Tag Archives: Daal

Daal Makhani and exploding pressure cookers

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Daal Makhani and exploding pressure cookers

This is a hearty and creamy main dish kind of daal. Almost like a chili.   It is made with black lentils or Urad daal.  I used the split Urad daal which cooks a tad bit faster than the whole urad daal.  Most people who make this dish use a pressure cooker.  I don’t happen to own a pressure cooker because they scare me.  When I was about 12 years old we lived in Yemen.  My mom, unused to the altitude of San’aa (capital of Yemen) would  often use a pressure cooker to make most of our meals to save time. She did not understand the mechanics of the release valve and one day when the pressure cooker release valve broke, being a thrifty housewife, she decided to make a make-shift one out of flour and water paste. This created a miniature steam fueled bomb in the kitchen.  I was just coming home from school when the giant explosion sent me running into the kitchen area.  I found my mom among the carnage of raw goat meat, broken windows and dishes.   She looked at me with dazed eyes and said, “did we get bombed?”  She only suffered minor injuries but I have been scared of pressure cookers and certain types of goats ever since.  Even the sound is ominous like a large snake getting ready to strike….

Save yourself and make this daal in a plain old pan, just keep an eye on it and check the water level to make sure it doesn’t dry out.

The nutrient contents of the black lentils and kidney beans are tremendous.  Both are high in protein and the flavors can’t be beat. It is fantastic served with fresh, hot chappatis.  There is nothing quite like the combination.  You won’t miss the meat or the pressure cooker, I promise.

Split Urad daal (black lentils)

Cook the urad daal and kidney beans with water, salt, turmeric, onion and ginger for about 40-50 minutes and mash lightly with a potato masher

Add dry mango powder, garam masala powder and half and half to the daal and cook a few more minutes

In a little hot ghee add cumin seeds, red chilies and red chili powder. Stir to incorporate

Add hot, aromatic ghee to the daal. Mix and take off heat.

Serve hot with fresh chappatis

Daal Makhani

1 cup split black lentils (urad daal)

1/4 cup kidney beans, dry

1/2 onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp Amchur – dry mango powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

3-4 whole dried red chilies

1/2 tsp red chili powder

1/4 cup half and half

2 tbsp ghee – clarified butter

1/2 tsp garam masala

5-6 cups water

Wash the kidney beans and daal.  Soak in about 5-6 cups of water overnight.  Soaked daal will almost triple in volume.  In a large heavy bottomed pan add Urad daal, kidney beans, onions, salt, turmeric and ginger.  Add about 5 cups of water bring to boil.  After mixture has come to a boil, turn heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes on a back burner, checking occasionally for water level and to stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  When the daal and the beans are soft and tender, lightly mash it with a potato masher, you don’t want to use an immersion blender since the texture doesn’t need to be a puree, just slightly mashed.  Add a little more water if needed and cook an additional 5-6 minutes.  Add garam masala, dry mango powder and half and half and cook another 10 minutes on low heat.   Take daal off the heat and in a separate, small pan heat the ghee.  When ghee is nicely heated, add the dry red chilies, cumin seeds and red chili powder.  Stir quickly and pour the hot, aromatic ghee over the daal.  Stir to incorporate and serve with hot chappatis.

Misti Kumro Daal ~ Kabocha squash and red lentil daal

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Misti Kumro Daal ~ Kabocha squash and red lentil daal

What Bengalis like to call Misti Kumro (translation:  sweet pumpkin) is actually a squash.  Kabocha squash.  If you’ve never tried this variety of squash, its delicious.  I love it because you can eat the WHOLE THING.  The skin, the flesh and even roast the seeds and eat them for a snack.  Talk about a sustainable food.  It’s chock full of nutrients like beta carotene, iron, vitamin C and potassium. Long before this squash was available in the U.S. they were grown in parts of South Asia.  Because it is such a sweet squash you can add more chili in the cooking process and get a wonderful sweet/hot dish.  I enjoy making this daal because when you add the lentils the nutrient content skyrockets even more and you can eat it as a soup or with rice (I’m Asian, I eat most things with rice).

Five seeds in Panch Phoron are: Mustard, Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek and Kalonji

Kabocha Squash or Misti Kumro

Saute onions and Panch Phoron together until the seeds begin popping

Add all the other spices to the onion and Panch Phoron mixture before adding the Kabocha squash and red lentils

Add 2 cups of water and let it simmer, covered for about 6-8 minutes

Add the light coconut milk at the end and cook an additional 2-3 minutes

Add chopped cilantro at the very end and enjoy the daal

Misti Kumro Daal

4 cups cubed Kabocha squash – leave the skin on

1 cup red lentils, washed thoroughly

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 tsp salt (or adjust to taste)

1 1/2 tsp red chili powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp Panch Phoron (Bengali Five Spice)

2 bay leaves

1 can lite coconut milk

2 cups water

3 tbsp oil

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

In a large heavy bottom pan saute the onion in oil along with Panch Phoron and salt. After seeds begin to pop, add in bay leaves, chili powder, turmeric and cumin.  Saute for about two minutes so the flavors can marry.  Add the squash and the lentils and stir to coat thoroughly.  Add the water.  Cover and simmer for about 6-8 minutes or until the lentils and the squash are tender.  Add in coconut milk and cook another 2-3 minutes uncovered.  Add chopped cilantro right before taking off the heat.  Serve with rice or eat as a soup.