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Daal-Baati - Rajasthani Lentils and Dumplings

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This almost staple dish from the cuisine of Rajasthan in western India, is simple and nutritious. It is even served on special occasions! The Baati are traditionally roasted in an open coal fire but you can also cook them under a grill or in your oven. They are then eaten dipped in the thick, soup-like Daal. The Daal is traditionally made with a number of different types of lentils but you can use as many as you have at the moment. The Baatis can be made ahead of time. Just remember to keep them warm though. This recipe makes about 15-20 of them.

Ingredients:

  • For the Daal: 100 gms raw Moong Daal (split yellow lentils)
  • 100 gms raw whole Urad Daal (black lentils)
  • 100 gms raw Toor Daal (split yellow pigeon peas)
  • 100 gms raw Chana Daal (split Bengal gram)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida powder
  • 3-4 tbsps melted ghee
  • 2 green chillies washed and slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsps grated ginger
  • For the Baati: 300 gms whole wheat flour
  • 150 gms coarse semolina
  • 5 tbsps Bengal gram flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsps ghee/ clarified butter (see recipe below)

Preparation:

  • Mix all the Daals together in a bowl and wash thoroughly. Now put them into a pressure cooker and add 3 cups of water. Add the turmeric, red chilli and asafetida powders. Stir and cover the pressure cooker. Boil till the Daal are soft. This should take approximately 3 'whistles'. This means you start to cook on high heat until you hear one pressure release. Then you reduce the heat to low and cook till you hear two more subsequent pressure releases.
  • Turn off heat. Keep aside till all pressure is released and then open. You can also cook the Daals without a pressure cooker... it just takes longer. To do this you need to put the Daals in a heavy bottomed pan and add 4-5 cups of water. Cook on medium heat till the Daals are very soft. Add more water to prevent drying out, as required. The end result should be that the Daal mixture looks like a thick soup.
  • Once the Daals are cooked, it is time to temper them. To do this, heat the ghee a small pan. When it is hot, add the green chillies, cumin seeds and grated ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Immediately add to the boiled Daal mixture. Season with salt to taste and mix well. The Daal is now ready. Next we will prepare the Baati.
  • To make the Baati, put the flour, semolina, bengal gram flour, salt and ghee into a large mixing bowl. Mix well and then knead for 5-7 minutes till a a firm dough is formed. Keep aside for 10 minutes.
  • Now pre-heat your oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ Gas Mark 6.
  • Divide the dough into equal sized portions and roll into smooth balls. Press very lightly to flatten the balls just a little. Arrange them on a greased baking tray about 1" from each other.
  • Bake the Baatis in the oven till golden. You need to turn them every 5-7 minutes to ensure even browning and cooking.
  • To serve, put some Daal into a bowl (individual portion size) and set on a plate. Add some Baatis and serve. To eat, the Baati is broken in half and dipped in the Daal! To make this even more special, break the Baatis in half and lay on the plate. Now drizzle with melted ghee! Dip in the Daal and eat!
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