Laknawi Dal

As part of my experimentation with different Indian foods, I was keen to prepare some stuff from the Avadh region (that includes modern day Lucknow). The food in this region, as preferred by the rulers of Avadh (or Oudh) is mainly non-vegetarian. I was therefore delighted to discover this dal and went ahead to prepare it without any delay. It really tasted wonderful. It never ceases to amaze me that the dals from the different regions of the country taste completely different, and all delicious. This Laknawi Dal was no exception. I must urge my friends to try out this wonderful preparation.

Laknawi Dal

1/2 cup pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
2 green chilis
2 red chilis (more if you want it spicier)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
Unrefined salt to taste
Wash the pigeon peas thoroughly
Add it to a pressure cooker, along with the whole green chilis and 1 cup water
Pressure cook for 3 whistles
Turn the flame off and let the steam release naturally
Transfer the cooked dal to a saucepan
Add salt and turmeric powder and bring to a boil
Meanwhile, heat a wok and add the cumin seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the garlic, asafoetida and broken red chilis
Roast till fragrant
Add this to the boiling dal
Cook for another 2-3 minutes
Add chopped coriander leaves and switch off the flame
Serve hot or at room temperature with red/brown/millet rice or Indian flat breads

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