Often, I find myself torn between wanting to eat healthy and actually eating healthy.I think it requires a lot of self-control & staunch will power which clearly I don’t have. There are some things in life, which I cannot give up – smearing a dollop of ghee on my roti (flatbread),or a few table spoons of sugar in my daily bowl of yogurt and a butter- laden toast for breakfast. No matter how hard I try, when it comes to these fewbies, my mind is not in unison with my tastebuds One of my friend thinks that I worry too much about all this calorie stuff, he suggests that it is really silly because we are all just going to die anyhow…so its better to eat to your heart’s content & then die.
I always laugh and choose not to get into an altercation with him mainly coz I feel that its an entire different school of thought and by wanting to eat as healthy as I can, I m at least able to shun away few of those unwanted calories if not all. Somewhere in my mind, I feel that “I want eat this way not because I expect to live forever but because I want those years to be healthy, disease free & motivated! ” It’s all about feeling good at the end of the day you see. I might not be eating healthy but at least my thoughts are healthy (no pun intended)
Before marriage, it was quite different when I could choose my way of life or at least eating habits.Mom always had a very straight & simple opinion when it came to healthy eating- she said (infact still says) “Don’t stock up that stuff in the house which will tempt you”. Makes sense if you keep “out of sight..out of mind ” in the frame.During my teens, I never saw potato chips, soda cans, chocolate bars or candies stocked up in our fridge. It was not that we are not allowed to eat or anything like that , just that whenever such cravings occurred, those calories were not available right off the shelf.
However, it never remained the same after marriage.P is a lover of all carby things and that love transcends right from our kitchen cabinets to refrigerator shelves.Let me be honest, I try hard..really hard but sometimes its just so difficult not to pick up that extra cookie or a chocolate square or a scoop of ice cream. Now, come on..isnt it too challenging to resist when calories are handy? After the indulgence has been satisfied,and I feel totally wasted,cribbing takes over for hours.Next morning I get up & decide not to even look at those temptation monsters but alas those traps are way luring!! Some of it is also attributed to the fact that when you have two people with different expectations from food, living under the same roof, choosing & sticking to healthier food options becomes difficult. At least I m horribly nasty at it!
Usually, my calorie binge one day result in simple ( atleast healthier than cookies ) dishes like this prepared the next day. This is a delicious & nutritious dry urad dal preparation very common in the north indian states of Punjab & Uttar Pradesh.Infact, I personally like urad dal more this way than the wet preparation. A very healthy dish with split urad dal cooked to perfection & tempered with lots of onions, garlic and cumin.This quick & nutty lentil preparation tastes better when cold.Spices are not overpowering & the lentils are al dente rather than being too mushy.Usually served as a side with a curry & rice or parathas & pickle, it makes for a light summer meal.You can mix up this dal with lots of vegetable and nuts to make a salad or stuff it inside your wraps and burritos.
Ingredients: – (Serves 2-3)
The recipe can be used to make any lentil variety you wish to. Just adjust the cooking time depending on the lentil type and whether it is split or whole.
- 3/4 cup dhuli urad (Split urad lentils, easily available in indian stores)
- Water for Soaking (as a thumb rule, 1:3 ratio of lentils to water)
- 1/2 cup water for cooking (or as required, depends on how old your lentils are, grain size etc )
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- Fresh lime juice (as per taste)
- 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
- 1/2 tsp sabut dhania (coriander seeds), crushed
- 1/4 tsp hing powder (asafoetida)
- 1/2 cup sliced onions
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger julians
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 3 Thai green chilies, chopped (adjust to tolerance)
Notes: Hing (asafoetida) is a pungent, unpleasant smelling indian spice but adds a lot of flavor to the tempering. Try getting it in powdered form in indian stores, trust me its worth the buy!
Pick the urad dal and thoroughly wash it under a stream of water, 2-3 times. Let soak in enough water for at least 4-5 hours. Note: Soaking the dal is really important so that you don’t end up overcooking it on the stove. Once soaked, drain the water & discard. Spread the soaked lentils on a paper towel.
Cooking the Dal (lentils) - In a heavy bottomed pot with a lid/kadhai, add the soaked lentils along with turmeric powder, salt to taste & 1/2 cup of water. Note: -This quantity of water may sound less, but if your lentils are soaked properly, this amount of water is sufficient to cook them. Transfer the pot to the stovetop, cover with a lid & let the water come to a boil on high heat. When boiling, you will see some scum/foam on top of the lentils.Using a spoon, remove it. Once boiling,reduce the heat to minimum and let the lentils cook on low for about 8-10 minutes. You may need to go and gently stir once or twice in between while cooking to prevent lentils from sticking to bottom. Also if you feel that water needs to be adjusted, do so but add very less quantity of water at a time. The whole idea is not to end up with mushy lentils. We want the grains to remain intact and al dente. After you see that all the water has been absorbed by the lentils (approx 12 minutes from start), remove from heat and let the lentils sit in their own steam for 5-8 minutes. Fluff up with the help of fork once done. Tip:-Once the lentils have cooked & are hot, avoid stirring or mixing too much- they will become mushy.
Tempering the Dal: In a saucepan, add the ghee and let heat on medium. Once heated, add the cumin & coriander seeds and let crackle for about 30 secs. Be careful while adding the spices to hot ghee, they splutter. Reduce the heat to low and add the hing powder, sauté for 10 seconds. Just take care that the spices don’t burn. Add the ginger julians and garlic next and cook for 1-2 minutes till you smell the aroma. Increase the heat to medium and add the sliced onions and let the onions cook till they turn golden brown.About 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat once the onions have browned and add the red chili powder.
Immediately add this tempering to the cooked lentils along with garam masala and chopped green chilies. Mix thoroughly, adjust the salt if required and squirt some fresh lime juice.A dollop of melted ghee on top tastes amazing too.
Serve warm with flatbreads or rice.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!