Friday, 5 January 2018

Masala ni Daar ~ Spiced Lentils

Masala Ni Daar ~ Spiced Lentils

Comfort food at its best. This is the simplest of dishes enjoyed by millions of people all over the Subcontinent inclusive of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  Full of protien, ginger, garlic and aromatic spices. Served with warm rotli, karak ~ crisp bread or naan it is often the main course for a family meal. 

My personal favourite, lentil

Serves 16

Pot of  Spices/Masala

1tbsp oil

In a food grinder blend till smooth to make the masala
2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
8 large dry red kashmiri chillies or 2 1/2 tsp chillie powder
4 green chillies
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala  
2 generous tsp dhansak masala ( read note below)
2 tsp of jaggery
1 cup fried onions
3 chopped tomatoes
1 tsp tamarind paste
 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
 6 fresh  mint leaves

In a pot heat a tbsp of oil add the masala mixture and fry it on a low flame stirring all the time. When done, you will see tiny droplets of oil release from the sides of the pan at the edges. Do not keep the flame on high. Keep stirring it. And remove from fire after 3 minutes.
Keep aside.

Pot of Lentils

In a large pot boil together

3 cups Toor/tuar lentil; washed
1 cup of red masoor lentil; washed
If these are soaked for an hour or two it will cook very quickly.
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp salt
8 to 10 cups water

Add 190gm/6 oz of salted butter to the pot half way through the cooking.

Cook the dar/lentils for about an hour and add mix the spices/masalo prepared. Mix well and bring to a boil. Cover, simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or until it is cooked through and the liquid has evaporated.
Taste for the salt, spices and the jaggery. Check for the consistency and serve.


The chillies in this recipe are for an average mild Lentil/Dar. Add chillies and chillie powder according to your taste.

Toor or Tuar is also called  split pigeon peas. They are golden in colour. They are oily or plain. I use the plain variety as it is easier to digest. You can use a combination of lentils like red masoor, yellow mung, tuar/toor and channa. 

Taste for khatu~mithu~thiku (sour~sweet~spicy) before serving and adjust the flavours. Add lemon juice if necessary.

Tarko an optional step to finish it off.

You have the option of doing a tarko before serving which is simply heating a tablespoon of ghee or oil and adding a few round red chillies, a handful of curry leaves, a tsp of mustard seeds and poruing this over the ready to serve dar/lentil just before serving. It only takes a few seconds to cook in hot oil, and work quickly or it will burn.
You may also add slivers of fresh garlic if you enjoy it.
For more Parsi recipes click to order
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Dhansak No Masalo.
There is controversy about what some of the mixed blends of spices are called. Growing up the black-karo dhana jeera no masalo is what we bought ready from a specialist store, still available in Karachi at the Empress Market.

It generally includes all the dry ingredients like coriander seeds, cumin, black cumin, black cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, caraway, mace and more.  I do know a variation of this type of powder is available to buy ready for use in Indian stores under the label of Dhansak Masala.

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