Dalma - My Mom's lentil recipe
I always prepare dalma when my brother visits me, since it is his favorite recipe. So much so, that he declared knighthood to the recipe and calls it Sir. Dalma! Those who are from the same region in India that I am from, Orissa, need no introduction to it. But for those who haven't ever visited my region, this might need some explanation.
Dalma is a staple preparation in Oriya households, and my Mom cooks it at least once a week. Because it is such a simple recipe, every home chef has his/her own version of the recipe. In a way, this can also be considered holy as it is served at Puri Jagannath temple as part of the holy feast.
I believe that Indian kitchen is as much about the butter chicken as it is about simple, delicious and healthy grub. This is one such comfy bowl of Mom's love! <3
Serves - 4
Time for preparation - 40 minutes
- Yellow moong dal/lentils - 2 cups
- 1 medium sized aubergine/eggplant/brinjal diced into inch sized cubes
- 2 potatoes halved (Quartered, if the potatoes are big)
- A handful of french beans cut in inch sized pieces
- 1 cup diced pumpkin (inch sized cubes)
- 2 tsp chopped/grated ginger
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 3 tbsp Ghee/clarified butter (any non-flavoured oil would work as an alternative)
- 2 tbsp roasted cumin powder (regular cumin powder would work as an alternative)
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Carefully wash the moong dal and set it to cook with 5 cups of water. Add turmeric, cumin, coconut, ginger, and salt to taste and allow the dal to cook well. This usually takes about 15 minutes on high flame. Stir from time to time
- Prepare vegetables, and use the cooking time for dal to nicely wash them. Any vegetable handy at home would work, but the ones I used are more traditional.
- Once the dal is ready, add the vegetables and allow them to cook in the dal. Add a little bit of water if the cooking has caused heavy reduction.
- In a separate pan, add ghee and allow it to heat up. Add the cumin seeds and once they have sizzled well, transfer the ghee and cumin tempering to the pot of dal. Traditionally, I use a mixture of fennel seeds, black onion seeds, cumin, coriander, and fenugreek seeds for tempering but since that isn't available in all the western supermarkets, just cumin would do great!
- Bon Apetit!
This usually stores well in the freezer for a few weeks, and can be such a handy vegetarian meal after a hard and long day at work. Dalma is usually enjoyed with some steamed rice. I have learnt to add some lemon juice to my bowl of Dalma before eating for ultimate flavour!