Saturday, February 2, 2008

Brahmni Amti (Spicy Stir-fried Lentils)


During my primary school years my mother used to threaten me with taking me to lunch to a dreadful place by the name of Suvarnarekha Dining Hall on Prabhat Road. And rightfully so. People from the Deccan Area might be well accustomed to this sorry excuse for a restaurant. Owned by the Yenpure family, it was housed in one of those buildings where a permanent heap of construction material lies blocking the footpath. Suvarnarekha is one of the restaurants that serves only the thali. The menu for the day is a mystery till the plate of food is in front of you. So if you don’t like what you see on your plate, you’re S.O.L. The food was acceptable at best when I first visited the place in the 80s, but the quality has gone down as the price of a thali has gone up. I remember the ambience being the canteen-like and was only complimented with the hostile wait-staff that usually served you like they were doing you a favour. I am quite sure that it hasn’t changed and the mediocre food remains quite popular with the senior Brahmni gentry and students in the Deccan area. The one thing Suvarnarekha did serve that was top-notch was the brahmni amti. To this day, it ranks only second to the one my aai makes.

Ingredients
1/2 cup Toor Dal (split Pigeon Peas)
2 teaspoon Maharashtrian goda masala (Kala masala)
2 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Jaggrey (melted)
1/2 tsp Coconut Flakes
1 tsp chopped Cilantro
Salt

Method
Cook dal in a pressure cooker as you would for Varan
Once cooked, churn it to make it into a homogenous liquid
Add jaggery, stir and place aside
In a pot heat the oil
Once hot add the mustard seeds till they splatter
Add chili, turmeric, asafoetida, and cilantro and stir
Add Dal, salt and stir.
Allow it to boil
Top each serving with half spoon of ghee and serve with rice