People often ask me, what do I eat for my Protein intake? I have to admit, I used to get blank responses when I tell them that I don’t take much of Tofu, Quinoa and what that’s new fad in the market ? Ohh yes, Quorn ! yes, so I don’t include all these things as much in my diet yet I am confident that I do get a good enough intake of my daily Protein requirement. Let me tell you how !
Indian diet, by default is heavy on carbs. We tend to eat a lot of Chapathis, Parathas, Rice, Dosa, Idlis etc. to complete our meals, along with a lot of other accomplishments aside. Of course, when these platters and courses were designed decades ago, the bodily requirements were different due to the amount of physical work that we used to do and the kind of clean environment we lived into. Sadly now, it has changed and we do need to adapt our food habits according to stressful and fast lifestyle we live. Which means, that we need to reduce our intake of carbs and be cautious towards increasing the quantity of Protein an other minerals a bit more. Of course, you don’t need to cut down on carbs completely, but you do need to make a few changes here and there. I will do a post very shortly on those changes, keeping in mind the Indian diet and the changes required.
Coming to the Lentils – unfortunately, they don’t provide us “complete Protein”, in fact none of the Plant based Protein is complete. Again, I will do a post on what Complete Protein is and how to include that in your diet very shortly. But sticking to the lentils, they still are a great source of good Protein and other essential minerals. And minerals present in them, like Folic Acid and Vitamin B are very important to absorb and assimilate Proteins in your body. So having lentils really helps your body in functioning the right way without putting too much pressure on your digestive system. Its like a boon for Vegans and Lacto Vegetarians, helping them to include good Proteins in their diet.
So now you know, how do I survive without consuming all fancy Protein rich items, and still manage to get enough Protein. Yes, its difficult to keep a track of it. Its not that I eat a portion of chicken and am sorted. I need to constantly plan my meals around Protein rich items to maintain the consistency. But then since I love all of these old products like Lentils, legumes, Rice ( yes, rice has Protein too ), it doesn’t feel like a pressure at all.
Indians do a lot of variety on Lentils, typically known as “Daal”. There might be a recipe for each family may be!? This recipe is a fairly simple one made of Yellow Urad Dal (Husked Black Gram) which is an easy to digest and nutritious Pulse, and is commonly used for “tadka” in South Indian dishes. This is a No onion-garlic recipe, which makes it eligible for Jain Cuisine and Navratri recipes. It is best enjoyed with hot and fresh Chapathis, but you may also have it with rice and some potato sabzi.
This Daal is so comforting, I sometimes just only this for dinner without any rice or Roti. Not for diet purposes, but purely for comfort and warmth especially during winters.. Lets grab the recipe now..
Prep Time: 5-7 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes ( includes pressure cooking time )
Serves: 2-3 people
Cuisine:- North Indian
Spice Level: Medium
Recipe Level: Moderate
Shelf Life: Up to 24 hours at room temperature, up to 3-4 days in the Fridge
Serving Suggestion: With Rice, Chapathis or Parathas. Keep Raita and pickle aside as accomplishments
Nutritional Facts:- Rich in Proteins, Fiber and essential fats, aids in digestion
Recipe Source: My own
What you need?
- 1 cup Urad Dal ( White husked Black Gram )
- 1 tsp Oil
- 4 cups of water
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp cumin seeds ( Jeera )
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- A pinch of Asafoetida ( Heeng )
- 1 tsp turmeric powder ( haldi )
- 2-3 green chilies – chopped small
- 1 large tomato, chopped small
- Salt to taste
How to make?
- Wash and drain lentils. Soak them in a big bowl for half an hour or so
- Boil Daal with turmeric and salt in a pressure cooker till one whistle. Turn off the flame and open when pressure eases off. If you are cooking in a pan instead of pressure cooker, boil daal covered with 6 cups of water instead of 4 for almost an hour. The end result shouldn’t be all mashed up, but soft and mushy with its texture retained.
- Now, in a pan heat some oil. Throw in cumin seeds and let them splutter, will take 20-30 seconds. Then add in asafoetida and grated ginger, saute just for 10 seconds.
- Now add green chilies, fry for like 5 seconds and then add tomatoes and red chili powder. Mix everything well and cook covered on a low-medium flame for 5-7 minutes. Stir a few times in between to avoid it burning or sticking at the bottom. You may sprinkle a few drops of water if its too dry.
- Once its all mushy and cooked like a puree, pour this “tadka” into the boiled daal. Cook everything together till a boil and then turn off the flame.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.
- This recipes is very versatile, and can be cooked in various ways using different spices. To name a few – coriander powder, curry powder, Garam Masala, Panchphoran etc. You may add these along with red chili powder as per your taste and preference
- Please note that this is not the typical Punjabi preparation, but more from UP side. In Punjabis, its prepared with loads of onion and garlic and I shall post the recipe very soon for that too.
- Adding Green chilies is of course your choice, and you may skip it all together. But that’s what makes this Daal/Soup flavourful so I would suggest to skip red chili powder and use just 1 green chili instead if you are keen on keeping it mild.
- I haven’t used black pepper in this preparation, but I do add it very often. It tastes very good specially during winters.
- Adding ginger and Asafoetida is important since Urad Dal by nature is gas producing. So you better add at least one of these 2 ingredients, else you might end up stinking the room