Daaleecha Sambaaraa

We all have our ‘comfort foods’ – and Daaleecha Sambaraa or Daaleechi Amti…or, as the Nadkarni family tends to refer to it, “Banda aamti” (after our ancestral hometown of Banda) is one such. A Sunday lunch of fried fish, kuleeth (horsegram) usal, kusbeer, Daaleecha Sambaaraa and Solkadhi….coupled with loud & boisterous conversation as we linger over the food long after our plates are dry…is enough to satiate the simple Nadkarni soul!

So without further ado, I present here a simple dal recipe that is unique in its taste. The interesting thing about this dal preparation is that NO OIL is used!

Version 1: With Drumstick-

Ingredients:

  • Toor Dal – 1 cup
  • Onion, medium size – 1, finely chopped
  • Drumstick – 1, with its skin removed and cut into approx 2 inch pieces. 7-8 pieces is what you would need
  • Fresh grated coconut – 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Green Chillies – 4 to 5
  • Haldi (Turmeric) – 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind – size of 1 lemon
  • Coriander
  • Salt to taste

Version 2: With Jackfruit seeds (see further below)

Procedure:

Keep about 1 tsp of the chopped onion aside

Soak the tamarind in some water and keep aside

Pressure cook the dal with some water for 2 whistles. Keep Aside

In a pan, pour about 2 cups of water and add the drumstick pieces, the remaining chopped onion, 2-3 green chillies (slit down the middle), turmeric and salt to taste (should be sufficient for the dal too). Cover with a lid and steam till the drumstick is fully cooked.

Then add the cooked dal and tamarind pulp (from the tamarind soaked earlier) and boil for a good five minutes – till the raw smell of tamarind fades away.

While the above is being steamed & boiled, grind the grated coconut, 1 tspn of chopped onion, 1 or 2 green chillies (depending on how much spice you can take) with a little water. Coarsely grind – take care that it doesn’t become a fine paste. This is known as the ‘Vatap’ or ‘Goli’ in Kokani.

Add this ‘vatap’ to the boiled dal above and bring it to a light boil. Add chopped coriander leaves and serve.

Daaleecha Sambaaraa is best eaten with rice

Daleecha Sambaaraa with Jackfruit Seeds:

Note – Whenever you have Jackfruit, wash the seeds thoroughly and dry them – in the sun, if possible- for a few days and store. You can make a number of delicacies with them and also use them to add some zing to other dishes like this dal or some bhajis (sabjis)

If you are lucky enough to lay your hands on jackfruit seeds, then this is the slight variation in the prep of Daaleecha Sambaaraa:

Remove the fine shell on the jackfruit seeds (if it still remains) and chop them into two or, at max, four pieces. When pressure cooking the dal, cook it with the jackfruit seeds and the chopped onions (unlike in the drumstick version where you cook the onion with the drumsticks)

Rest of the procedure is the same as in the drumstick version of the dal.

Tisrya (Clams) Masala

It has been many many months since we made ‘Tisrya’ (clams) at home – so it was decided that the situation has to be rectified promptly. Result was an oh-so-wonderful, Tisrya-focused, lazy Sunday lunch…as only Sunday lunches can be. So I decided I should be prompt enough in posting the recipe as well. So here goes…

Tisrya are made in many ways in the konkan region – sukha (dry), with gravy (which in turn can be a thick or watery), etc. This is the gravy-wala recipe.

photo2

BTW, for folks like me, cleaning & prepping the Tisrya itself is a learning. So for similar ignoramus/ novice folks, have done a detailed note below (after the recipe) on this aspect.

A couple of fundas before I begin:

– Like with certain other seafood, Tisrya are traditionally NOT eaten during the months of May, June, July & August (months which do not have an ‘R’ in their spelling) as it is the breeding season. While neophytes & commercial establishments ignore this, families like mine stick to this quite religiously.

– Small Tisrya are considered better – and tastier – than medium or large ones. So when you go shopping, don’t get tempted by the large guys.

Ingredients (for about 40-50 Tisrya):

General:

  • Tisrya – 40-50 pieces
  • Onions – 2 (medium size) – finely chopped (about 1.5 cups in volume)
  • Potato – 1 (large) – cut into 8 pieces, leaving the skin intact
  • Garlic – 15 pods (pounded)
  • Tamarind – size of one lemon
  • Hing (Asafoetida) – 1/2 tspn
  • Haldi (Turmeric) – 1/2 to 3/4 tspn
  • Red Chilli Powder- 1/2 tspn (can add more if your spice levels are higher)
  • Garam Masala – 1/2 tspn
  • oil – 2-3 tspns
  • salt to taste

For the Masala:

