Wednesday, December 5, 2007

That Feeling of Coming Home! JFI Toor Dal

You can eat any cuisine in the world, you can travel the globe, you can eat out for days on end - but there is nothing quite like the feeling of coming back home!! Of course, coming home means different things to different people. But in my parents home - it had one simple meaning: "Ghar ka Khana" or simple food cooked at home.

I remember as a child we would go for our annual trek in the Himalayas, or on summer vacations across the country only to return home to the deliciously heart-warming dal-chawal. Now you can guess that dal on the occasion meant the humble arhar dal or toor dal, served hot with basmati chawal, and methi-aloo bhaji. Over the years this has become my most abiding memory of coming home. Now when ever we travel, the first meal on our return echos that memory.

In fact, this meal is a great favourite in my family. I tend to make toor dal thick and creamy, and top it with a great dollop "ghee ka tarka". Here's my recipe.

2 cups toor dal
1 medium onion
1" piece ginger
3-4 cloves garlic
1 level tsp turmeric`
1/4 tsp asafetida (hing)
1 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 dried red chillies
Salt to taste
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

  1. Soak the toor dal in water for 2-4 hours.
  2. Pressure cook the dal with the ginger, tumeric, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, a pinch of salt. Once cooked, continue to boil the dal until it thickens and becomes heavy. Adjust the salt to taste.
  3. For the tarka, heat the ghee in a small pan. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Add to the heated ghee and fry until onions become brownish. Then add the remaining cumin seeds, red chillies, and asafetida.
  4. Remove the ready dal into a serving bowl. Season with tarka. Serve with fresh hot Basmati rice which has been seasoned with salty butter and a pickle to tickle your tastebuds!!!!

Vegan Substitute: Replace ghee in this recipe with vegetable oil.

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  1. Oh, what a yummy looking dal! I absolutely love that crispy tadka on top... I must try that very soon! Thank you so much for this lovely contribution to JFI Toor Dal :)

  2. Thanks Linda! Let me know when you try it out.


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