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Comfort in a bowl
April 30, 2018 | 7:48 PM
by Oneza Tabish
The humble dal fry is a staple in every Indian home.
 
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If there is one dish that most Indians connect to, it has to be the humble ‘dal’ (lentil). Hearty, healthy, and delicious, they are also known to be a great source of fibres and proteins.

DAL GOSHT

This is a delectable lentil stew with meat that is slow cooked in aromatic spices and classifies as comfort food. It can also be a one pot meal that needs only roti or rice as accompaniment.

Ingredients



• 2 medium onions

• Oil/ghee

• 3 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

• 2 medium tomatoes

• 10 to 12 pieces of lamb

• Salt as per taste

• 1 1/2 teaspoons red chilli powder

• 1 teaspoon cumin powder

• 2 teaspoons coriander powder

• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

• 1 teaspoon garam masala

• 1/2 kg channa dal (Bengal gram)

• 1/2 bunch fresh coriander

• 4 green chillies

Preparation

Take a deep pan, sauté the onions in oil/ghee. To this add ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the rawness disappears. Now add the tomatoes and cook till soft. Add in the lamb pieces and sauté on high flame. Season with dry spices of red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and garam masala and mix well. Sprinkle some water so that the spices don’t burn. On medium heat, stir to let the spices and lamb combine well. Add some water for the lamb to cook. Let this cook for a while till lamb is tender. In another pressure cooker, add channa dal and 11/2 cups of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and mix. Pressure cook for 20 minutes. Check to see if dal is well cooked and has medium texture. It shouldn’t be too runny or too thick. Add the dal in to the lamb pot and mix it together. Add in fresh coriander, green chillies and cook on low heat for another 7 minutes. Garnish with coriander sprigs and serve hot with roti or nan.

PANCHRATNA DAL

Panchratna Dal is a scrumptious medley of five lentils from the North Western province of India. A protein packed, fibre rich, delicious mix that tastes wonderful with rice and roti.

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup red lentils (masoor dal)

• 1/2 cup Bengal gram (channa dal)

• 1/2 cup split moong beans (moong dal)

• 1/2 cup split pigeon peas (toor/arhar dal)

• 1/2 cup split black beans (urad dal)

• 2 tablespoons oil

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 1/2 inch piece ginger, chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, chopped

• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

• 1 teaspoon red chilli powder

• 2 cloves

• 1 stick cinnamon

• 1 bay leaf

• Salt to taste

• 4 ripe tomatoes, puréed

• 2 green chillies, chopped

• A small bunch of coriander leaves, finely chopped

For Tempering:

• 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)

• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

• 4-5 dry red chillies

Preparation

Soak the dals for about 1 hour. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker; add onions, ginger and garlic. Sauté till the onions are light golden. Add salt and all the spices. Sauté for another minute. Add tomato purée and reduce heat to medium low, cook till purée has combined well with the onion-ginger garlic and spice mix and the oil leaves the sides. Add the lentils to this spice mix along with the water and pressure cook for 15 minutes or till the lentils have cooked. Once the lentils are cooked, mash them till they are blended to your desired texture. Add more water if required. Set aside for tempering. Heat the tempering ghee in a small frying pan. Add cumin seeds and dry red chillies. Once they splutter, pour over the lentils, mix well to combine. Stir in chopped green chillies and coriander right before serving. Serve hot with steamed rice or plain flatbread.

DAL MAKHANI

This is a creamy, rich and flavourful lentil dish made using whole black lentils. The presence of mild spices with an overload of butter and cream add glory to this dal making it one of the most favourite dals of the world.

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup whole black lentil or sabut urad dal

• 1/4 cup rajma or red kidney beans

• 2 1/2 cups water for pressure cooking

• 1 small black cardamom

• 1 small bay leaf

• 2 tablespoons oil or butter

• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

• 1/8 teaspoon asafoetida

• 3/4 teaspoon ginger finely chopped

• 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic cloves

• 1 medium finely chopped onion

• 2 medium finely chopped tomatoes

• 1 green chilli slit

• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

• 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

• Salt as needed

• 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

• 11/2 teaspoons coriander powder

• 1 1/2 to 2 cups water to add later (half cup each time while simmering)

• 2 tablespoons cream

For garnish

• 1 tablespoon coriander leaves

• 1 tablespoon butter or 1 tablespoon cream

Preparation

Wash dal and rajma together several times and soak overnight or at least for 4 to 5 hours. Pressure cook with 21/2 cups of water, cardamom and bay leaf for 4 to 5 whistles on a medium heat or for 25 to 30 minutes if cooking in a pot. Heat a pan with butter or oil. Add cumin and allow to crackle. Add asafoetida and ginger-garlic and sauté until raw smell disappears. Add onions and sauté until they turn golden. Add tomatoes and green chilli and season with turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Cook until the tomatoes turn soft and combine well with the onion. Add garam masala and coriander powder. Fry well. Pour the cooked lentils along with the stock. Stir and cook on low heat for about 2 hours stirring often in between to prevent sticking or burning of dal at the bottom. You will need to add half cup water as and when the dal thickens. Add cream and stir. Cook for another 5 to 7 mins. Add chopped coriander and ginger juliennes for garnish. Drizzle some cream and add a dollop of butter before serving. Serve dal makhani with naan, plain rice, roti or jeera rice.

EASY DAL FRY

The humble dal fry is a staple in every Indian home. With toor or arhar as its main ingredient, not only is this dal nutritious but easy and quick to make and a real blessing for kitchen amateurs.

Ingredients

1 cup toor dal/arhar dal

2-1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Tempering

3 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/8 teaspoon asafoetida

2 whole dry red chillies

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon green chilli finely chopped

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

2 medium tomatoes finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves

1/4 teaspoon garam masala

Pinch of dry mango powder

Preparation

Wash and soak toor dal for at least one hour in water. Add dal with 2-1/2 cups water into a pressure cooker and season with salt and turmeric and pressure cook on medium high heat. When the pressure cooker starts to steam, turn the heat down to cook for five minutes. Turn off the heat. Dal should be soft. If needed add more water, dal should have the texture of a thick soup. Heat the ghee in a saucepan. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida and whole red chillies. After the seeds splutter, add bay leaves, green chilli, ginger and red chilli powder. Stir for a few seconds. Add tomatoes, salt and stir and cook until tomatoes have softened. Stir in coriander leaves with garam masala and cook for about one minute. Pour the tempering over the dal, mix it well and cook for another minute. Sprinkle dry mango powder on it. Serve dal fry with plain rice or roti.

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