Wednesday, 9 July 2014

DAL TADKA - MY RENDITION INSPIRED BY THE DHABAS OF ODISHA, INDIA



Dal(lentil) with varied tempering is an integral part of every Indian home food. There are so many variants of dal that is used to form a part of any or all the main meals in India. Today I will share my take on Dal Tadka, the way it is cooked in many Dhabas (roadside eateries) in a state called Odisha located in the Eastern part of India.

It is a very nice experience when you walk into these Dhabas/small eateries dotting the highway in India. The rustic and earthy feel that these places emanate is amazing. The setting in many of them is rural where you will get a khatia/ bed with a wooden outer frame and thick jute ropes intertwined in a criss-cross to form the base, as your place to sit and eat. It's a nouvellé experience for us urban people to use this very different kind of dinning seating to eat our food. But this kind of setting is more in the Northern part of India. Today most Dhabas offer a proper dinning place and is quite good. Another thing which you cannot miss is the tandoor which is an integral part of every Dhaba. Made out of clay the food which comes out of it is extra delicious and imbibes the earthy flavours of the tandoor.

In spite of the numerous fancy and high end restaurants that now crowd most Indian cities, we still have a very soft corner and strong liking for the Dhabas. I guess the picnic like feeling that one gets having to go out of the city limits and the setting wherein you have these trucks parked outside the dhaba, the village like atmosphere, coupled with the delicious straightforward food they serve has endeared the Dhaba to most of us.

This dish is my rendition inspired by the impossibly tasty Dal Tadka served with Indian Flat bread straight out of the tandoor/ tandoori Roti. I must confess that although my family does like the one I prepare, I fail to bring out the unpretentious folksy flavours that the Dhabas so seamlessly incorporate in their dishes.

AUTHOR : PIYALI
SERVES : 4
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : SIDE DISH/DAL/LENTIL CURRY
TIME : 15 MIN PREPARATION+25 MINUTES COOKING +OVERNIGHT SOAKING OF THE DAL

Ingredients:


Going from left to right...

1) Whole Green Gram Pulses ( Sabut Moong Dal) - 1 Cup
2) Whole Cumin seeds for tempering - 1tsp
3) Bay Leaf- 1
4) Ginger - 1 inch
5) Garlic - 6-7 pods
6) Green Chillies - 2 or more depending on the amount of heat you would like to incorporate
7) Onions - 1 large or 2 medium
8) Tomatoes - 1 large
9) Eggs ( vegetarians can exclude this) - 2-3
10) Turmeric Powder -1/2 tsp
11) Garam Masala ( Star-aniseeds, Whole Black Pepper, Cloves, Fennel Seeds, Cinnamon, Bay Leaves, Green and Black Cardamom & Nutmeg all ground into a fine powder) OR (use  the one easily available in all supermarkets) - 1 and 1/2 tsp
12) Fresh Coriander leaves for the final garnish - 2 tbsp
13) Kasoori Methi -1 tsp
14) Salt to taste
15) Oil - 1&1/2 tbsp

GET COOKING :

The main ingredient of this dish is Whole Green Gram / Sabut Moong Dal. It is a beautiful green colour more prominently known as Mung Beans in the west.



Step1) Soak the Whole Green Gram in water overnight. After it has been soaked the mung beans become lighter in colour and nicely rounded.



Step 2) Drain the excess water and pressure cook the mung beans till they are soft and easily smash when pressed with the fingers. Before pressure cooking add turmeric, salt and just enough water to cover the mung beans completely. Even a few hours of soaking in water gets the mung beans to cook perfectly only you have to cook longer to get the dal to become soft. Once cooked perfectly the mung beans change colour and open up.


Step 3) Grind the ginger, garlic and Green Chillies to a paste. You can even use chopped or slit green chillies instead. In a deep cooking pot or wok heat oil, add whole cumin seeds.


Step 4) Wait till it crackles and releases its aroma. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli paste and stir till it becomes fragrant. Do this on a low flame and take care not to burn as this mix can burn easily and become a dish spoiler.


Step 5) Add in chopped tomatoes & cook till the tomatoes become soft.


Step 6) Next add in the chopped onions and cook till they become translucent.


Step 7) Beat the eggs in a bowl and integrate them with all the other ingredients in the Pot. Or simply break the eggs in the wok itself , just like they do it in the Dhabas.


