In the Bohri style of community dining, the family gathers around the thaal, eating the meal in courses that alternate between sweet and savoury.
One of the staples of the Bohri thaal is Dal Chawal Palidu – a dish with rice, lentils and moringa that is so beloved in the Bohri repertoire that no meal, no celebration, is complete without it. Gently boiled and spiced, the lentils are layered between freshly steamed rice, and cooked on dum, served with a side of tempered moringa. Read more about the Bohri thaal here!
Recipe: Bilquis Zaveri's Dal-Chawal-Palidu
For the dal
1 cup toor dal, or or split pigeon peas
Salt, to taste
Turmeric, a pinch
2 cups of water
For the rice
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
1 onion, chopped
Curry leaves, a handful
1 green chilli, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp dhana-jeera (cumin and coriander powder)
Chopped scallions, to garnish
2 cups rice
1 tbsp ghee
For the palidu
2 drumticks, cut into finger-length segments
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 onion, chopped
5 curry leaves
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 green chilli, slit
1 tomato, quartered
6 tsp besan, or gram flour
1 tbsp Kaari masala
1 tsp cashew powder
Coriander, for garnish
Boil the toor dal with turmeric and salt for about 10 minutes, until nearly soft. Do not pressure cook; each lentil should remain whole.
Strain the water from dal, and set aside.
In another pan, heat oil. Add the cumin, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, onion, curry leaves and green chilli. Saute until fragrant.
Add the garlic, chilli powder and dhana-jeera and fry well. As the onion begin to brown, remove from heat and stir in the dal. Set aside.
Cook the rice until it is 5 minutes away from being fully done.
In a heavy bottomed dish over a low flame, add a bit of ghee to coat the bottom. Spoon in a layer or rice, then layer in the dal, and cover again with rice. Top with a few drops of ghee and pour in half a cup of water. Cover with a weight, or cook on dum, allowing the rice to cook fully.
When the dish begins to steam and a spoon to the bottom comes out dry, remove from heat and garnish with scallions.
In another pan, par boil the moringa in the water strained from the dal.
Heat oil in a pot, add in the fenugreek seeds, onion and curry leaves and allow to fry on a medium flame.
Add in the garlic, green chilli and tomatoes.
Add in the gram flour and mix well until it thickens.
Keep stirring to ensure it doesn't catch at the bottom or burn.
Add in the Kaari masala and cashew powder.
Add in the morninga and water and mix well.
The palidu salan, or gravy, should not be too thick, and is ready when the oil separates on top.
Serve along with the dal-chawal.
This recipe is a #1000Kitchens feature!
ALSO ON THE GOYA JOURNAL