The tamarind is a long-lived, medium-growth, bushy tree whose ripe fruit is used extensively in Indian cooking as a flavoring and thickener. The fruit is an indehiscent legume, sometimes called a pod, 12 to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches) in length, with a hard, brown shell. The fruit has a fleshy, juicy, acidulous pulp. … Continue reading

Toor Dal / Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas are both a food crop (dried peas, flour, or green vegetable peas) and a forage/cover crop. They contain high levels of protein and the important amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan. In combination with cereals, pigeon peas make a well-balanced human food. The dried peas may be sprouted briefly, and then cooked, for … Continue reading


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia. It is one of the key ingredients in many Pakistani, Indian, Persian and Thai dishes. Its use as a coloring agent is not of primary value in South Asian cuisine. Turmeric powder is used … Continue reading

Urad Dal

Vigna mungo, known as black gram, black lentil [not to be confused with the much smaller true black lentil (Lens culinaris)], white lentil, black matpe bean, urad, urad dal, udad dal, urd bean, urd, urid, maas (in Nepali), is a bean grown in southern Asia. It is used to make dal from the whole or … Continue reading

Healthy Sunday Brunch

My daughter and I entertain a couple of young friends with a healthful Sunday brunch. It was really fun to have friends over and Tara was enthusiastic about my cooking page. She is a social media guru and gave me a number of good suggestions on promoting my page while helping my daughter with her … Continue reading

I have recently rediscovered this old standby. I use stale or left over bread cut into chunks. Add a couple of tbs of oil or butter or ghee to a sauté pan and cook up some onions green chilies and red or green or baby bell peppers add 1/2 tsp rasam powder and some curry … Continue reading

My grandmother was an extraordinary cook. We all knew it as children. She was venerated by the family and watching her cook in her prime was each time a learning experience for the rest of my life. As a boy growing up, I was not expected to be in the kitchen, let alone learn to … Continue reading

One of the wonderful ways to enhance the flavor of dishes is to add a touch of new herbs or spices in them and transform traditional recipes by introducing an unexpected flavor. It shouldn’t be so pungent as to overwhelm the dish but just enough to be noticed and yet leave the person wondering; like … Continue reading