Aytana’s winter warming dal

14th December 2014


When we hold workshops, we host up to 12 people staying in our home and up to 16 – 20 for dinner, I draw up a timetable/roster and everyone signs up for their turn at cooking, cleaning, lighting the oil burner, refreshing flowers and the general cleanliness of the yoga room over the course of the 10-day seminar. This way all the cooking and stress is evenly distributed, and I also get to enjoy the workshop – but the best part is that I get to be inspired by other amazing cooks and enjoy their creations.


“What we have learnt is a seed, it will grow to open a new world.”

Aytana’s Winter warming dal

This was a recipe which Aytana made one night – simple, smooth, creamy, quick and delicious. The key here is the blending/whisking of the dal at the end to create the soothing creaminess and the stewing of the tomatoes at the beginning. It is easy to digest and the light consistency makes it appealing in all seasons.  Depending on the season, I usually serve it with an okra or cabbage palya, a big bowl of steamed green beans and kale, and brown rice. Or in Summer accompanied by a crunchy salad.

Serves 4


1 cup yellow moong dal, split

4 cups water

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

for the voggarane

2 tsp ghee/oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

6 – 7 curry leaves

tsp finely chopped fresh chilli or 1 tsp of rasam powder

tsp asafoetida powder

1 cup ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 tsp rock salt

½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped 


1.  Rinse the dal until the water runs clear, drain and add the ginger, turmeric, and 3 cups water, bring to boil, then reduce the heat – simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until the dal is soft and has broken down.

prepare the voggarane

2.  While the dal is cooking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, add ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splutter and pop (make sure the mustard seeds have popped well), add the cumin seeds and fry until they brown.

3.  Add asafoetida powder, curry leaves, chilli and fry for 20 seconds.

4.  Stir in the tomatoes and carrots, cover and allow the tomatoes to stew for 20 minutes, then add the cooked dal – simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Remove from heat and add salt, then beat with a wire whisk or using a hand blender, blend until smooth and creamy.

6.  Add coriander and stir to combine.  Garnish each portion with a twist of lemon and drizzling of ghee.


Goodness shared from Stacey

mixed dal soup & a goose called kangaroo

11th July 2010

Summer is here in Israel and it is so very, very hot. I  pick all the vegetables that I need for the day from the garden in the early morning. Everything looks fresh, green and moist from the early morning watering and the soft, early morning temperatures.  This is also the time before the harshness of the sun wilts everything.  I have been spending a lot of dedicated, late afternoons in the garden giving it all its tender, nurturing attention it needs and in return, it has given me so much wonderful abundance in so many ways.

If I blink, my zucchini and cucumbers double in size.  I have an absolute tangle of many red, happy, plump tomatoes smiling at me from their vines.  My favourites are the yellow teardrop tomatoes that add a glorious colour to a salad.  Lots of kale, parsley, silverbeet, swiss chard, baby corn and big corn, as well.  The peppermint and mint have just gone crazy.  Basil, the green and purple variety.  Snake beans and French.  Big round balls of melon.  Red and green capsicum. Chamomile, that I dried the other day.  And so much more hiding away.  I have managed to keep the lettuces growing by planting them in the shade of other plants or under the many colourful flowers that peek out amongst the vegetables.  And, of course, there are the sunflowers that….well, they are just the sun themselves.

This is our goose who has a soft spot for my son.  My son named him `kangaroo´ because he was born just after we had come back from a holiday in Australia.

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mixed dal soup with slivers of ginger

Serves 6

This mixed dal was inspired by a recipe from ‘The Vegetarian Table’ by Yamuna Devi.  I was actually following the recipe when I discovered I had misinterpreted the dal she used and instead created a different version which I love.  Its flavours centre on equal portions of three dal – whole mung dal, yellow toor dal and green split pea.  Simple and nutritious.  Hearty and clean.  It can be served as a soup or as a dal served with rice.  What I like most about this mixed dal soup is the slivers of ginger and its unique lemony taste.  The ginger gives á nice warm surprise when you bite into them.

Ideally, it is best to soak all three dal overnight.  This will cut down on the cooking time and aid in better digestion, but it is also fine not to if you are cooking spontaneously, as I  find I do a lot.


½ cup each whole mung beans, toor dal (yellow lentils) and green split pea

8 – 9 cups water

1½ inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 bay leaf

2 Tbsp ghee – divided

1½ Tbsp cumin seeds

1½ Tbsp ground coriander

2 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, diced

1 hot green chilli, seeded and cut into slivers

a handful of trimmed coriander leaves, a few reserved for garnishing

juice of 1 lemon

1½ tsp fine rock salt


1.  In a large pot, rinse the dal until the water runs clear (don’t forget to save this water for the garden), drain, add 8 cups water, bring to boil, skim off the foam that collects on the surface, then add the ginger, turmeric, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon ghee.

