Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Toor Dal Chutney

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Toor Dal Chutney

I love filching from hotels. No not towels, linens, curtains or furniture but soaps and sometimes shower caps. Guess it is in my “purani jeans” that I inherited from my great Indian Middle Class brethrens. I am however no cheapo filcher, I carry away body wash and cutesy soap bars only from good and reputed hotels and not from every Days Inn owned by the patel brothers. (The days Inn might have recycled my soap but the better ones definitely trash them and don't re-use them if the wrapper has been torn and the soap sniffed at, so though filching is morally wrong I think I am helping the economy by not letting them throw away tiny unused soaps. God please forgive me)

The little S who according to the in-laws is 60% like my dear sis-in-law and remaining 39.99% like her Dad, the darling Hubby, has inherited the last but not the least 0.01% from me and that is alas the love for Hotel Toileteries. She goes gaga over the little soap bars that the Hotel has, treasures them, brings them back home and uses them on special days.

Now, the hubby who has been travelling extensively the last few weeks, came back home around midnight yesterday. The way he keeps fleeting in and out of the house, you would think it was his in-laws and not mine, who are visiting. But why do I complain, I get peaceful nights to sleep in, without the high pitched snoring that jolts me every now and then, isn’t that what every female wants?

Anyway, knowing little S’s love for those soaps and also because he did not have the time to get her anything, he had filched two white and green soaps from the hotel and gave them to the little girl along with a small stress ball with a lot of hype and excitement. The little girl’s face lit up when she saw them, excited she ran around showing everyone in the household the two precious soaps and the ball. She became benevolent and offered to share one of them with me too. She literally danced around and hugged D for her lovely gifts.

She hadn’t been half as happy seeing the puzzle and the Melissa&Doug magnetic board I got for her from Amazon two weeks back.

It was so beautiful to see her contented and happy with those tiny things. May she remain the same always, happy with what she gets and not asking for more. Amen.

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Toor Dal Chutney added to Guacamole as a dip

India is an amazing country with 1.5 billion people, 28 different states, 7 Union Territories, and 1652 different languages.

In a country with such diversity it is not surprising to have a vast difference in cuisines from the North to South, The East to West and basically from each corner to the other.

So while Toor Dal is a must in the South Indian cuisine and hugely celebrated there, it is not often used in the cuisine from the eastern Region. The Moong and the Masoor are the dals which are favored over Toor here. So while my Ma will never ever run out of Moong or masoor, she will have to run out FOR toor if you wish her to cook it on a random day.

Both me & D have developed a love for sambhar however and I do stock Toor Dal in my pantry and also make sambhar often. The other way I make Toor dal is the way a friend from the UP belt taught me. The UP belt also love Toor Dal with dollops of ghee with their chapatti and I love their dal tempered with red-chillies, whole cumin seeds and garlic.

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Toor Dal Chutney with Idli

Since I have not tried Toor Dal any other way I wanted to give toor dal chutney a shot and googled thus “toor dal chutney blog”. I came up with this, this and this. So be it, I decided and made a mean toor dal chutney, combining everything I read and things I consider to be a stamp of South Indian Cuisine. Refer to these blogs for exact measurment. This is my entry for JFI-Toor dal hosted by Lovely Linda who blogs at Out Of The Garden


Toor Dal Chutney

This is what I did

Dry Roasted toor dal and dry red chillies till the toor dal was slightly browned and I could smell the warm aroma. Soaked them in water for 15 minutes.

Heated 1tsp oil and lightly sautéed a clove of garlic.

Put the roasted toor dal, dry red chilies and garlic in a grinder and made a fine wet paste.

Added salt and tasted. It still lacked what I felt was the south Indian flavor

In the 1 tsp of oil added some mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida and few curry leaves. Added the seasoning to the paste.

Mmmmmmmm…something still missing

Added a little tamarind paste and a little sugar.

Yes, yes, yes…loved it. Had it with mini rava idlis that I made out of MTR mix. But I loved the chutney by itself too.

Day 3

There was still Toor dal chutney left, no more Idlis and the household kept saying "the chutney was interesting" whatever that meant

Also I had some avocado and had made some guacamole with finely chopped red onions, lots of corriander leaves, green chillies, lime juice, salt and a little olive oil.

Since I was going to send this to the innovative Linda, I thought why not and added the guacamole to the toor dal chutney or vice versa, in 1:1 ratio.

I actually liked the result though the corriander leaves dominated the flavor.

