Is it Dal or Sambhar without veggies ?? Perhaps this is one dichotomy that people from the south still deal with. In the North and rest of India perhaps Dal forms an important ingredient that goes with either Roti or rice. But in the 4 southern states of India, dal by its nomenclature was slightly rare (atleast 30 – 40 years ago) when the puritan form of eating survived. Of course the memsahibs and the British colonies ensured their cooks made different dals with different ingredients and garnish resulting in Dal Tadka, Dal Fry, Dal Makhani using different lentils. While Andhra has the ‘pappu’ in its repertoire, Tamilians have the ‘elai paruppu’ (mostly tuvar dal cooked and mashed and served as one of the first items in a traditional meal) to their credit. Howver cultural sensibilites ensured that a Southie had Dal in his / her menu planning for guests and family members alike.
After a long and ardous tour schedule , S asked for simple ghar ka khana. It can’t get simpler than “Yellow Dal” which is a soothing food. I substitued Masoor / arhar (tuvar) dal with moong to go easy on the tummy, and this can be prepared in minutes too, even for an extra guest or two !
Ingredients (serves 3)
Moong dal – soak for 5 -7 mins in tepid water ( to ensure fast cooking) – 1/2 cup
For tadka/ tempering:
Ghee / Oil – 1 tsp
Jeera – ½ tbsp
Hing – a pinch
Mustard seeds- ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Dry red chilly- broken – 1 no.
Curry leaves and coriander- washed and chopped
Clean and wash dal and soak in tepid water for 5 -7 mins.
Cook with adequate water in a pressure cooker till 2 whistles. Take care not to mash up the dals too much.
In a skillet, add ghee / oil. When hot, add the turmeric, mustard seeds, jeera, hing, red chillies and curry leaves. Fry for a while till mustard stops spluttering.
Now to this, add cooked moong dal, salt and adequate water. Ensure the dal isn’t too runny.
Let it boil for 3 -4 mins.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice / roti and any dry vegetable.
You can make stuffed rotis with the remaining dal (in case you made extra) : Drain the dal of the water. Heat a skillet- add oil and dry fry the dal till the water evaporates . Add jeera powder, coriander powder and red chilly powder to this till it becomes a dry mixture. Cool the mixture. In your normal chapatti, make a filling of this mixture, re-seal and roll out again : A good variation and healthy too while at the same time you ensure it doesn’t go waste ! Go green with food too – reuse, recycle J