Dal. Lentils. Pulses. Legumes. This Hyderabadi staple is a must for baghara khana. Best served piping hot, lentils are had with steaming white rice, or with rotis. But to limit the Hyderabadi to something as mundane as rice and roti is unimaginable. Keeping in step with their innovative ways, dals have been incorporated into kheemas, into biryanis, and into mutton curries. This was my very first time to make a Hyderabadi dal. I settled on this recipe from Pratibha Karan's book, as it seemed relatively easy to make, requiring just dried red chillies as the baghar agents.
But, here red chillies are added in two different ways, being added to the dal during its boiling, and then, as a baghar. Eight red chilles are ground up with a pod of garlic, and added to the water in which the lentils are being done. This lends a lovely fiery, garlicky flavor to the dal. I prefer to have dals of a thickish consistency, and will use only as much water as is required to make them al dente. Most dals in Hyderabad are tempered using ghee. Try this dal if you will.
250g red gram lentils, washed
1 pod of garlic
16 dried red chillies
1/4 cup ghee
salt to taste
1) Grind together the 8 dried red chillies and the garlic, using a T of water from the disparate cup of water.
2) In a heavy bottomed pan, bring 3 cups of water to the boil.Add salt, and the washed lentils. Bring it back to the boil, add the ground garlic and red chilles, and simmer covered for40 mins. Check occasionally for doneness. Keep the boiled lentils aside.
3) In a frying pan, heat the ghee. When hot, use a pair of scissors to chop the dried red chillies into the hot ghee, seeds and all. When the chillies darken, pour the baghar over the boiled lentils, and cover immediately. Simmer covered for 10 mins. Serve hot.