At every visit to the library I squeeze in a few minutes to skim through the books in the culinary section. In fact I was pleasantly surprised to see several books about indian cusine. The best part was that these weren't by the likes of the Tarla Dalals and Sanjeev kapoors. Oh yes their recipes are good, no doubt after all they are professional chefs.But what I find more interesting is the food cooked by simple people like you and me. The recipes that have passed over generations and from one kitchen to another.
Last week I picked up one such book by Suvir Saran. The book has a fine collection of recipes that have been part of families known to the author. I love books with lots of pictures (feast to the eyes) and the book could have done better on this front. Nevertheless the author makes up with a short history about the origin of the recipe. Is there any cookbook that you referred to often ?
This weekend I tried this comforting dal from this book. There was a lot of eating out for us this past week - Office parties, birthday parties, on the go lunches and so forth. I and consequently him too were craving some light, home cooked food. Something not too spicy yet tasty and comforting.
On to the recipe for the lentil dal : -
Simple Lentil Dal with Whole Cinnamon, Cardamom and Cloves
(Inspired by recipe from Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran)
1C cooked masoor dal or red lentils (pressure cook with turmeric,hing)
1 2-inch stick of cinnamon
6 cloves of green cardamom, lightly crushed to release the seeds
1 heaped tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 green chillies cut into to 2-3 chunks
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 tbsp or 1/2 chopped onion
handful of cilantro
1 tbsp of lime juice
salt to taste
3-4 tbsp oil
- Combine the oil with the cinnamon,cloves and cardamom. Allow the spices to release their aroma.
- Then add the onion,green chillies and the ginger-garlic paste. On medium heat saute for 2-3 min.
- Then add the lentils and the salt.Allow to come to a boil on medium heat.
- Add handful of cilantro and lemon juice.
- Enjoy with plain rice.
I poured ladles of it over plain rice and devoured it to the last bit. And did I tell you the dal tasted even better the next day. And Aamod liked it too. That gives me all the more reason to make it again.