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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Sultani Dal (Rich Lentil Curry - Mughlai Cuisine)

          This is a Mughlai style dal very popular in many North Indian restaurants. It is a rich and creamy lentil preparation, where Tuvar dal / pigeon pea lentil is cooked along with yoghurt, milk and cream for a smooth texture. The addition of cardamoms, cloves and saffron takes you to another level. 

          A small live charcoal is used to give a smoky flavour to the dal. Then a tempering of cumin seeds, dry red chili and garlic is poured over the final product for a distinct aromatic flavour. This delicious dish can be had with any Indian bread or Biryani.

  • 1 cup tuvar dal (split pigeon pea lentil), soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 green cardamoms
  • 10 cloves
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3/4 cup yogurt, beaten
  • 1/2 cup  milk
  • 1/4 cup cream 
  • pinch of saffron mixed with 2 tbsp. milk/water
  • 2 betel leaves
  • 1 small charcoal
  • 1 dry red chili
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ghee

          Dry roast the cardamoms and cloves for a few seconds. When cool, grind it and keep aside. Keep the charcoal on the open flame and let it burn till it turns red.

          Pressure cook the lentils in 2 cups water, turmeric powder and red chili powder for 4-5 whistle. Blend well with a hand blender till it is well mashed.

          Heat butter and oil in a pan. Temper with 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds and saute till it stops crackling, Add 1 tsp. garlic and saute till it changes colour.

          Add the onion and fry till light brown. Add the cooked dal, salt, yoghurt, milk and green chilies. Bring it to a boil and add the cardamom powder, saffron and cream. Mix to combine well.

          Now place the betel leaves on the cooked dal and place the live charcoal on it. Pour a tsp. of oil over it and immediately cover with a lid for 10 minutes. This is how you will get a good smokey flavour.

          Remove the betel leaves and the charcoal. Heat ghee in a pan and temper with the remaining cumin seeds and dry red chili.  After it stops crackling, add the remaining garlic and saute till it changes colour.

          Pour this tempering on the dal and serve, garnished with coriander leaves and a drizzle of some cream.


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