Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dhabay ki Daal (w fenugreek leaves)

This really unusual dal was mindblowingly good. Having recently acquired a huge amount of fenugreek leaves, I was searching holy cow! for recipes that use them. On the page, this recipe seemed pretty simple-- no detailed spice blends or pastes-- and I wondered if it might be (the 'u' word!) underwhelming. But, I reasoned, it would be a good way to get an uncomplicated sense of what fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) can do. And I was very wrong! This dish is simple, but the fenugreek and the 'butter' give this dish amazing rich and aromatic qualities.

I wasn't exactly sure about chana dal and urad dal, so I just went for variety and creaminess: I used a 1/2 cup each of yellow split peas and red lentils. My photos don't look too different from Vaishali's, and the result was awesome, so I'm happy with the substitution. I also used a can of red kidney beans instead of starting with 1/2 c dried. Aside from these legume adjustments, I followed the recipe to the letter, and it was delicious. We don't tend to think of beans as elegant food, but (as I said above) a few flavoring ingredients can make for a really lovely dish-- the mushiness of the legume can be humble, but it can also be luxurious!

I made a bunch of sides to go with this dish: a rice pilaf with mustard, cumin, and fenugreek seeds; spicy collards with garlic, chili, and coconut, and a cucumber salad similar to this one but with lime juice.

Dhabay ki Daal

(from holy cow!)

1/2 cup chana dal (I used yellow split peas)
1/2 cup udad dal (I used red lentils)
1/2 cup rajma or red kidney beans (I used 1 can of red kidney beans)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp ginger, grated or ground into a paste
6 cloves of garlic, grated or ground into a paste
1 onion, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne powder
pinch salt
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1/4 cup kasoori methi
1 tbsp vegan butter, like Earth Balance

1. Cook the legumes in water until soft. If using canned kidney beans, wait until the other legumes are cooked before adding them.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
3. Add the ginger and garlic, saute for a minute on a medium-low flame, and then add the onions. Saute the onions until brown spots appear, about 8-10 minutes.
4. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne powders and salt to taste. Add the tomatoes and saute until they are cooked down, about five minutes.
5. Now add the cooked lentils and stir well to mix. Add some water if the dal is too thick. Cover with a lid and cook about 8-10 minutes for all the flavors to meld together.
6. Crush the kasoori methi with your fingers and sprinkle over the dal. Mix in the butter and stir until it's melted into the dal. Serve hot. Serves 4-6.


A few asides. Why a vegetable peeler is useful:

And, the gayest jalapeno I've ever seen:


janet @ the taste space said...

Oh yum. I haven't done much with fenugreek leaves... were your fresh or dried?

Julia said...

they were dried. i got a huge box of them at an indian market.

as for fresh leaves, i hear that curry leaves are the real catch-- apparently hard to find, even in la.

janet @ the taste space said...

Ah, good to know. I've seen fresh fenugreek in Toronto but haven't tried it... and yes, fresh curry leaves are 1000x better than dried. We would buy a bunch of curry leaves and then freeze it. It lasted a year or more that way. I haven't spotted them here in Houston yet, though... although I haven't ventured to Little India, either.

Randal said...