Thursday, March 9, 2017


Maash Ki Daal

Mummy, give me some more rice!


  1. Urad dal (white, split), 1 cup
  2. Ginger (juliennes), 1 teaspoon
  3. Garlic (chopped), 6 cloves
  4. Onion (thin slices), 1
  5. Green chili, 1
  6. Cilantro (finely sliced), 1 tablespoon
  7. Cumin seed, 1 teaspoon
  8. Asafoetida, a pinch
  9. Salt, to to taste
  10. Ghee, 1 tablespoon


1. Wash the dal well to remove the frothy surfactants as much as possible. To further reduce the gassiness that a dal can cause, soak in hot water for at least an hour and wash again

2. Cook the dal in a thick bottomed pan with at least double the amount of water ­ some people add some ginger juliennes and red chillies and peppercorns at this point and even salt. To make the dish even more exotic, boil it with a modicum of the whole garam masala spices such as one tej patta, 1 clove, a tiny piece of cinnamon, a soupcon of star anise, etc. You can even pressure cook it but when I do so the dal often gets overcooked

3. In the meantime, as the dal is cooking away, peel and thinly slice the onions, julienne the ginger and finely chop the garlic and cilantro. You can either slit the green chili or dice it and if you're not keen on chili spice, either omit it altogether or de seed it before use ­ do wear gloves or wash your hands well after touching chilies

4. Heat the ghee gently taking care not to burn it and crackle the cumin seed carefully as they should not get too browned. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and green chili until nicely golden

5. Check the dal. If the grains can be easily mashed with your fingers then it's good to go ­ if not cook further, add more water if need be

6. Pour the above onto the dal

The Real Deal 

If you want to make and taste the real recipe, just make sure you cook the dal right 
  1. The finished product should look like fluffy rice 
  2. Heat a dash of ghee and singe a dash of the finest hing 
  3. Pour this over your dal, seasoned only with salt 
I've really not had this dish as cooked by my mother or her sisters, all of whom were raised on the North-West Frontier. I came to know about this dish because my mother often told me that it was my sister's favourite. 
Mummy, give me some more rice! 
Because, apparently, that is how the dish should look. As you can see, I've failed in that sense. To suit expectations, I cook it much as we cook most dals, tadka style. 

In any case, this is a royal dish and can be prepared with the least fuss which is, indeed, the hallmark of true royalty. 

Or you can make it with a lot or a little more pomp and circumstance - garam masala, whole or powdered; onions, garlic, ginger - an elaborate fried garnish.

And you can also go all creative and make it a cold salad dish by cooking the dal rather like a vegetable pulao with green peas, carrots and all and serve it tossed with fresh salad vegetables like cucumbers, lettuce and such.

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