Let me admit it. A well cooked dal makes me happy.
Since childhood I loved to eat daal, be it simple day to day thin, watery yet tasty masoor dal, or the delicious bhaja moonger dal with machher matha (fish head) or the more glamorous chholar dal, that tastes heavenly both with luchi and warm plain rice. Chholar dal was usually cooked on sundays, the day when you take all your time to relish your meal. Unlike childhood, these days in my kitchen, food is cooked in complete random manner- my kid perhaps will not be able to relate a particular dish to a specific day!
I came across this wonderful blog, My Diverse Kitchen, just in time for the MLLA announcement last week. And at once thought of taking part in it. Since I moved to a new city only a month and half back, have a new job and a toddler, I hardly cook any blog worthy food these days. Even if the dish turns out to be good, there are no pictures taken.
I hardly have anything fancy in my pantry right now, only the bare minimums and I really miss my kitchen in US (sob, sob). So, when I thought to participate in this love affair the first thing I thought was what I have in my pantry! The only legumes in my kitchen right now are the three common dals that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. So, I decided to go with the chholar dal. Maa used to do two /three types of this dal, with or without pieces of coconuts but I always liked this one the best. This can be eaten with sada bhaat at lunch or even with puri/paratha for an evening snack or dinner.
Chholar Daal- 1 cup (washed and soaked for 2 hours; if you forget, never mind)
Red Chilli- 1 or 2
Cinnamon sticks- 1 inch
Cloves - 3/4
Whole cumin seeds-1/2 teaspoon
Red Onion (Medium)- 1 chopped
Tomato (Medium)- 1 chopped
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste- 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder -1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder- 1 teaspoon
Raisins- 8-10 (soaked)
Canola oil- 1 tablespoon
Ghee- 1 + 1 teaspoon
Wash and soak one cup of chholar dal for 2 hours or so.
In a pressure cooker or a thick bottomed pan heat the oil and one teaspoon of ghee. Temper the oil with red chilli, and whole garam masala (Cinnamon, cardamom and cloves). As soon as the aroma of garam masala comes out, add the cumin seeds. Wait till it becomes light brown.
Add the chopped onions and fry till it becomes pink and translucent.
Add a pinch of sugar and add the tomatoes. Cook in a low flame, till it becomes mushy.
Now add the pre-soaked dal to it and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add cumin and turmeric powder and stir well so that the spice is well mixed with the dal.
Add 1 and 1/2 cup of water and let it boil in low flame. You can also pressure cook it for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the raisins at this point.
I cooked it in a kadhai with lids on for about twenty five minutes. Check the consistency of the dal, it should not be too watery. At the end, add the remaining one teaspoon of ghee and give it a stir.
It totally uplifts my spirit when I have it with warm plain rice on a Sunday afternoon. I am sending this to MLLA 61, hosted by My Diverse Kitchen. MLLA was initiated by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and is now carried on by Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen.