A light and easy to prepare vegan Indian dish (varan) made of split pigeon peas/toovar dal from the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Maharsahtrian varan/Dal | The Novice Housewife #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree

The days leading up to my dad’s retirement were full of farewell dinners hosted by many of my dad’s friends and colleagues. Each day my parents had a dinner engagement either at somebody’s house or the Mess and to a few of these dinners I, too, was invited.

In that one month of dining out almost everyday, we tasted a variety of menus, ranging from a cheese and wine dinner to Kashmiri food to traditional Maharashtrian fare. I don’t think I have ever eaten so much, and of course the weighing scale made sure I never forgot it either. But then, I got to taste so many different things- some new, some old, some good, some very good. In the end it was all worth it.

Maharsahtrian varan/Dal | The Novice Housewife #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree

As mentioned before, at one of the dinners we were served traditional Maharashtrian cuisine. It was all beautifully served, pre-plated in a Thali, a total of close to 15 dishes, each prepared by our very gracious hostess. My mom particularly loved the dal and the kadhi and asked for both the recipes, which the hostess was kind enough to share.

While certain Indian dishes have been made more popular worldwide, there are a lot of Indian dishes that are unknown to most people and what you see being served in restaurants abroad are mostly North indian favorites. So, I hope you enjoy this recipe that I am sharing with you today, which comes from the western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital, Mumbai and to the famous Bollywood industry.

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Mutton Curry | The Novice Housewife

My parents’ cook made this amazing lamb curry the other day. Like lip smacking good. Even my sister-in-law who is technically a vegetarian but being married to a strictly non-vegetarian family sometimes eats the occasional chicken, fish and meat, loved it.

The mutton was perfectly cooked, the flavors spot on. So I asked my cook to teach me how to make the dish. He said its Mutton Rogan Josh but when I saw him prepare and read about the dish online I realized his recipe wasn’t traditional of rogan josh. But it was great to taste, so I had to share the recipe with you all.

Mutton Curry | The Novice Housewife

Traditional Rogan Josh does not use onions or garlic, nor does it use tomatoes, although there are various versions online and various restaurants across India that serve mutton made with the above mentioned ingredients and serve it as Mutton Rogan Josh. But since I do not want to face the wrath of Kashmiri Pandits who made famous this dish in India, I will just name today’s recipe Mutton Curry. A very delicious mutton curry.

If you are fond of lamb/mutton based recipes, you should also check out my mom’s Mutton Patiala recipe. My mom made it for V when she had come to US to visit us, and to date he still talks about how good it was.

And since we are talking about lamb and mutton, I have always been confused about the difference between the two. But then some time with my good friend Google helped clear the confusion.

Lamb is a sheep that is slaughtered between the ages of 4 months to 12 months. The meat from an older sheep that is slaughtered is called mutton. It is more tough and intense in flavor and requires an acquired taste. Probably thats why it is not so popular in the States. And thats why I hardly cook it there, since its more difficult to find in grocery stores. But since I am in India these days, am able to share this recipe with you today. If you are a mutton fan, I recommend you try this recipe out.

Mutton Curry | The Novice Housewife

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Blueberry and Sour Cream Loaf | The Novice HousewifeAmidst packing at my parents’ place and cleaning the refrigerator- attempting to use left over sour cream and a batch of blueberries, and flipping through the recipes July’s Indian issue of Good Housekeeping, this moist and flavorful Blueberry and Sour Cream Loaf was made.

When I told a friend of mine that I was posting the recipe for this loaf on the blog today, the question arose what is the difference between a sweet loaf and a cake. While I answered the doubt to the best of my knowledge, I wondered what the web had to say about it and did a quick google search to find the exact difference.

The most obvious difference is the tin used to make the baked good in question. Loaf cakes are always baked in a loaf pan, whereas cakes in other square or round tins. And even though both cakes and loaf cakes share similar ingredients, the ratio of flour, fat, sugar and the mixing methods are different and make a difference in the final product.

Blueberry and Sour Cream Loaf | The Novice Housewife

While quick breads (like banana bread, scones and muffins) are made by combining the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in the other and then mixing the two till just combined with few lumps, cakes are made by creaming the butter and sugar together (or by folding whipped egg whites into flour, sugar, yolks mixture- the chiffon method), lending a finer crumb to cakes. Thus, cakes are generally lighter than loafs and other quick breads. Kind of like the difference between a muffin and a cupcake, a cupcake being a mini cake and a muffin being a type of quick bread.

The Kitchn explains the difference between a cupcake and a muffin fairly well, and best to my knowledge that would be the difference between a cake and a quick bread (or sweet loaf).

Also generally, comparing various recipes, loafs are always with some kind of fruit in them, whereas cakes can be with fruit or not. 

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