There’s a lot to love about ceramicist Maham Anjum. Her hands that move with well-practised grace on her pottery wheel, moulding large, unfriendly-looking boulders of clay into elegant bowls and biryani pots. Her rickety, wooden studio in the midst of an overgrown garden that’s filled in summer with hollyhocks, butterflies and a curious little fox.
Her work, of course, out of which we ate this heavenly dal. And the manner in which she introduced it: ‘I just put it all in a pot and stir it.’ It’s that simple, and now it is one of my favourite things to make and eat most weeks.
This dal, which has been photographed in one of Maham’s handmade bowls, is made with the very quick-cooking mung dal, which are the de-husked, split yellow insides of green mung beans – look for it in big supermarkets or Asian food shops. Since this recipe was first published in East, I’ve adapted it by cooking out the tomatoes and garlic first, though Maham just throws them into the pot with everything else.
Prep 10 min
Cook 45 min
3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
250g vine tomatoes, (ie, 3 medium ones), chopped
300g mung dal
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli flakes
12 fresh curry leaves
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 green finger chilli, very finely chopped
1 handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped, to serve
In a large saucepan, heat two tablespoons of oil over a medium heat and, when hot, add the garlic and ginger, and cook for three minutes, until they turn a pale shade of gold. Add the tomatoes, cook for five to six minutes, then add the dal, turmeric, chilli flakes, four of the curry leaves and a litre and a quarter of water. Put a cocked lid on top of the pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, leave the dal to cook, stirring every now and then, for 30-40 minutes, until soft and fairly thick, then stir in the salt.
When the dal is nearly cooked, make the tarka. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat and, when it’s smoking hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, green chilli and remaining eight curry leaves. When the leaves crisp up and the seeds crackle, which should happen within the first minute, take the tarka off the heat and pour into the dal. Stir to mix, sprinkle over the coriander and serve with freshly steamed basmati rice.
Source: Thanks https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/feb/29/meera-sodha-vegan-tarka-dal-recipe-maham-anjum