Tag Archives: chili powder

Chana Dhal and Courgette Curry


My brother-in-law John is staying with us again this summer and expressed an interest in trying Indian food.

You mean John lived with us all last summer and I DIDN’T COOK INDIAN FOOD? What kind of a sister-in-law am I????

Plagued by the knowledge that if I didn’t rectify this–and fast–my head would explode in flames, I decided to make a vegetarian and meat curry pronto. This is the vegetarian recipe I chose, and it’s so good, you guys. I came home the next day hoping to eat the small amount of leftovers for a late afternoon snack, but lo and behold John had eaten them already.

I was slightly pleased, I can’t lie.

There’s no better proof of love than the disappearance of leftovers before they’ve even been in the fridge for 24 hours.


Anyway, there are no words adequate enough to express my love for this curry.

Though this facial expression comes close to illustrating it.


With no hard-to-find ingredients (you can use yellow split peas as I did, and the lime juice and brown sugar take the place of tamarind juice), there’s no excuse not to make it.

Unless you don’t like Indian food.

In which case . . . well, I just have to believe that you haven’t actually tasted Indian food yet.


Not tasted Indian food?

You poor soul.



Serves 4

2/3 cup chana dhal or yellow split peas, washed
3 cups water
4 TBS vegetable oil
2 green chilies, de-seeded and minced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece of ginger, minced
8 curry leaves (optional)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric
3 medium winter squash or zucchini, chopped into quarter moons
2 TBS lime juice
2 TBS brown sugar
2 medium to large tomatoes, chopped
Salt, to taste
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
Cooked rice, to serve

1. In a deep pan, bring the dhal or split peas to a simmer with the 3 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until tender (but not mushy), adding more water as needed and stirring every now and then.

2. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion (and a pinch of salt) and cook for about 15 minutes, until starting to caramelize.

3. Add the chilies, garlic, ginger and curry leaves to the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the chili powder, turmeric, and another pinch of salt to the onions. Cook for 1 minute, stirring so that the spices don’t burn.

5. By now the chana dhal or split peas should be tender, so add them to the pot with the onions, including any water that wasn’t absorbed.

6. Add the squash or zucchini, lime juice, sugar, tomatoes and cilantro to the pot. Simmer over medium heat until the squash or zucchini is tender, 20-30 minutes.

7.  Taste and season with more salt if needed. Serve over rice!


Click here for printer-friendly version: Chana Dhal and Courgette Curry

Pork in a Sweet Ginger Sauce

This stirfry came together on a humble Monday evening–a week ago yesterday, in fact. Normally my husband cooks on Monday nights because my yoga class conveniently interferes with my regular dinner-making time. Heh heh. However, the class happened to be cancelled because my teacher was still traveling back from the Superbowl. And I never thought I’d say this–but I’m so glad yoga was cancelled! Because it allowed me to make this stirfry. And while I love stirfries and have made many in my day, the sauce in this one quickly topped the charts as the awesomest.

Adapted from Kayotic Kitchen’s Pork in Sweet Soy Sauce, this stirfry packs a flavor that had me drinking up the sauce at the end of the meal. It’s very easy to make, and I can promise you will love it.


(Serves 5)

2 lbs boneless pork chops

5 TBS peanut oil, divided

4 TBS dark soy sauce

4 TBS light soy sauce

4 TBS ginger syrup (‘ginger juice’)

6 TBS sriracha (sweet chili sauce)

2 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp curry powder

1 large onion

2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 green)

5 cloves garlic

3 green onions

Now there’s a lot of prep work up front, but if you own a sharp knife and listen to some music, the chopping and mincing and dicing will get done in no time at all.

So! Slice the bell peppers into thin strips and then halve the strips.

Halve the onion lengthwise, then crosswise like so . . .

. . . and slice it into quarter-rings.

Set the vegetables aside.

Now grab your cloves of garlic. You can loosen the papery skin by pressing down hard with the flat of your knife, but it’s easier to just bash them a couple times with a can.

The skin comes off so easily that way! Really–the Pioneer Woman taught me.

Mince the garlic, set it aside.

Slice the pork, and set it aside.

Hint: at the end there will be a quiz asking how many times the instructions ‘set aside’ have been repeated. The winner gets a garbanzo bean.

Grab the green onions and dice them–set them aside too.

Now let’s make that killer sauce. Assemble the ranks!

Combine the dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, ginger syrup, sriracha, brown sugar, chili powder and curry powder, and mix.

Set aside.

On a side note, my ginger syrup was labeled ‘ginger juice,’ but it was thick like a syrup. The ginger flavor is unbelievable. I picked up my bottle at Golden Pacific Market, but I’m sure you could find some at almost any Asian grocery store. And if you don’t have any Asian grocery stores in your neck of the woods, you can even make your own!

So now that everything is chopped and minced and diced and mixed, we’re finally ready to fry! Heat half the peanut oil in a wok or large (12”) cast iron skillet. When hot, add the vegetables and fry for 5 minutes.

They will continue to cook later, so just let them go until they’re starting to get tender and browned. Remove them and reserve them for later.

See? “Reserve them for later.” I totally avoided using “set aside” again–I’m tricky like that. So if you want that garbanzo bean, you’d better watch your back.

Heat another 1 TBS oil in the same skillet. When the skillet is very hot, add half the pork. It’s best to fry the pork in two batches, because an overcrowded pan will cause the pork to steam-cook instead of truly frying. Stirfry the first batch for 3 minutes, then remove it to a plate. FYI, you want the skillet to be so hot that the pork browns pretty much immediately, on first contact with the pan, like so:

Heat the remaining oil, and when it’s très, très hottée, add the rest of the pork. Stirfry for 3 minutes, then add the set aside pork and garlic.

Fry for another minute, stirring frequently. Confession: I did all the pork at one go, and you can see in the bubbles of the picture above that my pork did not fry correctly. Thankfully it was still delicious, though mark my words friends: it could have been deliciouser.

Okay, time to add the vegetables back in . . .

. . . and the sauce.

Give it a good stir.

Now believe me–it will seem like waaay too much sauce. But it’s not. It’s all going to turn out alright in the end. In fact, it will turn out more than alright: it will send you on a rocket to the moon.

Bring it all to a boil, and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes.

The sauce should thicken during this time and start sticking to the pork and veggies. If it’s not thick enough, mix 2-3 tsp of cornstarch with some water, stir, and add the slurry to the sauce.

I added a slurry and the consistency was great.

Stir in the green onions right before serving.

Lookin’ glorious.

Serve over rice.

You can dig into it with a spoon . . .

. . . or with chopsticks. Whatever gets it into contact with your taste buds the fastest.

One of the best parts is simply eating the sauce-soaked rice.

I’m in heaven.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Pork in a Sweet Ginger Sauce