Saturday, September 18, 2010

My comfort food: Recipe courtesy Manali Vengsarkar

Do you have a favorite childhood meal that you can actually trace back to the first time you ate it? For me, that meal is the simple Maharashtrian varan (lentils) with rice. I still remember the first time I had it. I was all of 6 years old, attending a party at a neighbor’s house and was served this delicious and unpretentious meal. Soft basmati rice topped with lentils cooked with just turmeric, asafoetida and salt. So simple and so flavorful.
Ever since then, I was hooked. It became my comfort food. It’s the only thing I missed eating while studying abroad for 5 years. When I would come home on holidays, it had to be my first meal. Somehow, at home, it was never the exact same as I had all those years back. Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty close to the real stuff, but just never the same. I thought I had played the dish up in my head so much that of course anything else would be a letdown. That was till I had lunch at my best friend Pallavi’s house the other day. Her mother had managed to re-create the exact same flavors that I remembered. I jumped with joy! “You HAVE to give me the recipe pleaaaaaaaaaaaaase’’ I cried. She looked at me like I was crazy and said it was the easiest thing one could make. Of course I didn’t believe her, till I tried it out for myself.
Here is the recipe for my favourite food J


½ cup Toor Dal (pigeon peas lentils)
1 cup water
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼  teaspoon asafoetida
Salt to taste


Soak the lentils in water for about 30 minutes

In a pressure cooker, add the lentils and the same water used for soaking, turmeric, asafoetida and salt, cook for 5-7 minutes

Remove the lid, using the back of the spoon mash the lentils a little.

Add water and salt if needed. Serve with rice and ghee (clarified butter).

Voila! Wasn’t that super easy???!


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