Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Musur Dal Seddho with Lime Leaf -- Boiled Red Masoor with Lime Leaf

Musurir Dal Seddho -- Boiled Red Masoor with no tadka

Little Sis will soon be five. A big milestone. For her. For me. I had never thought I am the kind of Mother who sheds tears at her children growing up. I always thought "growing older" was a nice thing to happen with children. I can only think of how nice it will be for BigSis to turn twelve and then welcome me home with a cup of tea at the end of the day.

Musurir Dal | Red Masoor Dal
Red Masoor in a beautiful bowl gifted by a friend and on a coaster gifted by a lovely reader from Australia

But now that Li'lSis is almost five and will soon be a Kindergartner, I panic. I have not been able to have  much time, where there is no one but only her and me. Like the ones I used to have with BigSis because there was no other child and I had quit work for a while.My time with her is usually shared by the elders sis or the Dad.And now with onset of school, I know it will never happen until she graduates college, and both she and me are on unemployment.

This has been a niggling thought at the back of my mind for a while now, and I had wanted to take off for a period, to be with only her before Kindergarten starts but because of various reasons it did not work out. Thankfully my work is such that I do get to spend enough time with her, even if it is not strictly one-on-one. She does not mind at all, this getting me to herself thing, as I think she sees enough of me, but it is my maternal instinct which triggers my pangs. I don't know if Moms with more than one child go through this phase or it is my PMS talking.

Of course the time that I do get with her, I try to multitask with things like...errmm... like drinking tea. So every request of a game from LS is preceded by "Tumi eita cha niye khelte paro" (You can play this with a cup of tea). Her games, mostly made-up,  are however very complicated. I often fail to grasp their rules which makes her lose patience.As a result I am always trying to find an excuse to not play those games. It is a circular problem.

LS doing the cartwheel after umpteen days of trial

She is also a very independent minded child and one with a quick temper. One of our close frineds has a nickname for her -- NDR -- "Naaker Dogay Raag" (temper at the tip of her nose) and it suits her fine. So one of these days when BS's BFF was having a sleepover at our home, I threw a random question to the kids
"Tell me something that you would like to improve in your personality this summer?", I said.

BS's 10 yr old BFF, M,  promptly said that she had a quick temper and she is trying to think happy thoughts every time she gets angry so as to cool her anger.

BS said the it was her personal problem and she did not want to discuss in public.

Inspired by M didi, LS too quipped that she wants to cool her temper by counting to 10 as I had suggested but it was not working, so she would try the happy thought method.

Few days later when I tried to remind LS that she needs to work to reduce her temper, she told me "But how can I think happy thoughts about you, if I am mad at you. You have to stop doing things that make me mad at you".
So now the responsibility has been offloaded to me. She is as smart as they come.

One of the things that most took me by surprise in the recent months was LS's ability to read. She reads almost everything these days from road signs to books. Though BS had started reading as early as 4, I had never thought LS had the patience to do so. Each child is different and since I don't sit with LS to make her read as much as much as I did with BS, I had assumed it would take her longer.

Imagine the surprise when a child who would read 4 letter words at the most was reading Peter Rabbit with words like "garden" and "wanted" with ease and saying aloud "New York & Company" or "Banana Republic" at the stores. It seems magical to me, that something clicked in those tiny brain cells and now she can figure out words without me saying "Chunk" or something like that. These days she peers over my shoulder and reads words from a book I am reading and feels very chuffed about it all. The deal now is we sit with a book and she reads few lines while I do others. She is not yet a "passionate reader" like BS, but she is great at emoting the lines she reads, complete with exclamation and question marks, which makes reading a lot of fun!

Talking about emoting, she has this knack for acting out songs etc. and if in a good mood, the sisters sing and act out songs all the time in the car. And after "Despicable Me 2", creative songs with "bottom" have been featuring more regularly in there.

She will soon be a fabulous five and I will be a Mom with two public school going kids. Sniff. Sniff. Clearly, this is taking me some adjusting and comforting which means a Red Masoor Dal in my book.

Now for the recipe of Musur Dal Seddho which I made with MLLA(My Legume Love Affair) in mind. Now, honestly, I love my legumes too much, so much that I have a whole chapter on Dals in my book and a Dal is had almost every day in my home. So when Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, decided to giveaway two copies of my book for her the 61st edition of her event MLLA hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, I was overjoyed.

Since I could not decide on what to cook for MLLA from Mango Dal, Chholar Dal, Dal er Bora or Musurir Dal, I resorted to the simple Musur Dal Seddho or Boiled Masoor Dal with green chilli and raw mustard oil perfumed with lime leaf, the one that is done without any tadka or "tempering" or "putting life and spice in my Dal" as I say in my book

This is the easiest form of Musurir dal that I do. The last moment what-shall-we-have-for-dinner kind of Dal. Green chilli, raw onion, drizzle of mustard oil and few lime leaves make it exemplary.

