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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Aamti - Maharashtrian Sweet and Sour Dal

Most of the spicy dal preparations are called aamti in Maharashtra. Though when I talk about Aamti, I am referring to the sweet and sour dal preparation. Of course, this changes from home to home, however the basic theme of adding something sweet and sour stays the same. My mom makes this frequently and I enjoy eating it with hot chapati and ghee. Since it is a sweet and sour dish, it is generally quite popular with kids and a great way to get them to eat their protein. Healthy and tasty, the perfect combination for an everyday meal. The lentil/legume used in the recipe is known by many different names, some of those that I am familiar with are "tur, toor, tuvar, arhar, and split pigeon pea". It can be easily found at any store that sells Indian groceries.

1 cup tur/toor dal
3-4 cups water
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
couple of pinches of asafoetida
1 tbsp oil
1/8 tsp cumin/jeera
1/8 tsp mustard
1-2 chillies, diced into large pieces
6-7 curry leaves
salt to taste
1 tbsp jaggery powder or 1 inch piece of jaggery (adjust to taste)
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp goda masala
1/2 inch piece ginger piece

Wash the tur dal a couple of times. To this addtwo cups of water, a pinch of asafoetida and turmeric. Pressure cook it till it is cooked completely. Mash the cooked dal and keep aside. In a pot, add the oil. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. Once the mustard crackles, add a pinch of asafoetida, chillies and the mashed dal. Add a cup of water, curry leaves, ginger, salt and goda masala. Boil this for a few minutes, then add the tamarind and jaggery. Cook for another few minutes. Add more water if required. Serve with white rice or hot chapati.

To make tamarind paste, take an inch piece of tamarind, soak in a couple of tbsps of warm water for a few minutes and then squeeze out the pulp. Use the pulp and tamarind water. If you do not have goda masala, substitute with dhana-jeera/corriander-cumin powder. If you are using a jaggery piece, make sure that it has completely dissolved.


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