Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dal in My Shoes

a simple everyday dal

I swear things like this never used to happen to me.  I blame my undue clumsiness on cancer! Chemotherapy is a huge brain drain.  And you don't always regain full brain function. Such is the case with me. 
Here is what happened. I cut open the bag of moong dal, and in an attempt to measure out one cup of the tiny beans, I ended up with it all over the floor and in my shoes/sandals. I cut a large hole in the bag and proceeded to pour it quickly into a small measuring cup (see where I made my mistake). I did manage to get some in the cup, but half of it went over the sides. What did I expect?! So I'm not going to say much more here because I have a floor to sweep. Only that this is deliciously simple, earthy, and comforting.  And that turmeric is the mother of all impossible to get out stain makers.  I wore an apron while making this, because if I can get dal in my shoe, you know I will get turmeric on my shirt. Be careful, turmeric stains everything yellow.

Here it is:
1 c. moog dal
3 1/2 c. water
1/2 t. turmeric
1 t. salt or more to taste
2T. olive oil
1t. cumin seeds
1/8 t. asafoetida (optional, but recommended)
1/2-1t. red pepper flakes or to taste (this is not very much heat/spice)
1 small onion minced
cilantro to garnish

First thing to do is rinse the moong beans very well.  You want to either  do this in a strainer, or better yet by swishing them around in a pan of water.  You want to get rid of all the (bean) dustiness, so rinse until the water is clear.

Place the washed and drained moong dal with the 3 1/2 c. of water into a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil.  Skim off any foam that forms.

Reduce the heat. Add the turmeric. Continue to simmer until creamy, about 45 minutes.  Give it a stir occasionally to prevent scorching, and add more hot water if the consistency starts to look too thick.  You want a nice smooth, loose consistency for this dal.
Add the salt at the end.

While the dal cooks:
Heat the oil in a small pan, and add the asafo
etida, chili flakes, and cumin seeds.  They will sizzle and foam up a bit.  After a few seconds, add the onion. Cook stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and browning at the edges (10-15 min.).
This is what is called the tarka. It is a mixture of cooked spices and onions that you stir into the cooked dal. This varies from recipe to recipe, and according to the region of India it came from.
Remove the the finished dal from the heat. Pour the tarka over the top, and stir in along with some fresh cilantro and a shake of black pepper if desired.
I sometimes stir in some spinach leaves. And if I have any leftover roasted tomatoes, I love to throw them in too. You could also add a bit of tomato to the tarka towards the end of its cooking time.

This can be served with rice or chapati, with or without a side dish.

need a ride

center of commerce Palolem
fishing boat Palolem beach

These are just a few random pictures of where I used to live in India to make up for the lack of inspiring food pictures.

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