We are in Mysore, so this is all south indian, vegetarian cooking. Some local favorite cooking ladies are Shaila, Nagarathna, Anu, and Sandhya (Sandhya even has a cookbook published. If you want to cook South Indian food I assure you she is the real deal! I ate at her house yesterday).
|Curry leaves and chilli peppers, very important ingredients!|
Curious to learn some authentic Indian cooking skills, I signed up for a cooking class with Anu. There were 8 or so of us, and she first showed us the spices she keeps in her round Masala tiffin (turmeric, mustard seed, coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, fenugreek, and fennel seed.) Next she had little bowls of each of the different grains and legumes she keeps in her kitchen. Very helpful! The shelves of the grocery stores here are filled with these, but I only recognize a few).
|Masala tiffin to keep all spices handy (round, on the left) and different lentils, beans and rice.|
|Anu describes her well-stocked Indian pantry.|
|Chai tea break!|
|Anu in her kitchen.|
I've included Anu's Daal recipe below. It was truly delicious. It seems the secret is in the sauce. Follow her instructions for cooking the spices in the oil, and you'll have a great base for many Indian dishes.
Kitchens here are equipped with two, perhaps 4 propane fueled burners, and that's it! Pressure cookers are very popular for fast cooking hard lentils and beans.
You can find more recipes on her adorable blog: http://www.anu-foodonthetable.blogspot.in/
Serves 6 to 8
1 1/2 cups Moong, masoor, and cowpeas, or other legumes, in any combination
5 cups Water or as required
2 tbsp Oil (Anu used rice bran oil)
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tsp Cumin seeds
4 Green chillies, slit 1
one-inch piece ginger, freshly grated
4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped OR a pinch of asafetida
1 cup onion finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 cups Tomatoes finely chopped or puréed
Salt to taste
3 tbsp Coriander leaves finely chopped
1 tbsp Ghee
|Adding the spices.|
The full meal included many dishes, including beets, a cucumber salad, and a delicious sweet/desserty dish known as kesari bath. Enjoy the photos, the recipe, and if you do make it you should let Anu know, she would be so happy!