Hello again everyone!
Namaste and greetings and such!
Winter is upon us, and it's this time of year that we all really want something fulfilling, warming, and pleasing. Right? And what could be more fulfilling, warming, and pleasing than a Punjabi dish?
Well, there are lots of great dishes the world over. But khatti dal is one of the most wonderful that I can think of.
A pressure cooker is suggested for the preparation of this dish, but you can actually do it without; however, you will have to cook the lentils for 2-3 times as long. The use of a pressure cooker saves energy and time, and it also renders your lentils absolutely perfect for the dish.
You can get most, if not all, of these ingredients at any Indian grocery. You can also order them online; there are plenty of Indian grocers online that would be happy to ship the food to your door! And as always, feel free to substitute if you don't have something on hand.
Above all, don't panic! There's a lot left to taste here (but it's clearly noted in the recipe), and there may be some unfamiliar terms. I will, as always, let you know what these mean and what to look for. You can do it!
Khatti Dal for Catty Dolls Like Us
1C masoor dals
1 tsp ghee
2-3 dried chillies
cumin seed (at least 1/2 tsp)
mustard seed (at least 1/2 tsp)
turmeric (at least 1/2 tsp)
red chilli powder (cayenne)
corriander leaves (cilantro)
black salt (kala namak)
1) Mix together the garlic, ginger, and kala namak with a few drops of water, to make a paste. You can use powdered garlic and ginger or minced. You will only need a pinch or two of kala namak.
2) Add the dals, water, the ginger-garlic paste, corriander leaves, chilli powder, and turmeric to the pressure cooker. Stir to blend.
3) Close cooker and bring to heat. Immediately remove from heat once one whistle sounds. This is when the vent itself (the thing with the weight on it) actually releases steam. Let the pressure go down by itself, then open the pressure cooker.
4) Put pressure cooker back on the stove on medium heat, to keep the dal mixture warm while you complete the dish.
5) In a small frypan, heat the ghee over medium to medium-high heat, careful not to let it smoke. If it smokes, discard and start again with new ghee. Break open the dried chillies and add them to the ghee. Add mustard seed to the ghee once it has heated, and let the mustard seed pop. Then add cumin seed and let it sizzle and crackle.
6) Remove the chillies from the mixture and discard them. Pour the ghee and spice mixture over the dal mixture, and blend thoroughly.
7) Serve hot, ideally with rotis, parathas, nan, or even toasted pita bread or tortilla chips.
Tips and Such:
- If you don't have ghee or don't want to use it, you can substitute oil instead. Choose an oil like grapeseed oil, since you'll need to get it to a sufficient heat to pop mustard seed. You can use any oil you like, as long as you take care in heating it so that it doesn't smoke. Smoking oil is never good news!
- If you can't get black salt, just use regular salt, to taste. Black salt will impart a greater taste to your dish, however. You may even try adding a dash of soy sauce or tamari if you wish; the richer bouquet may make up for the absence of black salt.
- If you don't have a pressure cooker, simply cook the lentils until the water has fully been absorbed and cooked, stirring so that they do not stick. Add more water wherever necessary; the final product should resemble a thick gravy. If you prefer yours thinner, add more water; however, too much water and you'll be eating it with a spoon instead of with bread.
- You can prepare the lentils and refrigerate them ahead of time, then finish the dish with the ghee garnish whenever you please. Just do steps 1-3! When you're ready to eat, simply heat up the lentils to desired consistency again, then prepare the ghee and spices mixture fresh. Combine it as in the recipe, with the lentil mixture, and serve hot.
Masoor dals are covered in a previous post, but I thought I'd mention them again here because they haven't been used in a recipe. Dal refers to a pulse, which is a split legume. Masoor dals are orange in colour and very flexible in use, plus they're delicious and one of the most nutritionally-rich kinds of dal. They're my favourite kind, and I tend to use them in every dal dish regardless!
Ghee is clarified butter, which is the most common in most Indian recipes. Several studies have indicated that ghee is healthier even than many margarines, but a little of course goes a long way, just like any kind of butter or buttery product.
Turmeric is a spice derived from a root. It's actually really useful in herbal medicine as an anti-inflammatory and is seen in many, many Indian dishes. It is also a potent dye and can impart a warm golden colour. But be warned if you use white washcloths to wash your dishes -- if you have lingering turmeric, you can come out with pretty golden washcloths afterwards!
Black salt, also called kala namak, is a kind of salt that is lower in sodium than most table salt and has a distinctly sulfuric bouquet. It is full of flavour and is used in many Indian dishes. It is named 'black salt' because in its raw form, the crystals are reddish-black. However, when ground to the powder used in cooking, it becomes a pleasant pink.
I hope you'll enjoy this super-easy and super-quick recipe. It's got massive amounts of nutrition, plus it's warming, nourishing, and feels good. It's especially comforting in these cold winter months. So I hope you'll take advantage of this dish and enjoy it while it's especially nice! In my opinion though, lentils are always delightful.
Until next time...happy cooking!
};) Dhiar <3