Dhaba Dal ( Kaali Dal)

I was introduced to Kaali Dal pretty late in my life but as it goes, I started liking it instantly. 
I always thought it was an extremely difficult dish to cook but have overcome my fears now. I cook it often now - tried different recipes, but this one here has turned out the best. 

Dhaba Dal ( Kaali Dal)

1. Cook 1 cup urad dal(chilkewaali urad dal) with salt and turmeric in it in a pressure cooker for 4-5 whistles.

2. In a pan, dry roast 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander seeds, saunf, 5-6 cloves and 1 inch piece of cinnamon. Add some turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilli powder and roast some more. Add the salt. Make a fine powder of the spices. You can store this powder. 

3. In a pan, take 1 tbsp of butter (the more the better ;)) .
 Fry 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp ginger finely chopped and 1 tsp garlic finely chopped. 
4. Add 2 medium sized onions finely chopped, pinch of salt and fry till translucent.
6. Add 2 finely chopped green chillies and 3 chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are mushy. I also added 1 tbsp of tomato puree (store bought) for extra taste. Add 2 tsp of the powder and mix well

7. Add the cooked dal and mix well.Adjust the salt. You can add a pinch of sugar to balance out the tangy tomatoes. Cook for 10 mins on a slow flame.
8. Mix in 1 tbsp cream, Garnish with chopped coriander and serve. For added flavor, you can top it up with the spice powder that you had made earlier and some lime juice.

So yeah!! I finally have started baking!!!
Have been baking since Feb, but its tough to find time to blog when you have a toddler who ensures you spend all your time with her :) 

My first cake had to be a rich rum and raisin cake  - I love this cake so much that I have already made it 5 times in the last 2 months :) Anya loves the cake too which makes me want to cook it again and again. Thanks to my friend Deepali Paul for the live demo of how to bake this cake and for not giving me any recipe or measurements ;)...and leaving it to me to experiment with the ingredients. Here is my recipe 

Rum and raisin Cake

1. Take  150 ml of rum  in a vessel and add 2-3 tsp each of chopped prunes, black currants, raisins, cranberries, tutti frooti, chopped candied cherries,  2 tsp melon seeds (for crunchiness).You can be generous with all these ingredients and add them in any proportion that you like.
2. Add 1 tsp orange rind, juice of 2 fresh oranges, 1 tsp coffee powder, 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp cinnamon powder, 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 100 gms brown sugar. 
3. Leave the fruits to soak in the rum for atleast 1 hour - the more you leave it the better the cake will taste.
4. Heat this mixture on a low flame for a quick boil.
5. When the mixture cools down, add 2 eggs, 250 gm  maida, 100 gm butter, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda and fold it well into the rum.
6. Pre heat the oven to 160° C 
7. Grease a cake tin with butter and flour and then pour the cake batter into it. Bake for approx 30 mins at 160° C (or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean)
8. Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool on a rack. When completely cooled remove from the tin. 
This cake tastes better as it matures. You can store at room temperature in an air tight container.

Note: The decoration on the cake is pointless - the cake is yummy any which ways :)
I chanced upon this recipe while browsing for newer Mutton side dishes. "Chukka" means dry gravy in Tamil, and this  apparently is a very famous Chettinad dish. The south indian flavors of curry leaves and the spices gives an added taste to the mutton! A must try for all mutton lovers :)
Mutton Chukka Varuval
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1. Cut 500 gms of boneless mutton (lamb)pieces into small 1 inch pieces. Marinate with salt, pinch of turmeric, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste and 1 tsp red chilli powder for atleast 1 hour. 
2. Pressure cook the marinated mutton  for 5-6 whistles along with water to just cover the pieces. Remove from heat and keep aside to cook before opening the pressure cooker. 
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, saute 5-6 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon and 1 bay leaf. Add 2 sprigs of curry leaves and saute
4. Now add 1 finely chopped onion and saute. Add 5-6 cloves of finely chopped garlic. When the onion is translucent, add 2 chopped tomatoes and saute it till cooked. Add 1 tsp coriander powder at this point.You can also add a pinch of garam masala at the end to increase the balance towards the spices. 

5. Add boiled mutton along with the water used in cooking, mix well with the masala and cook without the lid till the water evaporates. I kept it a little wet so that it can be eaten with rice as well. 
6.Adjust the salt depending on the taste. 
Serve hot as a side dish with chappatis or rice.

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