Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Dals Week 3: Maharashtrian Aamti

We all know that everyday lunches and dinners are generally full meals with at least one sabzi, dal, roti, and rice and then the add-ons. When having lunch or dinner at home, I eat either roti or rice, and preferably roti (I like rice a little less). Except when there is aamti. Then I will eat some rice, even if it's two morsels, despite how many rotis I have polished off! That's the magic of this everyday Maharashtrian dal for me! There are various recipes for aamti and you can add vegetables such as drumsticks to it, but  I generally make the basic aamti quite often.

This recipe uses goda masala for flavour. Goda masala is made primarily of corriander seeds with small amounts of 10-12 other spices (the recipe varies in each home) such as 2 types of cumin seeds, bay leaves, 2-3 types of red chilly, cloves, 2 types of cardamom, dried coconut etc. It is one of the three basic spice powders used in everyday Maharashtrian cooking, along with turmeric powder and dried red chilly powder. Like in Gujarati cuisine we have dhania-jeera powder with turmeric powder and dried red chilly powder and in Punjabi cuisine there is garam masala apart from turmeric and chilly powder. It is one of the three masala powders the regular seven spice box that we see in almost all Indian homes carries in Maharashtrian homes.

Goda masala can be brought in stores and there is no substitute really to it. Garam masala with the five or six basic spices used in it doesn't come close. If you get goda masala, open it and just take a whiff of the smell of the masala. The notes of pungent, piquant, with an edge of sweet at the end will be proof of what I am talking of! 


Aamti

Ingredients

1 cup toor dal

2 tbsps oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp asafoetida
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 1/2 tsps turmeric powder 
1 1/2 tsps dried red chilly powder
2 tsps goda masala
3-4 dried kokum pieces or 1 1/2 tsp kokum extract
1 tsp jaggery
Salt to taste
Fresh chopped corriander to garnish

Soak the dal in 3 cups of water for at least half an hour. Add salt and turmeric and pressure cook for 3 whistles on high flame and about 5-7 minutes on low flame. Remove and blend to get a thick-soup like consistency.

In a deep pan, heat the oil. Add the cumin and the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add in the asafoetida powder and the chopped onion. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes on the medium flame in the tadka. 

Once the onions are reddish, add in the chilly powder and the goda masala and roast for about 2 minutes till the masalas release the oil.

Now add in the cooked dal, the kokum (extract), the salt and the jaggery. Bring it to a boil on high flame and then let it simmer on low flame for 8-10 minutes.

Garnish with chopped corriander and serve hot with steamed rice and a dash of lemon juice!


All it needs is steamed rice and a dash of lemon juice!