Daal, Desserts, Indian, Soups, Vegetarian Foods

Refined Daal Makhani

Daal Makhani originated in the Punjab region of India. A staple of the North Indian diet according to first hand anecdotes, Daal Makhani, consists of lentils and cream (daal = lentils ; makhani = cream).

I stumbled upon Daal Makhani recipes by performing a google search of “Urad Daal” black daal. I’ve had this bag of urad daal in my pantry since I made haleem back in 2013. Recently I’ve attempted to convert to a vegetarian diet and saw this as a great opportunity to utilize those daal. Browsing through the cabinets, I came across that bag of black daal I used to make haleem quite some time back and wondered what type of rich recipes this lentil has to offer. It turns out Urad Daal is commonly used in Daal Makhani and having never experienced the taste I decided to give it a try applying my own techniques and taste palette.

Daal Makhani


1 cup Urad Daal (Black Lentils)

1 cup Chana Daal (Chick peas)

2 inch ginger root

4 garlic cloves

1 large onion chopped

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp coriander powder

2 tsp garam masala

1 tbs cumin seeds (you really want this taste to come out)

1 tbs tahini paste

1/2 cup baby carrots or 1 large carrot

1 tomato

1/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt

Salt as necessary



Clean and soak Urad Daal 

Ensure you have semi-tender chana daal or chana daal in a can

In a large frying pan add ~2 tbs of Flax Seed oil (I prefer to use flax seed oil to olive oil for the added nutty flavor)

When oil heats add the spices and let simmer;

tacit knowledge pointer* I add some water once onion has caramelized so spices can continue breaking down without burning  

Add the rinsed daal to the pot along with 2 times the quantity of water

At this time at the tomato and carrots

Let this boil for about 20 – 30 minutes checking taste (make sure salt is sufficient & cumin and chili is present)

At this time, remove the tomato and carrots and mash them with a mortal and pestle

Add the mashed tomato and carrots to the daal – this will work to thicken the daal 

Let cook for another 5 minutes

Add the tahini paste – stir in, let simmer for a minute

Add the yogurt paste –  stir in, let simmer for a minute of two

Turn flame off

Serve with warm naan!




Stuffed Cabbage

Desserts, Middle Eastern

Khobz El-Tunis Recipe (Sweet Tunisian Bread)

Khobz El-tunis

Khobz El-tunis

I love this recipe. Khobz El-tunis translates to “The Bread of Tunis”. This is an Algerian variation of a common recipe of a sweet cake enjoyed in Tunis. My Professor showed us an authentic Tunisian cookbook in our class last semester and since I have been dying to try a variation of this recipe for her to taste. My lovely Algerian friend taught me a variation of the authentic Khobz El-Tunis recipe about 2 years ago but I never had any reason to try it on my own. As my lovely Arabic language professor has invited us to lunch tomorrow, I wanted to bring a treat of my own for everyone to try!


  • 2 cups ground almonds (use almonds with skin)
  • 2 cups dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup sugar

    All dry ingredients

    Ground almonds, dry breadcrumbs, & sugar

  • 7 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon or lime

Ingredients for Simple Syrup:

    • 2 cups water
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 3 tbs. orange blossom water
This is about the size which you should process your almonds.

This is about the size which you should process your almonds.

Process for Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Ground almonds in a food processor
  3. Combine ground almonds, breadcrumbs, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl
  4. Melt butter. When butter is cooled, but not solidified, add to the above ingredients
  5. Add eggs and lemon zest
  6. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl together
  7. Pour into a baking tray preferably 9″ x 13″
  8. Place in oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown

Process for Simple Syrup:

  1. Bring 2 cups water & 2 cups sugar with 3 tablespoons orange blossom water to a boil. Stir often. 
Orange blossom water--who don't love it?

Orange blossom water–who don’t love it? Stir this often!!

Combining Simple Syrup and Cake:

  1.  When cake is golden brown, remove from oven 
  2. Pour half of the simple syrup onto the cake. The cake will immediately absorb the simple syrup
  3. Let cake sit for another 20 minutes and add remainder of simple syrup
  4. After another 20 minutes you are free to cut your cake and voila!
  5. Enjoy your little piece of Tunisian sweetness!


Before going into the oven

Getting ready to get baked!!



Rasmalai is a sweet dessert originating in India. I found this to be a Pakistani variation of the recipe. The name Ras Malai comes from two parts in Hindi: “Ras” meaning “juice/juicy” and “Malai”, meaning “cream”. While the malai balls can be made from scratch, this recipe uses powdered milk.

Final product being packaged to send to a friend

Final product being packaged to send to a dear friend


  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 6 tbs of sugar
  • Green cardamon
  • Chopped pistachio
  • 1/2 teaspoon of rose water


In large bowl, combine powdered milk, egg, olive oil, and baking powder. Form a large malai ball from which you create 10-15 other malai balls. Slightly flatten them.

Malai Balls

Malai Balls: should be smaller than in this picture for best results

While processing the “balls”, bring milk, sugar, and cardamon in a large saucepan to a boil.

Upon boiling, lower temperature to low/medium heat and place malai balls insides. When seeing the malai balls swell up, cook for another 10 minutes.

Milk, sugar, cardamon ready to be boiled

Before removing pan from heat, add rose water.  Upon serving, top with crushed pistachio.