Maha Di Daal With Whipped Butter

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 Main Course

“A Grateful Meal”

To see the entire seven- course meal menu, please click on the menu bar on the main blog page and click on the title of the menu- “A Grateful Meal”.

I love this daal. This daal sums up my childhood experiences with my paternal side in India. My paternal Grandmother, who everyone called Bebe, was famous for her cooking. Being a mother of nine children and with nieces, nephews, cousins, random travelers always passing through the house, she had to cook and cook a lot. When she was in India, my memory of her is constantly in the kitchen. Sitting next to a fire and incessantly stirring a pot. Another memory of her is of her yelling at me for feeding a goat sweets made from that goat’s very own milk. But aside from that scolding, I don’t remember her doing anything else in India other than cook. This daal was the daal she always had made. There was a depth of flavor in such a simple dish that one would not expect. And then the fresh whipped butter on top. My goodness. Mind you, that fresh whipped butter came from buffalo milk that came from buffalo we had on the estate that had been milked just hours before. So you can’t recreate that. But I tried my very best to show her respect with this daal. It took a lot of asking from your Grandfather as to how he remembered her making it. And several tries later, I think I got close. Enjoy…

Maha Di Daal With Whipped Butter

Serves 4- 6 in a seven course meal

Base:

1 Cup Maha Daal (Black Lentils)

5 Cups Water

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Small Onion Chopped

1 Inch Ginger Peeled and Minced

2 Cloves Garlic Peeled and Minced

Tarka:

1 Tbsp Ghee

1 Tsp Cumin Seeds

1/2 Green Chile or Serrano Pepper Finely Diced

1 Small Onion Chopped

1 Inch Ginger Peeled and Minced

2 Cloves Garlic Peeled and Minced

1 Small Tomato Chopped

1 Tsp Haldi (Turmeric)

1 Heaping Tbsp Garam Masala

1 1/2 Tsp Salt

1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 Tbsp Ghee

2 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro

Technique

Combine all the ingredients for the base in a 6 quart slow cooker. Allow it to cook on the high setting for 4-6 hours. Stir it occasionally and add more water (1/2 cup at a time) if it becomes stew like instead of soup like.

Once the lentils have softened and the soup is completely opaque turn the setting to warm. Heat the ghee in a saute pan on medium heat to prepare the tarka. Add the cumin seeds and once they become really fragrant add the green chile and onions. Let the onions to soften and then add the ginger and garlic. Continue to stir quickly because the ginger and garlic will burn on you. Add the tomato and allow it to cook for a few minutes so that some of the tomato water evaporates and the flavor becomes more concentrated. Next sprinkle the turmeric, garam masala, salt and cayenne pepper on top. Keep stirring for a few minutes so that the spices cook and it starts to resemble a paste.

Next take a large ladle full of the daal from the slow cooker and add it to the saute pan. Be careful because it will sputter. Stir everything together and then add it back to the slow cooker with the rest of the daal. Be careful again because it will splash out. No one likes to be splashed by hot daal. No one. Once it is all in the slow cooker then add the ghee and stir. Turn the setting back to low and allow it to cook for 2-3 hours. Garnish with cilantro when you’re ready to serve.

Whipped Butter:

1/4 Cup Milk

1/2 Lb. Butter (Softened)

In a chilled mixing bowl combine the butter and milk and whip with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy.

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