I love Dal. There, I said it. I love Dal in any form, Tuvar with little salt, turmeric and boiled in the traditional cooker (for eight whistles, as it is in my home), Moong like in the Kootu that was the star of one of my previous posts, Urad mashed up with Rajma in rich Dal Makhani or a mix of all of these in Panchratni Dal.
Dal or Paruppu as we call it in Tamil, is a comfort food with multiple Indian foundations. Since it needs no big introduction on my blog, I dive straight into the story. For a change, it is a short one.
A sleep-deprived me at 9 O’clock last night: Oh shoot! I haven’t made anything for dinner or tomorrow’s lunch.
The Mister (engrossed in tv): Err… um…
SD Me grabs my most favorite book of all from the kitchen. Tarla Dalal’s Punjabi Khana. I skim for a quick Dal recipe (and believe me, the book has loads!) and settle on Dal Amritsari. It needs Urad Dal and it needs to be soaked overnight. Now, knowing Urad, it really does need an overnight soak, for which I had no time or patience. I decide to use Moong instead. I have all the other condiments and spices this recipe calls for except onion. Darn! This is a flop show. I brainstorm… er… with myself and come up with a solution. My Indian pressure cooker comes to my aid.
SD Me (after maniacally skimming through the book while the better half sat oblivious, engrossed in watching some movie called Knowing)): Yay! I got the perfect recipe for tonight’s dinner. Life is bright again!
TM: Ooh yumm! I am sure it is going to be tasty, honey.
A very excited SD Me describes what I am making and TM nods along enthusiastically. The day was saved albeit a little late.
Here is a little bit of history on the dish for the ones who want to know: Amritsar is the spiritual capital for the Sikhs (I assume most of us know about the sect or have done enough research online in the recent past) It houses the beautiful Golden Temple which actually attracts more visitors that the Taj Mahal in India! This Dal is a native of the city and a tribute of sorts to beautiful Amritsar.
So here is the recipe, with my alterations.
My Dal Amritsari
3/4 cup Moong Dal
One tsp salt
Three huge garlic pods grated
One medium-sized tomato
One small piece of ginger cut into small pieces (I love the taste of ginger pieces in my food. If you don’t, go ahead and grate it too)
One small Thai green chili
One tsp Garam Masala (which is not curry powder, btw)
One tsp Amchur (optional but I love it for the tang. You get this in an Indian grocery store)
One tsp each coriander and cumin powder (on my latest grocery expedition to Atlanta, I found out that the Indian stores stock up a blend of coriander and cumin. Coolest!)
One Tbsp onion powder (my solution to the ongoing onion scarcity at home)
Quarter tsp cayenne pepper powder
A pinch turmeric powder
Half cup cream (you could substitute half the quantity with milk)
One tsp cumin seeds
Cilantro to garnish
Pressure cook (you could also use the electric cooker or a dutch oven) the dal with the onion powder, half the grated garlic, salt and two cups of water. When done, mash the mixture and add the cream. Keep aside. Heat a saute pan or a wok with one Tbsp butter and one Tbsp oil. Add the cumin seeds. When they start browning, add the tomato, chili, remaining garlic and all of the ginger. Saute on medium flame for three minutes. Now add the Garam Masala, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper powder, coriander-cumin powder and Amchur (if using). This mixture will form a Masala base for the Dal. When the oil separates from the mixture, add the Dal to it and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
We ate this with oats in the night and with rice in the afternoon. Yummy!
So after dinner, the Mister: That was wonderful. What was it?
I guess some people are trained not to listen. Not that I mind because the element of surprise never ends 🙂
PS: I have just one small request. That is, comment. I love the zig-zag line my traffic graph forms on my dashboard. I have seen activity increase on this blog, which is my labor of love. The best thing you could do to make my day is comment, tell me what you think. I would love that!