Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Rajasthan - Daal Baati

I've made a lot of Indian dishes in the past and I absolutely adore Indian food, however when it came to making a traditional Rajasthani dish, I was surprised at how difficult it actually was!  Perhaps I didn't have the best recipe in the world - certainly measuring things in cupfuls isn't terribly scientific (a lot depends on the size of your cup!).  Nevertheless, I managed to get my hands on some ingredients I've not really used before and it was fun to try something completely different.

I also wanted to make a vegetarian dish, as most people in India live on a mainly vegetarian diet.  I found a recipe for Daal Baati on a website for traditional Indian food.  Daal is, well, beans cooked in a spicy masala.  Baati are wholewheat dumplings, that didn't quite turn out as I expected. 

I started with the Baati, mixing together wholewheat flour with ghee, a type of Indian butter which has the most amazing yellow colour, which hopefully you can see in my photos.  I couldn't find curds, but I substituted with cottage cheese. 

I rolled the dough into small 'lemon sized' balls and put them in the oven for about 30 minutes.  The recipe didn't specify exact quantities or time in the oven, so that might have resulted in the dough balls being a little bit harder than I expected.  They tasted okay, but were like rocks by the following morning.

Making the daal was a lot easier.  I was surprised to find that a traditional ingredient in a lot of Rajasthani dishes is rajma beans, or as we call them, red kidney beans!  Of course, red kidney beans were first brought to India from the Americas, but they've really caught on in India and are a staple for many people.  I also steeped black gram or black beans (a reminder of all the black beans we ate in Cuba!).  I fried the onion until it was practically carmelised, then added tomatoes and spices, the beans, some cream and more ghee, finally adding sliced chillis as a garnish. 

I was much happier with the way the daal turned out and it was really tasty.  I think I will try another Indian dish before I finish blogging about Rajasthan.  Perhaps I'll do one with meat next time :-)

Image credits

All photos of the food were taken by me. 

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