Dal is almost a staple in our house. I don't make it everyday, but I make it very often. On days when it is pasta/noodles or anything other than rice and roti, dal doesn't make an appearance, but it is there to grace our meals on every other occasion.
Growing up, I saw only four varieties of dal being used. Toor dal (red gram dal) was the most common. Moong dal came second and not a close second. Udad and chana dals were relagated to temperings and that was that. Whole udad and whole chana found many uses, as did whole masoor. It is only when I moved out of home that I started stocking every variety of dal available in the market and learnt how to cook with them. Split, unsplit, skin on, skin off, premixed... you get the drift, don't you?
To aid me in my quest for newer dal dishes, I bought myself a pocket book by Tarla Dalal called "Dal". I have tried several recipes of hers from this book and have never been disappointed. This is one such recipe that I have adapted from this book.
1/2 cup Toor Dal
1/2 cup Moong Dal
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp Ghee
Salt to taste
Grind to a paste:
1 cup Coriander Leaves, chopped
1/3 cup Coconut, scraped
1 Onion, roughly chopped
1" piece of Ginger
3 Green Chillies
3 cloves Garlic
Combine all the ingredients for the paste and grind to a paste using as little water as necessary.
Cook the dals with the turneric powder, salt and 3 cups of water. Drain the water, reserving 1/2 cup (or save the rest for rasam). Mash the dals well.
Heat the ghee in a pan and add the ground paste. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the mashed dal and the 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Serve hot with rice or rotis.