Here is a delicious and balancing dal recipe from the traditional cuisine of Gujarat in Western India, perfect for a warm meal on a chilly day!
This recipe uses a special ingredient, a dried fruit known as Kokum, available from your local Indian grocery store or online from outlets such as Khanapakana. With the botanical name garcinia indica, this small fruit in the mangosteen family adds a touch of the sour taste and a purplish colour to the dal recipe. It is widely used in Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat and in other parts of India too, such as Assam. Despite its sour taste, this wonderful little fruit is soothing to pitta and anti-inflammatory. Studies also suggest that it may calm anxiety, adding to the good feeling this recipe creates.
Modified from Bhavna's Vegetarian Kitchen
1 cup toor dal
1 Tb ghee or sunflower oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
5 curry leaves
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 sliced green chili
1 inch long cinnamon stick
¼ cup chopped tomatoes
¼ tsp hing (asafetida)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 Tb skinned peanuts
1 Tb jaggery or raw sugar
1.5 cups water
1 Tb chopped cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
Note: Most hing contains gluten. Order gluten free hing here.
We omit the jaggery for blood sugar reasons and the taste is still great!
Pressure cook the toor dal with 2 cups of water and kokums, until soft.
Whisk the cooked dal well until well blended.
Heat oil or ghee in a pan; add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chilli, ginger, cinnamon stick and cook until mustard seeds turn grey and sputter.
Add tomatoes, turmeric powder, hing & red chili powder and sauté until the tomatoes are soft and tender.
Now add the cooked dal, salt, jaggery, peanuts and approximately 1.5 cups of water. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes so th flavour of spices permeates the dal.
Turn off heat and add cilantro leaves
Serve hot over rice (or mashed cauliflower)
Note: The the dal should be of pouring consistency. Adjust the amount of water accordingly.
Kokum: the Malabar tamarind (thehindu.com)
Few spices which are a MUST in a traditional Indian Kitchen (postanyarticle.com)
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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