I learnt this dish while working as a trainee for a five star hotel in Mumbai. Till then the only time I had eaten this dish was in my college. Our batch had to prepare food for the rest of the college, including the teachers, three times a week. So , even though we prepared this dish under our trainer’s guidance, it still had that taste that dishes have, when prepared by inexperienced chefs. So when I first tasted the same dish in the hotel, I was blown away. It is such a simple dish, yet it has such a multitude of tastes. The tanginess of the tomatoes, the spice of the chillies, the aroma of the garam masalas and the rich, creamy taste of the butter and cream. Add to that the slight bitter taste of the Kasuri Methi and you have the most perfect dish ever. No wonder even the most ferocious looking Punjabi goes soft in the knees, when one mentions “Maa Ki Dal”. This is my version of the dish, as I have seen it prepared. Enjoy!
Red Kidney Beans (Rajma) : 1/4 Cup; Ginger Garlic Paste : 3 Tb;
Chopped Green Chillies : 3 no; Chopped Garlic : 1 1/2 Tb;
Chopped Onions : 2 large; Chopped Tomatoes : 300 Gms;
Toamato Puree : 3 Tb; Red Chilli Powder : 1 Tb;
White Butter : 150 Gms; Fresh Cream : 100 ml;
Salt and Sugar: to taste; Chopped Coriander : 1 Tb.
Ghee : 1Tb; Oil : 2 Tb.
Wash, rinse and soak the black gram, kidney beans and the bengal gram overnight or for 7-8 hours. Then add 1 Tb. of ginger garlic paste and 1 Tb. ghee to this mix and pressure cook till they are overcooked. Then using the back of a wooden spoon, mash the lentils beyond all recognition.
In a frypan, add oil and fry the chopped onions, garlic and green chillies till they are translucent. Now add the remaining ginger garlic paste(2Tb.) and saute. Then add the tomatoes anda pinch of salt and fry till the tomatoes are completely cooked and you get a saucelike consistency. Add the red chilli and garam masala powders and saute for 30 seconds.Now add the tomato puree and the mashed lentils and bring to boil. Then add the sugar and salt to taste and simmer for about 30 minutes. Don’t forget to stir the dal inbetween as it tends to stick to the bottom of the pan. Now add the kasuri methi powder and finish off with butter and cream. Simmer for a further 2 minutes and remove. Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve hot with tandoori roti or white rice.
P.S. : For some inexplicable reason, this dal tastes a lot better after a day or so in the refrigerator.