Thursday, December 27, 2012

Musur Dal (Warm Lentil Soup) and a trek through the Royal Ruins



“The mother of idiots is always pregnant”



This is what I heard a tour guide tell a couple of foreigners touring the Gwalior fort. Not sure what it meant and why it came up. It did make me sit up and listen to my guide more intently thereafter. Isn’t this line good enough to get your attention too. Ha! Now that I have your attention, might as well give you some context.

I’m taking a small vacation this week. And while you are reading this post, I must be soaking up my feet in a tub of warm water after all that  trekking around a few 14th century old forts.

This is my first visit , and maybe I got a little picture-happy:

Of all the banal holidays in the world sold in the name of sightseeing ,there are some true gems like this one,  that allow one to escape for a couple of days into a world seeped with history made up of imperial forts, royal stories, heroic deeds and folklore.

As one who treasures the past, and who does not believe that many things were better in the 50s — I mean the 1450s — and who values tradition in all art forms, I was hit while thinking about the luxury of living royally sans the modern trappings.

I totally might be a child lost in time. Nostalgic about a moment in time when we were not even there.

Although I’m still confused thinking of that strangely timed proverb. Some search tells me that its an Italian proverb 'The idea here is that there's no short supply of idiots in the world.' and I suspect that it  was told in the context of Mughal Kings, who destroyed most of the beauty of the yesteryears temple in the name of conquering. I'm just thankful to them for keeping a few little gems alive

...and now that I have made you my travelling partner , I might as well welcome and offer you a warm traditional dish . Nothing fancy, I promise. This is a simple Musur Dal and Bhat(Lentil soup with rice) recipe. Things we eat in traditional Bong homes almost every day and more on busy days when it's minus other accompaniments.

Today is one such day for me.and now you know why : 


Musurir Dal


Ingredients

1 cup Masoor dal/red lentils

3 cups Water (I like mine very soupy, but if you want a thick dal you can add a little less water)

A pinch turmeric

1 Onion, finely diced

1 Tomato, seeded and diced

1 Green chilly, finely chopped

 A few sprigs cilantro, young stems and leaves, chopped

1 tsp Butter

Vegetable oil

1 tsp Cumin seeds

Salt, to taste

Method

1) Pressure cook the Masoor Dal with water salt and a pinch turmeric. I usually do it for 5-7 minutes.

2) While the lentils is being pressure cooked, heat the vegetable oil in another pan. Temper oil with Cumin seeds, now add the onions and tomato, and saute until soft. Add green chilly and cook until soft. Set aside.

3) When the lentils are almost done, add the onion mixture to it and stir briskly. Add the tsp butter.

4) Add the cilantro just before you are ready to serve!
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