Daal Maash today, paratha tomorrow!

Published: December 15, 2013
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Daal Maash is one of the oldest Pakistani recipes. PHOTO: AMBREEN MALIK

Daal Maash was abbu’s favorite. Ammi used to cook it frequently during winter days. Fast forward many years, my husband cannot get enough of daal maash.

I love all Lentils but somehow I never quite liked daal maash. Daal Maash has a very distinct nutty flavour which my taste buds could not appreciate as a kid. There were many foods many of us did not appreciate as kids, growing up changed that for most of us. Daal Maash, French beans and spinach were the less favoured foods for me back then.

 This particular daal maash recipe belongs to my mother-in-law. Her simple technique brings out the best of maash daal’s flavour. I remember the left over daal maash was always made in to a paratha the next morning for breakfast. The cooked lentils were stuffed between two layers of flat bread and cooked with desi ghee (clarified butter) or butter and eaten with Kashmiri chai, a pink coloured sweet tea, as the mercury hovered around freezing point. I never said no to the lentil paratha. I still make a paratha out of left over daal maash the next day and have it with sweet chai like old times. Somehow, it transports me back to ammi’s house in winters.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Photo: Ambreen Malik

Maash Lentil – ¾ cup (soaked overnight)

Onion – 1 Large (chopped in small cubes / save 1/4th for Tarka- oil tempering)

Oil – 2 tbsp

Fresh tomato puree – ¾ cup

Fresh ginger and garlic paste – 1 tsp (heaped)

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp (heaped – gently crushed in pestle mortar)

Whole coriander seeds – 1 tsp (heaped – gently crushed in pestle mortar)

Whole dried chillies- 2

Salt – ¾ tsp (taste and add more if needed)

Chilli powder – ¾ tsp (taste and add more if needed)

Turmeric – ¼ tsp

Cumin powder – ½ tsp

Water – 1 cup

Dried Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves) – 1 tsp (heaped)

For Tarka – Oil tempering:

Oil – 1 tbsp

Onion – ¼ of a large onion (thinly sliced)

Ginger – 1 inch (Julienne cut/thinly sliced)

Green chilli – 1 medium (chopped)

Fresh coriander – chopped (for garnish)

Method: 

1) Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan that should have a lid. Add onions and let them turn translucent. Do not brown them.

2) Add crushed cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds and whole dried chillies. Cook for one minute on medium to high heat.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

3) Add drained maash lentil. Cook on high heat till the water dries up.

4) Add the tomato puree, ginger-garlic paste, salt, chilli powder, turmeric and cumin powder. Mix and cook for about one minute.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

5) Add one cup of water and let it come to a boil.

6) Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to simmer. Cover with the lid and let it cook for 45 minutes. Check after 20 to 25 minutes. Lentils in different places take different amount of time to cook. In Pakistan, maash lentil is cooked in about 25 to 30 minutes. In my current location, I need about 40 to 45 minutes to cook it despite soaking it overnight. Keep an eye on it as it cooks.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

Photo: Ambreen Malik

7) Once the water has dried up and the lentil has cooked completely, add the dried kasuri methi to it and mix. Switch the stove off.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

8) Now prepare the tarka (oil tempering). Heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry the onions till slightly golden. Add the thinly sliced ginger and green chillies to it.

9) Add the tarka to the lentil pan. I had sieved the fried items and added them to the lentil, leaving out the oil in the frying pan to control the calorie count. If you are not worried about calories then feel free to add the oil as well.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

10) Garnish with fresh green coriander and thinly chopped green chilli.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

Maash lentil coupled with fresh roti/chappati and mint chutney with a tomato, cucumber, onion salad works beautifully!

Don’t forget to make a paratha out of the left overs the next day and have it with sweet chai.

This post originally appeared here.

Ambreen Malik

Ambreen Malik

The author is a Microfinance Banker, food blogger, LSE Alum and a dragon in training. She tweets as @ambreen_malik (twitter.com/ambreen_malik)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.