2 cups aged, long grain Basmati rice
4 – 4 1/4 cups water (the ratio of water to rice varies with age of rice)
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp desi ghee / vegetable oil
Clean, wash and soak rice for 30 minutes. Keep rice ready for cooking.
Take the measured water in a thick-walled pot and bring to boil. Thick-walled pots distribute the heat evenly throughout the rice.
Once the water begins to boil, add salt, lemon juice, stir once and then add the soaked rice. Bring to full boil for a minute, stir gently once or twice while boiling, reduce heat to medium. Add desi ghee / vegetable oil and stir very gently once and cook.
Lower heat and then cover the pot with a tight lid (or first a wet kitchen cloth and cover with lid). For even better results seal the lid with wheat dough or a tight seal with aluminium foil and then place the lid.
Once the lid is placed, heat must remain very low, just enough to maintain a very gentle simmer.
Remove from heat and let the rice sit for 5 minutes to allow the fragile grain to firm up. Remove the lid gently and fluff the rice with a large fork.
Hind Dal (toovar dal dhumita: smoke-flavoured dal) Ingredients
The word Hindal translates to ‘Conquer India’; here appropriated to mean the conquering dal of India.
1 cup arhar dal (split pigeon peas)
1 tsp fresh ginger (grated)
1 tsp green chilies (fine chopped)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp desi ghee / vegetable oil
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup yoghurt
A pinch of saffron (grind in 2 tbsp of lukewarm water with mortar & pestle)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 betel leaf
2 green cardamom & 2 cloves (grind to a paste with a tsp of water in mortar pestle)
A piece of charcoal
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 whole dried red chili
2 tbsp onions (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 tbsp jaggery (powdered)
4 tbsp diced tomatoes
5 mint leaves
Clean, wash and soak arhar lentils as explained above. Drain well.
Place lentils, 6 cups of warm water, grated ginger, green chillies, bay leaf, turmeric, and half tbsp of desi ghee in a thick-bottomed pot. Put it on moderately high heat. Stirring frequently, bring to full boil. Reduce to medium – low heat, cover with tight-fitting lid and let it simmer until the lentils turn soft and well-cooked.
Remove from heat, remove the bay leaf. Add salt. Mix yoghurt, dissolved saffron and lemon juice.
Place the cooked dal pot on moderate heat, whisk in the yoghurt mixture into the dal for few seconds or until dal becomes lightly creamy and smooth. Continue cooking, stir occasionally, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
Place a betel leaf on the cooked dal, over it place cardamoms and cloves paste followed by a small piece of burning coal (charcoal can be burnt on the open gas burner). Pour 1/2 tbsp of desi ghee and cover with a lid for 10 minutes, then remove the betel leaf and coal carefully.
Heat the remaining desi ghee in a small frying pan over moderate heat. Stir in cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds, sauté for a few seconds or until spices crackle. Add whole red chilli, sauté few seconds till chillies start turning colour, add in chopped onions and sauté. Now add chopped garlic, sauté until onion and garlic turn golden. Quickly add powdered jaggery and sauté, continue stirring until jaggery start caramelizing and turns a rich reddish brown. Stir in diced tomatoes and sauté for 10 -15 seconds and immediately pour the tempering into the cooked dal. Cover quickly and allow the tempering to seep into the dal for 1 to 2 minutes.
Garnish with mint leaves.
Serve hot with khushka and enjoy the combination.