Friday, 29 June 2007

Mere sapnon ki... maharani!

Someone who sort of owns a pressure cooker but is too paranoid about explosions plastering her walls with lentils and regaining consciousness a few weeks later in some hospital bed with molten aluminium shrapnel wedged between her eyes (it can happen, right?), thus letting said cooker gather spider carcasses in the cellar, should not be pitied and should not be allowed to whine about settling for semi-firm microwaved lentils.

See, I had one of these cravings for rajma (kidney beans) last week that I could ignore no more and proceeded to attempt replicating the excellent Maharani Dal I had at the Riverwalk Tandoor last month.

OK, "replicate" may be slightly arrogant and furthermore, with the passage of time, tastebuds tend to be assaulted with a pliable memory, so on an absolute scale, I'll be most immodest and admit I was thoroughly pleased with my version, firm dal notwithstanding. On a relative scale, well, it looks like I'll have to go back and eat there some day soon to remind me what theirs was like! And of course, overcome my fear of the pressure cooker!

How to (for 8, don't ask me why I am incapable of downsizing): Soak 1 cup each of rajma, channa dal (split chick peas) and urad dal (black gram) for a few hours or even overnight, then pressure cook them and lightly mash them.

Dice about 3 medium onions, skin and chop 4 large ripe tomatoes and chop 6 green chillis. Grate 1 to 1.5 inches of ginger and crush 6 cloves of garlic. Heat 50g of butter or ghee, and when it starts to sizzle, add 1 tsp each of cumin and mustard seeds and fry until they stop popping.

Add ginger and chilli and fry for a minute, then add onions and tomatoes and cook until soft. Mash tomatoes to get a paste. Add cooked beans with 1.5 tsp each of salt and turmeric, stir well. Add water if necessary to get a thick soupy consistency and boil for about 10 minutes. Before serving, add a splash of cream and sprinkle with some chopped fresh coriander. Best with hot naan, which I was too lazy to make! :)

Variations: Stir cream into gravy for a richer result. Sprinkle a mixture of mint and coriander. Omit kidney beans to get Amritsari dal.

Body Count: 0

I apologize for the recent dearth of posts but I have been biting off more than I can chew these past few weeks and it looks set to continue for another month 'cos believe it or not, I will be away on holiday AGAIN for 2 weeks starting this weekend! This time I'll be drifting off to the other extreme end of France - Arles. Hopefully, that means sunshine guaranteed!

To make up for my long absence, here's something I made a few weeks back but had no time to blog about - Beef Empanadas:

How to - filling: Boil and chop 4 eggs and 2 large potatoes, chop up about 20 black olives and crush several cloves of garlic. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry 500g of minced beef. Add 1 tsp each of oregano, salt, cumin and paprika. When beef is cooked through, add potatoes, eggs and olives. Remove from heat and stir in the garlic. Let it cool.

Cut out circles in a sheet of flaky pastry and put enough of the above mixture to cover a third to half of the surface of each circle. Fold over and pinch sides to create half-moons. Brush with egg (optional) and bake until pastry is golden brown.

Variations: I don't see why this can't be made into a dry pie (less work, heh heh)!

Body Count: 500g beef mince


bee said...

shilpa maharani, your version looks better than any restaurant oil slick. have fun in arles.

trupti said...

I love this tune you have on your sidebar~ I took off my Santoor music because it was slowing my pages down! what album is it from?

Sharmi said...

I too have cooker fear:) when ever it is about to whistle I stay a little away. I have witnessed some incidents .
lovely dal maharani.have to make it sometime.

Victor said...

Shilpa, good things come in pairs - holidays, food...

Lucky you, holidaying again. Do send me a postcard from Arles.

Suganya said...

First time to yr blog and u r already on a break.. Come back soon.. love yr blog :)

WokandSpoon said...

Your dishes look great! I'd be tempted to add in loads of chili to the Maharani Dal!
Have fun in Arles - we might cross paths...well..sort of...we're heading to La Rochelle soon. Anyway, hope you get more sun that we're getting over here at the moment! Brrrr.

Jyothsna said...

Dal looks royal! Have fun in Arles!

I finished reading Namesake sometime ago, found it boring after half of it...:)

Shilpa said...

oil slick? haha, bee, you're too funny! thanks for the compliment! hope to get some sunshine in Arles!

trupti, you saw my e-mail? It's "Sohni Kuri" by Arminder Gill, from his album Dildarian. Try, it doesn't slow down my page at all!

oh dear sharmi, do tell me about the incidents! :) good to know i'm not the only one with this phobia!

victor, then how come i can't seem to win the lottery at least a pair of times? haiyah.. not as lucky as you think, i guess..

thanks, suganya, love your blog too, very modern-looking! :)

hi wokandspoon!! sorry i haven't been able to reply your last msg! :( actually, i also added chilli powder to my dal, heh heh, but i think green chilli is still best! too bad we're not crossing paths...

haha, thanks, jyothsna! i hope i'll have fun, it's my first time to arles! please don't tell me how the namesake ends! :) i intend to finish it, and after that, i might read The Argumentative Indian, bought it recently.


trupti said...

