it be cooked when you add it to the sauce. When the sauce is simmering on low, add about a cup of the vegetable or vegetables of your choice. Let simmer for another 5 minutes (if using only vegetables) or till the meat is fork tender. If you’d like, add a tbsp or two of butter at the end. This will take any edge off the curry and help meld the flavors together. Check for salt. Squeeze some lime juice. Mix.

Adding meat to this sauce:

I’d recommend bone-in chicken for this recipe. Marinade the meat with a tsp or so of the same spice mixture as above and 2 tsps lime juice for about an hour. Heat up 2-3 tbsp oil, add the meat and cook till opaque or slightly brown before adding to the sauce. Simmer for another five to ten minutes or till the meat is fork tender. Similar to the vegetables, add butter if you like, check for salt, and if appropriate, squeeze a tsp or two of fresh lime juice.

There you have it, your very own Indian curry, vegetarian or with meat! Serve it hot over rice or with pita bread.


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Filed under India