Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants

Grains & Pulses

Gujarati Dal Curry
Serves 4

This is a hot, yet sweet curry that comes from northwestern India.  Very hard to resist on a cool day.

1/2 Cup Moong Dal (Split Green Lentils)
1/2 Cup Chana Dal (Split Yellow Peas)
2 Tbsp. Ghee or Peanut Oil
1 Tsp. Black or Yellow Mustard Seeds
2 Tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 Tsp. Cayenne (Adjust to taste)
1/2 Tsp. Asafoetida
1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (14.5 Oz.)
1/4 Cup Jaggery or Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Minced Fresh Cilantro
10-12 Curry Leaves (Fresh if possible)

Rinse the dal in a medium sized pan until the water remains relatively clear and then drain.  Add 3 cups of water to the pan and bring to a boil uncovered, over medium-high heat.  Skim off and discard any foam that forms. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer until the dal is tender, about 35 minutes.

While the dal is cooking, heat the ghee in a small skillet.  Add the mustard seeds, cover the skillet, and cook until the seeds have stopped popping. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cumin seeds, sea salt, cayenne, asafoetida, and turmeric.  Stir briefly then add the tomatoes with their juice, the jaggery, cilantro, and curry leaves.  Return the skillet to medium-high heat and simmer uncovered about 5 minutes.

When the dal has cooked coarsely mash the lentils and some of the split peas with a spoon.  Stir in the sauce, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to medium.  Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, until the seasonings blend with the dal.

Enjoy with Basmati rice, Nan, or other soft breads.

Basmati Rice with Black Cardamom

Serves 4

A smoky dish that hails from Kashmir, this is known as a pulao.  Western culture would call it a pilaf.

1 Cup Basmati Rice
2 Tbsp. Ghee (Clarified Butter)
5 Black Cardamom Pods
2 Bay Leaves
1 Small Red Onion – Thinly sliced
1/4 Tsp. Saffron
1 Tsp. Sea Salt

Rinse the rice in cold water until the water is relatively clear. Drain the rice and then cover with fresh cold water and let sit at room temperature until the grains begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the ghee in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat.  Sprinkle in the cardamom pods and bay leaves.  Cook until they swell up and smell aromatic.  Immediately add the onion and cook, stirring until it is light brown, about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the saffron.  Add the drained rice and toss gently with the onion and spice mixture.  Pour in 1 1/2 cups of cold water and add the salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover.  Cook until all water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for a full ten minutes.

Uncover the pan, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.  Be sure to not eat the cardamom pods or bay leaves as they can be rather bitter.

Roasted Carrot Hummus

1 lb. Carrots
1 3/4 Cups Chickpeas (14.5 Can)
6 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Lemon, juiced
1 inch piece of Ginger, minced
2 Tbsp. Sesame seeds
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp. Booda’s Berbere
1/2 Tsp. Sea salt
1/4 Cup of Water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop carrots into large chunks. Toss in 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil and lightly salt.  Roast the carrots for 30 minutes, or until fork-tender.  Set aside and allow to cool.

While the carrots are roasting, add the chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, ginger, sesame seeds, garlic, smoked paprika, Booda’s Berbere, and sea salt to either a food processor or blender.  Process until well combined.

Once the carrots have cooled, add them to the processor and pulse or blend adding the water a little at a time until you have a semi-smooth consistency. Scrape down the side and continue to process until fairly smooth.

Garnish with additional sesame seeds and serve with pita or other soft flat-breads.

Chana Masala

Serves 4

1 Lb. Chana Dal Cooked (Chickpeas can be substituted)
1 Tbsp. Cumin seeds
2 Tsp. Coriander seeds
2 Tbsp. Peanut/Vegetable oil
1/2 Medium Onion ~ Diced
1/4 Tsp. Asafoetida
1 1/2 Tbsp. Ginger ~ Minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic ~ Minced
1 Green Chile (or 2) ~ Minced
1/4 Tsp. Turmeric
1/2 Cup of Diced Tomatoes (or Canned)
2 Tsp. Amchur
1 Tsp. Garam Masala
1 Small bunch of Coriander ~ Roughly Chopped
Sea Salt ~ To Taste

If using Chana Dal, cook according to package instructions until soft.  If using canned Chickpeas drain and set aside.  Toast the cumin and coriander seeds and grind to a powder.  Cook the Onion and Asafoetida in the oil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Add the Ginger and Garlic, Green Chilies, and ground spices and cook for 2 minutes while stirring.  Add the Turmeric and Tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Simmer the mixture until the Tomatoes break down and reduce.  Add the Chana Dal, Amchur, Garam Masala, and 1/2 cup of water.  Simmer for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.  Add the Coriander, adjust seasoning, and serve.


