Whenever I visit family in Mumbai, I look forward to some offbeat dining experiences. The best are often the foods I try from street vendors. Yes, yes, I eat in the street. In fact, some of the best food I ate on a recent trip home was on family nights out.
Most of these vendors set up shop around 11 p.m., working their magic until dawn. A close friend of the family is a foodie, who knows all the best places to enjoy delicious food. But he also knows the cooks, so we are assured of excellent service. This time I asked him to introduce me to the cooks so I could get the recipes to recreate the same taste at home.
Here I share some of my new favorites that are not only delicious, but relatively quick and easy to make at home.
Tadke Wali Daal Khichdi
Comfort food for almost anyone, it’s best when it’s mushy, gooey, and a bit runny.
- 1 cup of rice
- ½ cup toor dal/pigeon peas
- 1 medium sized chopped onion
- 1 medium sized chopped tomato
- 1 cup mixed vegetables of your choice. I used carrots, beans, cauliflower and green peas
- 7 garlic cloves
- Chopped coriander leaves
- ¼ tsp cumin/jeera seeds
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon safetida/hing
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon sambhar masala
- ½ teaspoon cumin/coriander powder (dhanajeeru)
- Salt to taste
- cooking oil
- 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
- 2-3 red peppers
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- 5/6 kadhi patta
- Julienned ginger
- crushed garlic
- Wash the rice and dal until the water runs clear. Soak for one hour.
- In a pressure cooker (or Instant Pot), add the washed rice and dal, vegetables, turmeric powder and salt. Add 2 1/2 cups of water.
- Cook under pressure for 3-4 whistles (12 min in IP).
- In a skillet add oil. Then add the cumin and mustard seeds until they crackle.
- Add crushed garlic cloves and sauté until aromatic.
- Add chopped onion and sauté until golden.
- Then add the crushed tomatoes to the pan. Cook until soft.
- Add the chili powder, garam masala, sambhar masala, cumin/coriander powder and turmeric powder to the pan.
- LEPRECHAUN: This is something new that I learned: it is important to “flower” the hing by adding it to cold water, mixing it and then adding it to the pot.
- Mix everything properly.
- Add salt according to your taste. (keep in mind that we added salt while cooking rice and dal)
- Stir-fry the mixture until it releases the oil.
- Now add about 1½ glass of water to the mixture. (dal khichdi recipe has wet texture. You can adjust water level as per your choice)
- Bring this masala mixture to a boil.
- Now add the cooked rice and dal mixture to the pan.
- Give it a good mix.
- Check the consistency of the khichdi. If it is too thick, add the necessary amount of water.
- Let cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
- Now we are ready for the famous “tadka”.
- In a separate pan, add the ghee. Add whole red chillies and chili powder and 5/6 lightly crushed kadhi patta. Stir-fry well.
- Pour this tempering over the cooked dal khichdi.
- Serve hot with a spoonful of ghee and sprinkle coriander leaves over it.
A perfect accompaniment to khichdi.
1 cup of yogurt/dahi
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp mint (optional)
A pinch of hing
Green chilli (to taste)
½ teaspoon of ginger
½ teaspoon roasted jeera powder
Kala namak/black salt and kosher salt to taste
Put all the ingredients in a blender. Add a cup of water and run the blend cycle.
Dilwale Coconut Shake
Pappu Juice Wala, a hidden gem on Mohammad Ali Road, has the most decadent cream of freshly cracked coconut (I used canned coconut cream), mixed with heavy cream, sugar and nuts. It’s Alphonso mango season, their coconut mango cream is the bomb!