Sunday turned into Monday turned into Tuesday…weekend morphing into busy weekdays, yet the one thing constant in these 3 days is the drizzling rain, the grey skies, the empty landscape…and the absolute stillness around. At times, the silence it is comforting and relaxing yet sometimes I long for sunshine…the warmth that heralds the advent of summer…(make the taxpayer in me happy California…give me some sunshine).
To ward off the chill, I long for my mother’s hot comforting Dal (Dal is a hearty lentil stew prepared in India, the source of protein for non-meat eaters). Not being one with immense patience, I don the avatar of a domestic diva and pick up my pressure cooker to create some kitchen magic. I have in my refrigerator a tender opo squash (Lauki) and so begins my journey to recreating one of my favorite comfort meals (oriya ishtyle)
- 1 cup Moong Dal ( I usually dry roast the moong dal before using in this recipe)
- 1 Small/Medium Opo Squash (chopped into small pieces)
- ½ Onion, 1 Tomato, 3 Pods of Garlic (finely minced), thinly chopped Ginger (As per your taste)
- ½ Spoon Olive Oil (if you are feeling particularly decadent use Ghee)
- Jeera for tempering, Turmeric Powder, Salt to Taste and Fresh Lemon Juice (for that zing!)
- Cilantro for Garnish
Add the olive oil to the pressure cooker. Once the oil is shimmering add the jeera (cumin seeds ) and fry till it is fragrant. Add the turmeric powder. Add the chopped Onion, Ginger and Garlic. When they start browning add in the tomatoes, cook for about 2-3 minutes till it mixes with the Masala and then add the Opo Squash, Moong Dal, Salt to taste and 3 cups of water. Put the pressure on and let it go for 3-4 whistles. When you open the pressure cooker, check to make sure there is enough salt. Add in the fresh lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Enjoy with a hot bowl of brown rice (my sunshine in a bowl)
I have substituted most oils and ghee with Olive Oil in my cooking for the past 3 years. One of the main reasons for this switch is health and to maintain a steady cholesterol level. I won’t say Olive Oil and Indian Cooking go hand in hand…but I will say this much, over time they have learnt to become good friends. I don’t stick to one brand of Olive Oil and have in the past 2 months used an EVOO brand of Olive Oil called Corto mainly to support the local California Growers.
This goes out to Creative Concoctions #4 – Cooking with Olive Oil .
It’s soon time for bed and playing in the background is the song from 3 idiots ( I love this movie because it was the first movie that made my family laugh and smile after some tough times…)