Aamba/Aambe Daal

I am here with the second recipe in what I have chosen to call this season’s ‘Raw Mango Series’. Aamba/aambe dal is a traditional Maharashtrian dish, famous for the minimal use of the gas that it requires as well as the limited time within which it can be made. It can be eaten by itself, as a relish or salad, or as a side with rotis and sabzi. I had it with dosas yesterday and loved the combination, too. In Maharashtrian homes, aamba/aambe daal is prepared commonly during festivals and offered to guests along with haldi and kumkum.

Once upon a time, we used to live in a Maharashtrian colony in Ahmedabad – a little Maharashtra right in the middle of Gujarat. We were surrounded by Maharashtrians left, right and centre, and my grandmother was friends with many of them. She learnt many Maharasthrian recipes from her neighbours, and there was a distinct Marathi touch to her cooking – she has stopped cooking since years, thanks to old age. She has passed on quite a few of the Maharashtrian recipes from her repertoire to my mother.

All of us at home were big fans of my grandma’s aamba/aambe daal, but somehow, no one made it after she stopped cooking. Recently, though, I got reminded of this dish while looking for recipes for my Raw Mango Series.

I am not sure if the recipe I used is authentic, but this is the way my grandma used to make it. A large part of the recipe is, therefore, from memory. It did turn out delicious, if I may say so myself, exactly like old times.

Here is how I made it…

Ingredients (makes enough for 3 people, as a snack)

1 raw mango, peeled and grated

1 medium-sized seedless cucumber, peeled and grated

1 cup chana dal

Salt, to taste

A pinch of turmeric powder

1 teaspoon sugar

A pinch of asafoetida

3 dry, red chillies

Red chilli powder, to taste

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method:

1. Soak the chana dal and dry, red chillies in just enough water to cover them, for about 3 hours.

2. After 3 hours, drain out the excess water from the chana dal. Grind the soaked chana dal and red chillies in a mixer, to a coarse paste. Make sure that the paste remains coarse and does not get too smooth. Empty the paste in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the salt and red chilli powder to taste, sugar, finely chopped coriander, turmeric powder, grated cucumber and grated raw mango to the chana dal paste. Mix well. Check for seasoning, and add more if required.

4. In a kadhai, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Switch off the gas and add the asafoetida to the hot oil. Add this mixture to the chana dal paste in the bowl. Mix well.

There you go, this beauty is ready to eat!

Here is my first post for this season’s Raw Mango Series.

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