Malvani Dal

Malvani cuisine is from coastal Maharashtra and Goa, states in the west of India. The cuisine is not much known outside these regions. Which is indeed unfortunate since they taste wonderful. I was not planning to write this recipe for some time yet as I have a huge backlog. However, there have been several requests for this recipe. So, I jumped the queue.
Maharashtrian cuisine often uses kokum, a sour fruit related to the mangosteen family. It is loosely called wild mangosteen in English. Since kokum is native to the Western Ghats, I am unable to source it in North India. A good substitute, however, is tamarind.
I do not normally like tamarind in my dals, though I love it in South Indian curries. An idiosyncrasy indeed. So, I avoid preparing dals with a sour tasted. But this Malvani dal turned out to be really excellent, forcing me to reconsider my preference. Needlessd to say, I intend to explore a lot more of Malvani food.

Malvani Dal

100 gms pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
1 tomato, chopped
5 green chilis, chopped fine
5 tbsp grated coconut
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tbsp dried tamarind (imli, puli)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves to garnish
Salt to taste
Wash the pigeon peas well and soak for about an hour
Transfer to a pressure cooker
Add tomato and green chilis
Add enough water and cook for 2 whistles (the pigeon peas should be grainy, not mushy)
Let the steam release naturally and open the lidMs
Set aside
Grind the coconut, turmeric powder and tamarind to a thick paste, adding a little water
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves
Sauté for a few seconds
Add the cooked pigeon peas and the ground coconut masala
Mix well
Add salt and bring to boil
Adjust water to required consistency
Continue boiling for a couple of minutes
Remove from flame and garnish with coriander leaves
Serve hot with red/brown rice or Indian flat breads

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