So we all know about the rising food costs and the plunging economy. We also know about food wastage in the first world countries. Being born and brought up in a developing country we were not used to wasting food. Food or Anna was sacred for us, something to be revered. If I didn't eat up my food, my Ma reminded me about the kids who went without them and those kids weren't some that I saw in a magazine page, they were right outside my home. Food wasn't something to be thrown away unless it had gone bad or was spoiled beyond consumption and those situations were ardently avoided.
Here in my daughter's school they have this rule of throwing away leftover lunch. Even when the kids get home lunch, if they don't finish it up, they just throw it away. They cannot save leftover food for some quality adherence issues, and so perfectly good food goes to trash. Food that could have fed millions of hungry child finds its way in the compost heap. And this is not only with this school, I see a similar scenario in atleast all other pre-school/daycares.
I tell my daughter that we don't throw away food and we try not to at home. If she doesn't finish her lunch or dinner, either I just eat it (and now you know why Google puts adds like "Cut 1lb off your stomach" on my page) or I save it for later. Usually I start off by serving really small portions, and giving her more only if she wants it. But that is not always possible when I pack food for lunch. So how much food do your kids waste every day and what do you do to control it ?
On the other hand have you ever tried to keep a tab on how much your every day food costs ? Go over to this blog to see how two social justice teachers tried to eat at just One Dollar a Day for 30 days. They say it wasn't healthy though and no one should attempt to repeat it, so eating cheap is not healthy.
But really in our effort to eat right and Organic (expensive at least in my area) and go Local (which is again expensive where I live) how much are we spending on food some of which we might just be wasting ?
With Masoor Dal you can never go wrong and not eat it. A bowl of Dal is also pretty cheap even when you add a green mango. I had blogged about Tak er Dal earlier but with Matar Dal/Yellow Split Peas. Since Masoor Dal is a staple in my pantry I made Tak er Dal with Masoor & Green Mangoes this time. As BWM said in her comment, the orginal Tak Dal has a phoron or is tempered with Mustard Seeds & Dr Red Chillies, here I have used Paanch Phoran & Dry Red Chillies instead.
This Dal is a staple at my home in India only during summer because thats the season for green mangoes. Here I am guilty of buying a green mango, not grown locally and out of season, but at least I just got one mango and didn't waste any of it.
This goes off to Susan of the very well known Well Seasoned Cook for MLLA - 8, she is the creator as well as the hostess of this legumy affair
Masoor Dal with Mangoes (Tak Musuri'r Dal)
Serves about 4-5 adults when served as part of a meal
How I Did It
Peel a green mango and chop in smallish cubes. I used half of this the rest including the kernel was saved for a small serving of ambol
Wash 1 cup of Red Massor Dal(Red Lentil) and boil with 3 cups of water, 3 slit green chillies, 1/4 tsp turmeric and salt in a heavy bottomed pan. Alternately you can cook the dal in the pressure cooker as I did here.
The dal should be cooked well, so well that the legumes will be soft and mushed up. After it is done, whisk the Dal with a fork or a whisk
Heat Mustard Oil (or any other Oil) in a Kadhai or a deep frying pan
When the Oil is hot, add 1 tsp of Paanch Phoran and 2 Dry Red Chillies
As soon as the spices sputter, add about 1 cup of chopped cubed green mangoes and 1/4 tsp of turmeric
Saute for some time say 4-5 minutes at medium heat. The mangoes will be pale yellow in color and have softened a little by now
Add the cooked Dal and 1 and 1/2 cup of water (I like my dal soupy and add more water)
Stir well and cover & cook at medium heat till mangoes are done. As the dal simmers it soaks up more flavor.
Add 1 tsp of sugar and salt to taste
Just before serving, heat 1tsp of Mustard Oil and temper with 1/4 tsp of Paanch Phoron and 2 dry red chiilies. Pour this over the dal to get more zing. I would suggest do not sidestep this and definitely use Mustard Oil for at least this step.
Have it as a soup or with Plain Rice
Other Similar Dals from my Kitchen:
Tak er Dal -- Yellow Split Peas with green mnagoes
Musuri'r Dal or Red Masoor Dal
Trivia: Interesting article on Decision between Organic & Local itself is not easy