Four aromatic dal recipes from Karam Sethi

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Four aromatic dal recipes from Karam Sethi” was written by Karam Sethi, for The Guardian on Saturday 10th November 2018 12.30 Asia/Kolkata


Tempering is a cooking technique used across India and south Asia, in which spices are dry-toasted and/or fried in ghee or oil, and used to flavour curries and dals.

Lasooni dal (pictured above)

Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

200g arhar dal (split yellow lentils)
100g strained yoghurt – about 140g natural yoghurt, strained for five hours
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp yellow chilli powder
Salt
15g garlic paste (peeled, finely chopped and ground to a paste)
10g ginger paste (peeled, finely chopped and ground to a paste)
45g ghee

To temper the dal
15g ghee
4 red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
16 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

Wash the lentils under cold running water until it runs clear. Put in a bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the yoghurt in a small bowl and set aside.

Drain the lentils and put in a pot with the turmeric, chilli powder and two teaspoons of salt. Cover with about 800ml warm water, bring to a boil, then stir in the garlic and ginger pastes. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender – about an hour.

Stir in the yoghurt and ghee, cover the pot and leave to simmer for five minutes. Remove the lid, then season to taste.

To temper the dal, gently melt the ghee in a frying pan on a low heat. Add the whole chillies and stir until they begin to darken, then add the cumin and stir until it starts to crackle. Add the garlic and fry until it turns golden-brown.

Pour the tempering into the dal, cover again and simmer for 10 minutes, so the lentils take on the flavours. Adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve warm with roti or rice.

Tadke chane ki dal

Tadke chane ki dal

Prep 15 min
Cook 2 hr
Serves 4

200g split Bengal gram lentil (or chickpea lentils/chana dal)
2 black cardamom pods
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground turmeric
10g ghee

To temper the dal
20g ghee
10g garlic, finely chopped
1 pinch asafoetida, also known as hing
20g ginger, finely chopped
7g green chillies, finely chopped
70g onion, finely chopped
140g tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garam masala
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

Wash the dal under cold running water until it runs clear, then transfer to a pot. Add three times the volume of water, all the whole spices, salt, turmeric and ghee, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until tender – about two hours.

To temper the dal, heat the ghee in a small kadhai or wok. Add the garlic, asafoetida, ginger and chillies, and fry until they start to brown. Add the onion and fry until light brown, then add the remaining ingredients except the coriander leaves. Cook until the tomatoes are very soft – about 10 minutes.

Put the tempering into the dal pot and stir to mix. Stir in the chopped coriander leaves, season to taste and serve with basmati rice or roti.

Black dal

Black dal

Soak 3 hr
Prep 20 min
Cook 3-6 hr+ (or 20-90 min in a pressure cooker
Serves 4

200g urad dal (black gram lentils)
25g chana dal (chickpea lentils)

50ml vegetable oil, plus 1 tbsp extra for frying
2 tsp salt
1 big tbsp ginger paste (peeled, finely chopped and ground to a paste)
1 big tbsp garlic paste (peeled, finely chopped and ground to a paste)
1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp deggi mirch powder (Indian chilli powder)
160g tomato puree
100g unsalted butter
50ml single cream
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaf, lightly roasted and ground

Wash the dals under cold running water until it runs clear. Put in a bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak for at least three hours.

Drain the dal, tip into a pan, add the oil and salt, then cover with 1.2 litres warm water and cook on a low heat until the grains split and go soft – black dal is like a small, rock-hard bullet, so takes a long time to cook, anything from three to six hours-plus (traditionally, it’s cooked overnight on a charcoal tandoor). Alternatively, cook it in a pressure cooker on medium until done – pressure cookers vary hugely: mine’s a

very old one with a whistle, and it takes about 90 minutes; more modern ones will be much faster.

Heat the tablespoon of oil in a heavy pan, add the ginger and garlic pastes, and stir on medium heat for two minutes, until they start to catch. Add the chilli powders and 100ml water, and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add the tomato puree, cook for 10-15 minutes, then stir into the dal pot and cook for 30 minutes, until combined. Add 90g butter and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes.

Stir in the cream and fenugreek, cook, stirring, for 15 minutes, then adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with the remaining butter on top.

Yellow dal

Yellow dal

Prep 30 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

50g toor dal (pigeon peas)
50g masoor dal (split red lentils)
25g chana dal (chickpea lentils)
1 tsp salt
10g ghee
½ tsp ground turmeric

To temper the dal
1 tbsp vegetable oil
15g ghee
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp asafoetida (also known as hing)
3 red chillies, split lengthways
30g red onion, finely chopped
50g fresh tomatoes, chopped
Salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

Wash all the dals under cold running water until it runs clear. Put in a bowl, cover with warm water, soak for around 30 minutes, then drain.

Tip the dal into a deep casserole, add the salt, ghee and turmeric, add water to cover, then bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and leave to cook until very soft and tender – about an hour.

To temper the dal, heat the oil and ghee in a frying pan, add the cumin and stir until it starts to crackle. Add the garlic, asafoetida and chillies, and stir for two minutes, until they begin to darken.

Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, until it turns golden brown. Stir in the tomatoes and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, for five to six minutes, until very soft. Add all the ground spices and about five tablespoons of water, and stir until the water evaporates and the spices begin to separate.

Tip into the dal pot, mix together and cook for a minute or two, just to combine. Season to taste, garnish with coriander and serve with basmati rice or naan.

Recipes by Karam Sethi, co-owner of Gymkhana, Hoppers, Brigadiers and Trishna restaurants

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a comment

Four aromatic dal recipes from Karam Sethi - NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).