Hop Right In!

I believe that salt is to food, what food is to life. In right proportions, it can heighten the taste of what you eat..and in the wrong - destroy! Even the most delicious sweets come added with some salt...to taste!

As for me, I've never enjoyed cooking. And as contrary to my owning a food-blog as it may sound, I always think about daily, routine cooking as a chore. But my tryst with the pots and pans began when I got a kitchen all to myself...I began experimenting and exploring new worlds in my own home. Some outcomes were excellent and some plain disasters. Then sprouted the need to keep track of all those good ones...and hence this blog!

Here, I share those experiments that pleased more than one palate!

June 5, 2009

Shepu Chi Bhaji (Dill and Lentils)

While in most parts of the world Dill is considered a herb and is used sparingly only in salad dressings, sauces and vinaigrettes, in India it is used as a vegetable. Surprised? Don't be. In fact, it is one such 'vegetable' that is used very regularly in many Indian cuisines. At home, we often prepare Shepu Chi Bhaji, which is a common Maharastrian/Maratha/South Indian dish. Try this once, and it will be among your top choices when eating healthy!

2 bunches - Dill, chopped
1/2 cup - Lentils (I have used Toor Dal/Split Red Gram)
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
4 tbsp - Onions, finely chopped
2 cloves - Garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp - Mustard seeds
3 Red chillies
And, of course, some salt to taste!!

- In a large saucepan, heat some water and add salt and lentils
- Allow the lentils to cook almost completely
- Now, add the dill and boil until the dill gets fully cooked
- Let cool, and drain the water into a bowl and set aside if you intend making Ambat Kadan. If not, you can retain the water for the essential nutrients it carries.
- In a wok/kadaai, heat some oil
- Add mustard seeds
- Once they splutter add the red chillies and fry for a few seconds on a medium flame
- Now, add the onions and fry further
- Toss in the cooked dill and lentils
- Stir-fry continuously until the water evaporates

Noteworthy Notes
1. You can opt to use the pressure cooker to cook the dill and lentils, but I find that it makes the lentils too well cooked and mushy.
2. Another alternative would be to steam the lentils for a few minutes before you put them in the water. This considerably reduces the time required for them to cook up on the stove-top.
3. It is not required that you use only Toor dal/split red gram. You can also use Mung Dal/Green gram or any other lentil that you like.

Serving Suggestion
Serve hot with soft rotis along side dal fry OR hot white rice and Ambat Kadan.



  1. how do u expect this dish to be healthy when u cook it and then drain away all the nutrients?

  2. Well this is how its normally made and the water that's drained is not thrown away but normally (in Karnataka, India) used to make a gravy with a ground paste of coconut and spices.

    But if you want to make only this item and yet retain all the nutrients from boiling the lentils and dill all you got to do is season it (as mentioned from step 5) and then add the boiled dill n lentils with the water in which it was boiled and allow the water to evaoprate while the nutrients get re-absorbed into the preparation. This is what is done with most other vegetarian side dishes in India in order to retain nutritive value. The reason I did not mention all this was because I thought of keeping this as a simple dish and later posting the gravy recipe and tagging it to this one. Will do so soon.

  3. Linda, if you are still reading my blog...as promised, I have tagged the gravy (Ambat Kadan) recipe to this one. I hope you like it!