When you think of dals, you visualise something you mix with your rice, or dip your roti into during lunch or dinner. But dals also play a starring role in many Indian snacks. Whether it is the starring role in gojha, or a supporting role in dosas and idlis, dals rule even at snacktime.
IFF members share some of their favourite dishes with us.
Gojha is a typical Eastern UP/ Bihar dish, made out of Chana Dal and regular flour.
Chana dal 250 gm (Soaked overnight)
2 inch Ginger
8-10 Garlic Pods
4-5 Green chili
Salt to taste (should be slightly higher than normal)
Grind chana dal with Ginger, garlic, green chili ( be careful, do not add to much of water in it, the paste should be as thick as possible)
Make a thick chapati, and spread this paste on the half part of chapati.
Fold it and stick the edges by applying water.
Switch on the steamer (Idli cooker) and steam for 10-15 mins (covered).
Check it by piercing a spoon in it, it should come out smooth.
Coll it down and then cut it horizontally 1.5 – 2.00 inch thick.
Heat oil in a kadahi, deep fry till golden.You can also shallow fry it.
Serve hot with sauce of your choice
Meera Jayaram: Channa Dal pakodas
Channa dal – 1 cup
Raw rice : 1 tsp
Sooji : 1 tsp
Onion : 2 (Finely chopped)
Green Chillies : 3 (Finely chopped)
Curry leaves : 2 sprigs
Coriander leaves : 1 bunch (Finely chopped)
Salt to taste
Oil to fry
Soak the channa for 4 hours. Drain water completely.
Add the raw rice and grind coarsely. To the dal mixture add finely chopped onions, green chillies, curry leaves, coriander leaves, salt and sooji. Mix well. Rest for 15 min.
Heat oil and deep fry pakodas. (Sooji is added to give that granular, crunchy texture)
Sandhya Nag: Dosa
1 and 1/2 cup urad dal
1 cup boiled rice( sambhal rice)
2 cups normal ponni rice
1/2 cup chandal
salt to taste
Soak the rice and dal overnight. Wash thoroughly and grind to a batter. Allow the batter to ferment for 12 hrs to 24 hrs depending on temperatures.
Add salt just before making the dosas.
Heat a pan, and swirl the batter on it in a circle. Put oil around the edges. Flip over when done
Serve with sambhar or chutney.
Sandhya Nag: Idli
1 cup of urad dal
2 cups of Idli rawa
salt to taste
Wash the dal and soak. Grind to smooth paste
Wash the rawa in a big bowl taking care to drain the water. Rinse 2 to 3 times.
Now squeeze the rawa, add to urad dal, add salt to taste, add water to make a right consistency, and leave for 12 to 24 hrs to ferment
Grease the idli moulds, pour the batter, and steam for 10 minutes.
This is eaten as break fast or dinner, but beware. As Sandhya puts it, “this dish is ……sab ki bas ki baat nahin (not something everyone can make) ……looks simple ….needs technique…..right mixing…slow cooking…and generous amt of oil”.
1 cup of urad dal
2 cups of coarse rice flour
Soak the dal for few hrs and make fine paste
In a large container take the rice flour, wash it thoroughly, squeeze the water and add to the dal paste.
Mix enough salt
In a thick bottom based kadhai, add jeera and pour this batter. Cover and leave on sim for 20 mnts. Don’t stir it- the bottom needs to get nice crispy, brownish texture. After done turn to other side, add oil and cook the other side too (actually the other side gets cooked by the steam but we still cook to get it browned).
Meera Jayaram: Pesarattu
Another Andhra Speciality, it is normally had with upma or allam pachadi. Makes an awesome healthy meal.
Whole green moong dal : 2 cups
Raw rice : 1 fistful
Green chillies : 6
Ginger : 2-3 inches
Wash and soak the dal and rice for 3-4 hours. Grind along with ginger and green chillies. Add salt, mix well and make dosas immediately. Serve hot
Mridula Padmanabhan: Adai Dosa
Adai is a common breakfast/dinner item made in south Indian houses. Made with rice and lentils, the batter for adai is ground thicker and coarser than the regular dosa batter and does not require any fermentation. Proportion of rice and lentils varies with people. However you prepare, you cannot go wrong with this, it tastes good with any proportion. You can have it with jaggery (like me), or butter, and of course it goes well with chutney,sambar,podi etc.
Boiled rice – 1 cup
Raw rice -1/4 cup
Urad dal(Black/white) – 1/2 cup
toor dal – 1/4 cup
Chana dal – 1/4 cup
red chillies – 4 to 5
Hing 1 tsp
Salt as per taste.
curry leaves (optional)
Soak Rice and dal separately for 4 hrs. Grind the rice into smooth paste and dal coarsely.
Mix them together along with curry leaves, salt, hing. You could add onions to it if you wish. Batter should be little thick.
Heat a girdle or a non-stick tawa and pour 1 to 2 tsp of oil. Spread one ladle full of batter to a thick circular shape. Drizzle oil to the sides. Let it get cooked over low medium heat. Flip it over to the other side and let it cook till it is crisp and golden brown in color all around.
Annie Alexander: Holige/ puranpoli
Annie was not too happy with the way her puranpoli looked, “the house smelled heavenly..and it tasted divine but to my very critical eyes looked not up to snuff”, but with practice, it can only get better.
1 cup channa dal soaked and cooked and drained of excess water
1.5 cups of jaggery grated
1.5 cups of maida (of which some can be replaced with atta)
Cardamom pd/saunf pd/ nutmeg pd..1/4th each..
Ghee and salt to taste
Blend the cooked channa dal in a food processor till smooth.
Heat cooked dal and jaggery on low heat till the jaggery melts and it attains a smooth consistency. Add cardamom,nutmeg and saunf powder, and let it cool.
Roll it into balls with greased palms.
Meanwhile, knead the maid and atta flours with salt and warm water to get a smooth soft dough. Add 3 to 4 tbsp ghee and knead it some more till you get a very soft dough. Pour a tbsp of oil over the dough and keep aside.
Take small balls of the dough (smaller than the filling), pat it down on a silicon sheet with well oiled hands, place the filling in the centre, cover it and pat into shape.
Peel them off the sheet and onto a tava, and cook both sides. Add ghee, and serve when still hot.
This dish can be rustled up in a jiffy using paniyaram batter or even dosa batter.
2 measures boiled rice
1 measure urad dal
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
4 tbsp grated jaggery
Sesame seeds for garnish
Soak boiled rice and urad dal overnight, along with fenugreek seeds. Grind it smoothly, with minimal water, and let it ferment for 6 hours. The batter should be thicker than dosa batter. (upto this part, it is the same as the recipe for making normal paniyaram batter).
To the batter, add grated jaggery and cardamom powder to taste.
Rub ghee on the paniyaram pan, pour the batter into the mould and allow it to cook on low heat.
Sprinkle roasted white til seeds on the top surface. When the paniyarams start to pull away from the edges, turn them around and allow it to cook further.
Serve hot, ideally with butter, but can be had otherwise.