Dhaba Style Mash Daal is just one of many varieties of daal that are cooked and eaten in South Asian households. Also known as lentil or gram, daal is an affordable, nutritious and delicious meal.
Per thebetterindia.com records indicate daal recipes dating as far back as 303 BC. A popular meal with the Mughals, it was often featured on the menu in Shah Jahan's court and favored over meat by the vegetarian Aurangzeb.
Kundan Laal of Butter Chicken fame created the equally famous "Daal Makhni" popularly eaten around the world today.
Urad Daal , known as "Masha" in Ayurvedic medicine has numerous health benefits. Ayurvedic Medicine dates back to 3000 BCE and is a natural holistic form of treating various maladies. Maash Daal is a particular favorite for pregnant women under this form of medicine due to its numerous health benefits.
Full of protein, vitamin B, Iron and Folic Acid it's no wonder Pregnant women are encouraged to eat this. Per food.ndtv.com these are some additional benefits of eating Maash Daal:
Due to a high content of fibre, Maash Daal aids and helps regulate digestion. Ayurvedic medicine believes it helps with hemmorrhoids, colic symptoms and acts as a liver stimulant.
Due to the high iron content eating this daal regularly helps maintain energy levels by boosting red blood cell production.
Magnesium, Fibre and Potassium in the daal help maintain healthy cholesterol and overall heart health
Essential minerals that include calcium help keep your bones healthy.
Ayurvedic medicine believes this daal helps with various paralysis disorders.
The high fibre content helps maintain blood sugar levels.
PAIN AND INFLAMMATION
Believed to help with inflammation and oxidative stress, in Ayurvedic medicine a paste is often made with the lentils and applied to aching joints and muscles.
SKIN AND HAIR
Excellent Skin and Hair are another fabulous benefit of eating this daal as it's chock full of vitamins and minerals.
Convinced to eat it yet? I was sold after reading about the great skin and hair!
I've always loved Mash Ki Daal as we call it at home. Often ordering it in restaurants when we ate out in Pakistan I absolutely had to learn how to cook this early on in my life. The name Dhaba Style Maash Daal is inspired by my childhood haunts in Pakistan. A Dhaba is a road side restautrant and these small open air eateries often serve the best food.
Road trips are not a common thing in Pakistan, but on the few occasions that I did take one, stopping at a Dhaba for some simple but delicious fare is amongst my many treasured memories. Food such as this daal and some hot sweet doodh patti to ease the weariness of traveling on dusty highways, all while sitting on rustic tables and chairs brings back worry free childhood days.
After moving to America I craved this daal and on my mothers first visit to me she taught me this recipe. The simplicity of the recipe means I get to make and eat it often. My kids love it and not able to remember all the confusing names of all the deals refer to it as the daal that looks like rice.
Unlike most other lentils, such as my hyderabadi khatti daal Maash daal is not cooked to resemble a thick soup. The main trick in this recipe is to have each grain separate yet cooked through, almost like rice.
The method I use is fairly fool proof if you follow the measurements and timings written below. Soaking the lentils will ensure that they will be cooked through and tender.
Boiling the lentils on high heat with the prescribed amount of water and spices will result in perfectly cooked and separated grains.
The "Tarka" or tempering of cumin seeds and onions will add additional flavor and a perfect finishing touch to the daal.
A garnish of finely slivered ginger, green chillies and cilantro complete the Dhaba Style Maash Daal
Eaten with a squeeze of lemon and hot fresh naan, you will need nothing else on the table!
Dhaba Style Maash Daal
- 1 ½ cups split and washed Urad/Maash daal
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ cup oil
- ½ onion
- 1 tsp whole cumin
- 2 tbsp slivered ginger
- 1 chopped green chilli
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup cilantro optional
- Soak the lentils in water for 1 hour
- Rinse them well after the hour and add to your cooking pot with the 1 cup water, salt, red chilli powder and turmeric
- Cook on full heat till water evaporates (See Notes)
- Fry the onion and cumin seeds in the ¼ cup oil till dark brown and add to the cooked lentils (See Notes)
- Garnish with the chopped ginger, green chillies and cilantro
- Quarter the lemon and serve with the daal
- This daal is very easy once you get the hang of it but if overcooked you can end up with a slimy sticky texture.
- Controlling the water and heat is the main thing.
- Soaking the lentils usually softens them enough to cook quickly on high heat with just a little water.
- If the water dries up and you feel that the lentils need to cook more, reduce the flame to the lowest setting, add NO MORE THAN 2 TABLESPOONS OF WATER, cover with foil and let cook like this for 3-5 minutes. The steam created will cook the lentils through.
- Uncover and fluff with a fork to separate the grains before tempering.
- When tempering, heat the oil before adding the onion. This will help brown and crisp them better. If the oil is not heated enough the onions will end up being soggy.
- Add the cumin in the last 1-2 minutes, once the onions are almost done. Adding them too early will burn them.
- whole dried red chilies also work well for the tempering and make for pretty presentation. I often add them, so feel free to experiment.
Hope you like this recipe!
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