Monday, August 15, 2005

Back to basics - whole green gram dal

If you have a pressure cooker, this is a dal that can be made easy as pie. Easier than pie. WAY easier than pie. Pie isnt easy, and whoever thought up that particular expression must have been exercising irony or sarcasm to the nth degree.

Not to get carried away, though, so I'll get back to the theme. Dal made with whole green gram.

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I discovered that these lentils, although bullet hard when dry, dont need soaking if you use a pressure cooker. And although very tasty, this dal is not a fancy dish - it's everyday fare, eaten with plain roti or rice. I know I wouldnt really include it in the main dishes if I gave a dinner party, for instance.

That said, I like dal made with green gram. Funnily enough, though, I dont much like it as "sundal" (a semi-dry cooked snack, seasoned or sweetened), whether sweet or savoury, although the savoury version is marginally better.

Recipe for:
Whole Green Gram dal:

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1 cup whole green gram dal
3-4 medium tomatoes, chopped fine
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
4-5 green chillies, slit (or to taste)
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
Two medium onions, sliced thinly
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 heaped tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp garam or chana masala (optional)
1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
2 tsp oil
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves for garnish


1. Put the dal, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf and three slit chillies in a vessel along with 1-1/2 cups water. Pressure cook till done. (I usually leave the heat on high and let the cooker get to the point where it emits one shriek - then I turn the heat down and let it simmer for 15 minutes, after which I let the pressure build up again. I turn the heat off after another shriek, and let the cooker be until the lid can be opened.)

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or saucepan, sizzle the cumin seeds. Then add the ginger-garlic paste, the remaining slit chillies and the sliced onions.

3. When the onions are half done, add the red chilli powder if using. Cook till the onions are soft and brown, adding a few tbsp of water if necessary.

4. When the cooker can be opened, discard the bay leaf and the chillies. Carefully mix the cooked dal with the onions, add salt to taste and as much water as required (if necessary) to get a thick but pourable consistency.

5. Let the dal come to a boil, simmer it for a couple of minutes, then turn off the heat. Garnish with the chopped coriander and serve hot over rice or with chapatis.


Anonymous said...

Just one suggestion: Try mixing this green dal with masoor dal in the ratio 1:1, keeping the rest of the ingredients intact. It'll taste very good. But make sure the green dal has been soaked for 2-3 hrs.

bilbo said...

dont diss the dal lady :P.
We have it at our formal bashes quite often as a main dish. What we do is sprout it and then sautee it with onions and fennel . Or for that classic touch, boil it a little with tomato hot sauce and then sprinkle cheddar cheese on it and bake it till the cheese melts. Whadya think.

Shammi said...

Gotta try your recipe, Bilbo. And your version too, Gowri :)

Anonymous said...

Hi shammi, I did try this recipe, I added massor dal along as gowri suggested, the end result was good....Thx for sharing, Tonite I'm gonna make the Caramel custard for the first time, will let u know how it turns out...Thx Aruna

akijay kitchen said...

Hii shyamala,I tried this green gram dhal recipe and i loved it...i was desperately looking for some chapathi side dish and tried this one..My hubby too loved it...Thanks Akila