Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bhaja Moog er Dal -- sabji diye




I thought I was done with pre-holiday posting and could get on with my life with minimal cooking & much entertaining till the next week. Only 2 more days to a 4 day holiday weekend makes you feel like that.

But then there came the snow, and what a snowfall it was. Unlike the washingtonians who take their snow seriously and stock themselves up, we are more lackadaisical. We think, what will 12 inches of snow do to us as so we relax, until we see we are in deep sh** err snow and the pantry lacks bare necessities like onions and Marie Biscuit. Fortunately there were enough leftovers from the Friday night impromptu party, to tide over two meals. But the soul was still craving deep fried pakodas or something hot in a bowl.




What could a Bong female do in such a situation but make a bowlful of Bhaja Moog er Dal(Roasted Yellow Moong dal). She went an extra half mile, in her head, not snow and added cauliflowers and shrimp to it. That made it a bowl of warm, yellow goodness in the midst of a white snowy December.

In other news we have a Christmas tree this time, yeah our first time. The Christmas potluck party has decided to be hosted in our home and since we were asked not to cook anything except, ahem, Rice, the best we could do is bring home Christmas cheer in way of a cheap, $35 plastic tree. Sorry Charlie Brown, couldn't get a wooden Christmas Tree, this time.



Charlie Brown's Christmas on Hulu, free until Jan 1, 2010
And that brings on another question. Since Christmas seems to be all about Giving, how do you like Giving ? Do you like to Give where you are recognized as a Giver and can brag about it with a pink pin, a printed name, a plaque in your name or do you believe in selfless giving, where the giver actually keeps a low profile and giving is really about the other person and not you. Do you think 'Selfish' Giving is less moral and ruins the spirit of giving ? Read more...
Back to the Bhaja Moog er dal or the Dry Roasted Yellow Moong Dal, which with its nutty roasted aroma claims to be one of those landmark Bengali Dals. This Dal is rich enough to be served on important occasions like pre-wedding lunches etc. and also is served for comforting home lunches. This has a vegetarian version and a fishy version with fish head or a more international Bengali version with shrimp. The one here is a combination of the veggies and fish in form of cauliflower and shrimp. 
Get this recipe in my Book coming out soon. Check this blog for further updates. 
Bhaja Moog'er Dal
Roast the Dal Dry roast   1 & 1/2 cup of Yellow Moong Dal for 6-8 minutes at medium heat. You should not burn the dal in the process, as soon as you get a nice , warm roasted nutty aroma, you know you are done.   Note: Dry roast means, do not use oil, roast it dry. Wash the roasted dal in several changes of cold water. Cook the Dal You can cook the dal two ways. If using a pressure cooker, put the roasted and washed lentils in the cooker with double amount of water and a little turmeric. Cook for 3-4 mins at full pressure. If you are not using the cooker, put the dal with about 4 cups of water and a little turmeric in a pot on the stove top. Let it cook. The dal will bubble and froth, skim the froth. Add more water if necessary and cook till lentils are soft and edible but not mushy. This will take a good half hour to get cooked   Temper the Dal I have used cauliflower and shrimp here. You can make this completely vegetarian by using cauliflower and green peas or just green peas. You can also use greens like finely chopped spinach though peas and cauliflower are more popular choices. Clean and devein 8-10 medium sized shrimp, sprinkle salt and keep aside for 5 minutes. Chop quarter of a cauliflower in small florets. We need about 10-12 small florets. Heat Oil(or Ghee) in a soup pot/kadhai. Fry the shrimp with a little turmeric. As soon as they turn a light orange, remove and keep aside. Fry the cauliflower florets till they get little brown spots, remove and keep aside. Add a little more oil to the pot. About 1/2 tsp of ghee at this point works very well. Temper the oil with   1 tsp of Cumin seeds,  2 small bay leaf,  1" thin cinnamon stick,  3 dry red chilli. When the spices sputter, add   1 heaped tsp of fresh grated ginger or ginger paste. Saute for half a min and add the cooked dal. Add salt and mix well. If the dal is too thick, add about 1 and 1/2 cup of water and let it simmer and come to a boil. Add 1/4-1/2 tsp of sugar and mix. Add the cauliflower and shrimp, mix and switch off the heat. If you have not used Ghee as the cooking medium stir in 1/2 -- 1 tsp of Ghee and let the dal sit for 10 mins to soak the flavors before serving.   Note: I do not add ghee when I am making this for just us, so you can skip if you want but it does lend a lot of flavor. I like a slight hint of lime in my dal and so I added a tsp of sliced lemon grass to this dal. This is definitely optional but lends a nice touch. Eat this dal as a soup or with white rice. This dal goes to MLLA 18 hosted by Srivalli and started off by dear Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook

32 comments:

  1. Your blog is absolutely wonderful and the photos are undoubtedly appetising...Thanks for sharing your recipes. I have bookmarked your blogsite because it really caught my attention with all these beautiful photos and anecdotes that you've included.

