Sunday, 8 April 2018

Pigeon Pea & Vegetable Stew (Thuvar Dal) & Baked Spicy Cottage Fries (Aloo Tuk)

Sindh is the birthplace of Indian culture and the society created by the natives living in that time and place was known as the Indus Valley Civilisation, especially in the places; Mohenjodaro & Harappa. These places are now situated in present day Pakistan. In 1947, during the war, the creation of an independent nation called Pakistan happened and Hindu natives of Sindh fled. This is why those people are still Indians and not Pakistanis.

Sindhi cooking has a lot of variety. You will see it incorporate a lot of dishes from Mughal times such as makhani gravies (silky sauce). However, a lot of it is also similar to Gujarati and South Indian cooking, which incorporate the use of spices such as mustard seeds and curry leaves. The dish that we’re going to explore today is Thuvar Dal Chawal, which is a lentil based stew made of pigeon peas and using other vegetables, served with steamed rice. We are also going to be preparing Aloo Tuk with that. Now, while conventional Aloo Tuk is twice-fried, this one is a lot healthier, since it will be baked.

So, let’s learn today about the oldest civilisation in the world and sample some of its great cuisine…

½ cup pigeon peas (toovar dal), soaked overnight
¼ cup each of your favourite peeled and sliced vegetables: carrot, potato, white pumpkin, long beans, drumstick etc.
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi: Hindi)
Salt to taste
2 green chillies
2-3 medium tomatoes
1-2 tsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp sugar (or to taste)

For Tempering:
1 ½ tbsp oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds (rai: Hindi; aur: Sindhi)
Pinch of asafoetida (hing: Hindi & Sindhi)
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera: Hindi, jeero: Sindhi)
5 curry leaves (curry patta: Hindi & Sindhi)

Coriander leaves to garnish (dhaniye ke patte: Hindi; kotmir/dhaana: Sindhi)

1.      Heat pressure cooker with lukewarm water. Add your soaked toovar dal, vegetables, turmeric powder, salt, green chillies, tomato, tamarind pulp and sugar. 
2.  Mix it once or twice; then leave that to boil on medium high heat for about 5 or 6 whistles or until dal and vegetables are soft.
3. Prepare the tempering. Heat oil; add asafoetida, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. 
4. Throw in curry leaves and wait till it crackles. 
5. Add ginger and cook till fragrant. 
6. Pour the tempering over the lentils and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.


2-3 medium potatoes, scrubbed well
Salt to taste
Little black salt to taste
1/4 tsp mango powder (amchur)
½ tsp ground cumin (jeera)
½ tsp red chilli powder
About 2-3 tbsp oil to coat the potatoes

1. Preheat your oven to about 200 deg C  (about 400 deg F or Gas Mark 6). If you have a fan oven, turn it to about 185 deg C (about 350 deg F or Gas Mark 4).
2. Slice your potatoes about ¼ inch thick.
3. Soak the potatoes for about 5-7 mins or at least until the water gets cloudy. This will help to remove excess starch from the potatoes and make it crispier.
4. Add salt and black salt. Remember, you can use either one of those or even both.
5. Add cumin powder, red chilli powder and mango powder. If you don’t have mango powder, ground cumin and/or black salt, you can use about less than ½ tsp of chaat masala. Add oil and coat the potatoes well.  
6. Grease the hot baking tray using a pastry brush. Place your potatoes on and bake for about 15 mins on one side. After 15 mins, remove the tray and flip the potatoes to cook on the other side. Keep repeating this process until you get crispy baked aloo tuk. This should take about 45 mins-1hour if not longer. Remember, everyone’s oven varies, so you will just have to keep an eye on them for best results.
7. Serve these aloo tuks warm with the tuvar dal.

The info on the left is for toovar dal (left of image) & info on the right is for baked aloo tuk
(right of image)

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