  • Onion – 1 large
  • Dry Coconut (copra) – a piece of approximately 2-3″ square dimensions
  • Fresh grated coconut – 1 tbspn full
  • Lavang (cloves) – 4-5
  • Dalchini (cinnamon) – 3-4 pieces (1 inch size)
  • Whole black peppers –7-8
  • Dhaney(coriander seeds) – 2 tspns
  • khas khas (poppy seeds) – 1/2 tspn
  • oil – 1 tspn

 

Procedure:

Soak the tamarind in some water and set aside

Making the Masala:

Directly roast the lone large onion directly on the gas on a slow flame till it turns black all over. Keep turning it so it gets roasted on all sides. An easy way to do this is to stick a fork into the onion so it becomes easy to keep turning it. When done, remove the blackened cover and chop into large pieces.

Similarly, roast the Dry coconut (copra) piece directly on the gas till it blackens all over. Scrape off the blackened portion slightly after it cools down – not completely though. The blackened portion adds to the taste. Then pound the copra piece well. (In kokani or marathi, this is called ‘thechaney’). Alternately, you can chop into fine pieces too

In a ‘tadka ladle’ (called ‘pali’ in kokani/marathi) or on any flat pan/tawa – add 1 tspn oil, the lavang (cloves), dalchini (cinnamon), black pepper and dhaney (coriander seeds) and roast well. Basically the dhaney have to get roasted well till they slightly change colour. Turned off the gas, then add the khus khus and mix well. The reason why the khus khus is added after the gas is turned off is because, otherwise, the khus khus gets burnt. Wait till this mix cools down.

Grind this along with the roasted onion, roasted copra and fresh grated coconut into a fine paste. The trick is to first run the mixie with these ingredients as is for one round, then add a little water and run it again. The resultant paste should be thick (not watery) and fine. Keep aside

Making the Dish:

In a pan, in 2-3 tspns of heated oil, add the pounded garlic pods, hing (asafoetida), haldi, finely chopped onions and salt (note that Tisrya are a salty seafood – so you need hardly about 3/4th tspn of salt for this quantum of Tisrya).  Roast till the onion gets a little soft. Then add the large chopped pieces of potato and the cleaned Tisrya (look below for how they are cleaned and one side of the shell removed) – and add water (Note: Use the water in which the Tisrya have been first warmed – see the prepping process described below). The water has to be just enough so that it is level with the Potato+Tisrya volume – roughly the same volume. To this, add the garam masala and red chilly powder. Cover with a flat lid and add some water ON the lid. Cook over a medium flame till the onion & potatoes get cooked. The Tisrya get done in the meantime. To check if the onion is cooked, take a small bit out and press. If it is soft and disintegrates easily, it means the onion is done. The whole process should take about 10-15 minutes for this quantum of Tisrya.

Once the onions and potatoes are cooked, add the tamarind pulp and boil well for a full five minutes – till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

Turn down the flame to low and add the ground masala and blend well. Add water if you want the gravy to be a little more ‘liquidy’. Basically, how thick or liquidy the gravy has to be is an individual preference – so you can decide. Bring the gravy to a light boil on the low flame. And your Tisrya are done.

Like a lot of gravies from the konkan belt, this dish tastes best when it is left aside for a few hours before eating. So try and make it at least a few hours before your meal.

Tisrya masala can be eaten with chapatties or rice. Nothing like having it with Solkadhi-Rice!

 

CLEANING & PREPPING THE TISRYA:

This is something that I have learnt only in the recent past. Listing down the steps below so the process is clear:

– When you buy the Tisrya – first of all, make sure that they are ‘clammed shut’. If they are beginning to open up, it means that they are not fresh

– Start the cleaning by washing the Tisrya thoroughly in running water. Do it 4-5 times till any residual sand/mud is washed off.

– Next the tisrya need to be split open as only half a shell with the meat is used in the dish and the empty half-shell is discarded. My parents tell me that in the ‘old days’, the Tisrya would be split open after they are washed over a ‘Vili’ – (a traditional cutter which is actually far more effective than a knife once you get the hang of using it!). Apparently this process of cutting the tisrya open – called ‘Karlaavnay’ – is a skill and not everyone could really do it. Luckily, the next generation of super-innovative ladies like my mom have come up with a much easier way of doing this. So you basically put the washed Tisrya in a pan, add some water (a little – just a tad lesser than that required to submerge all the tisrya) and heat it for about 5-6 minutes, keeping a lid on the pan. Check from time to time – you can see the Tisrya gradually opening up.  Put off the gas once they all open and let them be till they cool. IMP – DO NOT drain and chuck the water – use it for cooking as some of the flavour is drained into the water while the Tisrya are getting heated!

