Bengali Summer Lunch Series : Day 4
Today’s post features a hot summer favourite in most of the homes – Bengali tok dal / khatti daal or green mango dal . The one that you can prepare in myriad ways, a slight change in the seasonings can brings insignia of another region, burst of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.
Dal – the staple food of millions on this planet and no Indian meal, irrespective of the regional variation it brings, is complete without this humble bowl of goodness. Our home is no exception. However we keep changing the type of dal from season to season and often just to refresh the flavours, dals can be made pretty much the same way with different flavorings and seasonings.
The hot sweltering summers of tropics needs something cool and light kind of meal. In our home, summer essentially means gulping down bowl of this tok dal or Bengali style green mango dal. The lusty boughs of fruit laden mango tree has inspired many poetic minds as well as it has piqued the inquisitive mind of many gastronomes. Mangoes ,the king of fruit , ripe and unripe can be cooked in many ways, each dish exhibits a multitude of flavors, the simple ingredient that can lends such a refreshing touch to your everyday meal.
Here is how to arrange a Summer Special Bengali Vegetarian Meal.
The typical Bengali aam dal or tok dal , tok meaning sour is usually made with red lentils, or masoor dal, another hot favourites of Bengalis. But in our home, it is always made with toor dal , or arhar dal. Arhar dal is relatively very uncommon in Bengali cuisine, but I have no idea why this tok dal is always being made with arhar dal, and not masoor dal. So, here I am sharing you the same, as this is the dish I grew upon at home, and I have always liked it this way only. Its my comfort food. My soul food on hot summer days.
Tok dal – is a perfect marriage of sour and sweet flavours, with a delicate balance that you need to achieve else it might get spoil for you. A kiss of fiery red chillies ,the rhythmic dances of tiny mustard seeds, and a whiff of bhaja masala, my rendition, together creates a magical harmonic balance of taste and flavours.
This green mango dal can certainly brings a fresh and stimulating touch, to your meal and can enliven your senses.
Here is another unique Bengali summer special dal – Bengali Tetor Dal / Dal with Bittergourd and Bottlegourd.
- 1 Green mangoes , medium size
- 1 cup Toor dal / arhar dal / split pigeon peas
- 1 tsp Ginger , minced
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- Hing / asafoetida : a pinch
- 1 tsp Small black mustard seeds
- 3-4 Dry red chillies
- 1 tbsp Sugar (depends upon the sourness of the mango)
- 1 tbsp Mustard oil
- Bengali bhaja masala : a light pinch (optional)
- Wash and soak the toor dal (or if you are using red lentils, then no need of soaking) for half an hour. It will get cooked easily .
- Wash, peel and cut the mangoes lengthwise. Use a sour mango for the recipe, else you will not be able to enjoy the real taste of the dish.
Now pressure cook the dal with turmeric powder, mango pieces (reserve three four pieces for later use) and 1 1/2 cup water upto 2 whistle.
- Let it cool down on its own. Roughly mash few cooked pieces of mangoes, not all.
- Whisk the dal lightly. Do not make it mushy.
- Add 2 cups hot water, salt, sugar (adjust as per the sourness of the mango) and bring to a simmer again.
Meanwhile, heat mustard oil in a small pan, temper the oil with dry red chillies, minced ginger and black mustard seeds, fry the reserved mango pieces till golden and soft.
- Sprinkle hing and bhaja masala (if using) over it, and let it sizzle.
- Pour it over the dal, close the lid and switch off the heat.
- Serve it after some 10 minutes.
- This is best enjoyed with plain steamed rice.
Tok dal can be made with red lentils or masoor dal also.
Use a sour mango for the recipe.
Bengali bhaja masala - roast 1 tsp of cumin seeds, fennel seeds (saunf) and 1 dry red chilli. Grind it to a fine powder.