Masura Dali with Kala Jeera (Masoor Ki Dal)

It has been a age old struggle for Oriya food to mark a distinct name for itself and try to lose its ever confused identity of “almost like Bengali food”. Well I am here after I kept that discussion at bay. Today I am going to talk about a recipe which I always felt Bengalis win hands on – ‘Masoor ki dal’ [Oriya – Masura Dali]. And why not – because that’s part of their daily staple meal. I was in Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) for almost a year and almost every meal was accompanied by this lentil soup where as its really rare to see someone in Orissa using this red lentil as part of its daily staple. Well to people who don’t know ‘Masur’ – it is a type of lentil sometimes called as ‘Split Red Lentil’. To a complete stranger a dal is a lentil soup used in India as an accompaniment to Rice or Roti. While most of the costal states have rice as their primary source of carbohydrate, the Dal accompanying their rice is much watery than the ones in other parts of India like Punjab where it is made much thicker to be enjoyed with Roti.

Take my words, this particular dal tastes amazing. I (probably) have made some changes to the usual way of cooking but you must try this once to say yes or no. Let’s talk about the recipe. Please note that we are talking about a serving for 2.

  • 50 gms of Masoora Dali (Masoor ki dal)

  • 3 tsp Ghee

  • 1 tsp of Kala Jeera (Kaala Jeera / Kalaunji)or Nigella Seed

  • ½ tsp turmeric powder

  • 2 green chilies slit in the middle

  • Half fresh lemon

  • ½ tsp sugar

  • Chopped coriander leaf for garnishing (optional)

  • Salt to taste

  1. Pressure-cook the lentils with 5 times water for 10 mins in low flame. Please note that we are not adding anything else to it. Not even salt. The Dal needs to be cooked till its soft and almost mashed. If the dal remains hard it completely upsets the balance.

  2. Take a Kadei (pan). Add ghee when the pan is hot.

  3. Add the Kala Jeera to sputter when the Ghee is hot.

  4. Add the split green chilies.

  5. Add the boiled dal.

  6. Now add turmeric, sugar and salt and simmer for 5 minutes.

  7. Squeeze the lemon just before switching off the flame.

Garnish with coriander leaf and serve with hot steam rice. Try some Alu Bhaja / Alu Posta along with this…..yummy

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