With some Rice it is bliss. With some salad and Papad , it is healthy eats.

I am sending this dish to Aparna for MLLA this month, started by Susan and managed now by Lisa.

Recipe updated with option for a variation

Rinse 1&1/2 cups of Red Masoor in running water.

In a sauce pan put the
rinsed lentils 
about 4 cups of water
1 tsp of turmeric
2 green chilli finely chopped
salt to taste( go with less salt as you can always adjust later)

In a small variation which turns out fabulous, add thinly sliced onions and chopped tomatoes along with all of the above and then set to boil

Keep the heat at medium and let the dal simmer. The Dal will simmer and froth. So be careful. Because if you are like me and get too engrossed in the kids playing "Just Dance", the dal will spill.
Solution: Use a deep sauce pan. Stir infrequently and keep a long handled wooden ladle immersed in the saucepan.

When the Dal bubbles over, give some stir and you will be good to go. If you want the Dal more soupy, add more water.

In about 25-30 mins, the lentils will be almost cooked.
add couple of lime leaf, 
2 more green chilli finely chopped 
1 tsp of Mustard Oil
and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Adjust for salt.

If I don't have lime leaf, I also add mint leaf to get a mint flavored Musur Dal.

Garnish with finely chopped raw onion, coriander leaves if you have them and a squeeze of lime juice.


  1. Darun, ekhuni banate icha karche :)
    Ami tomar bhision bhokto. Tomar lekha amar khub bhalo laage.


  2. God bless her. And BS too. :-)

  3. Time flies with kids......even i find it hard to believe that my lil one is almost 18 months old!!!

    Nice and simple dal recipe....nobody makes masoor dal as the bengalis do...

    1. Enjoy now, 18 months is a good age, walking, talking and all the fun :)

  4. two school going children, time surely flies! Love that LS is such an independent kid. Looking forward to her school adventures.

    1. Mandira

      yes, I cannot believe it is Kindergarten time

  5. Hi BongMom - I have not been able to find lime or lemon leaves anywhere. Have checked all types of Asian grocery stores. Where do you get yours?

    1. Got mine in a Asian store. Just use lime zest, not a bad sub

  6. Amio koththao khuje paini jano.... edike tomar daal dekhe marattok je kori..:(:(

    1. Asian stores. Or substitute with lime zest

  7. Here is a cheat for like or lemon leaves, a last resort cheat, a drop of lime essence from the baking aisle of the grocery store.

  8. Here is a cheat for like or lemon leaves, a last resort cheat, a drop of lime essence from the baking aisle of the grocery store.

    1. Aha, that is a good idea. Folks, are you listening ?

  9. LS ia a riot! :) So smart too, with her quips and reading! Reg made-up games, I have the same prob with S - i cannot fathom what I'm supposed to do and he gets mad at me. I totally pass the games on to the Dad :)

    1. And the rules of the games are long and hardly make sense to me ;-) Maybe I am stupid.

  10. refreshing fragrance from those lime leaves, makes the dal extra ordinarily flavorful :-)

  11. The lime leaf sounds like a lovely way to flavour dhal. Do you use regular lime leaves?
    Thanks for participating in this edition of MLLA.

    1. Aparna, these are the Kafir Lime leaves from the Asian stores. Thank you for hosting

  12. Wow! it's very delicious Masoor Daal with Lime Leaf....

  13. Love the simplicity of this dish. So humble and so comforting. BTW love the rocking chair in the background.

  14. I smiled and laughed and smiled again reading this -- your baby girl sounds much like my little miss m in her childhood -- you may have a budding drama club member on your hands ;) And no, you're not alone in the "second child guilt syndrome". I think it's a difference we parents feel more keenly -- as you mentioned, lil sis doesn't seem to mind and neither did miss m. The second child never suffers from lack of love :) Dal looks delicious!

  15. A colleague suggested I read the Book- and I must say it keeps me smiling- am a working woman, and understand the trials and travails of managing home/hearth and professional life. Will try out some of your recipes :) [havnt had the chance yet]-
    keep blogging...

  16. You are richly blessed with the ability to weave stories and food together.

  17. Sandeepa Di, Read your book. The book is magic. It transported me back to my childhood. My Maa too was just like your Maa. She loved to feed everybody around her. I learnt cooking watching her cook, though she never taught me anything. The recipes are great too. I love aloo posto and jhinge posto. Infact whenever Maa made aloo posto, I ate all the rice with it only, ignoring all the other dishes. Looking forward for more such books from you.

  18. The lime leaves give a pleasant twist to this simply awesome dish. I did not have fresh lime leaves especially during this season, however, used dried Kafir Lime leaves I had bought long time back. The aroma is very refreshing. Thanks for the idea of using lime leaves in "seddho" musur daal.

  19. Amar ma er hather mushuri dal sheddho erokom kheyechi onek. Such a comforting dish. With some coriander and ghee at the end. Darun moja hoi.


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