Saturday, August 27, 2011

From the land of butter and cream....Presenting Daal Makhni

I have never used as much butter and cream in one dish. Those of you who have read my earlier posts would have noticed that most of the dishes I write about are either low oil or no oil. Ironically this post(laden with butter and cream) follows the " Freedom from oil" post.

Well, in a weak moment I agreed to make " Daal Makhni" for sonny dear. In fact he played it out quite well, " Mom, you never make anything "rich"(emotional pressure), R's mother makes really nice Daal Makhni and Paneer Butter Masala(read come on Mom you ought to be the best)". That did it. Over the next few days I began my search for easy to prepare and authentic Punjabi recipes. Decided to start with Daal Makhni. Daal is considered a low involvement, low skill dish in most part of the country. Serves as an accompaniment and often passed over for other more interesting food . But in the North and for people from Punjab it is main course, staple food- Chole Kulche, Rajma Chawal, Tandoori Roti and Daal Makhni are popular combinations. There is a lot of painstaking effort that goes into making the perfect daal. Cooked on slow fire for hours, simmering brings out the flavor of the daals. So no quick pressure cooking and tempering.

This is As's( a true blue Punjabi) recipe. Her instructions were very precise and easy to follow. She also simplifies the steps which makes it easy for somebody making the dish for the first time. I think the best tip she gave me was to pick up " Roopak's Daal Makhni" masala. Roopak Masalas are easily available in most supermarkets in Delhi. I have used their Oregano seasoning, Dahi bhalla Masala, Biryani Masala. Thank God! for blended masalas, easy to replicate the taste each time. And like one of the ad says ' helps Mrs. Chawla make her Sambhar as good as Mrs. Reddy's'.

I love the concept of trying out food from different parts of the country/World. A global kitchen which is literally a melting pot of recipes, fusion food. Just thinking about it is exciting. And yes, the opportunity to make something new, different each day and for each meal. Wow! I was so excited about making this dish that I made it on a 'weekday' morning. Slow cooking does allow you to go about your chores as the dish cooks.

Daal Makhni( Serves 6/8)

Saboot Urad Daal: 1 cup
Rajma Daal: 1 handful
Tomato Puree: 10/12 tbsp
Garam Masala: 1tsp
Cream: 1 cup
Daal Makhni Masala: 3 heaped tsp
Butter: 2 tbsp
Refined oil: 1 tsp
Garam Masala: 1 tsp

  • Soak the daal overnight in 8 cups of water.
  • Pressure cook the daal with 8 cups of water and salt to taste( this daal cooks for much longer than regular daals so do ensure you have added enough water else you risk burning it).
  • Let the cooker give out one whistle and then cook on low flame for 40 minutes. Keep aside and let the cooker cool down on its own.
  • Take a kadai/wok and heat the oil. Next add the tomato puree and cook for 10/15 minutes.
  • Mix the daal makhni masala in about half a cup of water and add it to the tomato puree. Cook for another ten minutes. Add butter
  • Add the tomato puree mixture to the daal and let it simmer for 20/25 minutes.
  • Add the cream and 1 tsp of garam masala
  • Served hot with rotis.
The boys just loved it. Younger one had it with rice(sacrilege, I know) and the older one with phulkas. The kitchen smells divine as the daal cooks. The daal has a smooth, creamy texture and all the ingredients blend together to create sheer magic. You will definitely have people asking for more.And for all you non-vegetarians reading this post, like I'd told my Dad years ago, 'Ghar ki daal murgi barabar'.

Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!

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