Wednesday, August 02, 2006

bangladeshi masoor dal

i received a lovely gift last year from john, one of my colleagues in the new york office of my company. when he found out that i was passionate about cooking, he took the trouble to get me an autographed copy of madhur jaffrey's from curries to kebabs. it turned out that john's fiancee's parents were neighbours of the jaffreys and so he was able to give me this special gift.

i tried my first recipe from this book over the weekend and was very pleased with how well my dal turned out. it was simple and wholesome yet had a very distinctive flavour. madhur jaffrey explains in the book that most lentils are boiled in the same way all over the world and it's the seasoning that makes the difference. this bangladeshi version of masoor dal is cooked with a final tarka of panchphoran which is a spice mixture containing equal portions of whole cumin, fennel, mustard, fenugreek and nigella seeds.

serves 4

1 cup red lentil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 medium onion, sliced into very fine half-rings
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 to 2 dried whole hot red chillies (i used 4!)
1 teaspoon panchphoran

put the lentils, turmeric, and half the sliced onion in a lidded pan with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. do not let the pot boil over. skim off the scum that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon. partially cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender. add the salt and mash the dal and onion well with a potato masher.

in a small pan, heat the oil until very hot. put in the chillies. as soon as they darken, put in the panchphoran. stir once and put in the remaining onion. stir and fry until the onion turns reddish-brown. pour the oil and seasonings into the pan of lentils. cover the pan quickly to trap the aromas.

enjoy this tasty masoor dal with homemade chapatis, bhindi masala and a few slivers or raw onion.


Blogger Sumitha said...

Sorry I deleted my previous comment,I messed up with your name,Lulu I can say this for everyone that we are all waiting for some more tried and tested Madhur Jaffrey's recipes :)

9:27 am  
Blogger beth said...

Wow. That looks great! You have been so busy in the kitchen lately. I have been too lazy to cook much. :)

1:06 pm  
Blogger sushama said...

wow bangladeshi style...interesting specially with panchpuran. I thought only bengalis used panch puran!! hmm..waiting for more now :)

3:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does it go well with rotis? i would assume that a thoroughbred bengali would probably have it with rice... or, may be, loochi? What's loochi???? Oh well, I am sure you know. Your next blog could be on the most special bengali combination of Loochi-Kasha Mangsho...


4:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lulu,

I think it would be more appropriate to call is "Bangali Masoor Daal", I don't know about Bangladeshis, Indian Bengalis definitely cook masoor daal this way. And ideally it should be had with hot steamed rice and "aloo bhaja" (fried potatoes) or "begun bhaja" (fried eggplants)...


11:27 am  
Blogger Lulu said...

hi sumitha,
i'm definitely trying more recipes from this book so stay tuned.

hi beth,
your comment reminds me of something my dad believes - that my blog is a barometer of my moods, levels of stress etc!

hi everyone else,
the recipe from madhur jaffrey's book for masoor dal says the origin is from bangladesh and hence i called it bangladeshi masoor dal. i can only imagine lots of similarities between anything bangladeshi and anything bengali given the shared language!

on your points about enjoying it with rice, i'm sure that must be the ideal way to enjoy it. i, for one, try to minimise my consumption of white rice and so always look for other substitutes. loochis sound delicious. as do the fried eggplant though i'd probably give the fried potatoes a skip :)

9:16 am  
Anonymous ranjana said...

Hi Lulu,

I found your delightful blog via Indira's.
the bhindi masala looks good. Could you please the recipe.

I tried your microwave bhindi , from the spicy sambhar blog. I'm not a very good cook, I try earnestly to make up for my lack of culinary skills genes by putting in extra effort.

delightful blog.congratulations!!

