Sooji is a grainy Indian semolina; there is no substitute. Chana dal is a relative of the chickpea and urad dal is a black lentil; both of these are popular in Indian cuisine and may be found at specialty markets.

Semolina with Vegetables Semolina with Vegetables
An aromatic mixture of spices liven up this basic vegetable-and-grain dish from southern India.
Yield: serves 6


  • 8 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sooji
  • 1 tsp. chana dal
  • 1 tsp. urad dal
  • 1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
  • 4 raw cashews, split
  • 1-3 fresh hot green chiles, halved lengthwise
  • 10-12 curry leaves (optional)
  • 8 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1" × 1⁄4" sticks
  • 14 lb. french beans, trimmed and cut into 1" segments
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 12 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp. ghee or butter


  1. Heat 4 tbsp. of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add sooji and fry gently, stirring constantly, until golden. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Clean and dry pan. Heat remaining 4 tbsp. oil in it over medium-high heat. Add dals, mustard seeds, cashews, chiles, and curry leaves (if using). Stir until dals begin to turn red. Add shallots; stir and fry until softened. Add carrots, beans, 1⁄2 tsp. of the salt, and 1 1⁄4 cups water. Cover, raise heat, and boil until vegetables are just tender, 5–7 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, turmeric, 3 cups water, remaining 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt, and sooji. Cook, breaking up any lumps, over medium heat until sooji is done, 8–10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and ghee.