Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Solun Harbaryachi Masala Amti - Sprouted Lentil Spiced Curry

Last weekend, D was craving some traditional coconut based amti ('Amti' is any dal preparation that can be served over rice) and requested that I prepare one of his childhood favorite 'Solun Harbaryachi Masala Amti' translated as 'Sprouted Lentil Spiced Curry'. I inherited some of these authentic family recipes from my MIL and always make one of these curries when D craves this food that he grew up eating. Although I did not have much liking for such coconut based masala amtis, over the last few years I have developed a taste for them and now I actually enjoy the flavors of such foods.

Basically, this is a coastal maharashtrian dish with sprouted and deskinned black chana (small chickpeas with brownish black skin) and hence requires some planning. The generous amount of cashewnuts and spicy coconut masala makes this spicy and tangy amti very delicious. This is typically served on white rice with a side of a vegetable and some fried papadums or fritters which are a perfect complement and make it a truly complete meal. However, it also goes very well with bhakris, so I made some rice flour bhakris to go along with the amti. A spoonful or two of desi ghee over this spicy amti makes this meal a delectable palate pleaser!

Ingredients -
2 cups kala chana
1 medium onion chopped
1 tbsp broken cashewnut pieces
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala/ goda masala
2 tsp tamarind paste/ to taste
1 tbsp grated jaggery/ to taste
¼ tsp asafetida/ hing
½ tsp mustard seeds
3-4 tbsp coconut masala paste (masalyache khobre)
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Method -
1. Soak the kala chana in warm water overnight. Drain the water and transfer the chana to a clean muslin cloth. Cover them with the cloth loosely and keep the cloth moist. The chana will sprout within a day or two. Now soak the sprouted chana in warm water and de- skin them. 
2. Cook the deskinned chana with chopped onions, cashewnuts and some water in the pressure cooker.
3. Heat oil in a pan/ kadai. Add some mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the hing.
4. Now add the cooked kala channa, red chilli powder, garam/ goda masala and cook for sometime.
5. Add salt, tamarind paste and jaggery and mix together.
6. Add the coconut masala to this and let the sal simmer for 5-10 min.
7. Serve with rice, bhakri or chapatti.

This goes to Suma's 'Delicious Dals from India' event and Susan's 'My Legume Love Affair (MLLA)' event.

Goda Masala

This is an authentic Maharashtrian spice mixture. It adds a nice unique flavor to curries, dals and rice preparations and any Mahasrashtrian dish is incomplete without the addition of this masala. Luckily for me, my mom prepares this for me. I bring back a big batch to last me for atleast a year every time I go to India. It has pretty much all the regular spices and dried coconut which are slowly roasted in a pan and then pounded into a fine powder. The secret lies in the proportions and I'm sure every family has their own proportions and procedure of making this masala which gives a slightly different taste.

Ingredients -
1/2 kg coriander seeds
1/4 Kg dried coconut (@ 1/2 dried coconut)
2 tsp cloves
1 tsp asafoetida/ Hing
1/2 cup turmeric powder
1/2 cup red chilli powder (as per ur choice)
1 handful tej Patta/ tamal patra
1 cup white sesame seeds
1 handful dagad phool
1 tsp kesar
1/2 cup cumin seeds
4 tsp shahi jeera
6 -7 finger length of cinammom
3 tsp pepper black
1 tsp methi/ fenugreek seeds

Method -
1. Roast all the above ingredients in a kadai on low flame with very little oil.
2. Let the mixture become luke warm. Then grind the spices in a blender into a fine powder.

Masalyache Khobre - Coconut Masala Paste

This is a traditional coastal Maharashtrian masala paste which is used in many authentic veg and non- veg dishes. This masala can be stored in the freezer for more than a month.
Ingredients -
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 cup dried grated coconut
6 -8 peppercorns
6-8 cloves
6-8 cinnamon pieces
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1-2 tbsps oil

Method -
1. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and coriander seeds and roast it on very low heat for sometime till you starting getting a nice aroma of these spices.
2. Add poppy seeds and roast for sometime. Then add sliced onions and fry till the onions turn golden brown.
3. Add the dried coconut and roast till the coconut turns golden brown.
4. Cool the mixture and grind it into a smooth paste with very little water in your blender.
5. This masala can be stored in the freezer for more than a month .