Punjabi food is wholesome and full of rustic flavour. The custom of cooking in community ovens or tandoors prevails in rural pockets even today. The cuisine is characterised by a profusion of dairy products in the form of malai, paneer and dahi. The dals are a speciality of this type of cuisine, made of whole pulses like black gram, green gram and Bengal gram. They are cooked on slow fire, often simmered for hours till they turn creamy and then flavoured with spices and rounded off with malai for that rich finish. The food is simply delicious.
The most unique thing about cooking in a tandoor is the smoky flavour that the food gets making it tastier. Moreover it is a healthy way of cooking since minimum fat is required and the food generally gets cooked in its own juices thus retaining its natural flavours. Besides it is not only easy to digest, it is also very hygienic. In conclusion one can safely say that it is through tandoori cooking that Indian cuisine first got globally acknowledged.
Split black gram skinless (dhuli urad dal) 1 1/2 cup
Yogurt 6-7 cups
Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida a pinch
Oil for deep-frying
Salt to taste
Rock salt (sendha namak) 1 teaspoon
Mint chutney to taste
Sweet date and tamarind chutney to taste
Roasted cumin powder 2 teaspoons
Fresh coriander leaves chopped 2 tablespoons
Ginger cut into thin strips 1 inch piece
Green chilli chopped 2
Wash and soak dal in three cups of cold water overnight. Drain off excess water the following day. Grind dal to a smooth paste. Whisk half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of red chilli powder, raisins and asafoetida into the batter.
Heat sufficient oil in a kadai. Drop batter in tablespoonfuls in it and fry until light golden. Drain onto an absorbent paper. These are now called bhallas or vadas. Put bhallas in sufficient quantity of hot water. Leave for two minutes.
Squeeze between your palms to drain out water. Whisk yogurt well with rock salt (kala namak) and salt to taste. Place bhallas on a plate and cover with yogurt. Add mint chutney and tamarind chutney. Sprinkle red chilli powder and roasted cumin powder. Garnish with coriander leaves, ginger julienne and chopped green chillies and serve immediately.
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