When Steve and I were married in Gujarat we were touched when twenty or so of our friends and family came to India to attend the wedding.
On their first evening in Surat (my family's home town) our guests ate in the hotel restaurant and ordered rice with their meals. They became gradually more frustrated as their curries became colder and the rice still hadn't arrived. When Steve explained that they wanted the rice with their main courses the waiter was very confused; Gujaratis eat dahl (also spelt daal, dhal and dal) with rice at the end of every meal. They eat roti (chappatis) with the main course. My mum believes that you can only be fully satisfied following a meal if you end it with dahl and rice.
This is my mum's dahl recipe. I tend to serve it as a soup or an accompaniment to a main course rather than with rice. However you choose to serve it I hope it leaves you sated.
- 90 grams toor dahl
- a pinch bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tomatoes - chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 15 grams jaggery or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons coriander-cumin powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons light tasting vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 fenugreek seeds
- 30 grams unsalted natural peanuts
- a pinch asafoetida
- 5 curry leaves (optional)
- A small handful of fresh coriander - chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
- Place the toor dahl in a bowl and cover with hot water. Leave to soak for 1 hour.
- Drain the dahl and place in a medium sized saucepan. Add the bicarbonate of soda and 500 millilitres of cold water. Stir the contents of the pan and bring to a gentle boil.
- Place a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes add the chopped tomatoes. Stir, place the lid back on the pan and leave to simmer for another 15 minutes.
- At this point the dahl should be soft. If you have a hand blender, blend the contents of the pan thoroughly to leave a smooth consistency. If you don't have a hand blender you can skip this step but you will have a more coarse dahl.
- Add the lemon juice, jaggery, chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and coriander-cumin powder to the pan and stir well. Put the lid back on the pan and leave to simmer on a very low heat.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
- Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds and leave to sizzle and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the peanuts and asafoetida and let them cook for a minute.
- Carefully add the dahl to the saucepan with the peanuts. Caution: The dahl will react with the hot oil and may spit at you if you add it too quickly.
- Add the curry leaves if you have them. Stir the contents of the pan and taste to check the seasoning. Add salt or lemon juice as required.
- Put the lid on the saucepan and leave to cook on a low heat for 5 minutes or so.
- Just before serving garnish with the coriander and garam masala.
- Serve with rice either as a main course or following a tasty curry.