nav-left cat-right

Indian Feast Continued: Dal Soup, Saag Paneer and ...

It’s been a busy and exciting week. A wildlife expert came around to assess my garden for the Kent Wildlife Garden Award Scheme (more on that later). I’ve been busy finishing up an excellent writing course at Savvy Authors and I have had new clients for my Reflexology and Aromatherapy practice.

This weekend has brought more rain so I felt it was time to write about the other 3 dishes my husband and I prepared for our Indian Feast last weekend.

Dal Soup is a firm favourite and my husband decided this was his dish to make. He used a recipe found in a book my mum bought ages ago in a local charity shop; ‘Cooking for Today. Indian Vegetarian Cooking,’ by Louise Steele This is an excellent book full of a wide range of easy to make delicious food.

Dal Soup

Here is the recipe from Louise’s book.

Dal Soup


250g / 8oz chana dal or yellow split peas, soaked

1.25 litres / 2 pints water

½ tsp turmeric

1 onion chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp vegetable oil (my husband used olive oil)

½ tsp mustard seeds

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 dried chillies, seeded and chopped (my husband used 2 fresh red chillies)

250g / 8oz canned chopped tomatoes

Salt and pepper


Drain and rinse the lentils then place in a pan with the water and turmeric. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. (NOTE: Keep a sharp eye on the pot as it overflowed a few times creating quite a mess!)

Add the onion and cumin, stir, cover and cook for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop add the chillies and tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the contents of the pan to the lentils. Stir well, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

NOTE: There was no mention of when to add the garlic so my husband added it to the mustard seeds, chillies and tomatoes.

Paneer Cheese

Saag Paneer is a beautiful combination of spinach, paneer cheese and spices.

This recipe from the Indian Food Site is quick and easy to follow.

Saag Paneer serves 2-4


1 kg/2 lbs spinach

1 tsp cumin powder

2 tbsp chickpea flour (NOTE: This is also called Gram Flour – I didn’t realize this and stood next to a huge stack of it while asking a shop assistant where all the chickpea flour was)

4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 onion chopped

salt to taste

¼ tsp chilli powder

½ lbs or ¼ kg paneer

2 tbsp heavy cream

¼ cup oil (I used olive oil)

3 tbsp ginger julienned (I just chopped mine into little chunks)

2-3 tbsp fresh coriander


Chop spinach and set aside

Heat oil, add cumin while heating. When oil starts to crackle, add garlic and onion, sauté until light brown, then add chickpea flour and mix well to avoid lumps

Cook until oil emerges, then add spinach, and sauté until pan is dry

Add salt, chilli powder and paneer, finish with cream and serve garnished with julienned ginger and fresh coriander

Saag Paneer and Chicken Pulao and Rotis

We bought some basmati rice but wanted to do something a bit more adventurous then just steaming it. On the same Indian Food Site (which is brilliant and definitely worth checking out) I found a recipe for Chicken Pulao.

I have to confess I was very VERY pleased with the way this dish turned out. The spices came through beautifully. It really was like something you would get in a restaurant. The great thing was that it was all done in one pan. If you decide to make one dish then I strongly recommend this one.



(2 Ib 3 oz) 1 kg chicken

1 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 2 hours

2 onions finely chopped

2 tbsp fresh ginger, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 green chillies, finely chopped

2 red chillies

1 cinnamon stick

3 black cardamoms

2 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp garam masala

6 peppercorns

2 cups water

salt to taste

leaves from 2 sprigs coriander

¼ cup cashew nuts

4 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)


Heat the oil in a non stick pan

Put in chopped onions. Fry till the onions turn transparent

Add garlic and ginger

Add black cardamoms, cinnamon stick, green and red chillies

Add coriander and cumin powder, salt to taste and stir-fry for 3 minutes

Add pieces of chicken

Stir fry for 5 minutes or until chicken has golden brown colour

Add basmati rice and 2 cups of water. Cover the pan and let simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, or until all water has evaporated

Transfer the rice to serving dish. Garnish with cashew nuts and coriander leaves


I hope you try making some (or all) of these dishes for your very own Indian feast at home. My husband and I had lots of fun preparing them and even more fun eating them!