Thakkali paruppu / Simple tomato dal

Thakkali paruppu1

Just the day before we got so much snow here in Raleigh, and I felt like I was in Narnia 😀 Cold weather days like this calls for something comforting, warm and easy. I wanted to make use of this and start working on the comfort food series that I have been wanting to do for sometime now. First up, is my favorite. It is my mom’s recipe and I can eat it everyday. Mom used to make this for us, when she did not have a lot of time to cook and we used to finish this off without any complaints. This was the one of the first few dishes I learnt from her when I got engaged. It is best had with plain rice and a dollop of ghee. Well, it is made with lots of ghee but I have a vegan toddler at home, so I make this with olive oil and add some ghee separately on my plate with rice! This recipe is quick, easy and totally delicious and comforting!

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup toor dal
  • 3 tomatoes pureed
  • 2 to 3 green chillies slit (Use as per your spice levels)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 to 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil ( ghee if not vegan)

Method : (Stove top)

Cook toor dal with 1 cup water until soft and mushy in a pressure cooker. Set it aside.

Add oil/ ghee in a kadai and let it become hot. When it heats up, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and let the mustard seeds splutter.

Now add the pureed tomato, turmeric powder, chilly powder, salt and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes. The tomato will reduce and you can see oil in the sides.

Now add the cooked dal, water if need to thin the consistency of the dal and let it cook for couple more minutes.

Add the chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

Instant pot recipe:

Soak the toor dal overnight or for 30 minutes to 1 hr in hot water.

Switch on the saute mode in your instant pot and add the ghee/ oil. When it heats up add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, green chillies and let the mustard seeds splutter.

Now add the pureed tomatoes, chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Now add the toor dal, enough water to cook the dal (say about 1 to 11/2 cups) and cook in manual high heat for 15 minutes and release pressure naturally.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Note : If you have already cooked dal, add it to the tomato gravy and cook it manual high for 3 minutes.

Thakkali paruppu 2




Posted in Dals, Instant pot, Recipes, SOUTH INDIAN, TODDLER EATS, vegan | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant style paneer sabji

Restaurant style paneer sabji

I do not do paneer sabji often these days as as we are almost vegan ourselves to give company to our strictly vegan toddler. I have to admit I haven’t missed dairy a lot except for the times when I eat dal rice/kichdi as it has to have some ghee in it for that taste. It is not dal rice without some ghee if you ask me 🙂 I also prefer to have some curd now and then. I am trying to do without it, but I am hoping the little one will outgrow her dairy allergies soon and that she would be able to enjoy eating yogurt as much as I do. But other than that we are totally vegan because we feel bad to be eating dairy in front of the little one who wants to eat everything we eat and cooking 2 separate menu is such a pain. I don’t remember the last time I bought cheese or used milk/cream in my gravies. But I had a packet of paneer sitting in the fridge which I got some days back to cook for some guests and I wanted to finish it off.

I am going to give options if you want to make this vegan. I have tried it this way too and it is equally good.

Ingredients :

  • 2 medium sized onions finely chopped
  • 1 onion or half big  onion diced and separated
  • 1/2 capsicum cut in big chunks
  • 1 packet paneer cubed or around 20 paneer cubes (use tofu if vegan)
  • 3 big tomatoes finely chopped / pureed
  • 11/2 tsp ginger- garlic paste / finely minced ginger-garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder
  • 1 to 2 green onions slit
  • 11/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (omit if vegan)
  • 11/2 tbsp besan / gram flour
  • 1 tsp crushed kasuri methi/ dry fenugreek leaves
  • 2 pieces cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 inch piece cinammon
  • 1 badi elaichi / big cardamom
  • 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds


In your instant pot, switch on the saute mode and add the cubed capsicum / cubed onion slices and saute for 2 minutes in high heat with little salt so that they are cooked but still crunchy. Set it aside. (Non IP users can do it a normal kadai as well and follow the same steps)

Now add the oil + butter (omit butter if vegan). When it becomes hot, add the whole spices (cinammon, cardamom, bayleaf, badi elaichi, and cumin seeds) and slit green chillies. Let the spices roast and becomes fragrant.

Now add the finely chopped onions and saute until nice and brown in normal heat. ( I do not use high heat because they burn quickly) Make sure you saute the onions patiently because that gives you the sweet caramelized flavor.

Now add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.

Add the yogurt, spice powders ( coriander, turmeric, cumin, chilly powder) and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure it does not burn. (Beat the yogurt to a smooth consistency before you add it to the pot)

You will see the yogurt has thickened up. Now add the tomato puree and saute for 3 to 4 minutes in high heat. When you see the oil coming from the sides of the pan, add the besan, garam masala, salt and mix well. Saute for a couple of minutes, making sure the besan has not formed into lumps.

Now add water (or milk/ cream) to thin the gravy, the paneer/ tofu cubes and sauteed onions and capsicum. Give everything a mix and let it simmer in low heat for couple of minutes.

Lastly add some crushed kasuri methi and serve hot with rotis/ parathas.

For vegans:

Use tofu instead of paneer and substitute butter with more oil.

Follow the same instructions, but skip the yogurt part. Instead make a puree of almonds/cashew along with tomato and saute it after you brown the onions and saute the ginger-garlic. ( I use about 15 to 20 almonds soaked in hot water for sometime)

The onion-tomato-almond mixture should cook well and release oil from the sides of the pan. Also add 1/4 tsp amchur powder when you add the spice powders like coriander, cumin powder.

Use almond milk to thin the consistency of the gravy.

Restaurant style paneer sabji 2

Posted in curries, INDIAN MAIN DISHES, Instant pot, Recipes, vegan | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment