Indian Cooking Lessons in Vidhya & Jayant’s Kitchen Part 1

Over the weekend, we had a rare opportunity to visit Vidhya and Jayant’s home (Jayant was Hubby Ro’s NS buddy) and we were so lucky to learn hands on south indian cooking techniques from her! Vidhya made it looked so easy and was super patient to talk us through the spices and the key ingredients used commonly in their kitchen. In Part 2 of our cooking lessons with them, we will have a Q&A session with the couple, another awesome recipe and more about their vegetarian journey.

The following recipes are written by her despite her busy schedule and she credits her mum in law and her years observing how her parents cook to create these mouth watering dishes on her own.

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Dhal: serves 3-4

Ingredients :
‘Moong’ dhal ( yellow) 1 cup ( alternative is to use ‘masoor ‘ dhal ( orange) – also 1 cup – cooking method is the same)
Water 2 cups ( add more in 1/4 cup increments as required when cooking, if becoming too dry/thick)
Olive oil / sunflower or vegetable oil – 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 big red onion – diced in to small pieces1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tomato- diced l
1/3 bell pepper- diced small (optional)
1 big green chili ( can add 1/2 or 1 more if u’d like a bit more heat) – diced in to small pieces, include the seeds!
Curry leaves – may be 6-8 , wash them n roughly tear them in to small pieces with hands
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
Salt and pepper – to taste
Coriander leaves – chopped – 2 tablespoons

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Method:
1. Boil the moong dhal ( after washing it a few times with running water to remove any grit). cover fully with water , add turmeric powder and add 1 tablespoon of oil to prevent the dhal from sticking to bottom of the pan. Add more water if required ( in small increments ) until dhal is fully done. It should take about 30mins ( boil in medium heat ).

If u are going to eat plain dhal -u can add salt and pepper to this mixture. (This is supposedly Jayant’s favourite as he likes them plain and simple with basmati rice.)

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2. In another saucepan, add the remaining oil ( once pan is hot ) followed by cumin seeds then 15 secs later – onion, ginger, chili and curry leaves. Sautée for 3-4 mins in medium heat. Add bell peppers if using

3. Add coriander powder, tomatoes and sauté for another 2-3 mins.

4. Add salt ( usually abt 1 full teaspoon- this is provided if the dhal doesn’t have salt in it, if it does- cut down to abt 1/2 teaspoon first and add later if required after tasting ) , and some black pepper ( optional!)

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5. Add the cooked dhal- add small amt of water (if required ) to achieve a suitable consistency for a gravy.

6. Cook the mixture for another 3 mins , finally add chopped coriander, garam masala at the end and switch off the heat.

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7. Serve hot, garnish with chopped coriander ( can serve with rice, breads like chapati or prata). This can also be made from pre-cooked left over plain dhal ( stored in the fridge)

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Vidhya also highly recommended us to get these pre-cooked prata and chapatti to go with the dhal and we’re so glad to hear of this recommendation as there are so many brands out there in the market to choose from.

Spiced potatoes: serves 4

Ingredients:
3-4 medium to large sized potatoes. ( can use any kind, I used local ones-  russet/ holland potatoes will be a good option too, if they are small add 1 more potato)
1 large red onion – diced in to small pieces
1 teaspoon ginger
1 big green / red chili , diced in to small bits- include seeds
6-8 pieces of curry leaves, washed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3 -4 tablespoons olive oil/ vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder ( optional- can use 1/2 more fresh chili instead or just omit )
1 teaspoon rasam powder ( also optional, can add 1/2 more teaspoon of coriander powder instead)
Salt and pepper to taste
Garam masala 1 teaspoon ( optional)
Chopped coriander 1 teaspoon for garnish ( optional)

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Method:
1. Wash potatoes thoroughly. Boil them ( with skin intact) until the inside is soft – almost to the consistency of mashed potatoes (but not quite that soft, don’t want them to over- crumble) . Takes 20-30 mins ( Check with a fork regularly). ( In fact, mine were underdone and still quite firm when u saw it- would have been better with 5 more mins in boiling water, that’s why they took so long in the pan! ). Also add 1/2 teaspoon of salt when boiling.

2. Once potatoes are done, drain the hot water and wash them several times in cold water before peeling the skin off- should come off quite easily. Cut them in to medium sized cubes.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add cumin seeds, followed by onion, ginger, chili n curry leaves. Sautée for 3 -4 mins ( medium heat)

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4. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, rasam powder and  chili powder ( if using) and sautée another 2-3 mins.

5. Add the potatoes.

6. Add salt ( usually abt 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon). Can start with a lower amt and add more if required after tasting. Add pepper to taste ( optional)

7. Mix gently ( try not to break up the potatoes / mash them too much) to ensure all the potatoes cubes are well coated with the spices/ onion mixture. Add more oil ( usually 1-2 tablespoons more, in small increments ) to allow the potatoes to “roast” in the heat/ pan yet taking care to avoid it becoming too oily. Will take abt 8- 10 mins in low to medium heat. Can add garam masala 1-2 mins before switching off heat (optional)

9. Once u see enough ‘brown ‘ roasted bits on most of the potatoes- switch off the heat. Serve hot and garnish with coriander .  Great with rice, chapati or prata. Can also make ‘ prata ‘ or ‘chapati ‘ or ‘tortilla’ rolls using  this potato stuffing  ( just pan cook the frozen breads and put some potato inside and roll them up ) – great way to use left overs and a good packed lunch option!

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We also had some freshly fried pappadum and it was our first time trying rice pappadum but we both still prefers the original wheat version.

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Most of the spices can be found in Mustafa or any indian grocery stores and they are also sold at Cold Storage or Market Place in town but they are slightly more expensive.

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We want to thank Vidhya and Jayant for hosting us at their beautiful home. It was such a fun Sunday spent learning indian cuisine and just hanging out with their new cat Tiger who is such a beauty:) We can’t wait to learn more indian cooking from her again and to try making them on our own as well.

6 thoughts on “Indian Cooking Lessons in Vidhya & Jayant’s Kitchen Part 1

    • Yeah that’s so awesome to hear! Our friends will be elated:)
      Thank you for dropping by our blog and hope you have fun trying the recipe!

      Cheers,
      Roland & Priscilla

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