    I have been thinking of making moong dal the bengali way for a long time - but always end up making toor daal or masoor dal because that has become my comfort zone when it comes to cooking. I'm a Malayali married to a Bengali - my husband is full of praise for Bhaja Moonger Daal. I think he must have it if he wants it...all thanks to you :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Imagine snow all around and no toilet paper :) I don't like snow! so comforting food is a must.

    I love this dal, DD2 would adore it she is a shrimp lover.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can I say we have a beautiful weather! Ok, ok I stop here,I know the pain of clearing the driveway....
    The dhal is a real comfort with shrimp swimming....

    ReplyDelete
  4. definitely a comfort food in the midst of all that snow. Stay warm!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah, you look like you live in....; } Yes, I remember it well. Just thirty miles north of you, we got eight inches - just a sigh in the winter landscape. Those Washingtonians - what do they know?

    Though I cannot pronounce it properly, your dal, Sandeepa, is a warming delight. (Roasted cauliflower gets my attention.)

    Regarding your question on giving, I am ambivalent. I do not want any sort of plaque nor pin (horrid), yet good deeds acknowledged encourages more good deeds. And shouldn't we praise the good in balance of ranting against the bad? Sometimes I think evil thrives on negative attention.

    A long comment, but forgive it, please. I haven't visited in a while. : }

    ReplyDelete
  6. agian..a very very dear winter time fave of mine :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. the snowfall is great..but clearing it is a one big exercise!!..dal looks great !!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Healthy and yummy dal...nice click dear

    ReplyDelete
  9. Brrrrrrrrrr, the very sight of snow makes me freeze to death! But still I long for it as in my part of the world, we just get chilly winters, no snow!! (sigh)

    Sandeepa, lovely dal! yummie! I can smell the aroma floating around the house!

    Some variations: Sometimes, I divide the amount of ginger and put some in the dal when it is boiling towards the end, and some in the seasoning, 'phoron'! In the vegetarian variety, I use 'hing', asafoetida, in the seasoning!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sandeepa,

    I had a Bong frind who moved to K L. I visted them soon after they did and mama, papa and daughter was crying bec they didn't have mog!!!! (re your response to Indo)

    Jokes aside. Hope you guys are safe and in good health.

    Moong daal with rice would be lovely in the cold. Shrimp was a new thing for me. I love fish head daal.

    Do you put paanch phoran. I notice u mentioned cumin seeds. I put p p. wonder if that's kosher.

    We bought our first tree in Mumbai yesterday. A plastic one. But our compound has a real fir trree. Its lit up as the neighbours are Christians.

    Giving? I love calling people over and feeding them. Not quite giving I know

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm always swinging between your real name and Bong Mom ever since you changed it - what do I call you?

    Love those curly onion rings in the dal, and the pink shrimp too!

    As for giving, I always put much thought into presents or if I don't know them v well, try to imagine what the person would like and give them that - and hope they appreciate how perspicacious I was ;), but when I've no clue, I resort to a gift cheque or money. I don't let my name feature anywhere except on the envelope/packaging, but I guess I'd be a little disappointed if they forgot that I gave them something. (I don't want them thinking I didn't bother giving them anything.) Having said that, I'm sure I've forgotten what some others gave me or that they gave me at all - at 'mass events' such as wedding and housewarming.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hmmm....must try this - want to see what the roasting does to the flavour (though I roast dal with dalia (broken wheat) and make a khichdi and so already know there is a difference).

    Most of us like to be known that they are "giving" - even if its just hand-me-downs to the maid. Atleast it make us give, is what I think. I have found that the best way to get above our need to be acknowledged, is to make giving a habit. So much so it becomes normal - just another thing you do. And you don't feel the need to talk about it. Atleast, thats what I am trying to....

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear
    Sandeepa
    Begun bhaja-r jonno kata hoe gechhe...Dal banate jachhi..ar deri noe...
    bhalo theko
    ushnishda

    PS. Sea fisher matha diye Muri ghanto taste bhalo hoe..fresh fish head e ato As-te gandho thakena generally..

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anon

    Thanks :)

    Cham
    Now don't you start

    SuperChef
    Thanks dear

    Susan

    That isn't where I live, it is one part of the community though :)
    And I do agree with the giving, if some motivation helps , why not ?

    JW
    Thank You

    SE

    I did none of it, D had to ;-)

    Rekha

    Thank You

    KP

    I have never tried hing with this kind of bhaja moog dal. Will try sometime

    Kalyan

    I can very well imagine :-D. I don't put paanch phoron in this dal, sottyi kotha bolte bhaja moog er dal amar fav er modhye noy, tai kom i kora hoy ;-)

    Sra

    I wanted to know more about giving, in context of charities. What triggered it was a topic on NPR (my morning radio), about how these big companies combine advertising with charity and how people here expect that whenever you donate you need to get something in return, like say a pin, a badge on your blog etc.

