Of late, I’ve been craving “mom-ka-khaana” more often than usual. This Chana Dal Pulao is one of those trademark mom-dishes which I’ve never had in anybody else’s home. So one fine afternoon when AK left me alone, I decided to whip it up. I had to do this sneakily because, as I may have mentioned countless times, AK hates dal!
So I made it. And Instagrammed it. Which led to a bunch of requests for the recipe. It surprised me. And my mom. Who would have thought that something as simple as Chana Dal Pulao would be interesting to people outside the Arora family!
What I neglected to mention, and skilfully disguised with Lo-Fi, is the fact that I got so engrossed in a phone call that I ended up burning the dal. I still lapped it up but obviously couldn’t blog it! So I waited patiently for Friday Night – boys’ night out and whipped it up again. This time, properly!
For 2 moderate servings, here’s what I used:
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup chana dal
2 medium onions
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger
1 dried bay leaf
1 green cardamom
1 dried red chilli
1 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin)
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp salt
Chopped Dhaniya/ cilantro to garnish
Here’s how I made it:
First I measured out the dal and the rice, washed and soaked them. The dal needs 4-5 hours of soaking and, ideally, begin with hot water. Most rice can be soaked for 1/2 hour in room temperature water. So time yourself accordingly.
When ready to make the pulao, I chopped up the onions and grated the ginger & garlic.
Using a saucepan with a tightly fitting lid, I melted the ghee in it and added the jeera – frying it till fragrant.
Then I added in the bay leaf, cloves, red chilli and cardamom and fried for about 30 seconds.
Then I added the ginger-garlic, fried for 30 seconds before adding the onions.
When the onions were pale and translucent, I drained the water from the dal and added it to the saucepan. After cooking it for 5 mins on high heat, stirring almost continuously, I lowered the heat to minimum and added about 2 tbsp of water and 1/2 tsp salt. Covering it tightly with the lid, I cooked it for about 10 minutes – watching it like a hawk!
Lifting the lid, I added the rice and increased the heat. Cooked this for about 1 minute on high heat, just enough to coat it with the ghee and masala.
Adding 1+1/8 cup water and the remaining salt, I brought it to a boil and then covered with a lid. Lowering the heat to minimum, I cooked it till the rice & dal had absorbed all the water, about 18-19 minutes on my stove.
Turning off the heat, I let the pulao cook further in the residual steam for 5 minutes before lifting up the lid to fluff it with a fork.
While the pulao was in the final steam phase, I made some paalak raita – whipped 1 cup of curd and added 1/4 cup boiled spinach, some chopped onions, salt, red chilli powder and roasted jeera powder to it. I thought it was a nice way to “have-my-veggies”!
And here it is – one of my favourite pulaos, served with a wholesome (green) raita, some sliced tomatoes and Punjabi Mango pickle (courtesy the MIL).