This post is dedicated to Mumbai, that bustling joyous hardworking capital of Maharashtra. This week saw the 10th anniversary of 26/11 – an attack that tried but failed to bring down this resilient metropolis, for many who love her, the heart of India. Terror attacks, floods, protest marches and violent riots, Mumbai has seen them all, and yet has somehow picked herself up and got going again, after each calamity. How better can a food blogger honor her than by dedicating to Mumbai, this post on a typical Maharashtrian Amti Dal with Goda Masala.
Before you ask me why I call it Amti Dal, when Amti would suffice, it’s because many of us may not recognise Amti, but all or most of us know what Dal is. (And another compelling reason, well, the bloggers nemesis, SEO. But lets not talk much about that!). Amti, however, as I understand it, is a little thinner than a North Indian dal, and apart from being seasoned with spices and condiments, also has tangy flavours from kokum or tamarind. But, as Kaumudi Marathe explains in ‘The Essential Marathi Cookbook’ its not such a simple definition. Kadhi, buttermilk thickened with gram flour, she says, is actually an amti and some people call thick amti as varan (which is usually the thick dal from split pigeon peas or other split lentils).
After much serious reading, I’ve concluded that this Maharashtrian Amit Dal with Goda Masala, is in fact an amti, not very thick, seasoned with spices, flavoured with kokum and jaggery and also with the traditional Maharashtrian Goda Masala, a bit of coconut too, and therefore as authentic a recipe from Maharashtra’s cuisine as I could identify.
The Goda Masala in this recipe is store bought. I wanted to make it from scratch but needed to get Dagad Phool /Patthar Phool/ Stone Flowers/Rock Flowers, as well as Nagkesar/ Cassia buds both of which were required in the recipe I tracked down. Of course there are many recipes for making Goda Masala, but I had to freeze on what felt most authentic to me. As this post on ‘Maharashtrian Amti Dal with Goda Masala’ had to be published before the month end for the Sshh Group Maharashtrian cuisine theme, and as the Stone flowers would be delivered too late for that, I had to give up at least at present, the plan for homemade Goda masala.
This Maharashtrian Amti Dal with Goda Masala is of course only one small dish from Maharashtra’s vast culinary collection, what with its different regional cuisines including from Konkanastha Brahman, Saraswat Brahman, Maratha, Kayastha, Koli fishing and boating community, Konkani Muslims and Malvani Muslims, East Indian Christians, Bene Israeli Jews, Kolhapuri, Konkani and more.
The Amti may be made with just Tuvar dal, but I have gone for a Five Lentil one – Pach Dalinchi Amti as detailed in The Essential Marathi Cook Book that I mentioned above. I have deviated from the recipe in the book though, not only in the quantities and proportions, but by adding coconut as well as goda masala. The flavours were amazing. I had it with rice and ghee and a dry bhindi sabzi, but it would be good with roti too. This recipe would make for a great slow cooked amti, but instead I soaked the dals for an hour and then pressure cooked it. After that it took only a short time to make. Remember to soak the kokum in warm water so that its easy to crush it and add it to the dal as in the instructions below. Onions and/ or jaggery may be omitted if you choose.
The theme for the Shh Cooking Secretly Challenge Group, for November, is Maharashtra’s cuisine. We have been making our way thought one Indian State after another, cooking our way through. As usual, each of us was partnered with another and we exchanged the names of 2 ingredients suitable to that months theme. My partner Archana Gunjikar Potdar suggested simple ones: chilli and oil, and that gave me a lot of scope to choose what I should make and write about. As I wanted to make something typical to the State, I decided finally on the Maharashtrian Amti Dal with Goda Masala. I posted the image of the dish on our FB Group, and the others had a hard time guessing the 2 ‘secret’ ingredients, though of course they finally got it right! Its difficult to guess ingredients like oil and salt!
Archana blogs at The Mad Scientists Kitchen (don’t you love that name? I do!). When you visit her site, you will see that it has a lovely collection of recipes from Indian as well as World cuisine. Check out her delicious looking Qorma-E-Sabzi and the Sugar Free Dates Rolls, to start with! For this theme, I suggested Tamarind and salt as Archana’s secret ingredients, and she turned out this Chinch Gula Chi Bhendi Bhaji. Not your simple Bhendi ki sabzi, this easy stir fry has all the typical Maharashtrian ingredients of goda masala, tamarind, coconut and peanut powder, raising it to a very special curry indeed.
Making the Maharashtrian Amti Dal with Goda Masala, 5 types of Lentils, tempered with mustard, turmeric, asafoetida and curry leaves, and Seasoned with kokum and coconut:
You may like to try other Lentil based recipes from my blog:
Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili -Cluster Beans Dal paste Curry