Bhuni Dal

DAL BHUNA
BHUNI DAL

Sometimes it pays off to be a little forensic in your approach towards learning, taking time in breaking down every step,  helps perfecting one’s understanding and comes a long way- especially when things go wrong. This approach is my fixing tool in the kitchen and worth all the time spent with my mum and my grandmother.

Dal means lentil. Bhuna means roasted, not fried. Most of them are even foreign to the generic name as it is famously known as Dal-fry contrary to Dal roast. Dal Bhuna or Bhuni Dal is a recipe that is made with lentils that are roasted on high flame.

In all generosity, this recipe can be made with one or many types of dal and with an elaborated, long list of tempering ingredients. I prefer to keep it simple with few essential ingredients and with two kinds of lentils in the suggested ratio of  3:1, so the bold flavours of lentils come into play- one dominating while the other humble, yet empowering. Now let's get to the recipe.

DAL BHUNA

Dal Bhuni
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4 people

INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup of masoor dal (red split lentils)
1/4 cup tur dal/arhar dal(split pigeon peas/gram lentil)
4 cups of water
For Tempering:
1 tbsp of melted ghee(clarified butter)/oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 red vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 green chillies, slit lengthwise or chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
For Serving/ Garnishing:
1 tsp of lemon juice/wedges/segments
1 tbsp of fresh coriander, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped (optional)

DIRECTIONS:  

Step 1: Roasting Dal

ROASTING LENTILS
Dry roast the lentils in a pan on high flame just for 2-3 mins, frequently stirring to ensure they don't burn.

Step 2: Cooking Dal

COOKING DAL

Soak the lentils in hot water for 5 mins in a dutch oven/deep pot/crock-pot. Then on a high flame cook the lentils to see a layer of scum forming. Discard this scum, put the lid on and cook for about 20 mins on a low flame.

COOKED LENTILS
Keep an eye for the water level in between to avoid the lentils from burning.

Step 3: Preparing Tadka (tempering)- Chop all the ingredients for the Tadka. It's an excellent practice to chop green chilli first and then tomatoes next. Keep all the dry ingredients ready.

Step 4: Making Tadka

PREPARING TADKA

Heat ghee or oil in a pan on medium-high and add cumin seeds first. The cumin seeds should sizzle in the oil, indicating the right temperature for the rest of the ingredients to go next.
Then lower the flame and add minced garlic, chopped onion followed by salt and sauté them until the moisture evaporates and the raw smell of onion-garlic subsides.

FRYING TADKA

Now, add dhanya-jeera powder, chopped tomatoes followed by chopped green chilli and cover the lid of the pan and cook until the tomatoes turn mushy.

CHOPPED TOMATOES

Then, add the red chilli powder, turmeric and cook until the oil is released on the corners/sides of the pan. This is called Tempering or Tadka.
ADDING SPICES

Now using a ladle, take one full scoop of dal and mix into the tadka. This step brings the temperature of the tadka down and avoids the splatter if done the other way of adding tadka into the dal.

Step 5: Mixing tadka into the Dal (not dal into the tadka)

ADDING LENTILS

Now, mix this tadka with the remaining dal in the pot and simmer it further for 5 mins.

Serving suggestions: This dal can be served with any complimenting rice dish or any kind of flatbreads available.


NOTES:


On adding Salt after adding Onion in Tadka - salt fastens the process of sautéing onion, as salt is known to take away the moisture, perfectly preparing the onion to welcome the addition of other spices and tomatoes.

So, I usually add salt after adding onion, this makes the tempering capture all the flavours of the spices that will be included later, helping the aroma from the tadka to infuse into the daal enhancing the flavour of the whole dish.

BHUNI DAL

We enjoyed this Dal Bhuna today with plain pitta nan and fish.!

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Haseena

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