I flip through cookery books at the library and then something fancy catches my eye and I end up borrowing it. Then it stays on my shelf till I have to return it, (that is, if by chance I open it and find out I'm not late as yet... I mostly end up paying a fine) with hopes of wanting to try some recipe from the book vanishing in thin air. So this time too I ended up picking a book by Madhur Jaffrey (I had no flippin clue who she was..in fact I thought it was a he till I saw her picture) and was adamant I would try out at least one recipe from the book before I returned it. And I did -with great difficulty- but I did, that's the important thing...yaaaayy.
When Ria posted a question on FB asking what according to you was comfort food, I replied saying rice, dal, pappad, pickle and beef fry. And then I wondered, according to me comfort food also has to be something I can whip up in a jiffy. Pappad, I have a packet at home all the time (thanks to it being compared to crisps here in UK, they now sell fried ones in packets), pickle, the stock from home still adorns my pantry shelf and rice, its just so much more easier now that I follow Jamie Oliver's method (till then I used to dread the soaking and draining and all that). I was stuck at dal and beef fry. Beef fry, I thought is icing on the cake...I mean it would be nice to have it as part of a meal, but then I can do without it too, if I have all the other stuff.
That brought me back to dal..something that does take a lot of time for me, but something I love, love, love (stressed it enough?). And then I stumbled upon the recipe for Amritsari Dal in MJ's ancient book Flavour's of India and decided to give it a go, still assuming its gonna take time. But boy was I surprised. This is like the easiest and tastiest dal recipe evah. The lesser the ingredients the better it is for me...and if it tastes good, damn good for me (and Ro too since he washes up after my cooking expedition).
Amritsari Dal (more or less adapted from Flavour's of India by Madhur Jaffry)
Mung dal- 25 gms
Masoor dal- 25 gms
Toor dal- 50 gms
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Water- 2 1/2 cups
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida- a pinch
Onion- 1 small, thinly sliced
Green chilli- 1, chopped
Finely chopped ginger- 1 tsp
Finely chopped garlic- 1 tsp
Fresh Coriander leaves- a handful (optional) or dried ones- 1 tsp
Garam masala- 1/4 tsp (optional)
Lime juice- 1/2 tsp
Ghee- 2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Wash and drain the dal's and put in a pressure cooker with turmeric powder, 1 tsp ghee and enough salt. Stir and cook till about three whistles. Once pressure releases, open lid and keep aside. Add more water if you feel the dal is too thick.
In a deep pan, heat the remaining 1 tsp ghee and splutter the cumin seeds.
Add the asafoetida and give it a good stir.
In goes the onion, green chilli, ginger and garlic. Sauté till they are nice and fragrant and wilted a bit.
Add the coriander leaves and chilli powder and stir well.
Pour the cooked dal into the pan with the masala and mix well. Check for salt, add if required.
Sprinkle the garam masala over the top and mix it in. Simmer for a few minutes. .
Add the lime juice, give one final stir, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with love.
Notes: You can add a tomato instead of the lime juice. I didn't because chopping one up was tedious at that point
The recipe calls for urad beans and chana dal. I didn't have either, so I used all these. I had seen other recipes online using masoor and toor and mung dal.