Category Archives: Legumes

Kayachar (kaichar) or Dalcha Recipe

Kayachar (kaichar) or Dalcha – Rawther recipe

Thanks to my sister in law (lubi) for sharing this wonderful recipe with me.
Kayachar is also known as Dalcha in Tamil Nadu and can be made into a thick or thin gravy, depending on how you want to enjoy it with the rawther biriyani. Popularly served in functions including marriages, it can be enjoyed with dosa and idlis too.
This recipe may mimic the humble sambhar, but it is a non-veg preparation and does not include the spice asafoetida.
Souring agents in this gravy are tomatoes and green mango. If green mango is not available, tamarind paste can be used instead.
Tuvar dal – 100 gms, soaked in water for one hour
Chana dal – 100 gms, soaked in water for one hour
Potato – 2 nos, cut into medium chunks
Brinjal – 2 nos medium, cut into medium chunks
Ash Gourd (Winter melon) – one half, cut into medium chunks
Drumsticks – 2 whole, cut into equal lengths
Ghee – 1tbls
Cooking Oil – 1 tblsp
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1tsp
Garlic – 4-5 nos
mustard seeds – 1tsp
fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds(Green large jeera)-1tsp
Cumin (Small Jeera) – 1tsp
Curry Leaves – 10 nos
Green chilly – 2 nos,slitted
Tomato – 2 small, sliced
Green Mango – 1/2 (or whole if small, may include seed for extra sourness)
Small Onion – 5-6 (optional), sliced or paste
Coriander Leaves – 1 bunch
mutton (‘kozhup’ pcs) – 3 or 4 medium pcs, preferred bones with a little fat and meat on it. You may increase the portions if needed
Turmeric Powder – 1tsp
Red chilli powder – 1.5 tblsp
Coriander Powder – 1tblsp
Water – 4 cups
In a small pressure cooker, add the drained dals, garlic and 2-3 stems of coriander leaves and a tsp of turmeric powder with two cups of water. Close and cook until one-two whistles are complete. Leave the pressure cooker to cool completely and open the lid after releasing any leftover steam. At this stage, you may decide to cook the potatoes, drumsticks and ashgourd separately in another pot of water (to evenly cook the veges and avoid overcooking it in the pressure cooker) or add the vegetables to cook with the dal in the pressure cooker for an additional one more whistle.
In another large bottomed pan, heat the oil and ghee and splutter mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, large and small jeeras, curry leaves and ginger garlic paste and small onions(optional). Add the mutton pcs, sliced tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder.Add in the green chillies, brinjal chunks and season with salt. Add 2 cups of water and let the brinjals and mutton cook for sometime.Half way through, add sliced raw mango and rest of the cooked vegetables with dal. Finally add some chopped coriander and serve it hot with biriyani, dosa and idli.

Lentil Oats Cakes

As part of my gluten-free initiative, I have introduced this healthy snack for my afternoon break. This recipe is basically a no-sweat three step process. The healthier alternative to frying the cakes would be to add ¼ cup water to the ground mixture and pan fry it in non-stick pan without oil.

Moong Dal(green gram) – 1 cup soaked overnight
Tuvar Dal(split pigeon peas) – 1/2 cup soaked overnight
Quick Oats – 1 cup
Crushed Garlic– 2 cloves(optional)
Green Chilli- deseeded and finely chopped
Cumin powder-1 tsp
Red chilli powder- 1 tsp
Black pepper powder -1 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Oil for frying
Grind all the above ingredients to form a coarse paste. Shape the paste into small round cakes/cutlets. Deep fry in hot oil and serve the crunchy cakes piping hot with yoghurt dipping or sauce.

Shrimp and Chickpeas – Dry Gravy

Onions – 3 nos
Tomato – 1 small
Tomato paste – 1 tblsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste (optional)
Pepper powder – 2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Cooked chickpea – 1 cup
Fried shrimps – 1/4 kilo

Saute onions in heated oil well. Add the rest of the ingredients,giving a good stir after adding each ingredient.In the end,add water,chickpea,shrimps.Simmer in low heat.Serve with dosa or puri.This gravy is thick and dark color,because we add pepper powder.You may substitute it for red chilli powder and the gravy will be deep red color.

Urud Dal Vada



Urud Dal – 2 cups, soaked overnite

Fenugreek – one pinch, soaked with the dal

Crushed pepper, salt, chopped cilantro – to be blended together with the drained soaked dal and fenugreek.

Baking powder – folded in the end and batter to be kept for another 30 minutes before use.

Notes: Alternate stirring with spoon and grinding the dal mixture with blender to catch air into the batter, to get soft fluffy vadas. Adding fenugreek to the vada mix helps with the crispy exterior of vada.When frying the vadas, it should puff up well on both sides. I’m very satisfied with the results,keeps crispy even an hour after fried.



Chicken Dal Curry – Cooked in Tomato gravy with carrots and spinach

Fresh Chicken – 1 kg, cut into bite size pieces
Ginger garlic paste – optional
Green Mung dal – 1 cup,soaked overnite
Spinach – 1 bunch, sliced fine
Carrots – 2 large,cut into wedges
Tomato – 5 nos
Onions – 5 nos
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp + 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 2 tsp + 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Tomato paste – 1 tblsp

Saute 2 nos sliced onions in olive oil.Add 2 nos sliced tomatoes followed by the soaked mung dal. Now pour 1 cup of water.Add wedged carrots and let the dal mixture cook in high heat for 10 – 15 minutes,adjusting water every 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another small saucepan,saute the remaining onions in olive oil.Add the sliced tomatoes.Cook it well and smash it with the back of a large spoon into fine paste.Add a tsp of turmeric and a tsp of chilli powder to it.Add a dollop of tomato sauce and set it aside once its cooked and the water is dried up from this gravy.

To the cooked mung dal and carrot gravy,add the chicken pieces and another cup of hot water. Season with the remaining turmeric and chilli powder,with some cumin powder and salt. At this stage,gradually add spoonfuls of cooked tomato chutney to the curry to thicken it. Taste and season further according to your desired gravy thickness.I like to add the whole chutney.Finally add chopped spinach and its ready inshaAllah.

Perfect with rice,idlis and rotis.

White Kidney Bean and Shrimp Vegetable Stirfry

White Kidney Beans – 1 can drained
Frozen small shrimps – 300 gms
Carrot – 1 large,cut into bite sized wedges
Green Peas – 100 gms
Frozen Cut Beans – 100 gms
Onion – 1 no,fined diced
Cumin Powder and Salt – as per taste