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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Katachi (Cutachi) Aamti - Split Yellow Lentil Sweet and Sour Daal

This dish is mainly eaten with Puran Poli and this recipe is the third installment in my "chana daal trilogy". Now one of the reasons its made with puran poli is that the daal is made from the water drained from the cooked chana/yellow lentil daal used to cook the puran. Also, as the flavor is sweet, sour and spicy, it is used to dunk the sweet puran poli to alternate between the sweet and savory tastes, which I think enhances the puran poli experience. Of course it goes really well with rice too. My mom never made this dish and I just ate it a couple of times while growing up. The one time I do remember eating it, it was cold and not a good experience. So, when I made puran poli, I thought why not try to make this daal. I referred to the "Ruchira" book, which is a book with Maharashtrian recipes and modified the recipe slightly to my taste. It was surprisingly tasty and has almost erased my memory of my previous experiendce. It was sweet and spicy from the cloves and cinnamon, a perfect accompaniment to the puran poli.

4 cups water drained from the cooked chana daal (split yellow lentil). See the puran recipe on how to cook the chana daal. This water is called "kat/cut", hence the name katachi/cutachi aamti.
1/2 cup jaggery, powdered
salt to taste
chilli powder to taste
1/4 cup dessicated coconut, roasted
1 tsp jeera/cumin roasted
4 pieces of 1 inch cinnamon (thin strips, about 1/2 cm wide or less)
4-5 cloves
2-3 bay leaves
1/8tsp mustard seeds
1/8sp jeera/cumin seeds
1/4 cup jaggery
2 tsbp sugar
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate (or use 1 tsp of tamarind soaked and mashed in warm water)
4-5 curry leaves
1 tsp goda/kala masala (this is a special Maharashtrian masala, - see tips below for substitute)
1 tbsp ghee or oil
a pinch of hing/asafoetida.

Heat the chana daal water which is called "cut/kat", with the tamarind water. To this add the jaggery, chilli powder and salt. Grind the roasted coconut and roasted jeera and add this to the chana daal mixture. In a small pan, take the ghee or oil. Once it heats, add the mustard and cumin seeds. As the seeds start crackling add a pinch of hing/asafoetida, the curry leaves, bay leaved, cinnamon and cloves. Pour this seasoning mixture into the chana daal mixture. Boil it for a few mins. Serve hot with puran poli or plain rice.

Roast the jeera and coconut separately without using oil. You can even toast the coconut in the microwave, one minute at a time till its light brown. In case you do not have kala/goda masala, substitute with "dhana jeera" powder. The taste will differ slightly, but it will come close to the original recipe. Using ghee for the seasoning will enhance the taste


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