Mixed Dal

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I looked up the word “comfort” in thesaurus, something that I often do when writing. It suggests me words that were in my vocabulary, but at that moment, not in my mind. So thesaurus comes up with words like “contentment, pleasure, happiness, complacency, warmth, satisfaction, restfulness, snugness” among many others. And then my mind strays…

The words on my laptop screen blurs away and I can see my dad’s crinkly eyed smile as he is trying not to laugh at something, my mom’s crushed cotton saree slightly dampened by wiping her wet hands where I had hidden my face and cried to sleep a night long ago… I see my kaka (uncle) coming to wake me up early in the morning with my bed tea…me and my BFF sharing the earphone and listening to “Viva Forever” by Spice Girls… the feel of breeze from the air-cooler in those hot Rihand days while I lay on the cool sheets with no care in the world, the ride on my dad’s blue Priya as I hug him tightly from behind, I whispering to my brother in the dark of the night  that in-spite of all his mischief-making and well-deserved reprimanding he is going for the school picnic since I saw mom putting out his clothes and backpack before switching off the lights.

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The FB ping to notify that someone had messaged me brought me back from my reverie. I looked around … the sun was shining harshly outside while inside the AC was on a full swing. I was sitting on the plush couch with my blogpage and a re-sized thesaurus window open. I realized I was trying to write something related to today’s post for comfort food.

Many years back during college days when I was visiting my parents my mom had prepared a very delicious mixed dal which she had learned from a Maharashtrian aunty. Again on one of her visits, she had made it for my lunchpack for office which my friends had loved and wanted a recipe for it. Mom had told me it contained five varieties of dal and kasoori methi etc, but since all that was gibberish for me then and I couldn’t have recognised one dal from the other, I paid no heed to it. First year into cooking and I came across this recipe from Tarla Dalal; I knew that if not the same recipe at least it might taste similar with some minor tweaks here and there. Pointless to mention it was an instant hit with my friends and was a triumphant moment when I taught this to my MIL as everyone in the family loved it too.

So when you get bored with the usual dal that you cook on a frequent basis and need a change of taste, or you are looking for a little something to go with your methi / aloo paratha other than raita or when you are organising a dinner with an elaborate menu and need just one more item which is not too heavy and yet complement the rest of the meal – I do hope you try this mixed dal recipe. As for me, I will have it anytime of the day!

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Ingredients:

Adjust the proportion of dal as you like it, what I have mentioned is according to my taste. You can also skip any of the dals if you want to. At times I skip on the last two varieties.

  • Green Whole Moong Dal – 2 tbsp
  • Black Whole Urad Dal – 1.5 tbsp
  • Toor Dal – 2 tbsp
  • Chana Dal (Cholar dal) – 1.5 tbsp
  • Split Moong Dal – 1 tbsp
  • Musur Dal – 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Onions, finely chopped – 1 medium
  • Green chillies, finely chopped – 4-5 or to taste
  • Ginger Garlic paste, optional – 1 tbsp (there are times when I don’t use this)
  • Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chilli powder – optional (I use only green chillies and skip this)
  • Yogurt, well beaten – 1/4 to 1/2 cup (adjust according to your taste)
  • Tomatoes, finely chopped – 1/2 medium (Since already using yogurt do not add too much as it will become too sour.)
  • Garam Masala powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil / Butter / Ghee or a combination of any of these – as required
  • Salt – to taste
  • Kasoori Methi – 1 tbsp or to taste (I like the flavor it adds so use it generously, but you can adjust according to your preference)
  • Coriander Leaves, finely chopped – to garnish

Method:

  • Wash thoroughly all the dals, drain and soak in sufficient water for an hour or two. Then drain. I generally soak the whole moong, whole urad, toor dal and chana dal. Split moong dal or musur – just wash and drain them before cooking as they can easily be pressure cooked easily while for the others soaking is preferred.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds, as they crackle add the finely chopped onions and green chillies with little salt. Fry them for a while till they turn translucent.
  • Add the drained dals and fry well for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add sufficient water, add turmeric, red chilli powder (if using) and coriander powder and salt to taste.
  • Cook for 3 whistles or till the dals are well cooked. Do not overcook, just till they are soft but not mashed up completely.
  • Now open the lid and check the water content. If too watery – cook till the desired consistency is reached. If water content is less add some water and bring the dal to a boil.
  • In a separate pan heat butter/ghee or oil.
  • Once hot, add the chopped tomatoes and fry well.
  • Reduce the flame and add the well beaten yogurt and mix well.
  • Put the flame on high and let it come to a boil. Sprinkle the garam masala and mix well.
  • Add this tomato-yogurt-garam masala mixture to the cooked dals and stir on medium flame for 3-4 minutes.
  • Check the salt/spice level and adjust accordingly.
  • Add the crushed Kasoori Methi to the dal and mix.
  • Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.

Best served hot with roti or parathas.

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I am sending this recipe for “My Legume Love Affair” MLLA Event being organised by Aparna. Thie event was started by Susan – author of Well-Seasoned Cook in 2008 and now continued by Lisa – author of Lisa’s Kitchen. This is the first time I am participating in any event, so am kind of excited about it. I realized that it was high time I started venturing out in the world of flood blog events. So here goes my first one and hopefully many more to come.

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6 thoughts on “Mixed Dal

  1. I love this dal. I think its also called Panchmel dal. Isn’t it funny how food always connects to some memory or the other?
    Welcome to your first blog event and thanks for participating in this month’s MLLA.

    1. Thanks Aparna… I too am excited and intend to participate in more events from now on.
      Yes .. I have heard this name “Panchmel Dal” from a lot of friends after I posted this recipe. It sure is my fav. dal for now.

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