If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting one of the Dishoom restaurants, then you know these dishes are something special.
Yes, this daal does take around 6 hours to make, but it’s definitely worth the effort. If you’re in lockdown, don’t have a demanding social or work life, or just want an excuse to stay in the house for awhile – then this recipe is perfect!
In terms of accessing ingredients, I bought the black urad daal beans from a speciality Indian store in Putney, but you can also get these on Amazon. Our deggi mirch chilli powder order was unfortunately victim to lockdown postal delays, so I used paprika instead and it was still rich and full of flavour.
If you’re looking for more delicious Bombay comfort food, I can highly recommend Dishoom’s cookbook!
- 300g whole (black) urad daal
- 12g garlic paste
- 10g ginger paste
- 70g tomato puree
- 8g fine sea salt
- 2/3 tsp deggi mirch chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 90g unsalted butter
- 90ml double cream
- Put the daal into a large bowl, cover with water and whisk for 10 seconds. Let the daal settle, then pour out the water. Repeat 3 or 4 times, until the water is clear.
- Tip the daal into a large saucepan and pour in at least 4 litres of cold water. Bring to the boil and cook steadily for 2-3 hours. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface, and add more boiling water as required to keep the grains well covered. The daal grains need to become completely soft, with the skins coming away from the white grain. When pressed, the white part should be creamy, rather than crumbly. When cooked, turn off the heat and allow the pan to sit for 15 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix the garlic and ginger pastes, tomato puree, salt, chilli powder and garam masala to a paste.
- Carefully pour off the daal cooking water then pour on enough freshly boiled water to cover the daal by 3-4cm. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat and add the aromatic paste and butter. Cook rapidly for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the mixture from sticking.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 1-1.5hours, stirring very regularly to prevent it from sticking and adding a little boiling water if the liquid level gets near the level of the grains. Eventually, it will become thick and creamy. The creaminess must come from the grains disintegrating into the liquid and enriching it, not from the water being allowed to evaporate leaving only the grains behind.
- Add the cream and cook for a further 15 minutes. Serve with chapatis or other Indian breads.
Note: When reheating any leftover daal, you may need to add a little more liquid; use cream or cream and water, rather than water alone.
Garlic and ginger pastes
Makes about 170g
- 3 garlic bulbs or 180g fresh root ginger
- 25ml vegetable oil, plus extra to store the paste
- Peel your garlic or ginger completely and roughly chop.
- Using a mini food processor or blender, blitz the garlic or ginger with the oil to a smooth paste. The oil should be enough to loosen the mixture; if it seems too think add 2-3 tsp water.
- Place in a clean, sterilised jar and cover the surface with a thin layer of oil. Store in the fridge and use within 10 days.
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