Introduction: Diamond Pasta in Indian Gravy
I am from Mumbai, India, and this dish is a traditional comfort dish from the Western part of India.
This vegetarian dish can be enjoyed in spring, fall and winter though we enjoy it year long. To make it vegan, skip the optional ghee or clarified butter. For those with peanut allergy, skip the nuts. For those having gluten issues, try other flours instead of whole wheat flour and skip the asafoetida, as simple as that!
Although the list of ingredients is long, quite a few of them are optional. The spices are available in Indian stores but also at Whole Foods and other supermarkets in USA, in most other countries and online like Amazon website.
Keep in mind, this is a very healthy, nutritional dish that can be eaten as lunch or dinner. It is packed with complete proteins, complex carbs, is high in minerals and vitamins. It is quite easy to digest and filling too. You can always reduce the oil content by half if you so desire. Use coconut oil or olive oil to keep it healthy or any other oil that you have at home.
My kids enjoyed it from a very young age, a good way to get my entire family (young and old) to eat their beans and vegetables. It's fragrant, complex, and exotic (for the non-Indians), but easy to make. Yum!
This is my first entry, so please feel free to advice. I appreciate your vote. :)
Step 1: Ingredients:
For the Dough:
- 5 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 2 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp coriander-cumin powder (dhanajeera)
- 3-4 cups of water (approx)
For the gravy/sauce:
- 2 cups yellow split peas or dal (cooked)
- Vegetables of your choice:
- 1 medium carrot (chopped)
- 1 medium tomato (chopped)
- 1/2 small onion (chopped)
- 3-4 cauliflower florets
- 1 Tbsp green peas (fresh/frozen)
- 1/4 cup spinach leaves (chopped)
- 3 Tbsp peanuts
- 2 Tbsp cashew nuts
- 3 Tbsp raisins
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 kokam petals
- 1 stick cinnamon or 1 tsp cinnamon powder
For the Tempering:
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp asafaetida or hing (optional)
- 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
- 1-2 fresh green chilies (as per taste)
- 1 dried red chili (optional)
- 2-3 cloves (optional)
- 8-10 sprigs of cilantro (chopped)
- 1/2 lemon/lime juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 tsp ghee or clarified butter (optional)
Step 2: Prepare the Pasta Dough
1. Sieve the whole wheat flour.
2. Add all the dry ingredients.
3. Add oil and mix well.
4. Knead the dough with water. Depending on the altitude and climate, you will have to adjust the water added.
5. The dough should be pliable enough that you can roll it out. Lightly rub a drop of oil on the surface.
6. Cover in a container or use saran wrap. Keep aside to allow the gluten to make the dough pliable.
I kneaded the dough by hand but you can use the food processor. Use the correct blades and dough setting as per your food processor.
Step 3: Tempering
1. Heat oil in a big pot (preferably non-stick to keep oil content low) for tempering.
2. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds.
3. Once they splutter, ingredients of tempering are added in quick succession.
Tempering is typically done at the beginning of cooking, before adding the other ingredients to liberate essential oils from cells and thus enhancing their flavors.
Seasoning and spices are an essential component of Indian cooking, adding a subtle aroma to simple dishes and complexity to highly spiced ones. Fresh green and/or dried red chilies provide the heat, but can be omitted from the dish or later removed if you don't like it hot.
Curry leaves are an herb native to South Asia, unrelated to the ground spice mix called curry powder. Once cooked, curry leaves though edible, most people simply push them aside on the plate.They are often available fresh at Indian markets, and freeze well—no need to defrost before cooking with them. Avoid dried curry leaves, which have no flavor or aroma. If you just cannot find them, omit them. It will still taste great.
Asafoetida has a pungent smell but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor reminiscent of leeks.
Step 4: Make the Gravy/Sauce
1. Add all the ingredients for the gravy to the pot right away. Be careful of the hot oil and try not splash.
2. Boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are thoroughly cooked and tender.
3. Adjust salt and spices as per to your taste.
4. Adjust water level. At this point the gravy seems watery. Once you add pasta, it will thicken.
I cooked the yellow split peas in the pressure cooker which is quick and easy, If you do not own a pressure cooker, you can boil yellow split peas immersed in water on a stove top until it is completely tender and breaks down into one homogeneous mass.
Turmeric and ginger are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger and asafoetida make this stew easy to digest.
Step 5: Make the Pasta
1. Make balls of dough.
2. Roll the balls to make 10-14" rounds approx. The rolled dough should be quite thin and translucent. (200 mm. thick)
3. Cut it into diamond shapes with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
I rolled the pasta using a rolling pin but you may try it using the pasta machine. I don't own one but believe that you may need to pass the dough through it only once. Make sure to dust it with flour so that it does not stick to the pasta machine.
If the circle or diamonds are not perfect, you can use cookie cutters or mason jar lids, so don't be scared to try it out.
If you find it hard to cut shapes, keep the rolled dough for 15 minutes aside before you begin cutting.
Step 6: Add the Pasta to the Gravy
1. Drop the pasta one by one into the boiling gravy. Stir often.
2. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. The pasta will cook quickly and thicken the gravy.
3. Garnish with chopped cilantro and squeeze some lemon/lime juice. Top with dollop of ghee, if desired.
Serve piping hot in soup bowls with poppadoms. Some like to serve it with basmati rice.
If it is hard to pick up the rolled pasta, stick them in the refrigerator or keep aside for 15-20 minutes.
The uncooked pasta can be stored in freezer bags for later use.
Leftovers can be refrigerated for a day or two. Reheat, adjust water and seasonings as needed.