Aamba Daal

Aamba daal is one of those quick-n-simple recipes that make you wonder how such a simple recipe can taste so heavenly. Raw mango being an essential element of Aamba Daal (sometimes also referred to as ‘Vatli Daal or ‘Kairichi Dal’), it is a dish associated with summer.

In fact, during haldi-kunku gatherings – a popular social tradition in Maharashtra – in the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu Calendar, Aamba Daal & Kairi Panha is the standard menu. For me personally, Aamba Daal is very strongly associated with childhood memories of the 11-day Ganpati festival that used to be celebrated with great gusto at the Maharashtra Mandal in Chennai. For reasons I have never questioned, Aamba Daal used to be the standard menu on the last day of Ganpati – post visarjan – when we would trudge back after bidding adieu to Ganpati & eleven eventful evenings and be fed Aamba Daal to get our spirits up.

Ingredients:

  • Chana Daal – 1 cup
  • Green Chillies – 1 or 2
  • Fresh, grated coconut – 1 tablespoon
  • Raw Mango (grated) – 1 to 1.5 tablespoons (This depends on how sour the raw mango is – the more sour it is, the less you need)
  • Sugar – a pinch
  • Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Mustard seeds (Rai) – 1/2 a tspn
  • Asafoetida (hing) – 1/4th tspn
  • Turmeric (Haldi) – 1/4th tspn
  • Dry red chilly – 1 (optional)
  • Coriander (chopped) – 1 tablespoon

Preparation:

Soak the Chana Daal for 2-3 hours at the minimum. Transfer it to a strainer and leave it for 10-15 minutes so that all the water is completely drained.

Then add salt & green chillies and grind it to a very coarse consistency. When using a mixie, this gets done in a jiffy so watch out as you don’t want a paste. Transfer to a bowl and add the coconut, raw mango and pinch of sugar to this, mixing well.

Make the tadka (or Phodni – as it is called in Marathi) in a tadka laddle or small pan. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, turn off the gas. Then add the Hing, Haldi and red chilly (cut into 2 pieces). The red chilly is optional – it adds a certain flavour to the dish but also ups the spice levels.

Cool the phodni to room temperature. Then pour it over the Chana Daal mix & blend. Top it off with chopped coriander and get ready to dig into this yummy summer treat.

Aamba Daal can be eaten as is – as a snack or in lieu of a salad.