A Mini Flashback – Garlic Masoor dhal and Okra fry

It’s -17 C today and it’s going reach -23 C tonight. I have no issues with coldness. More or less used to it but one problem is coldness makes me lame and useless in the evenings and during weekends. I simply eat and crawl under my duvet. Sigh! It’s been three weeks already I haven’t made any recipe and did a photoshoot, yes you guessed it right I’m digging my recipe bank! Since I haven’t been doing any justice to my blog thought its Mondays let me be productive! So here is it. I have beautiful memory attached to this recipe.

My mum worked as principal (currently retired) for a private school in my home town (Coimbatore) for 29 yrs. The school was managed by three trustees. One of them was very close to our family, they were old couple from Punjab who were like our God parents. Uncle was a great artist, master in abstract oil paintings and aunty was dutiful house wife and very stylish lady. You know olden days people follow strict rules and they have wonderful principles. He was very health conscious man, who used to go for walking every morning at 6:30 AM for one hour and on his way back he used to stop by our house every day except Sundays to enjoy my mum’s tea (used to be his fav) and discuss politics with dad. As kids we used to dislike uncle coming to house just for one reason, coz our mum used to wake us up early and we have be ready to wish Good morning to uncle. But what we used to enjoy is to have lunch at their house. Mostly it will be potluck, mum cooked for them and aunty cooked for us. She was great cook, this used to be one of our fav food, roti, dhal, onkra sabzi, brinjal sabzi, simple salad and masala dahi. Since aunty and uncle didn’t have their own kids, they treated my parents as theirs, me and my sis were pampered!

During my childhood days, I was interested in wall paintings, still I’m. My parents were generous enough to let me draw on the walls. My dad, smart enough, he painted all the walls in the house with oil paints, so I had many chance to reuse. Main reason was they let me grow with my creativity. Every weekend I used to go to uncle house to get trained with strokes and play with colors, he took me to many painting classes, I did improve after that. These days I paint when I’m extremely stressed out on charts and I concentrate mostly on abstract since they don’t need extreme perfection. I simply love to paint on walls becoz they are like big paper to fill in my thoughts and colors. When my sis was expecting her first baby I decorated room with lots of glass painted (where u paint on the glass, later peal and stick it on the walls) toads, stars, doggies, butterflies and dolls just for my niece to enjoy. As days went by, unfortunately uncle became a victim to intestine cancer and we lost him forever, but the knowledge of art he imbibed in me is something I cherish. Slowly we lost aunty due to age factor…but we are still filled with their fond memories. This is the recipe I dedicate to them with lots of love and just to say we miss you! My mum inherited this recipe from aunty and I inherited from mum.


For Okra Fry ( I made very small portion change accordingly)
Okra 150 grams ( Washed, well towel dried and diced in long pieces )
2 tbspn of Oil
2 Large onions ( Diced in large pieces)
2 Medium size tomato ( finely chopped)
1/2 tspn chilly powder
1 1/2 tspn coriander powder
1/2 tspn cumin  powder
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste

In a pan fry okras with one table spoon of oil, pinch of turmeric and salt, turmeric helps to keep the greenness in okras. After it is cooked leave them aside.
In the same pan add another table spoon of oil, fry onions till they are transparent, add tomatoes cook till oil comes out. Now add cooked okras and fry for 60 seconds. Add chilly, coriander, cumin powder and desired amount of salt and fry for 2 – 4 minutes till masala is well mixed and serve hot.

Masoor dhal 
Dhal 100 grams
1 tbspn of oil
3 pods of garlic ( Finely chopped)
1 Medium size onion (Finely chopped)
1 Medium size tomato (Finely chopped)
1 1/2 – 2 tspn of chilly pwd  (according to ur taste)
1 1/2  tspn of coriander powder
1/2 tspn cumin powder
Salt to taste
1 tbspn of finely chopped coriander

Pressure cook masoor dhal or pot boil them. Until it is cooked well. Don’t over cook them. Masoor dhal are very small and thin version it doesn’t take very long time to cook. Once it is cooked add cold water this prevents from over cooking.

In a pot, add one table spoon of oil, when it is warm add garlic, fry till turns pale brown, add onions fry it soft and tender. Next add tomatoes, fry till is cooked well and oil just starts to come out. Now add cooked dhal, next add chilly powder, coriander, jeera powder and salt to taste. Boil till the required consistency. Dhal should of running consistency.Garnish with chopped coriander, if deired with few fried garlic.

Enjoy both the recipes with warm roties and simple onion tomato salad.

For salad, finely chop the onions and transfer in bowl of water with few drops of lemon juice, this will mellow the raw onion flavour for about 5 mins. Mix with finely chopped de-seed tomatoes salt and pepper.


  1. Soma says:

    Wonderful comfort food and a beautiful post.

