Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Moong Chana Nu Daal

When it comes down to the absolute basics, there is nothing like Daal- Chawal (rice) and the glow of comfort it spreads.
On many evenings we make a full dinner of just that and call it a night. Wholesome daal provides protein and rice, just completes the meal.
When possible however, I like to bring in a small variation to the daal. A few ago, when I was ( and still am) hooked to 660 Curries, I made this dazzling daal and since then, this is a regular on the dinner table at least once a week, usually on a Thursday night when M comes home.

What attracted me to this daal is that it is a Gujarati preparation and that is by itself a testimonial. Also that it uses Moong and Chana daal, my new favorites.

Gujarati food is full of tantalizing flavors that combine hot and sweet at the same time. In my college days we would often go to a friend, who was a Gujuben (as we fondly called her) and beg of 'Maharaj' (the chef) to cook up something. He would make daal - rice & soft muslin-cloth-thin rotlis (roti/ bread) smeared generously with ghee and shaak (vegetable).
A simple meal but Maharaj had magic in his fingers, it seemed that he only had to touch an ingredient to make it tasty. The ghee tadka (tempering) for the daal would sizzle and perfume the kitchen and dining area and 10 girls, hungry as hunters would jostle one another to wash their hands and rush to the dining table. We would watch with admiration as he rolled one rotli after another, pace never varying, his hands working in perfect unison as he rolled, roasted and smeared ghee, it was like music, flowing , harmonious and above all satisfying.

This daal made me think of Maharaj and how perfect this recipe is, it was like I had some magic in my fingers... the ingredients are simple , the process uncomplicated and the taste - SUPERB!
My Mother also made this recipe ( I dictated the entire thing over the phone, thanks to Vonage World calling plan!) and urged her to try it ASAP. My Father who is a Gujarati food fan fell in love with the daal !
Source: 660 Curries

You Need:
1/2 Cup Moong Daal
1/4 Cup Chana Daal
2 Tbs Ghee (or oil)*
*Ghee is a preferable option
1Tsp Mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cayenne
1/2 tsp Asafetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes
1/4 Cup crumbled /chopped Jaggery or packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh Cilantro
10-15 Fresh Curry leaves

Wash the lentils in 3-4 changes of water. Pressure cook the lentils until they are soft ( Iyer mentions the stove top method for cooking the lentils which take about 35-40 mins, however I speed up my work and like the zero attendance method,by using the pressure cooker)

While the lentils are cooking ( in my case, while the pressure is subsiding), heat ghee in a skillet.
Add mustard seeds, after the mustard seeds have popped, remove the skillet from heat and sprinkle with Cumin seeds, salt, cayenne, asafetida and turmeric. The spices will instantly sizzle and smell aromatic. Immediately add the tomatoes with the juices, jaggery, cilantro and curry leaves.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat and simmer uncovered stirring occasionally, until ghee separates ( about 5 min)

When the legumes are cooked, coarsely mash the lentils and some of the peas with the back of the spoon and create a creamy yellow base for the curry.
Stir the sauce, cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the seasonings permeate the curry (5 mins). Serve hot.

This curry tastes great with rotlis as well.
I keep the curry chunky. Usually I puree half of the cooked daal with an immersion blender and keep the rest as is to yield a thick curry, this is a personal preference, I like biting into daal.

Wishing all readers a HAPPY and SPLENDID NEW YEAR!!!! See you then!
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  1. Just the mention of dal and rice makes me hungry..dal is looking very tasty.
    Happy 2010..

  2. This is my most fav comforting food. looks yummy.

  3. Quite simple ! I loved the combination of thick chana dal and small mung dal !

  4. i love gthe way raghavn combines various dals. that cookbook is worth every penny. happy new year to you and a big kiss for the little one.

  5. Nice click..Dal looks simply superb..first time here..Cute space
    Happy New year to you and your family

  6. Mouthwatering! Could you send some over? (hopefully you have some sort of beam machine!)

  7. Lovely dal...will try this out and let u know!

  8. It is 10:52pm and am hungry again ;).. Dear Manasi, Wishing you a very Happy and Joyous 2010.


  9. Happy New Year to you and the family sweetie!

  10. Good combo of chana and moong, delicious..........

  11. I am thrilled to find your Blog! I have been eating an Indian Only diet for the past 2 months thanks to a friend, Megha, who I met through my Art Blog. A wonderful and unexpected side benefit is I have lost weight and my health and sleep has improved! I am still a bit overwhelmed and don't know where to start since I have always cooked American style food. This Daal recipe sounds delicious and I will try it today. I have acquired most ingredients and spices for many of the dishes Megha has given me, but what do you suggest I add to my recipes as a beginner? I am attempting to start out simple until I have more confidence. So far I make only Kanda Poha, Rice, Fried Red Daal, and Pakoras. What do you suggest I add to this for meal variety?

  12. Happy New year Madhu!

    Comforting it indeed is, Roopali!

    Thank U Kanchan.

    Thanks Bee, Happy New Year to u 2 and a big kiss from the little one!

    Thank U Sarah Naveen! Happy New Year to U!

    I wish I did Joy, I'd send a big bowl ASAP! :)

    Thank U S, do let me know how u like it.

    Happy New Year Delhibelle!

    Happy New Year, Siri!

    Happy New Year, Nags!

    Happy New Year, Cynthia!

    Thank U Myethreyi! Happy New Year!

    Thank U Gwen! I am so happy to read about all ur positive comments and experiments with Indian food. Do try this daal, it has a sweetish taste, which I personally love. Have u tried and pulses? These are a great source of protein ( Moong, Matki or also called Moth, black eyed pes)These in a curry form are good with rice and bread ( Indian flat breads of even sliced or french bread)

  13. I love the book 660 curries too and ive made a few dishes from it that have all been yummy. Happy new year!

  14. Hi Manasi, happy 2010 to you and family sweetie. Yes, it was tough for me but life goes on and yes, I am waiting for that "Karma" to hit'em hard and soon! :)
    Daal looks delicious, best one to have for this weather, I will try. It's freezing here too. Have fun there! :))

  15. Oh my, that looks fantastic, lovely click!

  16. this is awesome anyday!

    Happy New year!

  17. Oh wow...that's an yummy medley of dals...loving the recipes...

  18. Wishes for a happy New year Manasi, hope you have a wonderful year ahead.

  19. Happy New Year to you Manasi, have a wonderful 2010 !

  20. Great post. You and your readers may like the link below, where you can download recipes from The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook.


  21. lovely post
    addition of jaggery to the dal makes it so delectable

  22. Nice dispatch and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you on your information.

  23. Hi Manasi, how are you girl? Update with something!:)

    Yes, cereal bowls will be quite okay with the heat, it steaming without wt, so not dangerous.

    Monster Trucks were so cool. They built mounds with old wrecked cars and these monster trucks come at spped and go over them jumping high in the air. Too much dust and noise but it;s fun. They compete against each other, whoever goes high and reaches the line first wins. There were more 5th grade boys than they were adults! :D
    One day you will enjoy it too. Wish Trisha was here for this but she had to go back. This event is only for 2 days.

    Have a great weekend, talk you later next week.Hugs! :)

  24. I love Gujju food too...not so much the hubby. So I'll make ur Gujju daal one of these days when he's not eating in.

  25. A splendid dish! I cannot resist anything that is made with daal!




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