Sunday, June 07, 2009

Legumes, And a Bit of Cheese

A few weeks ago, our air-conditioner went kaput and we spent as much of the day as we could outside our house. Quite a few air-conditioned stores that day saw us wandering about aimlessly, touching and feeling the goods, never buying. Our last stop before we went to dinner in another air-conditioned place, was a bookstore. Or rather, as large bookstores tend to be, a books, music and gifts store.

For a while now, my favourite bedtime reading has been cookbooks, when mysteries and chicklit are hard to come by, and though my conscience knows I don't need any more cookbooks, I succumbed when I saw this well-produced book called Pumpkin Flower Fritters on Bengali cooking. I told myself that it had recipes my other Bengali cookbooks didn't, paid for it, and walked out without daring to look at it any longer in case the guilt got compounded.

It turned out my justifications to myself were well-justified - it DID contain some recipes that my other books didn't. Here's one recipe that I tried from it - it's unusual in that paneer/cottage cheese is mixed with moong dal, delicately flavoured, very heavy, and I don't think I'll try it again.

It's not really this yellow!

Warning: The quantities here make A LOT!

Roasted split moong dal: 250 gm
Paneer: 15-16 pieces
Potatoes: 2-3, medium-sized, cubed (The book recommends 8-10 small new potatoes, halved)
Chopped ginger: 2 tsp
Green chillies: 8-10

Cardamom: 2-3
Cinnamon: 3-4 pieces

Red chillies: 2-3, broken into pieces
Cumin seeds/jeera: 1 tsp
Fennel: 1/2 tsp
Bay leaves: 2

Sugar: 1 tsp
Salt, to taste
Oil: 2 tsp
Ghee: A little

Boil the dal in hot water. Cook till half done. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan, fry the paneer pieces and remove. Fry the potatoes.

Add to the dal, and boil till cooked. Add half the chopped ginger and sugar.

Heat more oil in the pan and add a little ghee.

Add the red chilli pieces, cumin seeds, fennel, and bay leaves. Now add the rest of the ginger and the crushed garam masala.

Add the dal.

Bring to a boil and add the panee pieces and green chillies.

Simmer a few minutes.

This goes off to Susan's My Legume Love Affair, hosted this month by Annarasa.


  1. Dal looks really the flavors used..will try some time:)

  2. yum! dal looks so delicious!! BTW, Pootharekulu in your previous post are mouth-watering. I heard a lot about them, but never tasted one :)

  3. Very unusual dal, Sra! Hope your AC got fixed - will definitely make the Delhi heat bearable!

  4. I can so relate to the wandering-about-aimlessly-in-ACed-stores. Been there, done that as a student in Madras. When we had water-shortage in the hostel, we would frequent this restaurant near college that was run by a "mineral" water company that had unlimited supply of mineral water for their customers. Of course, we always ordered the cheapest dish and shared 1 by 5!!

    Coming to the recipe, this is a very interesting/unusual recipe. Never seen a dal-paneer combo before. Looks like a vegetarian version of Mutton Dalcha.


  5. Moong and paneer combo is new to me but looks so very creamy! And reading cookbooks at bedtime looks can dream about exotic desserts and lovely curries...write about u're dreams in those nights some time sra! Am really curious :)

  6. Moong Dal, Paneer, Potato is a rare and great combi Sra..

    Hope your AC is repaired by now>

  7. I find paneer unusual in a dal though I might just like it. Maybe you could reduce the paneer a bit and perhaps leave out the potatoes. Why would say it was heavy?

  8. Lazy cooks like me can pressure cook the dal... right? :)

  9. Dal and paneer sounds new....looks present my bed time readers are also cookbooks and cook magazines.....

  10. interesting-looking dish.

    so will you be getting a new A/C, soon?


  11. i always come here and get an inferiority complex about cooking. cant you adopt me please? i mean i wouldnt have even THOUGHT of a combo like this.

    also pls to do guest post on

  12. It does look yummy,Sra! Why wont you try it again? I think it will be good to serve when we have guests at home. And the bit about roaming about in AC shops....done that :)

  13. Looks super easy and comforting. Why wouldn't you make it again? Too heavy or too many leftovers or both?

  14. Where do you all these books from ? Paneer in dal, maybe will make it when you visit ;-)

  15. Dal looks wonderful...Interesting recipe!

  16. Very interesting Sra. I've never come across a Bengali dal with paneer. My tip would be that Bengalis like their dal very watery so cook it with a lot of water and keep the consistency thin to get a lighter texture.

  17. :) Our previous house didn't have air conditioning. We have very few really hot days here in Seattle, but those days I used to spend all my time at the mall! I think it would've been cheaper to get an A/C installed :)

  18. paneer with moong dal??..that is a combo that scares me...on their own i love it...but not sure sure how they would work together! I have been hunting for bengali books too...and yep! i do read my cooking books at wonder i suck at dieting....i dream of food :D

  19. How did I miss this post... Mung dhal and paneer is a combination i would never have thought of. Somehow paneer in a dhal based gravy sounds so unusual... so, how did you like it?

  20. umm paneer in dal never tried this looks very interesting will try this soon.

  21. Yum Yum!!
    Mouth watering and delicious.
    Drop in sometime


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