‘Those we love don’t walk away, they stay beside us everyday’
This is another of our family favorite dishes. We used to eat it every Monday growing up and my grandma used to break her Monday fast with it. It is an Indian version chicken soup, nourishing for the tummy and soul, with many medicinal properties in the ingredients, especially the spice mix (see below). All of the spices used are in the top 100 of the healthiest ingredients in the world and are still used in modern medicine today. It is another reason why we need to pass these recipes down, because when your grandma tells you something is good for you, it doesn’t come from an advert, it comes from thousands of years of passed down knowledge.
There are lots of interpretations to this recipe, some use tamarind to add a sour element and some use sugar to add a sweet element. This recipe is as close to my Grandma’s as I could get.
Before learning this recipe, I have to admit, I thought the process for cooking this dish was add water and spice and boil. I had no idea about the processes of softening the lentils and layering of flavor with the spice mix and tomatoes.
Thank you Bigmama, for taking the time and effort to keep us healthy and nourished. I am sorry I didn’t realize how much time and effort your dishes took, if I had known, I would have eaten the third bowl every time.
Hing – From the giant fennel plant – aids with digestion
Turmeric – Widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties
Cumin – Aids with digestion
Ginger – Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
- 1 cup toor dal
- 3cups water
- 2 tbsp. canola (rapeseed oil)
- Small tin of tomatoes (puree)
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. Turmeric (Haldi)
- 1 tbsp. Finely chopped ginger
- 1 tsp. Cumin seeds (Jira)
- 2 chopped chilies
- 2 dried chilies
- 4 bay leaves
- If you can get hold of it, add ½ tsp. Asafetida (Hing) to the spice mixture
- Soak 1 cup of lentils overnight, in the morning rinse them until the water goes clear (if you don’t have the time leave overnight, you can just rinse them, leaving them overnight will soften the lentils)
- Place lentils in a pressure cooker along with 3 cups of water and two dried chilies. Seal the pressure cooker and turn up the heat, when it whistles then turn down to a low/medium heat and cook for 20minutes
- Whilst the lentils are in the pressure cooker, in a separate heavy set pot heat the oil on a medium flame and add the cumin seeds, hing, turmeric and ginger, until they splutter, then add the tomatoes.
- Add the bay leaves and let cook for 10 minutes
- Toss in the chopped fresh chilies and salt, mix well
- Now back to the lentils.
- After 20 minutes switch the pressure cooker off and allow to cool
- Once cooled, open the pressure cooker and strain the lentils through a sieve
- Add them to the tomato and spice and mix well
- Add 4 cups of water and allow this to come to a boil
- Lower flame and cook adding salt and chili to your taste and water to thin to preferred consistency
- Serve with basmati rice (my brothers favorite), bread (my mums favorite) or eat on its own (my favorite)