Recipe by Daydream
This dal, much prized by Puneri Brahmins in Maharashtra, is sweet and fragrantly spicy, with a slightly sour undertone. Kokum, one of the ingredients, is a local sour fruit which has been dried, and it gives southern Indian food a distinctive flavour. It is often available from Indian groceries, but tamarind paste is an acceptable substitute. Asafoetida is a gum resin prized as a condiment in India. It is also known variously as 'devil's dung' and 'food of the gods'! It has a strong sulphur smell prior to cooking, but thereafter has a pleasant aroma. Asafoetida is a useful antidote for flatulence, and is thus incorporated into many Indian lentil dishes! Goda Masala is a Maharashtrian spice blend. I have posted the recipe for it separately (see Goda Masala).
- 8 ounces toor dal, washed or 8 ounces split yellow lentils
- 2 teaspoons goda garam masala powder (see Goda Masala)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1⁄2-1 teaspoon ground red chili powder
- 2 kokum or 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
- 2 teaspoons jaggery or 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons fresh coconut or 4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut
- salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 pinch asafoetida powder
- 12 curry leaves (fresh, if possible)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Directions See How It's Made
- Simmer the lentils in 4 cups of water for approximately 20 minutes, until just cooked, but not mushy.
- Keep an eye on the lentils while they cook to ensure the water does not fully evaporate.
- Drain off most of the water when the lentils are cooked and add the powder spices, kokum (or tamarind paste), desiccated coconut and salt to taste.
- Simmer for a couple of minutes and stir until well mixed, adding more water if necessary to make a moist, but not sloppy, consistency.
- Remove from the heat and keep warm.
- Heat oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds, and saute until they pop and crackle.
- Add the cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves.
- Stir once, then pour the oil and spices over the lentils.
- Mix well, and serve hot garnished with cilantro.
- Accompany with rice and a vegetable curry if desired.