You can check out the full round-up here:
Weekend Cookbook Challenge Round Up at Once Upon a Feast.
For this event, I picked a dish (well two of them actually) from the cookbook, Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. It’s a cookbook that I’ve had for a while but hardly ever use. The Ek handi murgh aur masoor is Chicken, Red Lentils and Green Beans in One Pot. You could easily omit the chicken and make this dish vegetarian. I also made Poori, which are deep fried puffy breads.
There are a lot of ingredients but don’t let that scare you — it’s worth it.
Chicken, Red Lentils and Green Beans in One Pot (Ek handi murgh aur masoor)
6 tbsp vegetable oil
3 bay leaves
5 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods
2-inch stick of cinnamon
3 dried hot red chilis
2 pounds chicken (skinless & boneless), cut up into smaller chunks (I used chicken breasts but you could use breasts or thighs or a combination)
1 2/3 cups red lentil, sorted, washed and drained
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
6 oz green beans, washed and trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, sliced into thin half rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 medium tomato, chopped (or 10-12 cherry tomatoes)
Garnish: Chopped cilantro
Optional: asafetida *
Add three tablespoons of the oil into a large non-stick pan and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and red chilis. Stir a few times until the bay leaves start to darken. This will make your kitchen smell wonderful. Next, add the chicken pieces in a single layer and brown on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and spread out on a plate. Leave the oil and spices.
Turn off the heat and add the lentils, turmeric and five cups of water. Return the heat (high) and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt, lots of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of the garam masala and the lemon juice on the chicken. Rub in and set aside.
When the lentils have cooked for 20 minutes, put in the chicken, all accumulated juices, the green beans and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring every so often.
Two minutes before the chicken and lentils are finished cooking, put the remaining oil in a small pan and set over high heat. If you are using it, add the asafetida and then cumin seeds. Ten seconds later, add the onion. Stir and fry until the onions get a little brown. Add the garlic. Adjust the heat if your pan gets too hot.
Add the ground cumin, the coriander, one teaspoon of garam masala and then the cayenne pepper. Stir and add the tomatoes. Now, pour the whole mixture into the lentils. Combine and serve over basmati rice with a little chopped cilantro. Now, onto the puffy bread…
Deep Fried Puffy Bread (Poori)
2 cups chapti flour or 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
7-8 tbsp water or milk
Add the flour(s) to a bowl and mix the salt in. Dribble the oil over the top and mix it in with your fingertips. Slowly add the water or milk to form a medium-soft ball of dough. Knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Form into a ball and rub it with a little oil. Set it aside, covered, for 15 – 30 minutes.
A few minutes (10-15) before eating, pour enough oil (I use one full jar of peanut oil) into a large, tall pot. Set over medium heat and bring up to 350 degrees. As it heats, divide the dough into 12 balls. Roll each one into a 5-inch circle. Keep the circles covered with plastic wrap while you work.
When the oil is up to temp, add a poori and use the back of a slotted spoon to pull the poori back and forth carefully in the oil. It should puff up. Turn the poori over and fry the second side for a few seconds (I think I cooked mine for about 10-15 seconds per side). Remove with the spoon and rest on a large paper towel-lined platter. Fry all the pooris this way.
Eat the pooris with your lentils and chicken over basmati rice.
* According to the book, asafetida is a brownish resin used in Indian cooking. There is also a ground variety. You can find it in an Indian grocery store. I didn’t look too hard for it but it will definitely add something to this dish if you can get your hands on some.