Tag Archives: daal

Tadke vali Masoor ki Daal

The very first time I cam back home for a holiday from boarding school, this daal was one of the things that Ma made for my first meal at home the day I arrived, along with bhindi ki subzi, boondi ka raita and plain white rice, because that combination had always been my favorite meal since I was very small.

I guess Ma saw from my reaction just how much I missed these things in the school mess, so every visit after that first one, for the next six years, till I started working and set up a kitchen of my own, she continued to make these dishes for my first meal each time. She still does, in fact, sometimes when I go back to see her in Jamshedpur with the girls.

So when I made this daal for the boulanger’s customers this Tuesday, I did so with a certain feeling of nostalgia.

It was then all the more wonderful to find out later that day that it got a response the boulanger called “tres bonne” (which means very good, or excellent as when it is said with the appreciation that the boulanger‘s voice showed) and so he wants to include it among the things that I will cook for next Tuesday.

This is one of those recipes of Ma that I follow quite faithfully.

1 cup of dhuli masoor (red lentils)

1 onion, peeled and chopped fine

1 tomato, chopped fine

1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 or 1 tablespoon of chopped green coriander

1/4 teaspoon each of the five spices that make up paanchphoron

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

1 tablespoon of ghee (or a second one of oil)

Wash the daal thoroughly and soak in water for an hour or two (the daal can be cooked without soaking it beforehand and in this case it will usually need a little longer to cook).

Pressure cook the daal with salt till the grains are quite soft and well-blended. Add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and mix it in well.

In the meanwhile, heat the oil plus the ghee in a frying pan. Add the paanchphoron as described here and when the seeds begin to crackle, add the onions and fry till they begin to turn a dark-ish brown. Add the tomatoes next, and cook till they are quite soft; by this time the oil will begin to appear a little on the sides of the mixture. Mix in the green coriander now, fry everything together for 1/2 a minute, then add this mixture to the daal and simmer it for 5-6 minutes.

The daal can of course be tempered with only cumin seeds, or with cumin seeds and mustard seeds, instead of with paanchphoran and the green coriander is an extra too. But the latter two ingredients together spell magic here 🙂

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A simple,mild Rasam

This home made answer to what restaurants call mulligatawny soup went down very well with our guests on Saturday.

Rasam

6 medium sized tomatoes( or 1 or 2 more, if you would like a more sour soup)

5 tbsp of arhar daal

½ tsp of grated ginger

½ tsp of mustard seeds

2 tbsp of ghee

½ tsp of turmeric

a pinch of asafetida

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Soak the daal for 1-2 hours, then pressure cook it till it is very soft.

In a large casserole, warm the ghee, and add the mustard seeds. When these begin to crackle, add the curry leaves and the asafoetida. Fry these for just a few seconds, add the ginger, and fry till for a few seconds till it starts to turn a golden color. Now add the tomatoes and the turmeric, and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the salt and 2 cups of water next, and let the mixture come to a boil. Continue cooking for 7-8 minutes, mix in the daal, and simmer everything together for a further 10-12 minutes or until the soup has acquired the thickness/consistency you’d like. Stir in ½ the coriander and turn the heat off, keeping the rest to add a little to each bowl before you eat.

For a spicier flavour, grind pepper on to each portion. It definitely lifts the taste; gives it a great kick that goes well with the tanginess of the tomatoes.

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Tadke vali Arhar – Our Daal for all seasons

Any day or time of the year, this daal, with phulka, is what Shri loves most to eat, I think. And when he says “I am a daal-chawal kind of person”, surely the daal he’d be happiest with would be this one.

It is made from the same lentil – arhar daal – that his other favorite, varan, is made from.

While the tadka is not very unusual, I have borrowed two little ideas from my mother in-law, and my sister-in-law Vasanti, who is another really excellent cook and her daal with tadka is the nicest I have ever eaten.

That I add jaggery to the daal is inspired by Ma’s varan; and I add the coriander leaves to the tadka towards the end of the frying process like Vasanti.

Tadke vali Arhar Daal

1 cup (200 ml measure) of arhar daal, soaked for 1-2 hours

2-3 tbsp of sunflower oil (you could replace half the quantity of oil with ghee for a great flavor)

1 large onion, or 2 small ones, peeled and chopped very fine

1 large tomato, chopped very fine

1 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves

a pinch of asafetida

1/2 -3/4 a tsp of turmeric powder

1/4 tsp of cumin seeds

1/4 tsp of mustard seeds

1/2 or 1 tsp of crushed jaggery

Pressure cook the daal in 3 cups of water, after adding salt to taste. When the daal is well-cooked (the grains should be fairly well blended), stir in the turmeric and jaggery.

While the daal cooks, in a frying pan heat the oil and add the asofetida and the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, add the cumin seeds. When these start to release their aroma, add the onions and fry them on a moderate heat until they begin to brown. Add the tomatoes and cook till they are quite soft. Now add the coriander leaves, fry for a few seconds, and add this tadka to the daal and boil everything together for 5-7 minutes. If the daal is thicker than you like, add some boiled water (sometimes this daal goes thick if kept for some time after cooking).

With the fresh taste of the coriander mingled with the richness of the tomatoes and onions, and the very mild sweet note from the jaggery, this daal really does have the most delicious flavors come together. I like to eat this one straight from the bowl, though it is great with hot rice too.