Thanks girl-I'll be using this to make my BORING workouts more fun!
I hear you on your pressure cooker woes...I've come close to painting the stove yellow a few good times before....but it is still a great gadget!
Daal Maharani looks great, I add evaporated milk instead of cream...and it tastes A W E S O M E.

Asha said...

Shilpa,I have Dal Maharani too and I love the way you made it too.Beef Empanadas are to die for!:))
I am on vacation,however I did your tag and posted it this week,check it out!See you when I get back home.Hugs.

MeltingWok said...

I think I can forget about curry puffs when I see those beef empanadas hehe :)

Kajal said...

Delicious dal....and great name also .....lovely post and nice presentation too......come frequently......Gr8 recipe.:)

tigerfish said...

hey hey, off for a holiday again...enjoy.

Looks like a pressure cooker is not too similar to a slow-cooker/crock pot, as being easy to control. :O

Your beef empanadas are so nicely browned...yummy!

Shilpa said...

hi again, trupti! haha, go listen to another song - Daru, also by Arminder Gill. Unfortunately, when I tried to add it to my playlist, it wouldn't play, but it's so catchy, i'm sometimes tempted to do my workout even in the office, haha! thanks for the evaporated milk tip, will experiment with it once I finish the 8th serving of what I made (I froze half of it)! :)

Hello Asha, thanks for the compliments and the meme, heh heh! I wasn't able to guess where you went! :(

Hi MW, haha, come on, there are tons of better curry puffs out there!

Thanks, Kajal, but the next time it will be better when I use the pressure cooker, heh heh!!

Hey Tiger, thanks, I am indeed having fun but had to sneak off to a cybercafe to reply to all these comments, heh heh!
Yah, all this while I thought a pressure cooker and crock pot were one and the same thing, but unfortunately, no! LOL! :)


Sia said...

maharani shilpa ji:) u still enjoying sun bathe or bk in office circus as me? ~sigh~
loved ur dal maharani, looks much better than the one i recently had from take away which had one cup of oil floating. yeah, i am bit exaggerating, cant help it me being a drama queen;) come bk soon lady and stop making me feel J with all news abt sunshine n tan:) hugs to u:)

Claude-Olivier said...

after 10 days in the US, it's good to read you in english ;-) mais je vais continuer en francais je suis trop fatigué. Cela a l'air très bon, je ne connais pas du tout! a bientot

eastcoastlife said...

Still not back yet from your holiday!? Enjoy yourself! :)

Jyothsna said...

Ou` es tu? Still vacationing?? Have fun!

Mallika said...

I've only recently learnt how to use a pressure cooker and I can't LIVE without it.

MeltingWok said...

btw, ger, since you mentioned stir-fried hokkien mee, I did something hehe.. check it out :)

Shilpa said...

Hey Sia, now you can stop being jealous, will be back in the office in a few hours from now.. :(
haha, that's gross, about the cup of oil floating on the dal you bought! :) which is why I still think homecooked food is always the best! :) will try to gather my thoughts for my latest post, but I have difficulty SUMMARIZING!!! Do you have that pb, too? *hugs*

Coucou Claude, hihi, pas de souci! Je suis allée dans le Sud, même si c'est pas le même accent, ça reste du français.. ;-)

ECL, again, congrats for winning the contest! :) Am still writing the draft for my next post!

Salut Jyothsna, je suis de retour! :) Thanks, I had so much fun and ate so much ice-cream my pants have definitely become tighter! :(

Hi Mallika, I'm sure once I overcome my fear of the pressure cooker, I'll use it non-stop, too... hey, if you read this, can you tell me whether it's also good for tenderising meat? I am such a greenhorn!

Hi again MW, grrrr.. you are killing me with your perfect recipes! I'm always forgetting something!

cheesewithaspoon said...

Shilpa, I see you're back at your blog -- I never even saw this post, tsk tsk, I've been so lax! I love rajma, it's one of my favourites, but I've only made the standard kind with just kidney beans and no cream. And here is an odd thing that will probably send some of your readers (but not you) screaming: I like to heat up the leftovers and use them to top fried eggs in the morning. Mmmm! I make my rajma a bit dry (not totally dry but closer to a thick curry than a soup) so it works.