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Lentils or dals are ingredients that every Indian household eats and stocks. They are excellent sources of nutrients like vitamins A, C, K, Omega-3 fatty acids, copper, protein, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. Our ancestors grew up eating these as part of their staple diet because they knew how healthy lentils were. The variety of lentils is actually mind-boggling – Moong, Urad Black, Urad Split, Moong Green Whole, Arhar, Pink and Black Masoor – the list is huge.
Growing up I was never a fan of dals. My mom would have to force us to eat a katori of dal with our meals. As I grew older and started travelling the world, my love for lentils in general grew. Every time I travel for a few weeks and come home, my first meal at home has to be dal – chawal. What can I say, I need my comfort food to make me feel all satiated and happy to be home. Thankfully my kids feel the same way.
Fast forward to the present day and meal times with my kids. They are actually quite fond of lentils. and I can say quite proudly it’s mostly because of me! Moong dal – soup or water – is one of the lightest lentils and most of us give it as one of the first foods for the baby. So while I started them off with dal ka pani as they grew I started adding lentils in different forms to their meal plan. I wanted to make sure they kept enjoying their lentils.
Lentils are extremely versatile and they can be used to make so many things – besides the regular dal we normally eat. This rich source of protein can be cooked and mashed into so many things that if your kids are picky eaters, they won’t even know there are lentils in the food.
I’ve put together 5 recipes that I make regularly for my kids and they love it. If you have clever lentil recipes that you use for your family, share them with us. Mail us your kid-friendly recipe, bio and picture at email@example.com and we would love to feature you on our site.
Dal Ka Paratha
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This is one of my favourites. I always have leftover dal in the fridge and making these parathas ensures that they get their protein and it’s an easy tiffin option as well. Just roll it up and you have mini-dal roll-ups.
- 1 Cup Leftover Dal
- 2 Cups Wheat Flour (Atta)
- 1 Tomato Finely Chopped
- 1 Onion Finely Chopped
- 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
- 1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1/8 Tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
- 1 Small Green Chillies Chopped (Optional)
- 1 Tbsp Cilantro Leaves Chopped
- Salt to taste
- In a pan, heat some oil and add the cumin seeds.
- Once they start to splutter put in the onions and sauté until they become translucent.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the turmeric, salt, red chilli powder and green chilli if using.
- Add the leftover dal and mix well.
- Remove from heat and let the dal cool.
- Put the atta in a bowl and add the cooled dal.
- Knead to form a soft dough.
To make the parathas
- Divide the dough into small balls.
- Roll out into round discs/rotis.
- Heat the tawa and once it’s hot, put the rolled-out roti on the tawa.
- Cook one side for about a minute and then flip over to the other side.
- Put a little bit of ghee and spread it on the roti and flip again. Do the same thing with the other side.
- Once cooked through, remove from the tawa and serve with pickle, butter or curd.
Pumpkin & Lentil Soup
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This is a soup that kids and adults enjoy. It’s easy to make and can serve as a wholesome meal for younger kids.
- 1 Cup Pumpkin cubed & seeds removed
- 2 Tbsp Masoor Dal (Red)
- 1 Onion finely chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Tsp Butter / Ghee
- Pinch Of Black Pepper Powder
- Salt To Taste
- Rinse the red lentils in clean water and soak for 10- 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the pumpkin into cubes. Peel the garlic clove and chop the onion.
- In a saucepan heat ghee on medium flame. Add minced garlic followed by onion. Sauté for a minute.
- Add the soaked and drained red lentils. Stir well.
- Add chopped pumpkin and stir-fry for another 1 minute.
- Add 3 cups of water and salt to taste (add salt only for babies above 1 year). Simmer the mix until both pumpkin and red lentils are cooked thoroughly. Put off the flame.
- Allow the cooked pumpkin to cool down to room temperature. Blend with a hand blender or food processor to get a smooth puree.
- Transfer the saucepan with the pumpkin puree to heat. Add a pinch of black pepper powder and allow the puree to boil. Put off the flame.
- Serve the pumpkin red lentil soup warm.
Note: You may add a little cinnamon powder to the soup while serving in case you are not adding salt and black pepper powder.
Green Moong Sprouted Dosa
This Sprouted Moong Dosa/Cheela is an easy way to get your babies, toddlers, older kids and adults to eat sprouts. Sprouts are rich in calcium, phosphorous, fibre, Vitamin C and K. So if you have a bowl of sprouts in the fridge and you don’t know what to do with them – try out this simple and healthy recipe.
