December 18, 2005

From My Rasoi - Bengali Dal

For my 101th post, I am posting my entry to Meena's "From My Rasoi - Winter" blogging event. I've chosen an original recipe that I call Bengali Dal (even though it is not made with Bengal gram), which is the perfect kind of warming, comforting food to have during the long, chilly months of winter.

The red lentils don't ta
ke long to cook, and the warmth of the mustard seed oil combined with the creaminess of a small amount of coconut milk makes this a wonderful counterpoint to the flavours of cumin, chiles, garlic and curry. The little dark specks are brown mustard seed and nigella seed, the red is finely diced tomato, and the green is sliced chiles. You can vary the amount of chiles to make it as spicy or mild as you like, but naturally I like it spicy. There is a little dried fenugreek stirred into the dish at the last minute, which makes a sudden, compelling fragrance that will pull people into the kitchen.

I am happy to serve this over rice as a meal unto itself, or as part of a larger menu. It freezes and reheats extraordinarily well, which makes it the perfect thing to make lots of, and tuck away the leftovers in the fridge for one of those harrowing days when you need a little home made comfort, but haven't the energy or nerves to do more than heat something up. It also travels well to work or school and is vegan, although I am not.


sailu said...

Dawna,thanks for sharing this recipe and a great entry too.
I love masoor dal and am going to try this one the idea of coconut milk in the dal.

Dawna said...

Hi Sailu,
This dish has evolved over many years - it started as something that I called "Golden Soup" in my madcap soup-making days. The coconut milk got added then to perk up a dish that didn't have enough silkiness to it. As I've become more and more fond of Indian food, the Indian ingredients and techniques seeped in and took over the dish!

Garam Masala said...

Hey Dawna,

This is a great recipe. I make dal and rice as a one-dish meal so often, this wonderful variation will be a great. Thanks!