Friday, May 13, 2011

Khatti Dal (Sour Lentil Stew)

I really want to apologize for being absent for such a long time. I had some health issues the past two months and it all finally caught up to me. I am fine but just a bit uninspired. Please bare with me as I try to get my inspiration to blog again.

I was really craving a good dal and my friend Atika, who is from India, offered to give me some from the pot she had just cooked. But, the saying “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” works for Dal as well and I wanted to learn myself so that I could pass this on to you. Like most great cooks, she couldn’t give me the precise measurements so here is the interpretation of her recipe which I scribbled on a little piece of paper in the school playground. As I mentioned before, the twins are not keen on spicy food, so I didn’t use green chilies at all and used very little of the red chili flakes.

Atika’s Khatti Dal

1 cup dried red lentils, washed
1 tomato, chopped
1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
Curry leaves
½ tsp turmeric
Green chilies to taste (optional)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
Salt to taste

Ghee or any other oil of your preference
Dry red chili flakes to taste
More curry leaves
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Put red lentils, garlic – ginger paste, green chilies, curry leaves, turmeric and chopped tomatoes in the pan. Add 3 cups of water and boil in low heat until lentils are tender.

Puree lentils with a immersion blender.

Add fresh squeezed lemon juice, I used the juice from 1 lemon, and salt to taste. Stir well and simmer for few more minutes. Remove from burner and set aside.

Heat ghee or oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add curry leaves, red chilli flakes, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and crushed garlic and sauté until golden.

Add this to lentil stew and stir until blended.

Serve as a meal or side dish with plain rice, naan or roti.

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