Step 8) Once the eggs are cooked spoon in the Garam Masala, kasuri methi and bay leaf. Give everything a nice stir to mix all the spices, aromatics and everything in the wok together nicely.


Step 9) By now your kitchen will be enveloped in the aroma of all the lovely ingredients, so it is time to
blend in the Dal, check for seasoning, add salt if required and on a low flame allow it to bubble away so that it can take in all the flavours present in your pot.


Step 10) Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves. Add little water to get a slightly runny consistency. Simmer for a couple of minutes.


Step 11) Serve with bread of your choice.


INGREDIENTS :

1) Whole Green Gram Pulses ( Sabut Moong Dal) - 1 Cup
2) Whole Cumin seeds for tempering - 1tsp
3) Bay Leaf- 1
4) Ginger - 1 inch
5) Garlic - 6-7 pods
6) Green Chillies - 2 or more depending on the amount of heat you would like to incorporate
7) Onions - 1 large or 2 medium
8) Tomatoes - 1 large
9) Eggs ( vegetarians can exclude this) - 2-3
10) Turmeric Powder -1/2 tsp
11) Garam Masala ( Star-aniseeds, Whole Black Pepper, Cloves, Fennel Seeds, Cinnamon, Bay Leaves, Green and Black Cardamom & Nutmeg all ground into a fine powder) OR (use  the one easily available in all supermarkets) - 1 and 1/2 tsp
12) Fresh Coriander leaves for the final garnish - 2 tbsp
13) Kasoori Methi -1 tsp
14) Salt to taste
15) Oil - 1&1/2 tbsp

GET COOKING :

Step1) Soak the Whole Green Gram in water overnight. After it has been soaked the mung beans become lighter in colour and nicely rounded.

Step 2) Drain the excess water and pressure cook the mung beans till they are soft and easily smash when pressed with the fingers. Before pressure cooking add turmeric, salt and just enough water to cover the mung beans completely. Even a few hours of soaking in water gets the mung beans to cook perfectly only you have to cook longer to get the dal to become soft. Once cooked perfectly the mung beans change colour and open up.


Step 3) Grind the ginger, garlic and Green Chillies to a paste. You can even use chopped or slit green chillies instead. In a deep cooking pot or wok heat oil, add whole cumin seeds.


Step 4) Wait till it crackles and releases its aroma. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli paste and stir till it becomes fragrant. Do this on a low flame and take care not to burn as this mix can burn easily and become a dish spoiler.


Step 5) Add in chopped tomatoes & cook till the tomatoes become soft.

Step 6) Next add in the chopped onions and cook till they become translucent.

Step 7) Beat the eggs in a bowl and integrate them with all the other ingredients in the Pot. Or simply break the eggs in the wok itself , just like they do it in the Dhabas.


Step 8) Once the eggs are cooked spoon in the Garam Masala, kasuri methi and bay leaf. Give everything a nice stir to mix all the spices, aromatics and everything in the wok together nicely.


Step 9) By now your kitchen will be enveloped in the aroma of all the lovely ingredients, so it is time to


blend in the Dal, check for seasoning, add salt if required and on a low flame allow it to bubble away so that it can take in all the flavours present in your pot.


Step 10) Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves. Add little water to get a slightly runny consistency. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Step 11) Serve with bread of your choice.

NOTE :
* Vegetarians please skip the eggs. It turns out equally tasty without eggs.
* You can cook the mung beans in a thick deep bottom pot instead of a pressure cooker. Only it will take some time.
* If you have forgotten to soak overnight, then soak the mung beans in hot water for at least 1/2 an hour and pressure cook. It works perfectly. 

CHECK LIST :

1) Whole Green Gram Pulses ( Sabut Moong Dal), 2) Whole Cumin seeds for tempering, 3) Bay Leaf, 4) Ginger, 5) Garlic, 6) Green Chillies, 7) Onions, 8) Tomatoes, 9) Eggs, 10) Turmeric Powder, 11) Garam Masala ( Star-aniseeds, Whole Black Pepper, Cloves, Fennel Seeds, Cinnamon, Bay Leaves, Green and Black Cardamom & Nutmeg), 12) Fresh Coriander leaves, 13) Kasoori Methi, 
14) Salt, 15) Oil 

This is my take on this recipe so I would love to hear from you, how you added your touch to it. However kindly refrain from reproducing this by copying pasting in any other platform without mentioning the original source. The pictures used are my own. Kindly leave your valuable comments. Thank You.