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Daal with vegetables

This is a recipe that evolved from the daals and khichris I used to cook for the girls when they were babies.

The format was usually the same – a couple of vegetables (one green, the other red or yellow) fried with some onion,garlic, sometimes ginger, and tomato, and then cooked together with one of the yellow daals. For a khichri I added rice to that combination.

Of the various combinations I cooked together then, the one I have continued to make over the years is of red lentils (masoor) cooked with spinach and squash/pumpkin.

This is one the girls eat without demur, and the leftover portion is very useful for making dough for puris and paranthas that are full of taste.

I also like the idea that I don’t have to cook a subzi separately, when I cook this daal for a meal,since there is a decent amount of vegetables in the daal.  So yesterday, when I made this daal for dinner, I made only some plain rice and peanut raita to go with it.

Daal with Vegetables

1 cup of masoor (red lentils), washed, and soaked for an hour or two

75-100 gms of very finely chopped fresh or frozen spinach

100-150 gms of finely diced pumpkin/butternut squash (or 2 medium sized carrots)

1 large tomato, finely chopped

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated

1/2 tsp of cumin seeds

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

1/2 tsp of coriander powder

1/2 tsp of garam masala (optional)

salt to taste

3 tbsp of sunflower oil

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil, add the cumin seeds, and fry the onion till it starts to turn a golden color. Add the garlic and the pumkpin, and fry till the onions start to turn brown and pumpkin starts to look quite soft.

Add the tomatoes, and fry till they are soft. Now add the spices, and fry for a couple of seconds.

Add the spinach and the salt, and fry for 3-4 minutes. Now add the daal, 3-4 cups of water, mix everything thoroughly and pressure cook  for 7-8 minutes, or till the vegetables are quite soft.

Add a little boiled water to thin the daal, if it seems to thick, and a tsp of ghee for flavor, if you like.

If you plan to make puris or paranthas with the leftover portion, do thicken the daal over heat first, else you’ll end up using too much flour to knead the dough.

let me know if you try/like this, since this recipe is truly my own 🙂

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Khatti-Meethi Daal

This afternoon, when I soaked the daal for the evening’s meal, I found myself thinking that I did not want to make varan yet again. As I mulled over the various ways in which arhar can be cooked, I remembered for the first time in a long while of a childhood favorite – a sweet and sour version of this lentil.

My mother sometimes made arhar flavored with tamarind and jaggery. And though the others at home -my father, my brother and my dadi – did not favor this variation, she made it quite often just for me.

I had never made it myself until today, but managed to achieve the same taste as in my mother’s version. And I was quite pleased to see that the girls liked it too.

Khatti-Meethi Daal

1 cup arhar

1 medium sized onion, chopped very finely

1 green chilly, sliced through(optional)

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds (methi)

1 clove of garlic, sliced in to thin slivers

5-6 curry leaves

1/2 tsp turmeric

salt to taste

2 tsp of thick tamarind paste

1tbsp of crushed jaggery (you can vary the amount)

Soak the daal with the fenugreek seeds for 2-3 hours, then pressure cook it in 3 cups of water, with the onion, the jaggery and the salt, till the grains are absolutely soft.

When the daal has cooled down a little bit, add the turmeric and the tamarind paste and stir everything together thoroughly with a whisk so that the grains dissolve completely.

In a small frying pan, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds, then when they start to crackle add the curry leaves, the green chilly, and the garlic and stir till the garlic starts to turn a very light brown. Add this tempering to the daal and boil it for 7-8 minutes to allow everything to really come together.

This daal is just great with plain white rice.  Add a little bit of ghee to that, and it’s heaven 🙂

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Comfort in a bowl – Varan

Indira seemed both interested and amused when I showed her this blog a few days ago. Both the sisters now look forward to watching me take pictures of the food these days, and eagerly wait to see them on the computer.

Even so, this evening I was pleasurably surprised when she told me, watching me serve her varan to her, “will you please put this recipe on your blog too, since I really love this daal?”.

It’s true, she does, as does her father.

Varan is a Maharashtrian way of cooking arhar daal, and I learnt to make it from my mother-in-law.

Both the girls have pretty much grown up on the stuff and it continues to be their favorite food in the whole world. Just like when they were babies, even now when all else fails to appeal they never say no to a bowl of this daal.

One of the things I have come to appreciate about this staple food of our home is that its gentle flavor complements the spice-rich taste of many everyday subzis.

It really does have the most soothing,satisfying taste, and I LOVE how simple it is to make.

Varan

1 cup (200 ml measure) of arhar dal, soaked for 1-2 hours

A tbsp of ghee

a pinch of asofetida

1/2 a tsp of turmeric powder

1/2 tsp of cumin seeds (optional)

1 tbsp of crushed jaggery

Pressure cook the daal in 3 cups of water, after adding salt to taste. When the daal is well-cooked (the grains should be fairly well blended), stir in the asofetida,ghee,turmeric and jaggery, and boil the daal for 7-8 minutes till everything is well mixed.

If you want to flavor the daal with cumin seeds, then add only the jaggery and the turmeric directly to the daal.

Now heat the ghee in a small pan, add the asofetida and cumin seeds to the ghee, then pour everything over the daal before boiling it for 7-8 minutes.

Serve the varan over plain rice, or drink it straight from your katora like soup, as we do sometimes 🙂

I’ll post the picture tomorrow; I think I’ll let the girls click this one.

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