Real Foods of India: Pt.2

You are checking out Part 2 of the Real Foods of India cooking series.

I recently attended the “Real Foods of India” cooking class at the Milestone Culinary Arts Center in Dallas, led by Minal Jhaveri from Gourmet Journey. Four hours of culinary fare and eight delicious dishes later…I walked away one step closer to mastering another challenging cuisine.

The following two dishes were preceded by the cool and refreshing flavors of a Mango Lassi and Cucumber Raita, described in Part 1 of the series.

Mung Bean Salad

A cold salad served with a meal or by itself. Great for picnics.

Serves 6-8


  • 1 cup green mung beans (Whole Foods or Indian Stores)
  • 1 cucumber, diced in small pieces
  • 1 tomato, diced in small pieces
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 cup shredded cabbage
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp amchur powder (Dried Mango Powder)
  • 2 tsp chat masala (MDH Brand Recommended – chunky does not mean chunky)*Tip
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • Pinch of tumeric (to be used while boiling the mung beans) *Tip


Rinse mung beans at least 4-5 times in running water. Presoak them for 4-5 hours in 2-3 cups (3″ above beans) of water. Boil the mung beans in the same water with a pinch of salt and a pinch of turmeric, until they’re soft, but not mushy (around 10 min). Strain the mung beans, saving the water. Set mung beans aside to cool.

Note: mung bean water can be used as a clear soup. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, chat masala and cilantro leaves.

Combine all the vegetables and spices with the olive oil and lemon juice, toss like a salad. Add in the mung beans after they cool down.

Serve cold.


Can keep in fridge for 2-3 days. Cannot freeze!


  • Most Indian homes use pressure cookers to cook beans/lentils, but it’s not a necessity
  • Masala simply means, a blend of spices
  • Chat means snacks
  • Chat Masala can be sprinkled on any type of meat!
  • Turmeric is a very strong spice and MUST BE COOKED! Be very careful. It adds color and is loaded with tons of nutrients, but can make a dish very bitter if not allowed to cook properly. It does not add flavor standing alone and cannot be added at the end. Again, it MUST be cooked!
    • Good for arthritis, bone health, and Alzheimer’s
    • Clots blood on minor cuts (consult physician before attempting)
    • A little turmeric and honey helps to soothe a sore throat (use method for a few days)

Paneer Tikka Curry

A spicy yogurt based curry with grilled Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese). Can be served with rice or Indian breads.

Serves 2-4


  • 1 1/2 cups Paneer cubes, approximately 1/2 inch in size *Tip


  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp tikka masala (Shan brand)*Tip
  • 1/4 tsp chat masala
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Paste (can be frozen for up to 3 months)

  • 1 tbsp ghee *Tip
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, chopped *Tip
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick (around 1 inch)
  • 1 tbsp Kasoori Methi leaves
  • 1 tbsp flour

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala *Tip
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream



Mix in the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl.  Put the paneer pieces in the marinade and set aside (kitchen counter is fine) for 2-3 hours.


Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pot and saute onions, garlic, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon stick for a few minutes until the onion starts to brown. Add the Kasoori methi leaves and flour, saute for 1 min. Remove from heat and blend mixture with 2 tbsp water to form a paste.

Grill Paneer

Put paneer pieces on skewers and grill until they are slightly brown, or, broil paneer pieces on a cookie sheet on either side for a few mintues until paneer is slightly brown.

Curry Base

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp ghee in a pot. Add cumin seeds and saute until they are slightly brown. Add the ground paste, tomato paste, garam masala, and salt. Saute for a few mintues. Rinse out the blender with 1/4 cup of water to remove all the paste from the blender. Add the remaining marinade mixture to the pot and let this simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cream and grilled panner, mix well.

Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot.


  • The Indian cottage cheese can be substituted for chicken
  • Tikka Masala may say multiple things, like chicken Tikka – Tikka is the keyword to look for. MUST BE COOKED!
  • Ghee is essentially clarified butter. The more you add to the dish, the more flavor it will have. You can purchase ghee at Indian stores. If you decide to make your own, store in a glass jar in the pantry for 2 months. It CANNOT touch a DROP of water!! If any water gets into the jar, mold will immediately grow.
  • Garam Masala is a curry powder that means “temperature” hot. The more you add – the spicier the dish. This must be cooked to bring out the flavors and is usually better the next day!
  • A neat ginger tip: you can actually use the bag side of a spoon to scrape away the skin

Bat for Lashes is a fantastic band out of the UK. Lead singer, Natasha Khan, has such a beautiful, ethereal voice that always takes me back to my adventures through Europe. Daniel is one of my favorite songs and perfectly represents my writing mood this evening. Check out an additional article I wrote including Natasha Khan on Virgin Records.

Bat for Lashes – Daniel

Click on the numbers to view Parts 13, and 4 of Real Foods from India.

All recipes courtesy of Minal Jhaveri.

One response

  1. sounds yummy, again! Still waiting for a special invite to one of these meals – and I love the song, I need to check this band out. Thanks for sharing! love love!

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