Not to give away away my heritage or anything, but I’m rubbish with cold weather. This winter has been as much fun as any. I’ve spent the long, cold, dark days freezing my buttocks off, staring into a tissue, while cradling a bottle of vitamin C with zinc. Bar a brief respite at my sister’s wedding.
If it’s not me, it’s the offspring. There is no better place for breeding germs than the classroom. And no better place for sending them packing than a parent’s arms, preferably in the middle of the night.
In these difficult times, medication is best served warm with pickle. There are three things I swear by for instant warmth following by near miraculous mood lifts. The first is Chicken Curry, our very own comfort food and spice-infused version of the Chicken soup. The second is Rasam, with enough chillies to send your sinus on a one way trip to Mars. And the third, is nothing more complicated than a simple Dal recipe.
Dal, for those of you not in the know, is stewed lentils. But if this makes you think about the tasteless stuff you were forced to eat at school, think again. Dal (sometimes spelt daal or dhal) is lentils lovingly mixed with a tempering of whole and ground spices, herbs, and wet masalas like ginger, garlic, tomato and onion. Add a dash of ghee and it’s just the ticket spooned over steaming hot rice or scooped into pieces of warm bread. Pickle not optional.
There are three ways to make dal. The dal in tadka method involves mixing the cooked lentils into the tempered spices. The tadka in dal method is about pouring the sizzling tadka into the lentils. And of course, you could just do away with the tadka altogether and simply cook the lentils with flavoursome ingredients. Job done.
This recipe is a thick, wholesome and simple Dal Amritsari for when you crave healthy dinner ideas. I took the recipe off the lovely chef at Kolkata Hyatt in December, and have made it several times since. The hing and ghee give it a velvety smooth taste that tickles the taste buds when you need it the most. There are another 28 recipes here.
I’ll take a hot dal any cold day.
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