Give it a try if you have both in hand as the next dip for your chip

Trivia: Toor dal or split Pigeon peas is also known as tuvar dal and arhar dal. They contain high levels of protein and the important amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan. The Indian subcontinent, Eastern Africa and Central America, in that order, are the world's three main pigeon pea producing regions.


  1. seem kids just can't resist things that look tiny-weeny? I'm no kid, still can't resist toor dal-guacamole tidbits, a wonderful idea!

  2. As always, Sandeepa, a lovely story of your sweet little gal and how I enjoyed reading that! :)

    Now for this toor dal chutney, I love how you pieced it together from several sources, and then adding the guacamole in the end, simply awesome!! Next time I make toor dal chutney I am going to use avocado and lime! The photos are really mouthwatering.

    Thank you for this scrumptious recipe for JFI Toor :)

  3. glad that lil S has at-least gone on u for 0.01%..huh :D
    and i liked the way you streached it or 3 days and not do the easy way like me...what u ask..put in a zip-lock and shove it in the freezer ;)

  4. Oh ya! They always love the things that don't stretch their brain! Of course she loved the soaps and the stress ball!

    Tur dal is a staple in our home, too. I have to try tur dal chutney soon!

  5. The tales of your little one always make my day!

  6. dear sandeepa,
    maybe you can use a cookie cutter or a knife and cut regular soap into mini ones. my mom used to do that for me, and i felt s special. plus, they are great in a travel toiletries pouch.

  7. Amen to that indeed! Don't you wish you could preserve their innocence the chutney idea...even my ma would have to run for toor dal :-)

  8. Sandeepa, should say D was smart? I am YOUR friend you know that right :) I am pretty sure the expensive gift would not have made her that happy! Hugs to litte S.

    Toor dal chutney looks great
    and the avacado dip even better, who would have thought of that.

  9. Sandeepa, those idli look like perfect little flying saucers - I want some!

    Sweet Little S. I like those mini toiletries, too. When there is Aveda in the hotel room, it makes my day.

    P.S. - I "think" my photos are back up. Blogger strikes again.

  10. Gattina
    yeah kids have weird tastes. You know what my daughter asked from santa last year, atiny yo-yo !!!
    I am sure you will come away with a better dip

    Adding the guacamole hit me because of your event and the way you innovate

    Ok since I do not make these kind chutneys that mch, I never even knew the freezer trick, that is the way it will go next time :-)

    hee, hee kind of same with me too :) I will pick up a fiction for a journal paper any day ;-)

    Thanks U, ThankU :)

    That was a ver clever idea from Auntie. But we prefer body wash to the soap bars and then the ones I have are the boring Dove ones :-(

    But I did get S her own soap bars given her love for them, the kiddie ones, but she still loves these and some of the Lux bars that my Mom got from India !!

    Maybe because they come in their own tiny packets or something.

    Yes that is why I said eastern, thouh I think in Bihar toor dal is popular, goes well with roti I feel

    ha ha..yeah isn't he, should I be proud or what ;-) You know we should really meet sometime

  11. Susan
    I saw your pics...absolutely gorgeous.
    I carry my body wash & shampoo though, I need to use my own stuff whereever I am though I like sniffing and carrying those tiny toileteries back home

  12. Glad to know I am not the only wierdo out here :D

  13. Very sweet write up!! Enjoyed reading it :)
    Toor dal chutney does sounds "interesting" :D... Will try it sometime. Thanx for the idea

  14. Nice post and nice entry Sandeepa. Viji

  15. LOL! Enjoy your posts as always; especially those little bits of family life served before the main course :-)

    Looks like people 'collect' more than the miniature shampoos and soap (I collect the room keycards!) and so some hotels now have a menu of items with prices so you can buy something you like in the room.

    Your hubby will like the part about the snoring... :-)

  16. Hilarious!! You are so gentle and still funny with your observations of domestic bliss. Lots and lots of good wishes to you all.


  17. You write so well. I enjoyed your post and that story of sweet innocence! Amen, really! May God bless your little one!
    Toor Daal chutney - is something I've never heard of. But then there are many things I have not heard of and am constantly learning something new from every food blog.
    Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe!

  18. Oh mine...what a lovely post. I could picture li'l S dancing around in happiness. misti Li'l S! So much innocence is possible only in a kid. I like good toiletries from good hotels too. Why let them go into waste when I have seen the housekeeper chuck it off.

