I’m not going to lie to you, this was not my intended recipe for the post after Valentine’s day. I had an elaborate plan to share a sinfully delicious yet guilt-free version of churros with melted chocolate. The guilt-free aspect being baked vs. fried and whole-wheat vs. all-purpose flour. But the churros ended up tasting more like dinner rolls and lets face it, dinner rolls with melted chocolate is not really a sinful dessert… it’s not dessert at all. Sigh. I still have a long ways to go with dessert skills, but I hope to be able to share some successful recipes in the coming weeks/months. I also wanted to note that my sweet husband still ate the failed churros. He’s a keeper 🙂
So today I’m going in a completely different direction and sharing one of the most staple recipes in the Konkani world- Dalithoy. My Konkani peers, no matter how much they associate themselves with our culture or know the language, certainly recognize Dalithoy. I swear if there was a Konkani flag of some sort, a picture/illustration of a bowl of Dalithoy would be a contender to represent us on the flag haha.
What makes this particular dal so special? I’m not 100% sure what it is for other Konkani folks, but for me it’s just a feeling of home. Is it much more different than other yellow dals? Not by a long stretch, but perhaps it’s the use of hing (asafoetida <– does anyone know how to pronounce this word?!) or just a combination of all the ingredients and the process in which we make the tadka (the tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, hing and chilies in oil). There are variations within Dalithoy as well since not every Konkani person hails from the same part of town- North Canara vs. South Canara etc. etc. No matter the variation, it is universally adored among our people.
On a typical day at my parents house, you will certainly find Dalithoy on the table. We eat it with white rice and some sabjis on the side. My grandpa and I (who love tangy/sour things) are big fans of adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the dal. It’s one my favorite comfort foods and with the brutal winter we’re having in DC right now, I think Dalithoy will continue to make a regular appearance at least for the next few months!
- 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas), rinsed and drained**
- 1/2 tsp hing powder (asafoetida)
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 4-5 curry leaves
- 2 dried red chilies
- 1 green chili, chopped
- 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
- Salt to taste
- 3-5 cups of water
- 2 tbsp canola oil or any vegetable oil
- Pressure cook the dal with 1 tbsp oil and 3 cups of water. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can use this stove top method. I have an electric pressure cooker and I cooked the dal on high pressure for 12 minutes, using the 10-minute pressure release method.
- Using a wooden spoon, break up the dal a bit to make it thicker. I've used a masher before to do this as well, but it's not necessary since the dal should easily break.
- Either in the pressure cooker without the lid on or a new sauce pan, bring the dal to a low boil on medium heat with the green chili, desired amount of salt and 1 to 2 cups of water mixed in (based on desired consistency). Turn heat off after 5 minutes of simmering and cover.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once oil has heated up, add mustard seeds and wait for them to start sputtering.
- Once mustard seeds sputter add the dried red chilis, curry leaves and saute for 20-30 seconds.
- Then add the hing/asafoetida, mix in and remove pan from heat and pour into the daal.
- Mix well, garnish the dal with the cilantro and serve immediately with rice!
- **You can substitute moong dal, but traditionally we use toor.