A tale of 3 lentils | 'Traveti Dal' from Gujarat, India
There are some that things synonymous with our childhood. For me, its weekends spent at my grand parents home. My Grandmother was a phenomenal cook and weekends at their home always meant wonderful treats and little made- from-scratch afternoon snacks. It was a time for playing, swinging from trees and listening to the National news on the radio.
More often than not, punctuated by my Grandmother's voice rising above all others as she hollered at my Granddad who invariably fell asleep reading the newspaper in the middle of the day.
Those days remind me of pyjama afternoons.
Except for meal times. Now these were always an event as a parade of dishes would make their way into the dining area. There are certain dishes that almost always served in Gujarati meals. Chach which is a thin butter milk (hand churned of course) a selection of vegetable dishes, various pickles, steamed rice, super thin rotis embellished with 'ghee', papads and always a dal.
In my Grandmother's home that dal would invariably be 'Traveti dal' - A wonderfully simple creation, incensed by the process of tempering (a selection of whole spices, cast into hot oil) and infused with flavor. Here, once again,' less is more'!
Traveti Dal from Gujarat, India
Shopping list :
Toor dal - 1 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Channa dal - 2 tbs
1 small tomato diced
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tbs + 1/4 tsp salt
Water - 4 cups
For 'tadka' - tempering:
1-1/2 tbs oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1" cinnamon bark
Mix the 3 dals together and soak in plenty of water for atleast 1-2 hours or till swollen.
Drain the water and discard.
Add 4 cups of fresh water, tomato, turmeric powder and salt. Cook the dals using a pressure cooker or regular method on the stove or in the crock pot. Cook until the dals are completely blended and mushy.
Cooks Tip - The dal should be the consistency of a thick soup. If it is too thick add a little water and stir. If it is too thin, you may need to boil on medium flame till desired consistency is reached. Stir regularly.
Heat the oil till fuming. Add the mustard seeds and let it crackle. Add the remaining spices.
Immediately pour the oil and spices into the dal. Stir well.
Add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder and chopped cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasonings.
I love this dal with hot rotis or steamed rice and left overs are just as good the next day as long as the rice is freshly cooked.
Do not serve this dal with Naan which is a North Indian bread and not eaten with Gujarati food. This is comfort food at its best!