Ganesh's Dhal

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Ganesh's Green Dhal

 This is the cookbook name of the dhal we shared last Sunday. Having offered to cook some dhal and noticed the 20-25 minutes boiling time for the green split dhal on the receipe, I was confident I could finish this meal in no time, and so I started cooking around 9 pm on Saturday night. This late start later proved to be a bit of a problem.

This is the receipe for the dhal I made:

2 cups green split dhal                               

2 sliced tomatoes

2 cups chard

3 Tbs ghee

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp corriander powder

4 garlic

2 Tbs ginger (grated)

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

1 Tbs lemon juice

3-4 Tbs cilantro (chopped)

4-5 cups of water


I started by soaking the green split dhal for two hours. The receipe said one hour, but I decided to soak for two, just to be sure it will then cook in 30 minutes. I then put the dhal in the pressure cooker, with water, and boiled it there for an hour, having just received advice to leave it on the stove for an hour from an "expert" in indian cuisine, my partner. Meanwhile, I sauteed the garlic in the ghee, then added the mustard seeds which I let pop before adding the grated ginger. Having sauteed all these ingredients, I mixed the powder spices together with a bit of water in a small bowl and added them to the pan. I then added the sliced tomatoes and the chard and cooked them for about five minutes, mixing them well together. I then opened the pressure cooker, got the dhal out and mixed it with the other ingredients in the pan (it was a fairly large pan). I was convinced the dhal was thoroughly cooked, having boiled it for an hour in a pressure cooker. My partner also tasted and confirmed. However, just as I was about to finish cooking, I tasted the final result, and discovered the dhal was crunchy! So I had to continue cooking the dhal with the spices in it for another 2 hours! By now it was 12 at night, and I was too tired to even check the final result. I turned off the fire and went to bed, praying that the food was edible. I thought I had made a horrible mistake, and that boiling the dhal with the spices for two hours had ruined the flavor and quality of the food. However, the following day, everybody enjoyed the dhal (I added the chopped cilantro and lemon juice just before serving), and Alakananda Ma told me that while boiling for a long time with the spices is not ideal, it's not such a terrible mistake. She also told me that the dhal took longer to cook compared to the time indicated in the cookbook, because the boiling point for water in Boulder is higher than that at a lower altitude. She said she leaves the dhal on the stove for 2,3 hours sometimes, after having it in the pressure cooker for one hour, so long cooking time of this dhal is the norm at this altitude.

I also made some basmati rice on Sunday, to go with the dhal and learned some very useful tips from Ma. She said the rice can be covered once the water starts boiling and left on the stove on minimum heat for as long as two hours. The longer the better, she said, and when the rice on the bottom has acquired a golden color, you know it's perfectly cooked. She also said you can tell if the rice is cooked, by whether the grains stand on end or not. Oh, and another useful tip: don't disturb the rice while it's cooking by stirring it with a spoon, that will make the water evaporate and then there won't be enough left for cooking the rice properly.

Ganesh's dhal in the pot...


...and on the plate.


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This page contains a single entry by Oana published on October 13, 2010 2:30 PM.

High Altitude Horticulture: Rutabaga Sabji was the previous entry in this blog.

Chickpea Risotto is the next entry in this blog.

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