- 2 Cups Green Moong Dal Sprouts
- 2 Tbsp Besan/ Gram Flour/Rice Flour
- ¼ Cup Curd
- ½ Tsp Coriander Powder (dhania powder)
- ½ Tsp Cumin Powder (jeera powder)
- Pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
- Salt And Pepper
- Water As Required
- Grind sprouts in a blender till it becomes a smooth paste.
- Sieve besan/rice flour into the sprouts paste and mix well.
- Add the curd and mix till you get a smooth batter.
- Add a little water if the batter too thick.
- Add salt, pepper, cumin and coriander powder.
- Keep the batter aside for at least half an hour and let it ferment.
- Heat a non-stick frying-pan/dosa tawa
- Brush a little oil on the pan.
- Pour a big spoon of batter onto the tawa and spread the batter with the back of the spoon.
- Cook covered on medium heat for a minute.
- Check to see if the bottom is and flip the dosa/chilla and cook on the other side till it seems done.
- You can serve this sprouts dosa hot with a green peanut or coconut chutney.
Note: For older kids and adults you can add finely chopped tomatoes and onions for more flavour. If you like crisp dosas, then use rice flour instead of the besan.
The red lentil and roasted carrot dip is very similar to hummus in texture and is rich and smoky and features the humble red lentil or masoor dal.
Ingredients – Makes about 2 ½ Cups
- 2 large Carrots, washed peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 small red Onion, chopped into large chunks
- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1½ cups cooked Red lentil/ Masoor Dal
- Juice of 2 Limes
- 1 large pod of Garlic, finely minced
- ½- ¼ Tsp Chilli Powder (optional)
- ½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ Tsp Cumin Powder
- 3- 4 Tbsp Water, if needed
- Salt to taste
- Wash and cook the masoor dal. Ensure it does not have too much water. I usually use just enough water to cover the dal before pressure cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 190° C.
- Toss the carrots and onions with half the olive oil and salt and spread out on a baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until the carrots and onions are tender and golden brown.
- You could do this on the stovetop if you do not have an oven.
- Scrape this mixture into a blender, add the cooked and cooled masoor dal along with all the other dry spices and lime juice. Add a little water if the mixture appears too dry.
- Blend until the mixture is fairly smooth and spreadable. You might need to add some more water along the way.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt or lime juice. Finish off with remaining olive oil.
- Store in an airtight jar in your refrigerator for a week
Masoor & Chana Dal Tikkis
These tikkis are easy to make and taste really good. The kids won’t even know its made with lentils if you put them in between burger buns and serve them.
- 1 Cup Masoor Dal ( red lentil) soaked
- 1/4 Cup Chana Dal (bengal gram) soaked
- 2 Cup Breadcrumb
- 250 G Paneer grated
- 1/2 Cup Mint Leaves finely chopped
- 1/2 Cup Coriander Leaves finely chopped
- 1 Carrot grated
- 1 Tbsp Ginger Paste
- 2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder – adjust as per the spice level required
- 1 Tsp Chaat Masala Powder
- 2 Tsp Amchur Powder (raw mango powder)
- 1 Tsp Garam Masala
- 1 Tsp Cumin Powder (jeera powder)
- 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder (haldi)
- Juice of 1 Small Lemon
- Salt as per taste
- Oil for roasting
- Coriander Garlic Chutney for serving
- Onion chopped for serving
- Wash and soak both the dals/lentils in water for 4-5 hours.
- Pressure cook the dals with very little water for 3-4 whistles.
- Once the dals have cooled, mash them with potato masher or grind it without water in a grinder.
- Mix the ground dal, bread crumbs, grated paneer, grated carrot, chopped mint and coriander
- Add all the dry spices – red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, cumin powder, chat masala, amchur powder, salt, ginger paste and lemon juice.
- Mix them well and adjust salt and seasoning.
- Now apply oil in the palms and shape the mixture into small tikkis.
- Heat a non-stick pan and put a tbsp of oil on it and roast the tikkis.
- Flip them onto the other side.
- Drizzle some more oil if needed and cook them till golden brown on both sides on medium heat.
- Serve them hot with coriander garlic chutney, chopped onions.
Note: You can sprinkle chat masala over tikkis if you want.
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