It is not uncommon for a Bawa Groom to commonly ask his wife ‘Ne Kathor Ma Su Che?’.
What he means by this question is whether there is any lentil dish on the menu. Parsis love their lentils and can’t go more than a day without them. Ofcourse, we also love our meat as this site has repeatedly established and so we often have dishes like ‘Masoor ma Gosht’ or ‘Chana Dar ma Chicken’.
However, for me Masoor is best had without any meat and has the potential of being the Parsi equivalent of the Punjabi ‘Maa Ki Dal’. In fact, if I were honest I’d go as far to say that I like our version better as it often comes sans the dollops of ghee and hence makes for quite the healthy mid-week meal. Ofcourse, since Parsis can’t have any meal without some ‘ramakras’ on the side, I’d recommend a serving of Tareli Machchi with the Masoor. If this suggestion means your weight loss dreams are once again down the gutter then you could also pair it with the humble Kachubar which also gives it a great flavour kick.
This is probably the right time to mention that Masoor is actually not made with the orange Masoor dal. It is in fact made with black dal which are commonly used for lentil soups overseas so be sure you’re using the right lentil when cooking this Parsi staple.
And finally, while the occasional rice addict is known to have Masoor with rice, please try to steer away from this weird combination and have rotli with it instead. Trust me, on a cold wintry day a bowl of Masoor can be your humblest companion. Ingredients at the bottom of the post as usual.
To begin, soak your dal for atleast two hours or preferably overnight – this helps reduce the cooking time. Once soaked, in a pressure cooker add some onion and saute until golden brown.
Now, add in all the spices and mix well until their aroma wafts into your kitchen taking care not to burn it. I slightly overdid the masala cooking in the picture below but you get the drift.
Once the masalas are cooked, add in the masoor and water ensuring that the water comes just over the masoor – you don’t want to make this too liquidy and since we’re not going to whisk the dal, this is a crucial step. Let this cook for two whistles and ten minutes on slow. Give it another 10 mins on slow if you didn’t soak your dal as some extra cooking will be needed.
To make enough for 4 you will need:
2 cups black masoor dal
1/2 cup orange masoor dal
1 onion finely chopped
2 tbsp oil
1.5 tsp turmeric powder
1.5 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
0.5 tsp Dhansak masala
Approximately 1.5 – 2 cups water
Salt to taste (about 2 tsp)