A fun weekend with food and movies! Next week UK tour begins

Another Monday with a FoodFood meeting in office! The channel is really keeping me busy with various activities, I must say. And before I leave for my trip to UK to promote the new book How to Cook Indian I have to complete important things, both related to the channel and others. The office renovations are also still going on – I would not say that at a snail’s pace, but there’s definitely a scope to pace up!
As for the weekend, it was quite a relaxing one! Worked through a greater part of the Saturday in office, and then a sumptuous lunch at Goa Portuguese Restaurant with Alyona. Evening time was movie time at home – trust me it was really great watching a good movie after a long long time! Then again, it was a lazy Sunday at home. Made dosas for breakfast and a chicken with vegetables pulao for dinner. And in between slipped in yet another movie!
Hoping that Alyona and kids can join me for some time in UK as the kids are on vacation. As the event calendar for the book promotion is finalized I will be updating you with all the events planned in London and Bath. I will be in UK for a week beginning next Monday.
As for this week, how about relishing mangoes in different avatars?
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

Top 5 Indian recipes – dals rock and rule!

One very important part played in Indian diets is by the dried version of peas and beans called pulses. Pulses as well as lentils, legumes, beans and peas have been part of daily diet for times immemorial. The traditional Indian diet is healthy and nutritious and revolves around dal, bhaat (rice), sabzi (vegetables) and chapati. Moong ki Dal and Kali Dal are popular fare in homes in North India.

Pulses, as we all know, are the edible seeds of the legume family. Pulses include peas, beans and lentils. Some, as green French beans, papdi, green peas and broad beans are eaten fresh. Others, like moong, urad, chana and masoor are eaten dried or sprouted. Regardless of their place of origin, most of the pulses are available world-wide and have become widely naturalized outside their native regions. But greens combined with dal are also healthy preparations. Something like Methiwali Dal.

Beans are dried as quickly as possible after picking to preserve their flavour and texture. There used to be a time when most of the pulses were sundried, but now in the present days of automation, most of it is artificially dried. Most pulses are widely available and the lesser known can usually be found in specialized stores in wholesale grain market. Pulses keep well and are easily reconstituted but should be stored in a cool and dry place. The normal shelf life of dried beans and pulses is six to nine months, then they begin to harden and shrivel.

All types of beans and lentils are high in protein and 30 per cent more is released if they are eaten with a cereal. That is why, in India, dal is eaten mostly with rice or roti. Most pulses need soaking and cooking, the exact time depends on the particular type and quality of the bean. Beans and lentils should be picked over before washing and soaking to remove any stones or pieces of grit.

In the Indian kitchen, dal is ubiquitous. Egyptian lentils called masoor, black eyed peas called lobia and mung beans called moong are worth mentioning. Dishes like Sambhar and Rasam use split pigeon peas, Dhansak uses meat and lentils. Dosas also have rice and lentils like black gram or urad. Up north, urad is a favourite as is rajma and chana.

Top 5 Indian Veg dishes – all about making vegetarian cooking fun!

When it comes to roots and tubers, the mind instantly goes to the potato! But on the whole, when roots and tubers are discussed, their role is seemingly similar to the greens in providing roughage to the diet. But one thing is surely different in this category: the most tolerated of all vegetables – the afore mentioned humble potato. It is starchy and unhealthy only if you fry it! So let’s veer away from chips and fries and look at some home recipes like Jeera Aloo, Aloo Matar, etc. All in all, potatoes in most homes are a necessary evil!

One undermined tuber is the carrot. They are exceptional for they have large amounts of vitamin A in the form of carotene. The star player in many a mixed salad, carrots should certainly not be given impartial treatment. Being rich in sugar content, carrots joins hands with beetroot and onions on this account. The tart flavour of radish and turnip sees their name in the list of selectives. But when it comes to cooked food, recipes like Palak aur Gajar Pulao is a perfect choice.

If there is one vegetable that invites feelings of extreme, that is peas! Either you love them or you don’t! These can be compared with the greens only as far as the content of vitamins and minerals salts is concerned. What broad beans and peas have in more quantities than most of the other vegetables is sugar and second class protein. There is a lot what one can do with peas – make Khoya Matar, Matar Mushroom

Next we will look at dals and how they make Indian food so healthy.