Dal Baati

Guest Blogger: Sveta Shah

This is a traditional dish from the state of Rajasthan in India, filled with richness and aroma and has a special flavor which is not available everywhere in the country.  Rajasthani cuisine is incomplete without the mention of the delicious Dal – Baati (Lentils with Thick Indian Bread made from whole wheat flour).


Ingredients for Baati / Flour Dumplings:

2    Cups Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Melted Ghee or Clarified Butter (read below)
2    Tsp Ajwain
Salt to taste
Warm Water to make Dough
4    Quarts Boiling Water
Small Bowl Melted Ghee for dipping the Baatis once baked


Ingredients for Dal / Lentil Chili:

1/2 Cup Tuvar Dal also called Arhar Dal (split pea lentils)
1/2 Cup Split Moong Dal with the skin (green color)
1/2 Cup Split Urad Dal (Split Matepa Beans – white color)
1/2 Cup Chana Dal / Bengal Gram Dal
6    Cups Water
1/2 Tsp Haldi (turmeric powder)
2    Tsp Red Chilli Powder
1    TBsp Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
Ingredients for Tarka or Tempering:

2    TBsp Pure Ghee or Clarified Butter (read below)
Pinch Hing (Astofedia)
1    Tsp Cumin seeds or jJera
1    Tsp Grated Ginger
1/4 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
Directions:

  1. Wash, soak (in warm water for atleast 1 hour) and cook dal with 6 cups of water and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker.
  2. While dal is soaking you can make baatis.
  3. Put a pot (4 quarts) of water to boil on a stove on medium heat. The water should be very hot (boiling) before you add baatis to cook.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl or food processor with warm water as required. Dough should be of a firm consistency.
  5. Divide the dough into equal portions like donuts.
  6. When the water starts boiling, add the baatis one by one.
  7. Let them cook for 10 – 15 minutes.  You will see that they will rise to the surface as they cook. This means the dough is cooked.
  8. Scoop them out and place them on a plate. Save the remaining boiling water / broth.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to warm.  Place the baatis on a baking tray / aluminium foil.
  10. Once the oven is heated, place the baking tray in the oven and turn the setting to Broil.
  11. Let it broil until the color changes from light brown to pinkish brown.
  12. Flip the baatis every 10 minutes, making sure they are done on both sides.
  13. Remove the baatis from the oven and dip them in melted ghee and remove them immediately and place them on a serving dish.
  14. While the baatis are broiling, pressure cook the dal.
  15. Use a hand blender to mix the dal for it should be of a stew-like consistency. Strain and add the saved broth from the cooked baatis.
  16. Tempering or Tarka the dal by placing the ghee in a ladle on medium heat.  When ghee is warm, add jeera. When jeera starts spluttering, add the rest of the ingredients and add it quickly to the dal.
  17. Bring the dal to a boil, add all the remaining dal ingredients. Let it boil for 10 minutes on medium heat and once it is done, cover it with a lid to infuse the flavours.
Serving tips:
  • Crumble the individual baatis into small pieces (1/2 inch approx.) and place them in a bowl and pour hot dal on it. Add a little ghee and a drop of freshly squeezed lemon juice .
  • Garnish it with chopped cilantro / corriander leaves if desired.
  • Enjoy your dal baati!
Serving Size is 1/20th of Recipe.
Clarified Butter and Ghee

For centuries, clarified butter has had enormous cultural influence around the globe. Making clarified butter involves slowly heating unsalted butter to 212°F (100°C) and letting it boil until the water vaporizes. Once the bubbling stops, three layers remain: whey protein, liquid fat, and casein particles. Once you remove the skin of whey protein, you can pour off the fat, which is the clarified butter.
For smaller quantities of clarified butter, use a heavy saucepan and watch for the telltale signs of clarification (white, and then brown specks at the bottom of the pan). Remove the pan from the heat, and set into a cold-water bath for a few seconds. Skim off the top layer, or strain the contents of the pan through a triple layer of cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
Clarified butter is perfect for frying over high heat, since the components that cause butter to scorch – protein and casein – have been removed. Regular butter can be used, though, for frying proteins over medium heat. In fact, the buttery flavor of the caramelized milk proteins will stick to the meat, and the fat can be poured off.
If you’re frying breaded foods, make sure to use fine, fresh breadcrumbs and sauté using clarified butter. The result is extremely flavorful, but without the greasiness of breaded foods fried in oil.

Ghee
Ghee is the name for anhydrous butter fat in India, where it is prepared in large quantities; it is commonly mixed with the milk fat of the water-buffalo. The full name is usli ghee, and the spelling ghi is sometimes used, or in sanskrit ghrta. Ghee is the chief form of cooking oil in many Indian regional cuisines; it is also used medicinally and plays a part in some Hindu religious ceremonies. [Read more on ghee in India.]Samna (also samnehsamn) is the name for butter fat in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, where it is also prepared in large quantities; it is commonly mixed with the milk fats of sheep and goats. It turns up in North Africa as sman, sometimes flavored with herbs, or spiced, or aged. Ethiopia also has a spiced version,nit’r k’ibe. [Read more on smen.]
The butter is melted and the simmered long enough to boil off all the water, during which time it takes on a buttery taste. It is used especially, but not exclusively, for cooking meat, and it is essential for many Indian dishes. Ghee is the clear butter fat. By removing the albuminous curd and water that favor the growth of organisms promoting rancidity, anhydrous butter fat does not become rancid as readily as butter and can be stored unrefrigerated for several months.
Here is an example recipe:
Ghee is produced as follows. Butter made from cow’s milk is melted over a slow fire and then heated slowly until the separated water boils off. The vessel holding the butter is then allowed to cool; semifluid, clear butterfat, which makes the finest ghee, rises to the top of the melted butter and may be poured off, leaving the curd (precipitated protein) at the bottom of the vessel. The curd, which still contains 50 percent or more butterfat, may be reworked with the addition of peanut oil or buffalo milk fat to make inferior grades of ghee.
A significant portion of Indian ghee is made from buffalo butter, but only ghee made from cow’s butter has any religious or medical significance among Hindus. Early Sanskrit writings attributed many medicinal qualities to ghee, such as improving the voice and sight and increasing longevity. Ghee is used in almost every one of the numerous religious ceremonies that Hindus observe at different points in their lives, including birth, initiation into manhood, wedding sacrifices, and gift-giving at death. Images of the gods are washed in ghee, and it is frequently used to light holy lamps or is thrown upon an altar fire in sacrifice.


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