Take 1/2 cup of Yellow Pigeon peas (you can also use Red Lentils) in a pot on a gas and add 1 cup water and keep covered till it cooks completely.You will know the lentils are cooked thoroughly once they turn mushy. Add salt to taste. Keep them aside.
Chop ginger,garlic and onions finely. Then heat a pan, add 2 teaspoons of ghee or clarified butter. Transfer the chopped onion, ginger and garlic to the pan. Also, add pinch of turmeric and cayenne, salt to taste, 1 teaspoon lemon pepper powder and saute well till the onions are caramelized. Then chop a tomato and add it to the pan. Sprinkle some water and keep covered till the chopped tomato cooks well and takes in all the flavors from the spices. This is called a “TARKA” in Indian Cuisine and adds richness to the humble dal which we cooked earlier. Once onion tomato ginger garlic paste is cooked and ready, add the “TARKA” to the cooked lentils. I like to use a hand blender and blend it a little so you can still see bits of caramelized onions and tomatoes. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice or add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Chop some cilantro leaves and use to garnish as well. Enjoy!
Lentils in general contain high levels of protein and the important aminoacids methionine, lysine and tryptophan.
As you all know, I have been friends with Heather DeVita of Luminous Salon for a long time now. Luminous is the best spa in town in New Providence in New Jersey. Heather came up with this idea of book signing with Teresa Giudice where Teresa so graciously donated her time to help support ReBorn Foundation and all the proceeds from the book signing goes to this true noble cause. As this donation will be going to help Heather’s sister’s Tara Devita Wanis’s friend who just recently lost their 7 month old Grandson.
When Heather mentioned this to me, I offered her help in the form of catering some food for this event. Most or all of you know that I have a full time job, raising 2 kids, cooking and the list is endless for me as a mom…working 24/7 is tough.
I had to think of something simple and quick yet healthy and delicious for our special guest Teresa Giuidice. I am a bit embarassed to admit that I have never ever skipped even one episode of RHONJ and so love the show and so the pressure was on.
I finally decided to cook a healthy dish as I found out from Heather that Teresa eats super healthy food. This was a clear confirmation of what I was to make- I made a very healthy dish out of Steamed Organic chickpeas and some secret ingredients as Indian spices and freshly grated coconut garnished with cilantro.
Teresa loved it and commented how much she likes eating right and healthy? She grabbed my poster to say she loves Curryliciousme and the food we create:)
I feel so blessed to be a part of this wonderful noble cause and also to have cooked for Teresa and most importantly have her like my dish:)
A huge thank you to Heather DeVita of LUMINOUS SALON and Reborn Foundation for this wonderful opportunity & Christen Simmons Snyder of RAY JAY PORTRAITS for the fantastic clicks!
The Newcomers-Encore Club is a social club open to all residents of Short Hills and Millburn, no matter how long they’ve lived in the area. The Club organizes various fun events and activities through out the year for its members.
One of my good friends Neetu Salhotra approached me with an idea for offering a cooking class for the Newcomers group. I agreed and we both exchanged a few ideas and emails to come up with the following menu for the group.
Quinoa with roasted Cauliflower, Cranberries and Walnuts
Curried Brussel Sprouts with Paneer and Bell Pepper
I printed recipe cards and handed it to everyone. There was a lovely group of 10 wonderfully enthusiastic people ready to whip up these dishes. I split them into groups of 2 and they were so good at following the recipe and carrying out their tasks like chopping/ cooking/ seasoning/ garnishing-that we finished the class right on time for all of them to taste the dishes that they cooked as a team.
It was interesting that they all had one thing in common to tell me that they learnt a few new ingredients that they used in the class-
Freshly ground garam masala
Fresh coriander seeds
Fresh cardamom seeds for the pudding
“Jaggery” for the pudding- it is a healthier substitute for sugar
Dried Fenugreek leaves for brussel sprout dish
I think it is extremely gratifying to know that people have a nice take away from the class apart from learning to cook couple dishes -in this case- introduction to a set of new ingredients that they werent used to cooking with and now are willing to incorporate in their everyday cooking:)
I am very grateful to all of you and always appreciate the team effort that leads to such wonderful cooking experiences with beautiful people like you.
A few months back, one of my friends Christina Helms along with Sarah Bodnar opened this lovely chic yoga studio in Florham Park by the name of Three Birds Yoga Studio. Its an amazing space with a bunch of very good yoga instructors who teach classes for all age groups.
Christina wanted to host this awesome Indian themed cooking class to bring a few friends and employees together to express her appreciation. I came up with this Indian menu after exchanging ideas over a few emails.
For starters, we decided to make Dal which is a very healthy and nutritious stew made of yellow lentils slow cooked and simmered in onions and tomatoes along with “dal masala”. It serves as an excellent meal in itself by consuming a bowl of lentil soup or dal.
For the main course, Christina and her friends wanted to learn how to make Paneer Tikka Masala with Indian bread or naan. Paneer Tikka Masala is a dish which has Paneer cubes along with diced onions and bell peppers in an onion tomato gravy with fresh cumin, cilantro seeds and fenugreek leaves. If one masters the recipe to the sauce or gravy, then you can substitute Paneer with chicken or any meat and it is as delicious.
For the dessert, we made some caramelized bananas roasted golden brown in clarified butter and brown sugar and paired it with a scoop of ice cream.It was simple yet heavenly.
We had a tasting round after everyone helped and made every dish and it just got better with every round:)
Thanks much to a wonderful cheerful group that helped make some amazing dishes and it was so much fun. I always derive immense satisfaction from the overwhelming feedback that i received after the class- a lot of Christina s friends mentioned they want to host a similar class so looking forward to many more.
Recently I was approached by the owner of a beautiful antique store in Montclair to cater food for her clients. I had to come up with a menu that matched several palettes since her clients belonged to different cultures and so she wanted variety in terms of a menu plan.
I suggested we do:
Brussel Sprouts Kebabs with marinated Indian Cottage Cheese/ Paneer and colored bell peppers.
Lentil Soup shots:) in shot glasses.
Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf with Pecans
Curried Cauliflower with cumin, peas and carrots
Vegetarian Thai Green Curry
Both the owner of the store and her husband thanked me at the end of the event and graciously appreciated the food. The sense of appreciation you get from clients give you so much of satisfaction and encouragement to do more !!
Stay tuned for more events this month! Cheers to more fun events!