    I guess it motivates people to give but again they said it kind of robs the morality of giving

    Miri

    That I agree. If we make it a part of our life then we would not want recognition

    Ushnish Da

    Ha, ha.. AAj kon dal ? Ami apnar comment ta dekhechi, bhaloi muri ghonto hoyechilo mone hoy sea fish diye

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sandeepa...actually I am a mooshor dal fan. But love moong daal with ruier mudo. And cmy Dida's chholar daal. One of the first Indian dishes I tried.

    At the risk of straining the topic that's the sad part of our trips abroad...no more on this, promise :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am in love with ur blog.My husband is from Calcutta and Bengali food is sumtng he loves the most.Yesterday we were going thru ur blogs...each n every post is fantastic.I am gona try some of them,will let ya know...thanks for sharing such wonderful recipes:)

    ReplyDelete
  17. completely unrelated but Sandeepa you might want to give this a hit with your sharp wit :) http://mumbaicoffeehouse.blogspot.com/2009/12/importance-of-being-nyaka.html

    ReplyDelete
  18. Looking at the first photograph, I am so glad that I am in a warm place right now.

    Happy Holidays!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is called dalma in Orissa ... I just dunk in everything, dal and sabzis into the pressure cooker with some sliced onions and shukno lonka and ghee(must) and bhaja jeere guro tastes like heaven. :-)
    Every rain and winter sees us lugging old clothes and bedcovers/sheets to the nearby orphanage and disabled home.
    Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year 2010 to you and your family Sandeepa! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog with holiday wishes! I want to wish you and your family a holiday week filled with love and laughter, and hope 2010 brings you all the good things in life.

    Coming to your question, I like to give when the cause is a good one regardless of what else is involved. I do think that innovative ways of giving (where you can plant a tree in the local botanical garden as a wedding gift, or donate to a cancer fund in honor of someone, or participate in raffles, just to give random examples) are great because they offer more opportunities for giving.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow.I am so happy i found your blog. I was looking for a recipe for Chingri Matcher Malikari when i stumbled on to your blog. I grew up here in the DC area and my Mother passed away several years ago so I have no one to ask about Bengali cooking. I'm a good cook and have made non-begali food for my family. Tomorrow my Baba, bhai and my Irish in-laws coming over for Boro Din (christmas). i was going to order Indian food from a resturant, but now that i have found your Blog, i plan to make the Chingri Malaikari, Masoor Dahl and ghugni. I will also make a salad my mother use to make with cucumber, onion, lemon juice and cilantro. I hope my Baba likes it. He is a tough customer and he knows what its suppose to taste like. My in-laws are going to love it. sujata

    ReplyDelete
  22. what does "Bong" mean? I have never hear the term. Could i be one, i wonder?

    ReplyDelete
  23. loved the snow pic,..nd the dal looks delicious,..

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful photos, Sandeepa! And that dal looks so inviting -- I would never have thought about shrimp in dal. I know the delicious aroma that roasted moong makes -- but have never made a savory dish of it that way. A must-try.

    Happy holidays to you and yours :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Christmas dinner was a hit. My Baba and chotto bhai arrived late for Christmas dinner and by the time they got there my Irish in-laws had finished almost all the food! I had made Shrimp Malai Kari, Alu Posto (except i substitued Lau for the 'taters), Mirchi Curry, Chicken Massala, Massoor Dahl. All these recipes were from your blog. I also made some Polao and salad (of cucumber, lime juice, onion and tomato). And i heated rooti that i bought from the Indian store. I can't believe that they ate up all that food. It helped that i didn't make it too jhal. I served lonka for my father and brother on side. My father was so disappointed that he did not get more Posto and that he asked me to make some for him and bring it for him tomorrow when we get together again at my Mother in-laws' house for Christmas, part deux. It's going to be a traditional roast beef dinner at her house.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Christmas dinner was a hit. My Baba and chotto bhai arrived late for Christmas dinner and by the time they got there my Irish in-laws had finished almost all the food! I had made Shrimp Malai Kari, Alu Posto (except i substitued Lau for the 'taters), Mirchi Curry, Chicken Massala, Massoor Dahl. All these recipes were from your blog. I also made some Polao and salad (of cucumber, lime juice, onion and tomato). And i heated rooti that i bought from the Indian store. I can't believe that they ate up all that food. It helped that i didn't make it too jhal. I served lonka for my father and brother on side. My father was so disappointed that he did not get more Posto and that he asked me to make some for him and bring it for him tomorrow when we get together again at my Mother in-laws' house for Christmas, part deux. It's going to be a traditional roast beef dinner at her house.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks Sujata. Very sweet of you to come back and let me know. Have a great year ahead

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sandeepa, hope you had Happy Holidays, good break and good time with your family. Wanted to also wish you all the best for the New year ahead!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks Sandeepa!! Though a bengali I do not prepare typical bengali dishes as my husband is from UP. Somehow your recipe caught my attention and I prepared this dal keeping a backup of toor dal incase my husband didn't approve of the muger dal. To my surprise he had his dinner only with muger dal. I am really motivated now to prepare more bengali dishes --vegetarian ofcourse (husband is a veggie).....

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your Comments. I hope you will be nice and not Spam.