Tuvar Dal, Gujarati Style
What is Tuvar Dal?
Tuvar, toor, pigeon pea, tur, arhar, kandhi pappu,thuvara parippa, togari bele is a legume. The peas are dried and can be used whole to make certain curries like the popular Swahili dish Mbaazi. However, split tuvar dal is the most common one used from North to South of India. Used to make curries, a staple in most homes, the method will vary from state to state. Some add vegetables like the sambhar made in the South, some add onion and garlic, some make with spices. Whichever way it is made, its usually served with rice or roti. Dalma a curry from Odiya Cuisine, is a simple to make and yet very flavorful dal. Andhra Style Palak Dal is such a good way to include loads of spinach in the dal. The most popular dish with my family, Dal Dhokli is prepared using tuvar dal, dumpling and vegetables.
What else can you use Tuvar dal for?
Besides making curries, Tuvar dal is used to make tuvar dal khichdi. Many homes in Gujarat use it as a filling for the popular puran poli. In South India it is common to use toor dal to make chutneys or podi (spices powder)
Can we use fresh Tuvar or Pigeon Peas?
Yes its possible to use fresh tuvar to make easy sabji or side dish like Methi Tuvar Nu Shaak. I love making fresh tuvar and bajri kadhi. My mum use to love fresh tuvar or as popularly known lilva ni kachori. Tuvar or pigeon pea is cultivated widely in Kenya so whenever the first tender fresh Tuva would appear on the market, my mum would make the kachoris. Githeri is a very popular Kenyan dish where fresh pigeon peas are used to make this wholesome and healthy meal.
Tuvar Ni Dal Gujarati Style
Known as Orange Dal, by my son when he was a toddler, Tuvar Dal is a very popular curry made in Gujarati homes. Enjoyed with steaming rice and a dollop of ghee (clarified ghee) or by dunking soft rotlis in it, its a standard curry prepared during any occasion and weddings too. Tuvar dal made but the Patel Community tends to be quite different from the way other Gujarati communities make it. Sweet and tangy at the same time, whenever made for special occasions kahrek (dried dates) and kokum (Garcinia indica) are added with lots of ghee.
As a child I remember attending weddings where we all would sit on the endless length of gunny sack material and would be served with hot piping Tuva dal along with churma na laddoos. At that time there were no tables and chairs when attending weddings or other important festivals. Now the scenario is so different. Traditional food is hardly ever served and every one stands around tables and nibbles on the food.
How is Tuvar Dal Made?
Basically the split tuvar dal is washed and soaked for 30 – 45 minutes in warm water. The dal is then cooked usually in the pressure cooker till it becomes really soft. Some add tomatoes when cooking the dal. I learnt how to make tuvar dal from my mother in law. She would stir the tomato puree with spices and then add it to the curry. I prefer her method as it results in a lovely orangish brown colour of the dal. The secret ingredient to any good dal is the garam masala. I always make it at home for that special flavour and aroma. For the sour taste lemon juice or kokum is added and no dal is complete without the addition of jaggery.
- For a gluten free version avoid adding asafetida as it contains wheat flour
- For a vegan version, replace ghee with oil
- Has no onion or garlic so its suitable as a satvic meal
So go on, check out the recipe for Tuvar Dal Gujarati style which is served on my dining table at least twice a week. Yes, that’s how much the family loves it.
TUVAR DAL, GUJARATI STYLE
SERVES 4 -6
1 cup tuvar dal (split pigeon pea lentils)
5 cups water
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
½ tsp musard seeds (rai)
¼ to ½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp dhana jiru (coriander cumin powder)
¼ tsp clove powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
1 -2 dry red chilis
½ tsp garam masala or dal masala
12 to 14 peanuts
3 kokum or 1 tbsp lemon juice
1 inch cinnamon stick
4 to 6 cloves
6 to 8 peppercorns
1 to 1½ tsp salt
¼ to ½ tsp chilli paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 cup fresh tomato puree
2 tbsps grated jaggery (gur) or brown sugar
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1 tbsp ghee ( clarified butter) or oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Recipe for Garam masala:
1 tbsp cardamom seeds
1 tsp black cumin seeds ( shahijeera)
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp peppercorns
¼ nutmeg (grate it)
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp mace powder ( javantri)
1 piece star anise
1 dried bay leaf
1 tsp ginger powder
2 inch cinnamon stick
Preparation of Garam Masala:
Roast all the ingredients except the powders in a pan or frying pan over low heat till you get a pleasant aroma and find that the spices are beginning to turn brown. This takes about 4 to 5 minutes. Remember roast over low heat. Let the mixture cool. Grind in a grinder to a fine powder. Add the remaining powders and mix well. Store in an airtight jar. Can use it for other curry dishes too.
My dal masala is made by Nunu. She mixes a million spices to make it and it has the most amazing aroma. I store it in the freezer in a jar to maintain the freshness and aroma.
Preparation of Tuvar Dal:
- Wash and soak tuvar dal in 2 cups of warm water for at least half an hour or more.
- Put the dal along with the water in a pressure cooker. Add ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds and turmeric powder. Cover the pressure cooker and let the lentils cook over medium heat for 3 whistles. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook it in a pan partially covered but you may need more water and it will take longer.
- When the lentils are done, pass it through a big sieve to obtain a smooth liquid.
- In a small container put together the cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, kokum, peanuts, dry red chilis, remaining fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds.
- In another small container put together red chilli, clove, cinnamon and the remaining turmeric powders, asafoetida, garam masala and coriander cumin powder.
- Heat the ghee in a small pan over medium heat. When it is hot add the mixture of whole spices you have kept ready in step 4.
- When the spices begin to sizzle, add the powdered spices you have kept ready in step 5. Stir for a few seconds and immediately add the ginger and chilli paste.Stir.
- Add tomato puree and mix well. Add jaggery and salt. Let the gravy cook till it becomes a bit thick.
- Take a deep pan. Put the sieved lentil mixture into it along with the remaining water. Heat the dal up under medium heat.
- When the gravy is ready, add it to the simmering dal. Let it simmer over low heat for nearly 20 to 30 minutes.
- Just before serving garnish with coriander.
- Serve hot with rice or rotli.
- Add a few pieces of peeled and cubed suran (elephant’s foot yam) while simmering the dal. It tastes yummy.
- Sometimes I add lemon juice or tamarind pulp along with the kokum to get a nice tangy taste.
- Sometimes I add a tbsp of fresh grated coconut along with ginger and chili.
- Adjust the amount of spices used according to your taste.
- This dal freezes well. Make the amount you require and freeze it in small containers.
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