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Friday, May 8, 2015

Maa Chole Ki Dal - Split Urad and Chana Dal

I'm very happy to welcome a newbie to my pantry, unhusked split urad dal or black gram.  I've used it whole before in a Punjabi Dal Mahkani, but as any bean, pea, or lentil, whole and split are like night and day.  The cooking times and uses are different.  There is another level added when the subject is unhusked, meaning it still has its skin on.  It's usually in the husk that the most nutrition can be found, but certain beans are better off husked for digestibility.  The urad husk happens to sit well with me, so I'd rather have it unhusked.  The husked split urad are usually used to make idlii and dosas, or as a thickener in rasam or sambar due to their creaminess, but I've rarely seen them as a dal dish on their own.  I love the contrast of white and black on the split ones.  They made me so curious I couldn't wait to share..
Adapted from VegRecipesofIndia.
Serves 5-7 as a side
1/2 cup unhusked split black gram (urad dal), well rinsed and soaked 45 minutes
1/2 cup husked split gram (chana dal), well rinsed and soaked 45 minutes
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 inch piece ginger, grated
1-2 green chiles, slit
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
cilantro and lime for garnish
1.  Simmer the dals in the water and salt until tender, about 20 minutes.
2.  Make the seasoning.  Heat the oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds until they crackle, then add the hing and turmeric until they fizz.
3.  Add the ginger, garlic, and green chiles and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds.
4.  Add the onions and let them sweat, then add the tomatoes.  Cook until they become mushy, then stir in the garam masala.
5.  Add the seasoning to the dal.  Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes or just put back on heat when ready to eat.
I served this topped with chopped cilantro and a hefty squeeze of lime with pappadam and Stuffed Brinjals.

The taste is very different from the "usual" dals.  The split unhusked urad melts in your mouth and the chana dal is not overwhelming.
Dals are my weak spot.  I could eat it every day and never tire.

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