490. Andhra style palak dal
Visits to India means eating out. While I still have to acquire a taste for most of the fusion food, like chinese dosa, served with sweet and sour sauce and all that, I do love eating the more traditional food and street food. My daughter’s friend suggested we go to Nagarjuna, an Andhra restaurant in Bangalore. Kobe, a sizzler place directly opposite sounded a better option. However, I am so glad we went to Nagarjuna. The food was so delicious and its the first time I had a meal on a banana leaf. I’ve had food on the dried leaf plates and bowls but not on a fresh green banana leaf. I went for the traditional south indian thali. Dal, sabji, a mountain of rice, papad, yogurt, lassi, pickles and payasam. What I really liked was the palak dal. When we went the second time round, I tried another dish but we also ordered the palak dal. Since then I was itching to try out the dal at home and yes I did. Since then it has entered my weekly menu. Love the flavour of the garlic, curry leaves, tamarind and loaded with palak or spinach. More and more south indian recipes are finding a prominent place in my weekly menu. With simple ingredients taste of a dish is completely changed. So here is my recipe for Andhra style palak dal but obviously with less chillis.
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ANDHRA STYLE PALAK DAL
1 cup tuvar dal (toor, pigeon pea dal)
3 cups water
2 bunches (about 3 cups chopped spinach) palak (spinach)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
1-2 green chillis, finely chopped or grind into a paste
1 tsp ginger paste
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds( methi)
1-2 tbsp tamarind paste
1-1½ tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
For tempering (vaghar) :
1 tbsp ghee
1-2 dry red chillis
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig curry leave (kari pata)
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- Wash the dal and soak it in 1½ cups of water for about 20 -30 minutes.
- Put the dal in a pressure cooker along with the water it was soaked in.
- Add ¼ tsp turmeric powder and ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds.
- Close the lid of the cooker and put it over medium flame. Let the dal cook for 2-3 whistles.
- Heat oil in a deep pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and stir fry till it becomes soft and starts to turn pink.
- Add chilli and ginger and stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add chopped tomato and remaining turmeric powder.
- Cook till it becomes soft. Add the cooked dal.
- Add salt and the remaining water.
- Let the dal simmer over low heat for 10 -15 minutes.
- Add the chopped spinach and cook till it becomes soft.
- Add tamarind paste and mix well.
- Heat ghee in a small pan.
- Add fenugreek, mustard and cumin seeds.
- Add dry red chillis, garlic and asafoetida. Stir fry the garlic till it begins to turn pink.
- Add curry leaves.
- Pour the mixture over the dal and serve immediately with rice.
- If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook the dal in a saucepan till it is done. You may need to add extra water.
- If the dal is too thick add a bit of water.
- Add more chillis if you prefer.
- After washing the dal I prefer to soak it in warm water. It makes cooking the dal much easier.
- To make tamarind paste, wash the tamarind and cook it in enough water till it becomes soft. When the mixture is cold, remove the fibre and seeds. Put the mixture in a blender and process till you get a paste. Strain the paste. If the mixture is too thick to puree, add a little bit more water. Store the remaining paste in the freezer for future use.
|tuvar dal khichdi|