During one of those customary yet mundane chit chat with a sister-in-law of mine, she happened to remark how she had been busy running around errands the whole day and ended up making Dal Moradabadi since her hubby loves it and it takes not much time to make it. “Interesting”, I thought, this Dal Moradabadi. My next thought was that if a picky eater like her husband loved this dal, it must be something special. She was super surprised that I had not heard of this dal despite having been raised in north India (practically lived most of my life there) and this dal is apparently served at weddings. And, now people, it was my turn to be surprised. How was it that I had never came across it or heard of it? Well, I can attribute it to my coming from a small nondescript town of north India and my exposure to the world happened when I moved to Delhi for my job.
I was now eager to learn how to make this dal that people seemed to love being served at weddings. It is usually served as an appetizer therefore I believe it is more like a lentil soup. But not your regular lentil soup for sure. I learnt from her that the star of this dal is apparently the asafoetida (hing/ heeng). The dal should have not a subtle but a distinct flavour of asafoetida in it. The whole process, of making the dal and serving it, was so new and unique that I felt compelled to try it in my kitchen. And this is why I love the seemingly mundane and innocuous conversations coz they are pretty capable of throwing up some wonderful surprises 😀
Those of you wondering what Moradabad (also called Muradabad) is, it is a town in state of Uttar Pradesh. It is named after the prince Murad Baksh, the son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Known for its brass handicraft, the city is also referred to as pital nagri which is Hindi for ‘city of brass’. Enough of talking here, I would rather now take you to the recipe. My sis-in-law insisted that it be consumed with parantha (Indian layered flatbread) to enjoy its flavours the most. How could I not oblige!?
½ C Moong Dhuli (Yellow Mung Beans – skinless and split)
¼ tsp Asafoetida (Heeng / Hing)
5 Cups Water
1 – 2 tsp grated Ginger (depending on your taste)
½ tsp Red Chili Powder (adjust heat to taste)
½ tsp Salt (or to taste)
1 medium size (100 gm approx) boiled Potato
1 tbsp Oil
2 – 3 Whole Dry Red Chilies, each split in two to three pieces
½ tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
¼ tsp Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
¼ – ½ tsp Heeng (depending on strength of the heeng you are using and also the amount you like in your dal)
½ tsp Kala Namak (Black Rock Salt)
2 tbsp finely chopped, Green Chilies
1 tpsp Black Salt (kala namak)
2 tbsp Amchur (also called Aamchoor is basically dry raw green Mango Powder)
A few tablespoons of melted Ghee
10 – 12 Lemon wedges (or 2 – 3 juiced lemons)
3/4 C finely chopped, Red Onions
2 – 3 tbsp finely chopped, fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
How to Cook the Dal
Wash and soak dal for half an hour.
Add five cups of water to a pressure cooker and add dal along with ginger, asafoetida, red chili powder and salt. Cook the dal till the pressure cooker releases two pressure ‘whistles’. (If using a pot for cooking, cook till the dal is cooked really well and begins to lose its shape)
Once the pressure gets released on its own, uncover the dal and add finely shredded boiled potato.
Mix everything well and cook the dal on medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes. The dal should basically attain a smooth texture and no grains should be visible.
Heat oil in a pan and lower the heat. The spices can easily burn so be very careful about this step.
Add whole red chilies, jeera, ajwain and heeng to the oil. Cook for a few seconds or till the spices crackle and become aromatic.
Pour the tempering into the dal and stir it in.
Serve dal with whatever additives you want to have it with. I have provided a lists of few traditional ones under the ‘For Serving’ heading above that include onions, green chutney, chopped fresh green chilies, ghee, amchur. Enjoy!
Serves – 4
Note – Without the additives, the soup will taste bland. Therefore they are highly recommended.
Note – I like a sprinkle of kala namak and a squeeze of lemon juice over chopped onions and rest them for 10 – 15 minutes (to take away their bite), before adding adding to the dal. You can use tamarind chutney if you desire.
Note – The amount of additives mentioned are an approx amount. Adjust them as required.
Note – Adjust the amount of water to the dal depending on the consistency you desire. Do keep in mind that the dal will thicken as it sits. In fact, the thickened version is served as snack or chaat while the thinner version is enjoyed as soup.
Learn more about the history of this dal here.
Thanks for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!