Friday, June 22, 2012

Lal Shak Diye Moong Dal - Moong Lentil with Amaranth Leaves

I am feeling really restless. I wish I could know a way to parry people I cannot stand for a moment. I wish I could defuse a bomb in their car or poison their food to make them disappear forever from my sight. But alas! My heart is soft and mushy and tender and I cannot think of spilling blood to get rid of enemies just as Henry VIII did. I covered the full 4 seasons of Tudors recently on Netflix and am still under its hangover. I was just wondering how mighty and reckless one is likely to become in the face of absolute power bestowed on him. Despite being one of the highly learned kings of his time, all Henry VIII is remembered today is for his brutality and ruthlessness in executing any potential threat coming his way. Whenever he found anyone rebuffing his diktats or brewing a plot against him, he sought to remove their heads.

Good that we are over with monarchy when power rested in the hands of few and others were at the mercy of their whims. But as I was saying, sometimes a little bit of magical power becomes a need of the hour when you find yourselves in an uncomfortable position with people you don't gel well. At least, if you cannot vanish them, you can go and disappear yourself into thin air.

I owe the below recipe to SpicyTasty which features some authentic South Indian as well as an array of interesting cuisines from all over the world. Except the measurements of some of the ingredients used and the addition of butter and ghee, I have stuck to the original recipe as showcased in their blog.

Ingredients:                                  Cooking time: 40 minutes approx.
ü  1 cup moong dal or red lentil
ü  500 gm amaranth leaves or lal shak
ü  25gm of butter
ü  3/4 cup toor dal
ü  1 red onion (chopped)
ü  1 tomato (chopped)
ü  3 cloves of garlic
ü  1 inch ginger stick (chopped)
ü  4-5 green chillies (split)
ü  1 tsp turmeric powder
ü  1/2 tsp asafetida powder
ü  White oil for cooking
ü  Ghee (optional)
For Seasoning:
ü  2 dry red chillies
ü  1 tsp mustard seeds
ü  1 tsp urad dal
ü  1 string of curry leaves
For Spice Paste:
ü  3 tbsp grated coconut
ü  5 dry red chillies
ü  1 tbsp cumin seeds
ü  1 tbsp coriander seeds
ü  A bit of oil
1) Wash the lentils thoroughly under running water. Then place them in a pressure cooker and pour 2 and 1/2 glasses of water till the lentils comfortably get covered. Add a scoop of butter, turmeric powder, tomato, garlic cloves and 2 green chillies. (Reserve the remaining green chillies for garnishing.) 
2) Separate amaranth leaves from the stems. Chop them coarsely and then boil them in microwave or stove top for 5 minutes. Strain the water reserving some for later use.
3) Grind half of the amaranth leaves into paste and keep the remaining half as it is.
4) Next heat oil in a wok. When oil turns hot, add the chopped ginger and shallow fry. Toss in the chopped onion and fry till translucent.
5) Add both types of amaranth leaves and cook covered for 10-15 minutes on medium heat. Anytime during cooking, if the water content dries up, pour in some reserve amaranth water to refill.
6) Meanwhile, as amaranth leaves are getting cooked, heat oil in a skillet. Add the ingredients for spice paste and shallow fry. When done, grind them into fine paste.
7) Mix this fine paste with the dal. Pour the dal into the amaranth leaves and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. (Note: the dal should not be watery in consistency. It will be rather thick.)
8) For seasoning, heat a bit oil and ghee in a ladle and add the ingredients for seasoning into it. Allow them to crackle. Then add them to the dal.
9) Serve hot with roti, chapati or rice. It is absolutely mouth-watering.

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