2.  Gently boil, almost covered, until the dal is soft and broken down; approximately 45min – 1 hour (If the dal have been soaked, it will take much less time).  Season with salt.

3.  Heat remaining ghee, stir in the cumin seeds; fry until fragrant and golden, then add ground coriander, tomatoes and chilli – fry until pulpy and thick, about 5 – 7 minutes.

4.  Pour 1 cup cooked dal into the pan, toss in fresh coriander, and stir to mix the ingredients, then add this mixture back into the soup.

5.  Stir in the lemon juice and season with more salt, if needed.

When serving, garnish with fresh coriander and drizzle with ghee.

Shared goodness from Stacey

sambar moong dal

19th October 2009


Last week I was on school camp and the food on offer was very different from my usual staple dishes.  So, by Friday running on a diet high in carbs (lots of potatoes and processed bread) and fat (creamy, cheesy, oily dishes), my system was suffering.   So, one of Stacey’s dal was very much-needed.  Light, fresh and full of flavour.  The dal I decided upon is my current favourite variation of all of Stacey’s dal recipes.  Using her Golden Dal recipe as a base, I added Sambar powder when heating the spices and adjusted a few of the ingredients.

Using the basic recipe model in Stacey’s dal she has included on our blog, there is a lot of scope for variation in the spices and vegetables used.  These minor changes allow this very easy cooking model become a treasure trove of new dishes, that are also healthy and inexpensive.

There are two basic steps to cooking a dal successfully.  One, simmering the dal of choice in water and turmeric with any hard vegetables, then adding softer vegetables towards the end.  Ginger can also be added at this stage or it can be fried with the spices. Two, warming the spices to allow flavours to develop, by heating the mustard seeds until they pop then adding others of choice.  Coconut, palm/jaggery/coconut sugar, salt and pepper are added at the end, adjusting for taste.  Just before serving, coriander is added is so desired. 


sambar moong dal

½ cup split moong dal

2½ cups water

1 tsp turmeric

1 Roma tomato (finely chopped)

1 tsp ghee/olive oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger

1 tsp sambar powder

1 red chilli (fresh or dried)

2 Tbsp coconut (fresh or dried)

1 Tbsp coconut sugar/palm/unrefined brown sugar

handful finely chopped fresh coriander

salt to taste


1.  Combine the moong dal, water and turmeric in a saucepan, bring to boil, turn down heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or until dal is soft and fully cooked.

2.  Add the tomato and stir.

3.  Heat ghee/oil in a small saucepan, when it is hot, toss in the mustard seeds, allow to turn grey and pop, then add the cumin seeds, ginger, sambar powder and chilli.  Heat through to allow ginger to soften.

4.  Pour this into the dal, add the coconut, sugar, salt to taste and fresh coriander.

Serve with rice.

Shared goodness from Donna

simple everyday red lentil soup & sticky date pudding

12th August 2009


As we mentioned in our last post, we have been sharing the dinner task with Ahal, Stacey’s brother-in-law. His efforts at feeding 14 continue to astound and amaze us.  Last night in the space of 2 hours after spending all day at Australia Zoo, he whipped up home-made cheese and herb flatbread; marinaded tofu kebabs;  crusty, roast hedgehog potatoes;  a cumin lentil and rice salad; and a green salad. Amazing…..this all is created by a man that has an impressive collection of 800 cookbooks or thereabouts and devours these as bedtime reading.  Debbie, his wife tells us she goes to bed hungry, dreaming of delectable desserts.

This post will highlight two dishes from our ‘turn’ – spicy red lentil soup and sticky date pudding. Both dishes were a hit, and we knew they must have been as Ahal insisted on having the recipes. Other dishes served were quinoa, grated apple, carrot and mung bean salad;  a green salad; rosemary and sea salt potato wedges;  guacamole;  a grated raw beetroot, crumbled feta and mint salad;  parmesan toasts; and tomato and basil-infused feta salad.


A wonderful soup that’s ready in 30 minutes, made with red lentil or split moong dal that is quick-cooking and easy to digest. Tasty, warming and simple. Served with a spoon of brown rice or toasty bread. I love it served atop steamed kale leave or broccoli.

simple everyday dal soup

Serves 4


1 cup red lentils/yellow split moong dal

1 Tbsp ghee/oil

½ cup tomatoes, finely chopped 

2 Tbsp tomato paste

5 cups boiling water

1 Tbsp ghee/oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger

¼ tsp asafoetida powder

8 curry leaves

1 medium grated carrot

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp lemon juice


1.  Place the dal in a bowl and rinse until the water runs clear, cover the lentils with water, set aside and allow to soak while preparing the rest of the soup.

