‘Its creamy. Its rich. Its delicious’ – that’s how I’d pitch a tagline for maah di dal, if I was ever asked to. A dish that requires immense amount of patience and love for cooking, this is one recipe which is truly special to me. I first learnt to make this dal when I was 15 and since then I’ve only gone on to nail it and proudly exclaim that I do a pretty good job of it!
I recently made it for the karwa chauth dinner at home, as is the tradition. I asked my aunt why we make this particular dal on this day and she informed me that it is because it is a “sabut” (whole) dal and on a day when women fast without food and water, this is found to be nourishing and it can also be left to be cooked for hours slowly without having to pay too much attention to it. Also, this festival falls on the onset of winters and this dal and its inherently warm characteristic helps to keep the body comfortable.
Another festival where this is traditionally made in most North-Indian households is, Dussehra. The reason behind this is that the festival day marks a change in the season, where monsoons makes way for the colder days ahead. This annual shift in the weather is reflected in most of the home kitchens. It is the time when the farmers finish harvesting paddy along with fresh urad dal – symbolically making this meal straight from the fields. Although, the aforementioned dal is had throughout the year, it’s significance on Dusshera lies in the story of a dying season leaving behind its new riches for us.
So here’s presenting my recipe for slow cooked dal makhani:
*This recipe cooks for 4 people
|Urad dal||1 cup|
|Chana dal||1/2 cup|
|Onion paste||1 cup ( 2 onions)|
|Tomato paste||2 cups ( 4 tomatoes)|
|Garlic paste||of 8-9 pods|
|Ginger paste||of 1 small piece|
|Badi elaichi/ black cardomom||1|
|Coriander powder||1 tbsp|
|Chilli powder||1 tsp|
- Soak urad dal, chana dal and rajma overnight. The next day, boil them with salt, in a pressure cooker for 4-5 whistles, till it all breaks down.
- In a hot pan, add ghee, bay leaf, star anise and black cardamom
- Add ginger and garlic paste and cook this till the raw smell disappears
- To this, add onion paste and cook till it browns
- Add tomato paste in the end and then add coriander powder and chilli powder
- Add the boiled dal to this paste and cook on a slow flame for at least 4 hours, till the dal begins to thicken.
Serve this with steamed rice or hot chapatis.
* In case of any queries, please leave a comment or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org