Bengali Aam Dal (Red Lentils With Raw Mango)

I have often asked Hari to make Bengali dishes for me. But he always averred that Bengali food cannot be oil-free. I have to agree to that statement somewhat. The unique taste of Bengali food comes from the use of mustard oil. However, the unique taste of Kerala cuisine comes from the use of coconut oil – yet I prepare these dishes with no oil at all. In order to convince Hari, I had to do an internet search of Bengali food and then request him to make me specific dishes – for example, shukto. So, imagine my surprise when a few days ago, Hari offered to make me this wonderful dal – with no request or prodding on my part. A very simple dish that tastes heavenly.

Bengali Aam Dal

1/2 cup red lentils (masoor dal, Mysore parupu), soaked for 30 minutes
1 medium sized raw mango, sliced lengthwise into large pieces
2 green chilis, split lengthwise
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
Salt to taste
Pressure cook the lentils with 1 cup of water for 3-4 whistles
Switch off flame and let steam release naturally
Open the lid, add salt and turmeric powder
Mix well and set aside
Heat a wok and add green chilis and mustard seeds
When mustard seeds start spluttering, add the mango pieces
Sauté till the mango pieces are a light brown
Add the lentils and simmer for 2-3 minutes
Adjust water to the required consistency
Remove from flame and serve hot with steamed red/brown rice or millets

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