12:24 am  
Blogger gs said...

hi lulu
last year i had received a lovely gift from rums. a book by chitrita banerji called 'life and food in bengal'.chitrita hailed from a hindu bengali vaishnava family and married a muslim from bangladesh.she seems to have mastered both the ghoti(west bengal) and baangal(east bengal) type of i am very fond of bengali veg food,i have used this book quite often to give instructions to our cooks in kolkata and titilagarh and occasionally to gb too. some months back i bought chitrita's latest book called 'the hour of the goddess' in which she gives numerous mouthwatering bengali recipes.massoor dal for some strange reason is considered non-vegetarian by the hindus.normally one tablespoon of ghee and two green chillies chopped very fine are added to the masoor dal which has been boiled with water and salt.generally panchphoron is not used with masoor dal..the dal which is left covered for about five minutes tastes so good that one does not miss the her latest book there is a full chapter of five pages devoted to the five little seeds,the panchaphoron,the signature aroma of bengal as she refers to it.phoron comes from the sanskrit word 'sphoton' which means an outburst or tadka.the outburst of flavour that accompanies the spices sputtering in the hot mustard oil.

6:38 am  
Blogger Lulu said...

hi ranjana,
thank for your compliments!
i made the bhindi masala from a spice mix by arora creations. i used to buy their spice mixes all the time when i lived in new york. they are available at whole foods markets. the bhindi masala, gobi and chhole mixes are delicious. my sister-in-law also recommends the goan fish curry blend. you don't have to be a great cook to make a fantastic meal from these spice mixes. give it a shot!

7:50 pm  
Blogger Lulu said...

wow,appa - that was quite a treatise on bengali food and panchphoran. thanks!
ps - hope you'll be open to trying all thse foods and not default to rasam-sambhar the next time you visit me :)

11:16 pm  
Blogger tilotamma said...

what is panch puran

6:26 pm  
Anonymous Zarathustra said...

I thought the difference in the Bengali v Bangladeshi version was tomato in the Bengal version, hence the name "Bengal Red Dal". Definitely related, here's the recipe I use for it.

Bengali Red Dal Curry

1 1/2 C red lentils

3 1/2 C water

6 serrano chilies (or 3 jalepenos), either whole or slit

1/4 t turmeric, or more to taste

1 1/2 t salt

4 T ghee, butter or vegetable oil

1 C minced onions

1 C chopped tomatoes

1 T grated fresh ginger

2 T ghee or vegetable oil

1 T panch phanon mix

4 dried small red chilies

1-3 cloves garlic

1. Rinse lentils well, add water, serrano chilies, turmeric and salt. Bring carefully to boil and cook

over low to medium heat, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Cover and cook another 10 minutes.

Adjust salt.

2. While lentils are cooking, cook onions in a frying pan in the oil until they are golden brown

(approximately 10 minutes), stirring constantly. Add tomatoes and ginger and continue cooking until

the tomatoes decompose into a delicious and fragrant mush (approximately 8 minutes.) Stir
constantly so that tomato mixture doesn't stick. Turn heat to low if necessary.

3. Scrape out this mush into the lentils and stir it in. Let lentils sit while you make the spiced oil.

4. Do a quick rinse of the frying pan, without soap, and dry thoroughly. Add the remaining 2T oil
and heat over medium high heat. When oil is hot add panch phanon mix and heat until the seeds
begin to pop, about 15 seconds. Add red chilies and fry for another 15 seconds, until they turn a
little darker. Turn off heat and add the crushed garlic and let sizzle for about 30 seconds. Stir this
mixture into the lentil/tomato mixture and serve with rice. Adjust salt.

Panch Phan. is equal proportions of whole cumin, fenugreek, anise, mustard, "Indian black onion" seeds (kalunji)

7:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've an another recipe for masoor dal..if u need then I can send you.

12:22 pm  
Anonymous Sarah Jo said...

that really looks yummy .. we dont use masoor dal that much in our everyday cooking .. looks like a comfy meal

10:47 am  
Anonymous Nikhil said...

panchpuran??? i never heard about now today first time knowing about it.really looks yummy.....

7:36 pm  

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