Earlier this summer at a milonga (social tango for those who aren't familiar with this term), I was sitting next to a tanguera (female tango dancer). We were chatting and realized both of us enjoyed cooking. Anita is Ukrainian, so I immediately told her of my extreme fondness for perogies. And that I have always wanted to try them with a dal filling. Well, we decided to meet and try this, and to our mutual delight the recipe (Anita made the dough, I the filling) worked out, and better than we expected. My son was our first very satisfied guinea pig!

Here is the recipe -

DOUGH

3 1/2 cups water, 3 Tbsp cooking oil, 1 egg, 4 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt

Combine oil, egg, salt and water. Blend well. Now add 3 1/2 cups of flour. Knead. Add as much of the leftover cup as needed to make the dough soft and smooth. Put it in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and leave for at least 20 minutes.

You can prepare the dal filling now, or before you make the dough so it is cooled. The recipe for filling below will make perogies for half the amount of dough. You can freeze the dough, or make double the filling.

Roll out on a floured surface, thinner than for a pie crust, cut out with a round cutter or into a 2 - 2 1/2 inch square. Put about a tsp of filling into each square, pinch ends to seal then filling. Place on a clean towel while making them. Drop them into a pot of boiling water with a little oil added. Stir gently a few times to prevent sticking. They are pretty much done when they float to the top, but you can leave them for a couple of minutes before removing with a slotted spoon. The best way to check if they are done is to taste one.

Drain well. Toss with butter to prevent sticking. You can serve them with caramelized onion and/or sour cream.

They can be refrigerated and reheated without any loss of quality.

You can also freeze them individually after they're cooked and reheat by boiling of frying in butter till golden. Anita's aunt claims this results in some loss in texture, but Anita has done this with good results.

SUKHI MOONG DAL FILLING

1/2 cup moong dal well washed (till water runs clear), soak for 10 minutes and drained, 1/2 cup water and salt to taste

Seasoning or temper:

To season/temper -

2 – 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan), ½ tsp cumin seeds, 1 -2 chillies finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat), 2 – 3 tbsp chopped fresh corrainder, 1 tsp corriander powder, ¼ tsp hing or asafetida, ½ tsp turmeric powder, Juice of one lemon, ¼ tsp red chili powder, ½” piece of ginger – grated or finely chopped

In a pan bring the washed dal, salt and water to a boil over medium to high heat and turn heat down to low and cook till the lentil is soft.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the ghee or oil on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, then ginger and asafetida stirring all the while. Add the rest if the ingredients for seasoning, except the lemon juice and green corriander. Keep stirring to prevent burning, add the dal and fry till well blended. Add the corriander and lemon juice and mix well. Serve with your favourite accompaniment.

You can also add chopped onions and garlic to the seasoning – add it with the ginger.

 

Earlier this fall I taped - with the help of my younger son - a segment for Thanksgiving with a South Asian twist. Here is the link - 

http://anokhimedia.com/spotlighttv/a-south-asian-inspired-thanksgiving

Included are recipes for the dishes, and some background as to how this type of Thanksgiving came into being at our home. Many thanks to Daniel Pillai and host of the show Geeta Wahab. Ironically, Rohan made most of our Thanksgiving meal a week ago and it was pretty traditional! Well, except for the cranberry chutney; I needed some influence from my roots. I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Masala Chai

Ingredients and Preparation:

4 cups water, 3 cloves, 4 black peppercorns, 1/4" cinnamon, 3 pods of cardamom, cracked, 1x1" approx dried orange peel (optional).

Bring all the above to a rolling boil, add 2 tsp of loose black tea and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of milk (or as desired) and continue to simmer for 3 -5 min more.

Strain and enjoy with or without sugar.

You can strengthen the 'spicy' taste by adding more cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.

I took the liberty of changing the format for this recipe because it is really simple, but if you would prefer it in the usual format with all the ingredients listed and then the preparation method, do please let me know.

It is wonderful to be home. Buenos Aires was great, I met several (sadly not all) old friends and made a number of new ones. Muchas gracias todos y cada uno.

After a rather amazingly summery first week back, the rain is welcome - for the garden at least. Spring comes with its own set of ups and downs; garden coming to life, holes in the ground! Fortunately no fish fatalities over the summer, but cleaning their habitat is a production! Lovely new growth and discovering the plants that did not survive the winter. But all in all, it is nice to hear the birds chirping even the squirrels scurrying all over the roof at all hours.

Attached are a couple of links - first to the latest article in Metroland and second to a cooking demostration that I am doing with my partner in crime, Karen Johnson in my other venture The South Asian Tasting Table. If you are out in that neck of the woods on Tuesday, May 14th come by and say hello.

http://suhaag.com/living/cool-off-with-mini-gherkins/

http://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/ai1ec_event/the-south-asian-tasting-table/?instance_id=

Look forward to seeing you in the near future.

Moong Dahl

Ingredients

1 cup moong dal

2 cups water – or more to reach desired consistency

1” piece of peeled ginger, cut into 2 or 3 pieces

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 small tomato, quartered

1 tsp oil

“Tarka” or seasoning

¼ cup oil (you can use clarified butter) – to coat bottom

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 dried red peppers

1 medium onion diced

3 – 4 cloves garlic, sliced

Pinch of asafetida (“hing”)

2 fresh hot green chilies, sliced

2 – 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

 Preparation

In a medium heavy bottomed pan, over medium heat, cook the moong dal in water, with ginger, turmeric, tomato, oil & salt to taste until the dal is completely dissolved. You can adjust the consistency by either boiling more till thicker, or adding water – slowly, until desired consistency is reached, simmering slowly over low heat. Add chilies & coriander when done.

Prepare seasoning – heat remaining oil (1/4  cup) over medium to high heat until you see a haze. In quick succession add the red peppers, cumin seeds & onion. Keep stirring & when the onions begin to turn translucent and light brown, add garlic & asafetida. Cook until this turns a dark, rich brown stirring all the while. Now add to the dal & serve hot garnished with more fresh coriander, if desired.