Monday, December 23, 2013

Tori-Hara Mung-Channa Dal





"Good food is very often, even most often, simple food."
~Anthony Bourdain

Roti-boti, used to be the motto...battle cry...dinner menu, many years ago. Things have changed a lot since then. First there is no motto, no battle cry and no mandatory "boti" dinner! But even in those days when mutton was the choice of the night, a pure vegetarian lunch prevailed, except on occasions when we had equally crazy roti-boti friends over for lunch! Dal was almost always one of the dishes for lunch. We ate many kinds of dal, and I varied flavours by combining lentils/pulses and often using different 'bhagars' aka 'chaunk.' This combination was one I did much later in my kitchen.

I recall there was a (last minute) vegetarian guest which called for an additional dish for dinner. Surprisingly the dal came out very well, and that's not just me talking, it's an echo of our guest's appreciation and his request for the recipe. He said he had never eaten such a dal before and liked it very much...I didn't tell him that I had never made it before either! Enough of that, here's the recipe.

Note: Tori or turai is a gourd available and widely eaten in the northern and north-western states of India. It is known as the 'Ridge' gourd in English and derives this name from the hard ridges that rise along the length of the gourd. However, there are two varieties of this gourd. The other one is smooth, has a thinner skin and is a darker shade of green. The smooth kind is also mildly sweeter, when cooked, than the ridged gourd. I usually use the smooth gourd as that's the one I prefer.

Ingredients & Method:

Tori..........................................abt 4 nos.
 Peel and cut into circles. Be careful not to peel too deep. The skin is very thin. You should retain the under layer of green beneath the skin.










Chana dal........................1 small katori/1/2 standard cup
Green mung split............2 small katoris/1 standard cup.
Just keep in mind the ratio is: 1:1/2 whatever measure you use. Mung dal will be more.
Wash and soak the chana dal for 15 minutes. Do this before you start on the tori, onion, garlic, ginger.







Onion.............................1, medium, chopped small.
Garlic.............................2-3 cloves medium sized
Ginger............................1/2 inch
Green chilli....................1, or acc to taste
Crush the ginger, garlic and green chilli in a mortar.





Now wash the green mung, and put both the dals in a pressure cooker. Add a small pinch of turmeric and enough water, about 1 n 1/2 " above the dal and cook until done.

Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a pan.
Add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds. When it turns light brown, add the chopped onions. Fry the onions until the edges turn brown. Now add the ginger-garlic-chilli and stir it well for a few seconds. Lower heat to medium. Add red chilli pwdr acc to taste. (There's green chilli too!) Coriander pwdr....2 n 1/2 level tsps. Turmeric...1/4 tsp. Salt to taste. Stir well and cook for 15-20 seconds. Add the tori.


The tori should be cooked and not too soft. It should have some of its own juices still in the pan. Pour in the cooked dal. Mix it in with the tori, cover and simmer on low heat. Check once or twice and give it a stir.










When the dal and vegetable mixture is melded and the right consistency, check for salt. If it is too thick, heat a bit of water and add it.
Before serving add 1-2 tbsps of ghee.
Serve with hot parathas or rotis or pao.













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