In case you haven’t visited KamalKitchen, you should! Pragati Bidkar started her blog to document and preserve her family’s recipes. She recently wrote a cookbook, 30 Days Of Daal and asked me to review it.(Bonus for U.S. readers – for a limited time, you can download Pragati’s book FOR FREE on Amazon!)
As a lover of Indian food, I couldn’t wait to dive right in! This book was more than just a compilation of recipes to me. It was an education and gave me a peek behind the curtain of a real Indian kitchen. For instance, I thought “daal” was just a spiced pile of well-cooked pulses. But a proper daal is actually whisked into liquid form which varies in a consistency from broth, to soup, to stew.
Pragati also introduced me to to the spice asafoetida (or hing). I could never figure out why my Indian dishes didn’t quite taste like the “real” thing, and now I realize the difference is this spice. In full strength form, this spice is supposed to have quite an unpleasant odor and needs to kept in a tightly sealed container. I found some at a local Indian market, but it’s also readily available online. Once this spice cooks in oil, it mellows out into a deep, rich, garlic-onion savoriness that adds an authentic finish to these Indian recipes.
I lightly adapted Pragati’s recipe for Yellow Moong Daal (or Everyday Daal) as I don’t have a pressure cooker or proper wok for making this dish. I simply used a fork to mash the cooked peas and added water to achieve the proper broth-like consistency for this dish. I also used coconut oil instead of the recommended ghee and left out the sugar. The first time around, I burnt the garlic, but got it right the next try. This dish is simple and delicious – a beautiful combination of spices lightly rendered in oil and mixed with split yellow peas that is perfect for serving with naan or basmati rice.
I highly recommend Pragati’s book, 30 Days of Daal – Simple, Healthy Daal Recipes From India, to anyone who loves Indian food and wants to share simple, delicious (and vegetarian/vegan), authentic Indian recipes with their friends and family. Congratulations, Pragati, on a job very well done!
Ingredients (serves 2 – lightly adapted from Pragati Bidkar’s Yellow Moon Daal)
1/2 cup uncooked yellow split peas (soak for 30 minutes before cooking)
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or ghee)
2 large cloves garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida
1 cup water
salt to taste
- Drain the soaking liquid from the peas. Place peas in a small sauce pan with 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and mash peas with a fork or potato masher. Cover and set aside.
- Measure out and have spices/garlic ready for cooking.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet on high. When oil is heated, reduce heat to medium and add mustard seeds. Quickly stir for 5 – 10 seconds until seeds start to pop. Then immediately add turmeric, cayenne pepper and asafoetida. Constantly stirring, cook another 10 – 15 seconds. Turn off heat. Add in garlic and quickly stir for about 10 – 15 seconds – do not let the garlic burn.
- Pour the spiced oil over the mashed peas and add 1 cup water to the sauce pan. Warm over high heat until hot and gently cook another 5 – 10 minutes to let flavors infuse. Whisk to achieve a broth-like consistency (or quickly pulse in food processor).
- Serve immediately with naan or rice.