2.   In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat ghee/oil, add the chopped tomatoes and tomatoes paste, cover and simmer for 8 minutes so that the tomatoes soften and break up.

3.  After the tomatoes have finished simmering, drain the dal and add to the pan, with boiling water – simmer for 20 minutes, or until the dal has softened and broken down.

4.  In a small pan, heat ghee, add the cumin seeds, ginger, curry leaves and asafoetida – fry for 1 minute and stir into the soup.

5.  Add the grated carrot and simmer for 5 minutes, then season with salt, pepper and remove from heat and stir in the fresh lemon juice and chopped coriander.

Serve with a drizzle of ghee/oil and garnish with fresh coriander.

Post note: a nice addition is half a sweet potato grated

Goodness shared from Stacey


sticky date pudding with caramel sauce

This recipe originally came from my mother-in-law, though unsure where she discovered this treasure.  I used whole wheat flour and raw caster sugar to replace the refined ingredients.  However, it was very difficult to gauge the change in colour of the sauce as it was cooking, so next time I would stick with the white caster sugar for the caramel sauce.


260g fresh dates pitted, roughly chopped

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

450 mL water

90g ( cup) unsalted butter

260 g raw caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

260g (1 ¾ cups) wholewheat SR flour

Caramel Sauce

250g caster sugar

60 mL ¼ cup) water

250 mL (1 cup) cream, warmed


1.  Preheat oven to 180C.  Lightly grease a ceramic or glass ovenproof dish (20 – 22cm).

2.  On medium heat in a saucepan, bring dates and 450 mL water to boil, remove and add bicarbonate soda, mixing well to combine.  Set aside to cool.

4.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add vanilla and eggs, adding eggs one at a time, then on low speed, add half of the flour mixture, combining well.  Very slowly, add remaining flour until just combined.

5.  Spoon mixture into dish.  Bake 50 – 60 minutes or until springs back to touch.

Serve with ice cream and drowned in the caramel sauce or drizzled if prefer.

Caramel Sauce

1.  Place sugar and water in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, bring to boil, then boil without stirring, until the syrup becomes a light golden colour.

2.  Remove from heat and very carefully add the warm cream, whisking till combined.  Return to heat and whisk until the caramel is smooth.

3.  Strain through a fine sieve, then set aside until required.

Goodness shared from Donna

south Indian sambar with vegetables

25th June 2009


Sambar is another Indian dish that I regularly make and I serve with dosa or with rice.   You can experiment with any type of seasonal vegetables you have on hand or whatever is abundant in your garden.  Whole green mung beans can be used instead of the yellow lentils.

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south indian sambar with vegetables

Toor Dal is a yellow split lentil which has a wonderful, slightly sweet taste.  If you do not have toor dal, use split moong dal or red lentils.  I kept the vegetables chunky to give it real substance. Sambar Powder, jaggery (Indian sugar), fresh curry leaves and tamarind paste can be bought from any Indian store.

Preparation – 45 minutes

Serves 3 – 4  


½ cup toor dal

4 – 6 cups water

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp ghee/oil

1 medium carrot (cut into rounds)

1 medium zucchini (cut into large chunks)

½ red bell pepper (roughly chopped)

a handful of beans (finely chopped)

2 heaped Tbsp jaggery/sugar

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

fresh coriander

sambar – coconut paste

1½ heaped tsp sambar powder (or more to taste)

1 tsp tamarind concentrate

¼ cup shredded dried coconut

1 cup water


2 Tbsp ghee/oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

8 fresh curry leaves

¼ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)


1.  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan wash the dal until the water runs clear, add water, bring to boil, then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, then add the vegetables.

2.  Simmer until the dal breaks down and vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.  If it becomes too dry, just add a little water.

sambar – coconut paste

3.  Place in an upright blender, dried coconut, tamarind paste, sambar powder and 1 cup water – blend into a smooth paste – approximately 1 minute. 

4.  Pour into the dal and use a cup of the liquid from the dal to swish the blender clean. 


5.  In a small pan, heat the ghee, when hot, add the mustard seeds, wait until they splutter and pop and then add the curry leaves, and asafoetida.

6.  Pour the voggarane over the dal, add the jaggery, salt – mix and cover with a lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to come together.

7.  Stir in the coriander.  If you have kale or spinach in your garden, this is a nice addition as well. Taste and adjust by adding more tamarind, jaggery and salt.


Goodness shared from Stacey

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