Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dhansak with Bulgur Wheat


In spite of being situated in Satara district, Puneites claim the hill stations of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani as if it were their own back yard. My first trip to Mahabaleshwar (or Mabby as the wannabe cool kids called it) was in 1980 at a ripe old age of 10. It was fascinating to see streets full of pretty much every kind of berry, honey and jam stores, swarms of monkeys, and vagabonds from Bombay and Pune trying to act extra cool. Equally fascinating were guys pretending to be expert horseback riders in the area around Venna lake, trying to impress women that were more interested in gnawing at their ‘bhutta’ (roasted corn on the cob) than any dude on a horse that can drop at any minute. Note to the ladies: Bhutta teeth is not a great look. There are a couple of cool places in Mahabaleshwar though. The shopping street, the horse rides everywhere. And what is the deal with those burnt Mahabaleshwar walking sticks? We were living at a Parsi hotel called Race View. (I have been to ‘Mabby’ numerous times after that, but have failed to locate it.) It was a really beautiful hotel with cute cottages, natural gardens, great views and berry wallahs that came straight to your doorstep. The greatest Parsi gift to India (besides incredibly hot girls, lessons in auto care, and a holiday for Parsi New Year) is Dhansak. And the ‘Pestonji’ at Race View delivered on his promise of really great Dhansak every night. I have tried in vain to find Dhansak like that. Even the otherwise great Dorabjee fails to deliver on great Dhansak. (It’s not bad, but it’s not great.) And this recipe doesn’t even come close.


Ingredients

For Dhansak
2 cups Red Lentils
½ cup Carrots chopped
½ cup French Beans chopped
½ cup Green Peas
½ cup Cauliflower chopped
3 tsp Tomato Paste
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
1 cup Onion finely chopped
1 tsp Garam Masala
¾ tsp Turmeric
4 tbsp Olive Oil
4 cups water
Salt to taste

For Bulgur Wheat
1 Cup Bulgur Wheat
½ cup onions chopped
1 tbsp Tomato paste
½ tsp Hungarian Paprika
1 tbsp whipped butter

Dhansak
Heat oil in a pot and add onions after oil is hot
Stir till onions are translucent and brown on the edges
Add tomato paste and allow it to cook
Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, masala, salt and cook for a minute or two
Add red lentils and the vegetables and stir
Add water and allow it to simmer on medium heat for 20-30 min
Turn heat off when the dal is completely cooked

Bulgur Wheat
Heat oil in a pot and add onions after oil is hot
Stir till onions are translucent and brown on the edges
Add tomato paste and allow it to cook
Add bulgur wheat and 3 cups water
Add water as needed.
When bulgur wheat is cooked stir in whipped butter.


Garnish Dhansak with coriander and lemon juice and serve with a side of Bulgur wheat