I am making a Goan Dinner this Sunday. For those of my diners that are avoiding simple carbs, like rice, I wanted to provide a more complex carbohydrate option. I looked at several recipes, but many of them seemed more generally Indian, rather than Goan. I freely adapted from one of the Goan recipes to create my own.
Urad dal (Black lentil) is a actually a bean—not a true lentil—used in Goan cuisine. As a result, it takes much longer to cook than lentils. I wanted this to be a side dish, so I made it vegetarian. Finally, nearly every dish in Goan cuisine seems to include some coconut and frequently some kokum. Kokum is a dried sour plum, that you turn into a paste, that will give your dish a sour taste and a deep red color.
Karl’s Goan Urad Dal
5-6 pieces of dried kokum
Note: Use tamarind paste instead, if you cannot find kokum in your area
1 cup Urad dal
1 Beefsteak tomato
1 Tbs. coconut oil
1 Jalapeño, diced finely
¼ tsp. Kosher salt, to taste
1 tsp. mustard seeds
¼ cup coconut cream
1 tsp. ginger, fresh grated
½ tsp. turmeric powder
¼ tsp. Kashmiri chili powder
1 Tbs. cilantro leaves, minced
1. Sort and rinse the Urad dal.
Note: Drain and reserve.
2. Chop the kokum into bits and soak it in ½ cup of warm water for at least 30 minutes.
Tip: This is a bare minimum, overnight would be better, the skin is fairly thick and it takes a long time to re-hydrate.
3. Remove the seeds and grind the skin and pulp, with two tablespoons of water, into a paste.
4. Blanch, peel, seed and chop the tomato.
Tip: Scrape the seeds into a fine meshed sieve to save the jelly. Discard the skin and seeds.
5. Put the tomato and jelly into a standing blender, process to a smooth paste.
6. Pour the tomato puree into a measuring cup and add the kokum paste and water to make 2 cups of liquid, reserve this for later.
7. Add the oil to a small pot and heat it over a medium heat.
8. Add the peppers and salt to the pot. Sauté them for 2 minutes.
9. Add the mustard seeds and continue cooking for one minute, until the seeds start to “pop.”.
10. Add the Urad dal and the tomato puree water.
11. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and simmer until the Urad dal is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30-40 minutes.
12. Stir in the coconut cream, ginger, turmeric and chili powder.
13. Simmer for 2-3 minutes more minutes until the dal has thickened.
Tip: If the dal is not thick enough for your taste you may mash some of the lentils against the side of the pot with a spoon, or give the dal a pulse or two with an immersion blender.
14. Transfer the dal to a serving bowl and garnish with some cilantro.