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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Daal Baati (Dal Bati) - Recipe for the dal

For information related to Dal Baati and the recipe to make Baati, see my previous post. The dal for the dal baati recipe is unique because it is made using urad dal. While I know that urad dal is a key component of idli and dosa batters, I haven't really seen it used as a main ingredient in too many dal recipe. The freshly baked, ghee dipped baati, is broken down into small pieces in a bowl and then piping hot dal is poured over it. The result is absolutely lip smacking. If you make this dish often, it is best to cut back on the amount of ghee that is used after the baking process to prevent those calories from adding up. But it is absolutely okay to indulge once in a while!

1 cup urad dal
4 tbsp split mung (yellow mung) dal
3 tbsp chana dal (yellow split pea)
3 cups water
a pinch of asafoetida powder
2 tbsp ghee or oil
1/8 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
2 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
2 bay leaves (tej patta)
1 inch cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
1 inch ginger, finely grated or ground
1/2 cup red onion diced
2 tomatoes diced
1-2 green chillies
red chilli powder to taste
salt to taste
1 tsp dhania (corriander) powder
1 tsp garam masala (optional)
1/8 tsp turmeric
additional water to thin out the dal
cilantro/corriander leaves, chopped for garnishing

Mix the three dals together and add water to it. Add asafoetida and cook. See tips on alternatives of cooking dals. The dal mixture should be cooked through and soft. In a large, deep pan, heat the oil or ghee. To this add jeera, black cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves. Cook these till you can smell the spices. Take care to prevent them from burning. Then add the green chilli, onion, ginger and garlic. Cook these till you do not get the raw garlic smell. The onion should be at the slightly browning phase. Then add the tomato and cook till the tomatoes are cooked through. Then add the turmeric, dhania powder and garam masala. If you want the dal to be spicy, you can add red chilli powder at this stage. Cook the spices for a couple of minutes and then add the cooked dal mixture. Add some water to thin it out a bit. The consistency should not be too watery. It should be like a thick soup. Turn off the heat when the dal boils. Garnish with chopped cilantro/corriander leaves.

The fastest method to cook dals is using a pressure cooker.  If using a stove top cooker, cook it for 5 or 6 whistles and if using the Instant Pot, 12 mins on manual mode, at high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally. However, if you do not have a pressure cooker, pre-soak the dal in warm water for a couple of hours. Then add water to the soaked dal and cook till soft. If spices being friend initially burn, it is best to start again with fresh oil. Burnt spices add a bitter taste and can potentially alter the taste of the entire dish. The list of ingredients may look daunting, but most of these should be easily available in your Indian grocery store.


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