Almost all Indians make dal at home. It is one of the most effortless dishes to make after a tiring long day at work. For most people the definition of dal is throw in some dal, water, if possible add some extra vegetables, put salt, some spices like coriander or cumin powder etc and then just keep for 2-3 whistles -Done!. That simple.
My perception towards this simple dish changed the moment I tasted the Gujarati dal for the first time! Believe me it was that good! I had a new found respect for this humble dish…I was left wondering how a simple concoction of lentils, water and spice could churn out such a gustatory treat ! I made up my mind that no matter what – I was learning this dish and henceforth dal at home meant this version of it. I asked my gujju friends, checked out online and finally found one version that yielded the desired result in terms of taste that suited us. Below given is the recipe for this wonderful dish…I agree it is a tedious process compared to the traditional dal made at households, but trust me, it is worth every bit of effort.
Unfortunately I missed out on taking step-by step snaps for this dish while making it. So am just putting down the thali snap showing this dish, that it was a part of. I promise to upload the step-by-step pics once I make it next time at home.
1-1/2 cup tuvar dal (toor/split yellow peas)
8-10 curry leaves
1 tomato (finely chopped)
1 tsp ginger paste or 1 inch piece of ginger (grated)
1 tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp garam masala (optional)
4 kokum pieces or 3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp jaggery(brown sugar)
salt to taste
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder (optional)
2 tsp chili powder (optional)
1 tsp turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp amchur powder
1/4 th cup peanuts (skinned whole)
2-3 chopped kharek (dry dates)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/3 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
3-4 curry leaves
2 red chilies
1 inch long cinnamon stick (optional)
1. Add the tuvar dal, peanuts, chopped tomatoes, kokums(or tamarind if using) and kharek(if using) in pressure cooker. Boil the tuvar dal with three-four cups of water. Mash the dal completely. Add 3 cups of water (more or less as per your choice) to make it liquid enough.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil for tempering, add in the spices under the tempering section above and then add tuvar dal mixture. Add the cumin-coriander powder, Garam masala, amchur powder(optional) , jaggery, grated ginger or ginger and green chilli paste. Let boil for another 15-20 minutes. Keep adding water if the dal thickens, stirring once in a while. . Adjust salt as necessary. The dal should be watery and not thick – boil for another 15-20 minutes or s.
4. Garnished with coriander and Serve hot with rice.
a) We can add tamarind or kokum for sourness. Not necessary to add both. If using, add with dal in cooker and cook. I used kokum as we love the taste of it.
b) Jaggery definitely gives it a unique taste. If not available, add sugar. If you do not like your dal with a sweet tinge, omit this.
c) You can omit or add all the spices that I have mentioned as ‘optional’ above. Some people like the taste with some of these spices included. So figure out what you may like and stick to it. For eg. I didn’t want to use the garam masala. I prefer it with more basic spices like coriander powder and kokums, so did not use garam masala.
d) I sometimes add some spinach and methi (if using make sure to remove its bitterness by squeezing out the juice and reduce the usage of tamarind too ) when I cook dal in cooker. This is to make it more nutritious and make it a one-pot wholesome meal. But doing this will be a deviation from the traditional gujarati dal and will taste differently.
Here is a link from youtube that shows another way of making gujarati dal that I found useful and yields a good taste. Try out the method that suits you more 🙂