Beginning of each week, I start off singing “A B C D…” to myself while little S looks on quizzically. No I am not trying to teach her alphabets and neither have I taken the role of Cookie Monster. I am trying to remind myself of the letter of the week for Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables.
I start the week searching for an Indian Dish with the said letter whatever that might be. But I want to think up a nice exotic Bengali Name, or maybe a more exquisite Sanskrit One, or even one in Pali in my search of something different. I want the name to be lyrical, difficult to pronounce, a name that would give others no clue as to what I am talking about. I might be talking about my every day dal-chawal but I want a name like Lens Culinaris to adorn it.
What’s in a Name you would say or rather Shakespeare would say. But then Shakespeare never knew about k – K – Kkusm did he? Neither did he know of some of my esteemed Blogger friends who took the extreme step to change their names mid-way of their dazzling Blogging careers and some who are contemplating to change theirs. So as I say theirs lot in a name.
When I hear a lyrical name like “Ghugra”, I have a vision of Rajasthani Women dancing in their colourful “Ghahgras” and I desperately want to eat whatever “Ghugra” is. Same with a name like “Mor Khuzambhu”, the name says it all, I want to yell “Dil Mange More” like Aamir Khan did and even add a “Aha” at the end.
So as I chomped on my “Lau Ghonto” last week I was still searching for the “L” word…
But this week I am adamant, I let Lau (Lauki in Hindi) pass just because the name seemed very next door-ish but no not this week. I am not going to search for any veggie dish with “M” and let the week pass. I am going to send Nupur whatever I am having for lunch and she better like my regular Dal-Chawal with M for Mango thrown in. And hey whats better the dal I cooked is Matar Dal (Yellow Split Peas) , one more M, so that makes it M squared for Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables.
Tak er Dal in Bengali means a Dal which is a little sour in taste. Tamarind not being used much in Bengali cuisine its the green mango which is used to achieve the desired sourness. Mango Dal is a simple Dal cooked with raw green Mangoes usually during the hot hot summer months in India. It had to be cooked during summer because that was the Mango Season of course. Its beautiful how we always associated certain foods with season in India because of their sole availability during those times.
My beloved “Patel Brothers” manages to get his share of Raw Mangoes all year round so I can afford to eat Mango Dal with my fireplace on. Doesn’t have just the same effect though. Mango Dal and White Rice on a hot summer afternoon with the windows shut, the draperies drawn to hush the harsh light and the fan on the ceiling humming and stirring the hot humid air is just another story
What You Need
Matar Dal (Yellow Split Peas) ~ 1 cup (In absence of this try with Masoor Dal)
Water ~ 2 cup to cook the dal in pressure cooker
Raw Green Mango ~ ½ chopped into thick slices. Depending on your love for sourness and the sourness of the mangoes you might want to increase this amount. Decerasing is not a good option though
Green Chillies ~ 4 slit
Mustard seeds ~ 3/4th tsp
Turmeric ~ ½ tsp
Salt ~ according to taste
Sugar ~ 1 tsp. More if you are a sweet Bong :D like my Ma
Water ~ 2 cups or more
How I Did It
Wash the Dal and pressure cook with twice the amount of water. Time taken to pressure cook is little more than Masoor Dal but less than Toor Dal. Now go figure.
In my Futura pressure cooker it took 4 minutes
Meanwhile peel the green mango and chop into longitudinal thick pieces
Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan
Add 3/4th tsp of Mustard seeds and 4 slit green chillies
The mustards will splutter so cover it if you are afraid
Add the mango pieces and sprinkle 1/2 tsp of turmeric.
Sauté the mango for a couple of minutes
Whisk the pressure cooked Dal with a Wire Whisk or Spoon and add it to the Kadhai
Mix well and cook for a minute.
Add about 2 cups of water and salt and cover and cook. You may need to add a little more water if the dal turns too thick. The result should not be wtaery though
Cook till the mangoes are done
Add 1 tsp of sugar and take it off the heat
Have it with White Rice and any other veggies on the side
Note: Matar Dal is not same as Chana Dal though both look almost same. You can also try this recipe with Masoor Dal but never with Chana Dal . When using Masoor Dal a popular spice for tempering is Kalo Jeera or Kalonji
Trivia:The yellow Split Peas or Matar Dal have an earthier flavor than green peas. Scandinavians like to use them in soups, while the British use them in their pease pudding. It's best to buy them split, since split peas don't need to be soaked and cook fairly quickly. Source:Cook's Thesarus