This is the season when array of vegetables are out in their freshest form. I was longing for this bhaja moong dal which has peas and fried florets of cauliflower. Don’t get me wrong, but even a habitual foodie like me got flummoxed few years back when I heard the word “Radhuni” as an aromatic flavor used in preparation of dal. Till then for me Radhuni was a term used for domestic cook in Bengali household. Then what on Earth could it be? But when I got to know about this taste enhancing spice, then I realized how strong and powerful it is which boosts the tastes of Dal, Sukto and it’s veg additives but also does away with ginger and garlic as a tadka ingredients. The key of the taste is to add in right proportion and Voila ! You have your tadka dal with good taste in front of you.
|This is how Radhuni looks like|
Wikipedia says: "It is a very strong spice, with a characteristic smell similar to parsley and a taste similar to celery. A couple of pinches can easily overpower a curry. In Bengali cuisine the seeds are used whole, quickly fried in very hot oil until they crackle. They are part of a local panch phoron (Bengali five spice) mixture, where they replace the more commonly used mustard seed; the other ingredients are cumin seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed, and kalonji. In other places, a common use is in pickles or spice mixtures.
1 cup Moong Dal (Yellow split Moong lentil)
1/4 cup Peas
1/4 cup chopped Cauliflower
1 tsp chopped Ginger
Pinch of Radhuni (Hindi name Ajmud)
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds powder
2 Green chilies (slit) or 2 Whole red chilly
1 tsp Turmeric
Pinch of Sugar (optional)
Salt to taste
3 tbsp Ghee
Dry roast moong dal in a frying pan on low heat and keep stirring continiously till it gives a nutty aroma and becomes very light golden color. Turn off the heat and keep roasting the dal as the heat of pan is strong enough to burn the bottom of Moong dal. Wash dal in running water till 2-3 times. Then pressure cook it with turmeric, salt and double amount of water (2 cups + 1/2 cup) and cook till dal is tender (2 whistles). You can also boil dal in a heavy kadhai by covering the lid on low flame and cook for 25-30 minutes. Add more water if required and simmer until dal is cooked.
In a separate pan, heat ghee and fry the small florets of cauliflower by sprinkling some salt and turmeric powder. Fry till they turn golden brown. Keep aside. In the same pan add bay leaf, chopped ginger and radhuni. Fry for a minutes and you will get nice aroma of radhuni add chillies now and stir. Add cooked dal, peas and fried cauliflower, cover the lid and let all this give a boil on low flame. Add sugar (optional), check salt and add bhaja jeere guro (roasted cumin seeds powder). Serve with plain rice.
- You can skip peas and cauliflower in this dal, the simplicity will still hold you for good.
- Roasting dal will bring out the sweet nutty aroma, so don't skip this step
- Just before serving you can also add few drops of lemon drops to bring out the best taste.
- If you don't have radhuni then you can replace it with cumin seeds. Just to remind you that our Panch phoron has radhuni in it :-)
- Though this simple aromatic dal doesn't need garnishing as radhuni has such a strong flavor, still in absence of radhuni you can garnish with coriander leaves.