-This is how an ‘opened up’ Tisri looks like:

photo7

– Split this open so it looks like this (note that the two parts of the shell are still fused together at the central ‘hinge’:

photo6

– Next take the top shell and slowly twist it while gathering the meat stuck to the bottom shell. In the process, the two shells come apart. If they don’t, pull them apart 🙂

photo3

 

photo5

– Watch out for small silverish piece(s) that would – in all probability – be there in the meat. These are fine pieces of shell that need to be removed. In our part of the world, there is a specific name for this – called “kakri”.  Getting rid of the kakri is an important aspect of cleaning tisrya. The picture below shows you what a kakri looks like:

photo4

– Once you have separated the shells, gathered the meat and removed the ‘kakri’ – individually – you are ready to go ahead with cooking.

Whoever said making Tisrya was easy, huh? There is a lot of hard work involved – but well worth the effort!

 

 

Kaala (Black) Mutton

Happy Holi, folks! After a very long hiatus, this blog sees some activity. The much needed inspiration came from a dear friend who was determined to try out my mom’s signature mutton dish – Kaala (Black) Mutton. So we jotted down the recipe for her in staccato ‘whatsapp’ mode, which she faithfully followed and I was fortunate to relish the dish at her place amidst great company on a chilled-out saturday evening. (We also made mom’s stuffed pomfret, btw – which is going to be a separate post!)

This recipe has been handed down in my mom’s family. I recollect my beloved Usha Mavshi, my mom’s late sister, making this – it used to be, quite simply, THE VERY BEST.  Meticulous and the perfectionist that she was, she would line up all the ingredients precisely before embarking on the kaala mutton journey. This post is in the memory of Usha Mavshi.

BTW, making this mutton is indeed a ‘journey’ – elaborate that it is. This friend slogged over it for a good two hours!

Ingredients (for 1 kg mutton):

For the marination:

  • Ginger-garlic-green chillies-coriander-Pudina paste
  • Turmeric – 1 to 2 tspns
  • Curd – 4 tablespoons
  • Salt to taste

For the dry masala:

  • Lavang (cloves) – 10,
  • Dalchini(cinnamon) – 3 to 4 pieces (1 inch size),
  • Whole black peppers – 20
  • Badishep (Aniseed or Saunf)- 1 tspn
  • Velchi / Elaichi (cardamom)- 1or 2 pods
  • Dhaney(coriander seeds) – 2 tbspns
  • Dry red chillies – 7 to 8

For the ‘fresh’ masala:

  • Ginger – 3-4 slices,
  • Garlic pods- 4-5,
  • Onions – finely Sliced (not chopped) – 2
  • Fresh coconut – grated – 1 cup.
  • Dry coconut (copra) – grated – 1 cup
  • khas khas (poppy seeds) – 1 tsp full

Other ingredients:

  • Mutton – 1 kg
  • Onions – finely chopped – 2.5 cups
  • Shah Jeera (Black Cummin) -1/2 (half) tsp
  • Tejpatta (Bay leaf) – 2 or 3
  • Potatoes (Optional) – cut into large pieces
  • Tamarind – size of 1 lemon

Procedure:

Stage 1: Marination

Apply all the ingredients mentioned under marination above to the mutton (cut into pieces). Keep aside for at least an hour, if not more

Stage 2: On the side

Soak the tamarind in water and keep aside

Stage 3: Cooking the mutton

Add 1.5 cups of finely chopped onions to the mutton, add on sufficient water so that the whole mix is just-about submerged and pressure cook

Stage 4: Making the masalas

In very little oil, roast all the ingredients of the dry masala. Keep aside

In same vessel, in a little oil,  add the slices of ginger, garlic pods and sliced onions. After the onion browns, add the fresh grated coconut and roast till it becomes light brown in colour.  Then add the grated dry coconut (copra) and the khas khas and roast till golden brown.

Mix earlier dry masala to this and wait till it all cools down. Then grind it to a paste – not very fine though.

Stage 5: Putting it all together

In a little oil, add the Shah Jeera, Tejpatta and one cup of finely chopped onion and fry till golden brown. Add cubes of potato (optional). Add on a little water n cook till the onions n potatoes are fully cooked. Then add  the cooked mutton and the tamarind pulp (from the soaked tamarind) and boil till the raw smell of tamarind goes away. Then add the ground masala paste, adjust the water to the gravy consistency you like and bring to a boil on a slow flame for 2-3 minutes.

This dish gets its dark colour (hence ‘kaala’ mutton) from the tamarind basically. The older (mature) the tamarind is, the darker the colour)

You can have this mutton with rice or chappatis. Its best to cook the mutton at least a few hours before the meal and leave it aside. It tastes better that way 🙂