Hummus is an excellent medium for subtle flavors.  This version showcases Ras el Hanout but you may substitute the spices of your choice.

2 Cans Garbanzo Beans/Chick Peas (15 oz. each)
5 Tbsp. Tahini (Sesame Paste)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tsp. Ras el Hanout
1 Large Garlic Clove ~ Minced
1/2 Lemon ~ Juice and Zest Only
1/4 Tsp. Smoked Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Rinse Garbanzo beans in colander under cold water removing any of the “skins” that come off.  Drain and place in food processor or blender.  Add the Tahini, Garlic, Olive Oil, and Lemon Juice and Zest.  Pulse until mixture starts to bind together.  Add Ras el Hanout, Salt, and Pepper.  With processor running, add water in a thin stream until mixture appears creamy.  You can see this happen.  Stop processor and use a spatula to scrape down the sides and ensure that all ingredients are well mixed.  Run processor for about 1 minute to complete blending. Place in serving bowl, cover, and let rest for at least 2 hours for flavors to develop.  Allow to reach room temperature before serving.  Prior to serving, pour thin drizzle of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil over the Hummus.  Serve with pita bread. Properly made Hummus should barely cling to a spoon.

Persian Chicken Stuffed with Rice (Morgh-e tu por ba berenj)

Serves 4 – 6

1 Large chicken, about 5 to 6 pounds
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
2 Large onions ~ peeled and thinly sliced
3 Cloves Garlic ~ peeled and crushed
1/4 Cup butter or oil
1 Cup Rice ~ cleaned and washed
1 Tbsp. Persian Spice Blend (Advieh)
2 Tsp. Dried Rose petals
1/2 Tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
2 Cups Chicken stock
1/2 Cup Dried tart cherries
1/4 Cup Slivered almonds
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/4 Cup Fresh Lime juice
1/8 Tsp. Saffron Threads dissolved in 1 Tbsp. Hot water
1/4 Cup Butter ~ melted for basting
Lime slices for garnish

Clean and wash chicken.  Blend 1/2 Tsp of the Advieh with 1/8 cup of the butter.  Using your fingers work the spice/butter combination under the skin of the bird and into the flesh.  Brown onions and garlic in a skillet in the other 1/8 cup of the butter.  Add rice, Advieh, Rose petals, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add chicken stock; cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Add cherries, almonds, raisins, and lime juice.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Stuff the chicken with the rice mixture and pin or sew the cavity shut.  Place chicken in a greased oven-proof dish or roasting pan, paint with melted butter and cover.  Place pan in the oven and roast for 1 hour.  Remove chicken from the oven and paint it with a mixture of the saffron water and the remaining melted butter.  Cook uncovered for another hour, or until the meat separates easily from the bone.  Baste occasionally with the pan juices. Serve the chicken in the baking dish or on a serving platter.  Garnish with lime slices and accompany with bread, raw vegetables, fresh herbs, and salad.

Cauliflower with Panch Phoran & Dal

Serves 6 – 8

1 1/2 Cups Masoor Dal (Red Lentils)
4 Cups water
1 Tsp. Turmeric
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Canola oil
1 Tbsp. Panch Phoran
1 Large Onion ~ diced
4 Cloves Garlic ~ minced
1/4 Tsp. Chili Flakes
1 Tsp. Minced Ginger
16 oz. Diced tomatoes
1 Head Cauliflower ~ Cut into small florets
1/2 Cup water

Pick over and rinse the lentils and add them to a pot with the 4 Cups of  water and Turmeric. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the Dal is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. When done, add salt and set aside.  While the Dal is cooking, heat a large, deep skillet.  When hot, add the canola oil.  Add the Panch Phoran and stir.  When the first seed pops, add the Onion, Garlic, Pepper Flakes, and Ginger.  Stir and cook until the onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add the Tomatoes, Cauliflower, and 1/2 Cup of water, and stir. Cover and cook until the Cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes.  When the Cauliflower is done, add the Dal to the cauliflower mixture. Mix well and adjust seasoning. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve hot, over rice if desired. 

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