I couldn't let 2009 go by without a last post (note for military-type people - please dont sound reveille, it isn't THAT kind of last post!) on this blog, especially as I'm at home and feel the irresistible need to postpone loads of housework style things that need doing NOW, ideally... so the blog, of course, takes precedence.
Since my previous post was on the 1st of December, it's kind of fitting that the last post should be on the last day of the month - and the year. I like things to be rounded off. I'm all for symmetry, wherever possible. Which is why I found the MIT building very pleasant on the eye, with clean lines and symmetrical wings. (Wasn't that just the neatest little segue to the topic of my recent holiday? I bet some of you didnt even notice what I was talking about! :D Anyway, we were in Boston over Christmas, visiting my brother and sis-in-law, packing in quite a bit of shopping/eating/doing things/freezing, and so on, into just 11 days or so.)
That was just for the record. Today's recipe has nothing to do with the Boston trip and everything to do with the unripe green mangoes that had been in the refrigerator for far too long. The same could be said of Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries that I had bought, admired, gloated over as its owner - and then stacked with the other cookbooks (although not in the refrigerator. In case that thought crossed your mind).
This mango dal is the first recipe that I've tried from 660 Curries and I've neither had it before nor made it ever. It was beautifully simple, hot from the green chillies and sour from the mangoes - comfortingly homey and oh so tasty! I personally think it's best over plain basmati rice, rather than with chapaties - but that's just one opinion.
Oh, it was called "Unripe mango with pigeon peas" but I think my title sounds better. I also simplified the cooking process by pressure-cooking the dal with the mangoes - the original method seemed unnecessarily complicated, considering that the dal+cooked mango was pureed in the end anyway. Sorry, Mr Iyer.
Recipe for: Hot-sour mango dal
1 cup toor/tuvar dal
1.5 cups peeled, de-seeded and chopped unripe green mango
1.5 tsp ghee (or use any mild oil)
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 black cardamom pod
1 small red onion, sliced fine
8-10 fresh green chillies, sliced into thin strips (reduce amount per taste)
1" piece ginger, chopped or ground fine
3-4 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1. Wash the dal well in 3-4 changes of water.
Pressure cook with the chopped mangoes and 1.5 cups water, for 3-4 whistles. Let the pressure reduce on its own. When the cooker can be opened, stir the cooked mangoes and dal (the mangoes might have disintegrated - this is ok, it's what we're after. But undisintegrated mangoes are fine too. Just mash them lightly.) Stir in a half-cup of water if the dal is too thick.
2. Heat the ghee in a medium size pan with deep sides. Add the cumin seeds and cardamom pod and let them sizzle for 30 seconds.
3. Then add the sliced onion, chillies and ginger.
Stir-fry till the onions are lightly browned and the chillies make you cough (well, that's what happened!).
4. Now add the cumin powder, coriander powder and coriander leaves, and turmeric. Stir them in and fry for about a minute or so.
5. Add the cooked and mashed dal to the browned spiced onions in the pan,
add salt to taste and stir well.
Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes, to let the flavours meld. Serve hot over steamed basmati rice, along with a dry vegetable curry of some sort.