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Learning to cook with mom – the pause

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Mung lentil with raw papaya, and Red lentil with tart tomatoes

I have run out of time and these two recipes are the last of this batch. I don’t remember a meal without daal, so I decided to end this short series with couple of daals. Don’t start to wonder how these will taste given handful of simple ingredients, these dishes are about purity of flavors. The trick to making lentils is getting them super soft to the point that they melt but don’t turn into gloop. Both these daals are made without pressure cooker.

Pepe diye daal: For this recipe, we need split green gram washed (husk removed). Green gram has various forms (whole, split, split washed), but aside from the difference in forms, there is difference in size and taste. The ones in Bengal tend to be smaller and yellower and for reasons unknown, tastier.

Split green gram washed (mung), raw papaya, Cumin seeds, red chili, ginger, ghee (clarified butter), mustard oil

To serve four, start with 1/2 cup of the mung daal, dry roast it until it turns golden brown. Cool and rinse. In a pot, add the daal, add 4 cups of water, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of sugar and cook on medium low heat until it is partially done. In the meantime, peel and chop raw papaya into 3/4 inch cubes to make up 2 cups. Add to partially done daal and continue cooking until the papaya is cooked through. Switch off heat.

Take some ginger, peel and convert to fine paste (mortar and pestle will work, but a spice grinder with a little water works well). We need about 1 Tbsp of the paste. In a tadka pan, add 1 Tbsp of mustard oil and 1 Tbsp of ghee, let it get hot, add 2-3 torn red chilies and 1 tsp of cumin seeds. Let the seeds splutter for 15-20 seconds and acquire a darker shade (lightly roasted coffee). Dump in the daal. Now add 1 tsp of ginger paste to the daal. Stir and adjust salt and sugar balance.

Toker daal: Literally translated, “toker daal” translates to sour daal. But in our house, it is led lentils with tomatoes. Traditionally, the daal is made with local “desi” tomatoes which are tart and the daal is tart. But these days, it is hard to source local tomatoes so the daal won’t be as tart. The taste of tomatoes with red lentil is particularly delicious.

Red lentil (masoor daal), tomatoes, turmeric, mustard seeds, dry red chili, mustard oil

To serve 2, start with 1/2 cup of red lentil, rinse, add 4 cups of water, 1 tsp of salt and allow it to boil for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, chop 2-3 medium size tomatoes (1/4 inch pieces). Once the lentils are starting to disintegrate, add the tomatoes, 1/2 tsp of turmeric, 1/2 tsp of sugar and continue cooking until the lentils are fully cooked. If you need more water, add hot water. Taste test, adjust salt/sugar balance and switch off heat. In a tadka pan, add 2 Tbsp of mustard oil, let it reach smoking point, reduce heat, add mustard seeds and let them splutter away until they nearly stop spluttering, add 2-3 torn red chilis and continue for another 10-15 seconds. Dump the oil in the daal.

Written by Som

December 16, 2021 at 5:36 am

Posted in Recipe

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