Is it evident that I am extremely fond of legumes, and I that I love stews? It should be, and if it isn’t, I shall put matters to rest by sharing many more soon.
The traditional method to cook legumes for an Indian stew would be to let them simmer and cook all night in a tandoor. It is the best way, as the tandoor lends its smoky flavour in addition to a very creamy texture that comes from the slow cooking. Unless I use coal at home, I cannot achieve that flavour. I adopt the more contemporary, practical, time saving and energy saving method of soaking the legumes overnight, and then cooking it under high pressure and further under reduced heat. While pressure cooking may not replicate the flavour it certainly gets you the texture. The recipe I am sharing today is very similar to that of ‘mah ki dal’ or ‘dal maharani‘. There are some minor differences. I will not be able to say which one is better. Both are comfort foods.
I use organic lentils, and find that organic lentils do not stain the soaking liquid with red or black colour, Other lentils do.
Note: Do not add the spices completely. Add half, check the seasoning and the consistency, and as per your taste, add more. This stew is quite spicy.
Recipe: Mixed lentil stew – North-Indian style
Yield: Serves 10
Red kidney beans | Kashmiri Rajma – 1 cup
Whole black gram lentils | Kali dal | Saboot urad – 1/3 cup
Double beans | Cannellini beans | Val – 1/3 cup
Small chickpeas | Kabuli chana – 1/2 cup
Soak the legumes together the previous night. Next morning drain the soaking liquid. Place legumes in a pressure cooker, add fresh water to cover the legumes and an inch above it.
Onions, medium sized, cut into thin slices – 2
Dried red chillies – 3, stalk removed
Bay leaves – 2
Oil (I used mustard, but any neutral oil is fine) – 3 tbsp.
Garlic cloves, chopped fine – 1tbsp.
Ginger, juliennes – 1 inch
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp.
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp.
Dry mango powder | Aamchoor – 1/4 to 1/2 tsp., to taste
Dry red chillies – 2
Red chilli powder – As per taste
Sea salt – To taste
Onions – Cut into thick slices or rings – 1
Pressure cook the legumes with the amount of water mentioned above along with bay leaves, and 1/4 tsp. of salt, under high pressure for five whistles. Reduce heat to minimum and cook further for 10 minutes. Put off heat. Let the cooker cool naturally and remove the lid. Set aside till needed.
Heat oil in a wok. When hot, add garlic, followed by ginger, and red chillies. Let the chillies turn black. Add sliced onions and stir fry till golden. Add the cooked lentils.
Season with cumin, coriander, dry mango powder, and red chilli powder. I add only 1/8 tsp of mango powder, and chilli powder at this stage.
Give the lentil stew a good stir. Add 1/2 cup water and allow to cook till creamy. Adjust mango powder, chilli powder and salt. I find that a tsp. of sambar, rasam or bisibelebhath powder is a wonderful addition. Add only if you like it.
Serve with pulav, steamed rice or with flatbreads. Add thick onion slices or rings on the side.
Tonight the month long run of one dish a day, and veganmofo come to an end. I have gathered from this that I love blogging! While I may not post a dish every day, I will try and post two dishes each week. Hope you enjoyed this run as much as I did. Thank you for visiting and for leaving opinions, views, comments, and making my experience really enjoyable.