    Keep up your good writing Sandeepa. I love to read them. Have you considered writing fiction or memoir ? You should give it a try. I promise to buy your book :)

    I like your toor dal chutney, although it seems like a lot of effort.


  19. I love your stories of li'l S - and the chutney sounds like a must-try for me. My coconut chutney always turn out awful. will try this next time I make idlid'. BTW, did you use a desi sumeet or Preethi or the american blenders for this chutney? I am trying to decide if I should buy a mixer/grinder from India when I go in Dec - but not sure if my Bong type recipes really need the heavy duty ones from there...

  20. Li'll things please li'll people!!! God bless S!!
    Toor dal chutney.. now tor dal is a regular at home, but never had chutney before!!

  21. hehehe good I'm not the only one:). I like those tiny winy shampoo bottles:).

    Toordal chutney looks cool.we add raw garlic at the end along with roasted cumin seeds.

  22. hehehh...your first line obviously reminded me of one episode of F.R I. E.N.D.S where Ross takes such soaps and shampoos et al :))

    Kids are so innocent right....I could just imagine your lil one jumping and dancing in joy :)

    adding the chutney to guacamole...hmm...u re one adventurer :)


  23. Lil' S is so cute :). Kids really love those tiny things. Hey, the toor daal chutney is a cool idea. Must have tasted even yummier with added guacamole! Will have to try this one soon.

  24. hi sandeepa
    toor dal chutney sounds interesting with idli.
    no snow here too use the shower sandeepa..:-)(

  25. Suganya
    Which ones ? ;-)

    hey i thought toor dal chutney was pretty common, it isn't ?

    Thank You :)

    There is nothing to like about it !!! And you collect room key cards...ahem

    Gentle (looks around) who me ? Are you ok ? Are you at the right blog :-)

    Don't worry even I had not heard of it :) until Linda posted JFI-Toor and I first saw it at Asha's blog

    Hey toor dal chutney is not much effort really, it is quick compared to the Bong chutneys

    I liked this chutney, tomar hubby'r bhalo lagbe kina janina, is he very tuned to Bangali khabar ? Coconut chutney er theke better mone hoy amar
    Tobe guacamole mix kore dibbi lagchilo :)

    I have a Cuisinart and a magic Bullet. This chutney was done in the Magic Bullet. For my Bong recipes, the Magic Bullet is great with posto, shorshe etc. I do not do heavier grinding than this anyway
    Kobe jachcho India ?


    And I thought it was a very common chutney and only I didn't know about it


    Yeah it is really nice to see them happy with the small stuff

    Yeah I liked it with the guacamole added

    Don't tell me you don't make this. I thought every one in all 4 states of South India make this chutney

  26. That looks delicious. I love making dal and have never thought of combining it with guacamole (another love of mine) I'll have to try it!

  27. Dont worry Sandeepa amaar meye powder er tin niye khelto chhotobelaye - khelna porey thakto !

  28. the chutney looks super delicious sandeepa and added int he guacamole... great combination. I love the UP style arharer dal.

  29. toordal with guacamole wowwwwww veryyyy interesting and chutney looksss delecioussss

  30. i love all sorts of dal.....(okay i am preferential to Masoor, but i love them all) and toor is what we eat the most at home ......i love your creativity with cooking, Sandeepa.....toor with guacamole...i love that...being no purist myself i totally appreciate these diversions :)

    and may your li'l S always have reasons to smile :)

    we are still in Florida....moving out in Dec end....the recent floods and storms do not change our plans .......thanks for keeping me in mind, sandeepa :)

  31. We make the parippu chtney here by roasting dal in a little oil,along with red chillies and a clove of garlic.Then grinding along with almost the same amt of cocnut.Minus hing..tamarind pate and curry leaves..These should add to the taste, but! :)

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  33. Anon/Bodhisattva

    Thanks for your concern. You are very right. Though the snoring is a bit exaggerated (writers license:), there is some snoring but not much. I am very much aware about sleep apnea. One of my friends went for the sleep lab too a month back

    I also agree with you about the cholesterol level, it being a little high for the hubby.
    We try to eat ok, and exercise and go for the annual checks,but genes also play a role in high cholesterol level.

    Don't worry we try take as much preventive care as possible but yes maybe we should strive for better.

    In fact I am planning to go for a TLC diet for the family from start of next year, lets see

    Are you a doctor ?

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  35. The pictures are awesome, The chutney looks yummy :-)
    That was a lovely write up. I remem my cousin bro also loved to collect soaps from five star hotels during the travelling..


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