Monday, February 23, 2015

Dhansak Dal | Healthy Parsi Style Lentils & Veggies

Since last post was Parsi Brown rice obviously this post will be its partner in gourmet crime - Dhansak dal. The word dhansak literally transaltes into grains & vegetables. Coming the Persia, the Parsis /Zoroastrian community settled along the Indian coast mainly Gujarat and developed a unique cuisine combining both the cuisines. Normally it is made of mutton,lentil and vegetables along with brown rice for a hearty Sunday lunch.  A heavy dish with long prep time it is a traditional Parsi Sunday lunch. Dhansak is also cooked during funeral or sad occasions, so you will not find it during weddings. 

I have tried the vegetarian version from Madhur Jaffrey's World vegetarian and it turned out quiet hearty and heavy but easier than expected.

Masoor Dal: 4 tbsp
Toor /Arhal Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) : 4 tbsp
Mung Dal: 4 tbsp

Aubergine/Eggplant: 1 small peeled and cut into chunks almost 3/4 cup
Pumpkin: 1/2 cup peeled and cubed 

Fresh Mint Leaves: few 
Fresh Coriander/Cilantro: few

Cumin Seeds: 2 tsp
Coriander Seeds: 1.5 tbsp
Cinnamon: 1 " piece broken into smaller pieces
Cardamom Sees: 1/4 tsp
Dried Red Chillies: 3-6 or as per taste
Black peppercorns: 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds: a big pinch

Turmeric powder: 1 tsp

Vegetable oil: 2-4 tbsp 
Onion: 1 medium finely chopped

Garlic: 2 cloves ground + Ginger: 1 inch piece peeled and ground 
simply Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp 

Tomatoes : 1.5 cups peeled and chopped 

Salt: 2 tsp or as per taste
Tamarind pulp/paste 1 tbsp or lemon juice :2-3 tsp
Dark soft Brown sugar /Jaggery: 1 tsp 

Garnish: (Optional) 
 Browned onions, Fresh cilantro or green chilli sliced into fine rounds

Cook together on stovetop  or pressure cooker, the lentils, herbs and veggies and keep aside. 

Dry roast the cumin, coriander, cinnamon,cardamom dried red chillies, peppercorns and fenugreek seeds in a small pan until they start browning and become aromatic. Cool slightly and grind into a fine powder in the mixer or coffee grinder.

Heat oil in a deep pan and saute onions till they turn brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir until the raw smell goes. Add the spice powder and then the tomatoes. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add 1 ccup of water ad bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and let it cook until the tomatoes are softened. 

Pour the tomato mix into the lentil mixture along with enough salt, tamarind pulp and sugar/jaggery. Stir gently and let it cook for 15-20 minutes covered but the lid slightly ajar so that it does boil over. This will let the flavours mingle well. Mix all the ingredients well even mashing them up with the back of the spoon/ladle. 

Serve warm garnished with browned onions,cilantro or green chilli rounds. As usual I skipped this part and just consumed it hungrily with brown rice.


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