If you are a fan of cookbooks, you would absolutely understand how sometimes, a book makes you cook things you have never eaten before, seen before, or even heard of before. That is exactly has been happening to me since I started reading the Bong Mom’s Cookbook. Pardon my ignorance, but it is safe for me to confess that more than half way into the book, and it has given me more than a glimpse of the Bengali Cuisine. I could go on and on about how wonderful the book is, but i think that deserves a proper book review. So, I will say, that book is a wonderful collection of memories and recipe which too beautifully intermingled to separate from one another.
So, the segment about the Daals naturally piqued my interest being a vegetarian. The non-vegetarian recipes are beautiful but something I could not try since I don’t have a background in cooking it. But Kalai’er Daal, split white Urad Daal spiced with fennel and ginger, caught my fancy and I decided to make it before the hairbrained me got lazy. I was nursing a sore throat, and while I should technically have made moong dal Khichdi or at the most Daal Tadka, I was too mesmerised to move on to something else. And the book recommended Aloo Posto or Aloo Seddho to go with it. So I did. Who am I to decided against potatoes, because well, potatoes are the best, aren’t they? Also, there are two ways to make this, one in which you directly pressure cook the Urad Daal without roasting, and second, also known as Bhaja Kalai’er Daal, in which you roast the daal and then pressure cook it until it is done, but not absolutely mushy. I am not sure how I fared, but I enjoyed the process as much as the Daal, so I am absolutely doing a happy dance.
#latergram of a bowlful of steaming hot Kalai'er Daal, some Aloo Seddho accompanied by some steamed rice decorated with a dollop of ghee ( which has obviously melted before I could take a picture 😞) because after reading that page in the Bong Mom's Cookbook ( @bongmom_cookbook ) I could not wait any longer to try it out! 😍 Before I proceed any further, any Bengalis reading this, please pardon any mistakes that you might spot here, none of them were intentional. It was just a reader, so intoxicated by the book, trying to cook up a cuisine, she had never read, cooked or eaten before. 🙏🏼 Let me warn you, the book is so good, it will tempt you into trying out so many other things! 🙈 * Kalai'er Daal ( Skinless Urad Daal tempered in mustard oil and flavoured with Ada-Mouribata , a smooth paste of fresh ginger and fennel seeds) * Aloo Sedhho ( Mashed potatoes, spiked with green chillies, red onion, mustard oil and coriander leaves with a little salt, everything smoothed into a creaminess 😍😍 Well potatoes don't need descriptions! ) * Steamed rice with a dollop of ghee I am not sure if adding turmeric is the norm with this Daal but since Sandipa had added it, I followed suit. I have followed the recipe exactly, just scaling down the ingredients because we are only two of us. Also, I suppose, Aloo Posto would have been a more befitting accompaniment, but I was tired and instead of giving up on making this, I choose to tone down the accompaniment. Aloo posto is going to be tried soon, I think! 😉 I have penned down my experience of cooking it on the blog, but for a formal and authentic recipe, head to Sandipa's Blog ( link here @bongmom_cookbook ) #kalaierdaal #aloosheddo #bengalicuisine #mustardoil #bongmomscookbook #uraddal #alusheddo #aloobhate #aloochokha #EveryDayIndianMeals
So without blabbering further, here is the recipe of how I made it.
Recipe ( The credit/ownership of the recipe completely belongs to the author of the cookbook, this is not a reproduction/copy of the recipe, but merely my attempt at making the dish, and therefore I do not stake a claim for the authenticity. The original recipe / source can be viewed here.)
- 1/2 measuring cup, Split, skinless Urad Daal (white lentils ) ,
- 3 tbsp of mustard oil, highly recommended, but you may use an oil of your choice,
- 1.5 + 0.5 cups of water
- 3 tsp of fennel seeds, soaked in hot water for about 15-20 mins,
- 1″ piece of ginger root, washed and cleaned,
- 1/4th tsp of asafoetida,
- 1/4th tsp of turmeric (optional, a lot of recipes omit this),
- 1 green chilli, slit,
- salt to taste
- Make a smooth paste of the fennel and ginger, which is known as Ada Mouri Bata in Bengali, and set aside.
- Roast the Urad Daal in a skillet or a pan, on a low heat, stirring frequently, till it acquires a faint brown/pink colour. This will help the daal remain nicely cooked but not slimy. Once it is pink, let the Daal cool a little and then rinse it with cold water.
- In a pressure cooker, add the Daal, 1.5 cups of water, turmeric, and a little salt. Let the pressure built up on high heat and then turn the heat to simmer, and cook fro 6 minutes. The Daal should be cooked but not absolutely mushy. Once the pressure releases naturally, give it a gentle mix with a ladle and a whisk and set aside.
- Heat the mustard oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add the asafoetida and the green chilli.
- After a few seconds of frying the chilli, add the ginger fennel paste. Cook it on a medium heat till it is fragrant and sort of slightly oozes oil on the side. It would take about 5 mins roughly.
- Once that happens, add the daal, 0.5 a cup of water and turn the heat to simmer.
- Check salt and adjust. The Daal as a moderately runny texture, so please adjust the amount of water when simmering. Let it simmer for about 5-7 mins.
- Serve hot with steamed rice, Aloo Posto or Aloo Seddho, a big dollop of ghee, a few green chillies and a sliver of lemon! ❤ But make arrangements for a moderately long nap afterwards! 😉