The Dhabas/roadside restaurants which dot the highways of India and Pakistan and which actually serve as Stops for trucks and vehicles which ploy between states covering long distances, stop here to stretch their legs and also feed their famished guts, presumably serve the most finger licking Dal Tadka. The Dhabas normally serve the local cuisine and are rustic in their setup. But they are known to put up a whole menu of lip smacking dishes.
Athough this method of cooking dal is a signature of the Northern region of India and not native to Bengal, the northern immigrants who have made Kolkata home have interwoven this dish and many of their native dishes into the food stream of Bengali cuisine. They have not altered the spices nor the flavours to be in tune with the bengali taste but have added another dimension to the Bengali platter with their homegrown dishes. Therefore like me many Bengali's swear by the relish of these dishes and try to recreate them in their kitchen or turn to restaurants like Punjab National Hotel to satiate their craving.
Serves : 2
3) Once soaked the green gram becomes rounded and soft to the touch. Pressure cook till the green gram becomes really squashy and melts with your touch.
4) The Bengal Gram can be soaked for 10-15 minutes or if you are in a hurry pressure cooked directly till soft, but it should retain its shape. You can pressure cook both the pulses together but I prefer cooking them separately because I don't want my Bengal gram to become squashy. I like to feel each one on my tongue when I lap up the dal.
5) Putting the frying pan on the stove add OIL. Start adding the aromatics, first ONIONS which have been finely chopped.
6) When the onions on your pan have transformed into a lovely golden colour, add the GINGER - GARLIC paste. Using your spatula give all the ingredients on your pan a nice mix.
7) Add the finely chopped TOMATOES now. Keep on stirring, mixing and frying till the tomatoes become completely mushy.
8) Next add the pre cooked WHOLE GREEN GRAM & BENGAL GRAM Pulses.
9) Turn of the spices to go into your pan now. Add TURMERIC POWDER, KASHMIRI CHILLI POWDER, CUMIN POWDER, CORIANDER POWDER, GARAM MASALA POWDER, GREEN CHILLIES finely chopped and SALT to taste. The Kasmiri Chilli powder as we know is used only for the radiant red colour and is devoid of any heat. In the original recipe Red Chilli powder along with Kasmiri Chilli powder was used. But I am fond of the distinct fresh spicy aroma of green chillies so I added them instead. You can add all three or choose according to your taste. MIX well.
10) Add DRIED FENUGREEK/KASURI METHI CRUSHED or in powder form. This they say is the Punjab National Hotel's secret to dish out plate after plate of the delectable Punjabi Dal Tadka, day after day without having any variation in either taste or flavor.
11) In the original recipe they add butter & clarified butter 1tbsp of each before adding the finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. I avoid the butter totally and keep the clarified butter 1tsp to add to pan in the finalé. You can add if you really want it to taste like the resturant.
12) I add CLARIFIED BUTTER and give the Dal Tadka a nice stir and vigorous mix with the spatula before plating. The original recipe adds 1tsp butter finally before plating the very popular & famed Punjabi Dal Tadka of the Punjab National Hotel.
Note : If you like this recipe and decide to recreate it in your home kitchen, I would love to get your feedback. Also if you have any constructive suggestions or would like to give this recipe your interpretation do write to me.
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