Gujarati Dal

I had this dal the first time I went to India to meet my then boyfriend’s family. At the time I wasn’t a huge fan because of the sweetness, but for some reason, now I love it! When his mom came to the US the next time, I had her show me how to make it. So anyhow, I decided to make this today at the same time as starting this blog and oh my. I set the tadka pan on fire because I wasn’t paying enough attention (I was trying to take pictures of our spices at the same time), then I threw it into the dal without thinking, and then I had to strain off the burnt stuff and re-do the tadka! Anyhow, it ended up coming out good!

1 cup toor dal
A few pieces of kokum (you should be able to substitute tamarind, but I have never tried this)
2-3 tablespoons of jaggery
Chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon oil
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon jeera (cumin)
4 cloves
1-2 little pieces of cinnamon bark
4 fenugreek seeds
Pinch of hing (asafoetida)

  1. Pressure cook the toor dal with 5 cups of water. After the first whistle, turn it down to medium and let cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Blend the dal with an immersion blender.
  3. Soak the kokum – I generally put the kokum in a little bowl and microwave for a minute or so – and then add the juice to the dal.
  4. Add jaggery, salt, and cilantro.
  5. For the tadka, heat oil in a little pan and fry mustard seeds, jeera, cloves, cinnamon, fenugreek and hing (add hing right at the last) and add to dal.
  6. Stir and cook for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld.

A couple of notes about this recipe:

  • You can cook the dal right in cooker with 5-6 cups of water or you can also use a covered tray and cook something else such as potatoes or whatever else you might need at the same time. If using trays just use 3x the amount of water in the tray and then add more water later to get the consistency you’d like. I am not good at counting whistles (and pressure cookers in the US don’t always whistle), therefore I always time it.
  • Fenugreek is so weird to me.  The seeds are so bitter. I have ruined dishes by adding too much. But I still haven’t figured out exactly what is too much and if they benefit a dish or not, so I keep trying to use them. One reason for this is that I LOVE methi paratha, it has such a nutty yummy flavor and aroma. I can’t figure out if the leaves and the seeds are totally different, like coriander seeds and cilantro. We have the frozen leaves which also taste bitter to me and I haven’t played around with fresh yet. Then today I open the jar of fenugreek seeds and add them to the tadka and they have that yummy smell that methi paratha has!  So anyways, I used them.

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