Mutter Paneer, finally! - You may as well roll your eyes and wonder if it is possible for anyone in India, from North to South, and from East to West, to not have a family-favourite...
Friday, January 15, 2010
So, when I sighted upon Srivalli's wonderful Indian Cooking Challenge, I jumped for joy (a couple of times. And then some) and signed up. As I clicked impatiently, my mind racing with images of perfect rava ladoos and chaklis, and me finally learning to make them, I was snapped out of my reverie with three small words. Moong dal Halwa. Oh, sweet lord! I read it a couple of times to make sure I had read it right. Alas, it was true! My halwa nemesis sat there blinking at me in print. To devour me whole in its silky smoothness. And this time around, I didn't have my mother to save me. Well ... that's kind of debatable.
To give you a low-down, a flashback is in order:
Late on a Saturday evening, my mother came home after her evening walk, to find me desperately stirring a wok full of gooey-yellow-stuff. No, it's not what you think.
Mum: Aiya! (my Maharashtrian mother uses this word to show a range of emotions) "Karte," who told you to do this? (Karte/kartya, depending on the gender, loosely means brat; But like Aiya! is actually used to replace words that mothers choose not to say.
Whisks the spoon, and turns down the flame. All this while, she also manages to glare at me. You know, that same interchangeable look mothers give when you touch a precious Tchachki at the neighbors house, or say something completely inappropriate.
Me (sheepishly): Moong dal halwa.
Mum (melodramatically thumps her forehead with the palm of her hand): Hey Bhagwan!! (Or, Oh Lord! Only when it's accompanied with the palm-hitting-the-forehead, you know you are in trouble. Deep trouble.)
And, so that's how it ended. My grievous and brief encounter with moong dal halwa. Ever since, I have all but run whenever it's even mentioned 10-feet in the vicinity of my hearing. And, it really didn't have anything to do with the trouble I got into with my mother. (Well, maybe just a little). If she hadn't come when she had, and whisked that spoon away from me, I am scared to think what I would have done.
Then, it occurred to me. I was no longer 19. And this wasn't my mother's kitchen. So, even if there was a repeat performance, it would be alright, really. At, the very least, it would make a hilarious post.
Gulp. Gulp. We'll know who will have the last laugh, won't we?
(Gets melodramatic, and clicks fingers on countertop). Yep. When you have the right recipe, you can pretty much laugh like Mogambo every time you make it.
After reading both the recipes given by Srivalli, I decided I wanted to try the first recipe, as I had a bookmarked recipe for making khoya at home. And surprise, surprise! I not only got over my horror of moong dal halwa, but I successfully managed to make khoya at home. Yayy!
I think the only thing I will do differently next time is to use 3/4th C of sugar instead of a cup, and employ a heavy-bottomed-non-stick pan -- as the dal paste sticks to the pan, pretty much as soon as it hits the ghee.
Thanks Simran and Lataji for the wonderful recipes! My entry is going straight to Srivalli. (Hmm ... maybe a few taste-stops later)
Moon Dal Halwa
1 C (split-yellow) moong dal
3/4 C sugar
1/2 cup clarified butter or ghee
1/2 cup khoya
Cashews and raisins for garnishing
In a pan, over low-medium heat, lightly toast the moong dal. Wash the dal, and soak overnight. The following morning, blend it to a smooth paste, "adding very little water."
Heat a heavy-bottomed (non-stick) pan, and add in the clarified butter. As soon as the ghee melts, carefully add the moong dal paste, stirring quickly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir until the dal is soft, lump-less, changes color to a pale tan, and you can see the sheen of clarified butter.
Mix in the sugar and khoya until well combined with the dal. Remove from heat, mix in a handful of raisins and some chopped cashews, and serve warm.
Note: Srivalli says, as long as you "keep the ratio of -- equal amounts of dal and sugar, half the ghee and khoya, constant" -- you can increase/decrease the halwa quantity, as you like.
Posted by Sheetal Kiran at 7:37 PM