Beginning the new year on my blog, with a recipe which takes me back to my roots in North India. It takes me back 2-3 decades to my Nani, my maternal grandmother’s kitchen in Delhi. This was one of her signature home cooked dishes and I think her favourite too! A favourite in our family, and I’m sure anyone who tasted it fell in love with it too. It is a regional North Indian vegetarian curry, with deep fried lentil dumplings floating in it. Fondly, also known as Taazi(fresh) mangori(lentil dumplings!:-) My nani never added any onions, tomatoes, ginger or garlic to her recipe. She made it more like a soup, a light curry, with just yoghurt and spices as the base. In my version, I have added onions and tomatoes to give it some body and the usual aromatic spices which go into any traditional North Indian curry. The icing on the cake, are those yummy deep fried(yup, who does not like anything freshly deep fried!) lentil dumplings. A simple, delicious vegetarian curry which takes me on a ride down memory lane each time I make it 🙂
Servings : 6
Purée of 2 tomatoes
1 finely chopped onion
Split yellow moong lentils – 1 cup
a pinch asafoetida
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. red chile powder
2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
2-3 cups water
Canola or any cooking oil – 1 tbsp + for deep frying
Salt, to taste
Grind in a food processor, add little cold water, to facilitate the grinding.
In a wok or deep fryer or our very own Indian kadhai heat sufficient oil for deep frying. Whisk or beat the lentil batter till fluffy, this is the trick for very soft lentil dumplings. Add a little salt. Add small teaspoonfuls of the lentil batter into hot oil(once you see a little smoke emerging from the hot oil, lower heat, and quickly add teaspoonfuls of the batter). Fry the lentil dumplings for a few minutes till they turn light golden brown.
Remove and set aside on a paper-towel lined plate. Continue frying the dumplings. Personally, I love lots of them, in the curry, that’s my favourite part of it. One can get a large batch of them, which means there are extras for one to munch on!-). Little moong daal pakoras, perfect as a tea time snack, too!
In another pan, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add a pinch of asafoetida. Add the onions and sauté till they turn light golden brown, on medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds. Mix all the remaining spices in the yoghurt and add to the pan, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato purée and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add 2 cups water.
May want to add a little more later, because the dumplings tend to soak up the water. Add salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Add the lentil dumplings, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro or coriander. I missed doing that, I was just too hungry to eat!:-)