    I love that you got to paint the walls!!

    So sorry about your uncle. I have lost my mom to stomach cancer while she was still very young….

  2. Foodie Ann says:

    I can relate to your story…I had a door where I was allowed to draw anything I wanted….But now after few renovations at home its all gone…BTW your food styling looks gorgeous….:)

  3. Gulmohar says:

    Lovely pictures. You won’t believe, but I have a similar pic, with okras in abasket ,but a different basket 😉 But I never got a chance to publish the pic so far :(
    Maoor dal also looks wonderful

  4. Alessandra says:

    Ciao, first time here, your blog is so beautiful!!!! I am following you!.

    I laso like this recipe, You have lots of recipes that a good for me (I am a vegetarian) and the photos are great, solar! In fact they make me feel like your are taking the northern cold away with your styling :-)


  5. An Open Book says:

    that was a really sweet post ananda..the meal presented is what id love right now..ona cold day like today.
    And omg -17??? its 0 here and im praying it doesnt snow. But on the other hand, if i don have 2 get out of the house i dont mind the cold and even snow:)
    have a fab week.

  6. Anna Johnston says:

    What a lovely story and such an awesome tribute to your aunt & uncle. I love your photography, you’ve managed to make everything look so wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
    Oh…, and stay warm OK :)

  7. Cheah says:

    Spicy food will be just what you need in this freezing cold weather! I see,….. you have an ‘artistic’ background,it reflects on your pictures. I like the okra dish, will be great with capati or just plain white rice!

  8. Couscous & Consciousness says:

    Ananda, what a beautiful post – what wonderful memories to treasure, and how lucky that your early creativity was encouraged. I have never cooked or eaten okra, but this dish looks wonderful and encourages me to try it.
    Sue :-)

  9. Devaki says:

    There are few things more wonderful than comfort food and bhindi and masoor dal are right up there!

    Now cold I can stand – cold + howling wind, not so much! Masoor dal it is for tommorrow nite dinner. Thanks!

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  10. Swathi says:

    Okra and masoor dal looks delicious. Love the story, sorry to hear about uncle.Life is like that somebody will be with us today is not tomorrow. Nice clicks.

  11. Swathi says:

    Okra dish and masoor dal looks delicious. Love the story, Sorry to hear about your uncle. Life is like that somebody who is with us will not be with us tomorrow.

  12. Indie.Tea says:

    It sounds like they were both a good influence in your life and that you have many fond memories…
    The dishes looks very nice, comforting in this cold weather (but where do you find okra in the winter? Its one of the things my mom misses when it gets cold here).

  13. Biny Anoop says:

    Dear loving Ananda there is an award for you…just tosay thx for all ur support.Also take a chance to let u know that ur comments have always been a source of motivation.

  14. MaryMoh says:

    I love okra, especially fried with eggs. I can even eat that as a meal. Yours looks very delicious. Love your photos. They are all like a piece of art except that you don’t paint them 😀 Yes, weather is so extremely cold. need lots of warming food like this….and…of course the duvet 😀

  15. Choclette says:

    I ldo like to hear your stories and now I have learnt that you are an artist as well as a great cook and academic. I’ve never taken to okra, but i love dahl – of any sort.

  16. Ushnish Ghosh says:

    Dear Ananda
    How are you?
    Read this post twice, you have so nicely captured the incidents and childhood memories.
    Okras are very expensive these days. But I will try the Masoor dal recipe, very different from the Bong version.
    Have a nice week

  17. Sujitha says:

    Good old memories!!! Oooops!!! sorry I should say Golden memories…after reading your blog for 3 times (I know i’m late ofcourse), now i feel like, God please take me back to my school dayssss!!!! I enjoi’d the memories more than the receipe (:P:P:P Sorry)…And not to forget to mention about the paintings- i still remember, when i came to your house for studies during my X std, I use to look at the beautiful drawing on the bedroom wall. That time i was thinking “LUCKY U”, you parents have allowed you to do that :):D (little jealous also). Also i donno whethr u know r not, for one of the drawing competition that was conducted by Lion’s club in our school, madam gave me you paintings for sample. That was actually a photograph…i still remember that :)…I cherish the memories of those days…ok ka…keep doing the good work..its already sooo big :P:P

  18. RM says:

    Hi Ananda…first time here..but u have me hooked !!!…ur blog is so lovely and pics are amazing..and the write up so appealling …enjoyed reading it….and what i would give for that plate …even the chappathis look so soft and tasty…droool…!!!!…will surely try out this recipe and let u know…Keep up the good work , Take care, Reny.

  19. Ananda Rajashekar says:

    Sujitha, Thank you dear…haha i can’t tell you how much of my fond memories you have refreshed :)

    RM thank you very much for your kind words of appreciation, glad you have found thing interesting in my space…all ur words are my driving force :)

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