Monday, August 13, 2007

Dal Dhokli (Can we call it Indian Pasta?)

The other day a few friends came over for a little tea party at my place . Actually calling our get-togethers "little" is a big joke. I'll tell you why. We meet once every week at someones place and since last year our group has slowly and gradually become quite large (we are 7 ladies and 10 kids). The agenda is that the kids play for 2 to 3 hours and we ladies get to chat,laugh and generally let our hair down. There's also plenty to eat, so much so that we have made and eaten all possible popular snacks till date and quite often run out of ideas.

Now we have very solemnly decided on numerous occasions that the main aim of our meeting on a weekly basis is that the kids get to play together and since all of us have exhibited their cooking skills by now ,henceforth we will have only tea and biscuits for us ladies and a few dry snacks for the kids. As soon as we make this resolution all of us earnestly nod our heads and agree that the next tea will be strictly tea and biscs only and nothing else. So we even tried it out a couple of times. (Honest! Cross my Heart!!) Tea Biscuits and a little something extra for the kids ,but..... .... .and that's a very big BUT, it took out half of the charm from our weekly teas.

And secondly we also felt that 4.00p.m to 7.00 p.m is a long span of time in which it was very "normal" for all of us to feel like snacking. We did not need too much convincing. That's for sure!

The heavy snacks is one of the best parts of the get together. Tasting different kinds of foods made by someone else is a dream for all of us isn't it? You might be making that same snack at home but it tastes so deliciously different when someone else makes it for you and serves it nicely all ready to eat. So we all unanimously came to the decision (with big smiles on our faces) that the snacks had to stay.

Now you might be wondering what all this talk has to do with the recipe at hand. The thing is during this tea we normally ask each other what we have prepared as dinner for the poor hubbies who are left out of these dos. So when I said "Dal Dhokli" there were a couple of nods and a couple of puzzled looks. When I explained what I meant by "Dal Dhokli" one friend quipped "Oh ,we call it Varan Phala and another said " Oh! You mean Chakolya" . This was a new word for me. And when I actually making it I thought "Hey this is just like Pasta. You have a sauce and you have diamond shaped pieces of dough " But it's much much tastier and more nutritious than Pasta. So do you think it can be called Indian Pasta in English?

Here's my version :
Things needed:
For the dal:
1 and 1/2 C Toovar Dal ,
1 C Fresh Tomato puree (If you use the concentrated Puree 1 T is enough)
1 and 1/2 t mustard seeds,
1 t cumin seeds,
2 t goda masala, (this is made in all maharashtrian homes),
1 1/2 t coriander powder,
1 t asafoetida (hing),
1 T jaggery,
2t chilli powder,
1 t turmeric powder,
3 T oil ,
salt to taste,
8 C of water.

For the dough :

2 C wholewheat flour,
1 t carom seeds,(ajwain or owaa in Marathi),
1 t salt,
2 t fennel powder,(powdered saunf),
a pinch turmeric,
1/2 t chilli powder,
1/2 t baking soda,
3 T very hot oil.
Mix all the above and knead into a dough which is not to soft and not too stiff. Later you can make about 5 to 6 dough balls the size of a golf ball.

Preparing the Dal:

1. Pressure cook the dal . On opening the pressure cooker stir the dal vigorously when hot to break down all the grain and make it smooth,
2. In a large kadhai, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds , hing, cumin and wait only till the mustard splutters,

3. Next add the tomato puree, chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric ,goda masala, jaggery and salt. Cook this on a moderate flame till the tomato is thoroughly cooked.
4. Now add 7 C of water , increase the heat and boil. Once the water starts boiling add the cooked dal and continue boiling for next 5 mins. Give it a taste. At this point all the seasoning should be completed.
5. Now while the Dal is merrily boiling away roll out one ball of dough at a time thinly like in the pic below,

6. Separate the diamonds and start dropping them in the boiling dal . Continue doing this till you have finished all the dough. Add the eighth C of water now and boil the entire contents of the kadhai for 7 to 8 mins stirring once in a while so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

7. It is important to add that last C of water at the end because the dal tends to become too thick after adding the dough pieces. Another important thing is not to cover the cooking pot or kadhai with a lid as that too tends too thicken the dal to the point where it becomes impossible to reheat when ready to serve. So leave the pan uncovered after you have swiched off the gas.

Just 2 of my favourite gadgets used while making this dish (A wooden ravi and a brass wheel cutter)

8. Now to serve: This dish is eaten with a variety of accompaniments

a. Simply chop some onions finely to go with it.

b. Make a simple salad of onions ,tomatoes and cucumber. This acts as a coolant.

c. Drizzle a tspn of ghee or oil over individual servings of dal dhokli .

d. The fourth is my favourite . I make a tempering of garlic and red chillies in a couple of T of oil and drizzle the same over my plate of dal dhokli. This definitely is no coolant.

This is one of the best one dish meals I have eaten till date. Try it out and do give me your opinions. Yes all those silent visitors too.


Suganya said...

That is one beautiful pic...

Arts said...

Nice pic.. and lovely recipe.. will try it sometime.. i surely seems like "chakolya" or "patvadya":D have bookmarked.. thx for sharing!

Ananva said...

Awesome! I knew this dish as chakolya, will have to try it out. Thanks for posting the link to all the old adverts/tv serials and title tracks.

Nags said...

lovely lovely pic :) and a different recipe.. wish i had the time and inclination to try out everything in ur blog.. u have a fan in me :)

Padma said...

That is simply superb dal dholi Anupama, nice picture

Shubhangi said...

This daal dhokli looks so delicious...I must compliment you on the photograph !!

Prachi said...

Amazing !!! Just finished eating :) Absolutely yuum :)