2 June, 2014
Chholar Dal (Spiced Split Gram Lentil)
We sat on the beach with our feet buried in the sand. The cold water of the Atlantic ocean slapped our feet. Each wave brought with it shells, seaweeds, crabs. There were ducks bobbing in the water and gulls flying over our head. “Dekhecho ki korche?” Did you see what they are up to?, said Buro my son. On closer look I realised that the gulls kept a keen eye on the bounty brought by the waves, grabbed their catch flew high only to drop it on the rocks. Once the crab shells shattered they were quick in returning to complete their seafood supper. No pincers or crackers were needed.
We travelled to the east coast. The Cherry trees with their pastel pink and white flowers created such a celebratory mood. The Dogwood flowers seemed as if they are floating in the air. There was a graduation in the family. This university city was full of proud parents like us.
It seems only the other day that I held the seven and some pounds bundle of joy close to my heart. Kissing the bald head I checked the ten fingers and ten toes. Where did the time go? Buro was in Hat and Gown today!
Special events calls for special menus. Chholar Dal is no ordinary Dal. It is the “Little black dress” of dals. Carefully stored in the back row in the Pantry and taken out on days such as these.
Chholar dal One and half cup
Ginger One inch, grated.
Cinnamon sticks One inch pieces, couple.
Tomatoes Two large, cut in small pieces.
Ghee One and half Tbsp
Coconut slivers Broken into small bite size pieces.
Cilantro Two Tbsp chopped
Salt To taste
Jaggery Two tsps
Asafoetida (Hing) Very small pinch
Cumin seeds One tsp
Dried red chillies A couple
Bay leaf Two
Wash and soak the dal in water overnight. Throw in the turmeric powder and boil it on high heat till done. It should retain its individual shape.
Fry the coconut pieces in oil till light brown in colour and set aside.
In a saucepan melt the ghee on medium heat. When done add the Bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, red chillies and cumin seeds. Wait till the seeds get some colour then add the Asafoetida. As soon as you get a nutty aroma, about ten seconds, throw in the cut tomatoes. Saute till mushy and add the boiled dal. Add salt, jaggery, grated ginger and bring it to a boil. It should not be runny but thick. Throw in the fried coconut pieces and turn the gas off. Add the cilantro and Garam masala. Cover until ready to serve.
Goes really well with Pooris ( Fried bread), Parathas, fried or plain rice.
Garam masala. Can be made at home by grinding equal amounts of Cinnamon, Clove and Cardamom.