Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tamarind Leaves Daal

Sometimes in life - especially during your impressionable age, you meet someone and their ideology stays with you for the rest of your life. It happened to me when I had gone with my maternal cousins to their paternal aunt's home. I know it sounds little tricky. But if you ponder, your maternal cousins' paternal family is not really your own family. They can be considered a part of extended family if you are in good touch.

I met "Kaku" for the first time. She was an old lady compared to my mom. I was under 10 for sure. I followed her everywhere, especially in and around her kitchen. Her huge house on Maharashtra border was a novelty for me. One day, Kaku said that she would make Matkichi Usal. But I observed something totally different. She washed Matki in the backyard above some soil. Then I observed, she would rinse any grain/beans in the backyard. I was totally intrigued. She had a kitchen sink. Why would she go all the way to the backyard to rinse the daily grains/beans. I asked her so. She replied,"They're seeds of life. However much care I take to rinse, some of them fall down. If they are washed in kitchen sinks, they are wasted in the drain. When I wash it in the backyard, even if they fall, they go to the soil. They would grow. I am not wasting them."

I didn't meet Kaku very often later. She is no more. But that thought stayed with me. Even today, whenever possible, if I come across any seeds, I throw it in the soil. I feel it's better than throwing in the trash can. I live where it snows. So not necessarily every seed turns into huge plants/trees. But they grow. So when I get tamarind, I always throw the seeds in the soil. They give me fresh, tender tamarind leaves for making daal and chutneys.

Today's tamarind leaves daal is inspired by Andhra Pradesh's Gongura Daal. Since I had Andhra's Guntur Chilies, I used them. Please substitute any dry, red chilies you have in your pantry.

I looked up this name and found that it's called Chinta Chiguru Pappu. (Thanks to Sailu's Food)

Chinta Chiguru Pappu
Tamarind Leaves Daal
3/4 cup toor daal, pressure cooked, mashed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafetida

1 cup tender tamarind leaves, torn from sprigs (I didn't chop them)
salt to taste

1 tsp oil
1/ 2 tsp mustard seeds
2 Guntur chilies, whole
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced

Suggested Accompaniment
Plain Rice
Gongura Pickle

1. Pressure cook toor daal adding turmeric powder, asafetida and adequate water.
2. Mash lightly and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan.
4. Add mustard seeds, chilies and garlic cloves.
5. Sauté till garlic aroma wafts through the kitchen
6. Add tender tamarind leaves.
7. Sauté quickly till they are wilted.
8. Add mashed daal and 1/2 cup water.
9. Add salt and bring to boil.
10. Simmer till the daal thickens a bit.
11. Serve with plain rice and Gongura pickle.

Note -
1. If you like, you can add more water and serve as a soup with broth.

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