Archive for April 17, 2006

Val Dal with Tindora

I wanted to try frozen tindora. I was interested to see how it measured up against fresh.

I also wanted to try val dal, which I have only seen mentioned a few times in recipes ~ mostly for dhansak ~ and also in this lovely display from One Hot Stove.

I decided to try the two, frozen tindora and val dal, together, with just a few seasonings.

val dal dry and soaked

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Here is what I used:

1 sm bag frozen tindora

1 c val dal, split
3 c water
1 tsp sea salt (from Trader Joe’s, was disappointed in this salt)

1 TB ginger-garlic paste
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 tsp ghee

1 tsp each mustard and cumin seeds, plus a few curry leaves, sauteed in 1 tsp ghee

1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder

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Soak dal in warm water for at least one hour.

Boil frozen tindora in salted water about 15 minutes ~ the tindora should be cooked but not complete mush. Set that aside.

Saute onion and ginger-garlic paste in ghee for a few minutes, then add drained and rinsed val dal, salt, and three cups water. Cook all over high heat 20 minutes. The fresh, legume-y scent of the dal led me to believe it might cook quicker than some other dals, so I did not bother taking out the pressure cooker. Instead, after 20 minutes, I improvised: turned the cover of pan upside-down and put heavy can of tomatoes on top. Voila! Instant pressure-cooker. Once this is done you must reduce heat to medium at most, and be sure there is sufficient water or the dal will stick and burn. Your hands will burn as well, without a potholder to remove this contraption.

Cook the dal in this manner for 20 minutes longer, adding another cup of water halfway through.

When dal is thoroughly cooked, add 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric (for color mostly as val dal cooked up whitish), and additional salt to taste. Add a cup of the previously cooked tindora, and then stir in the tempering/tadka of mustard, cumin and curry leaves cooked in small amount of ghee.

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small cast iron pan from cape cod

This little iron pan came from my grandmother ~ she never used it to toast cumin seeds, but it’s the perfect size!

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val dal with tindora

The finished dal was delicious. I didn’t add too much extra water, so it was quite thick and hearty. The flavor was very fresh and made a nice background for the tindora. A little coriander chutney (store bought) and some homemade eggplant and radish pickle added a little zing on the side.

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daisy is camera shy

Daisy, playing camera-shy in the kitchen…

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