A delicious food memory from the Konkani home of my childhood is Dalitoy, a simple and ultra-easy dal preparation. It is a rather straightforward dish, requiring none of the ingredient-grinding and masala-making that gives other dals their complex flavors and identities. All you need for the dalitoy, once you’ve cooked up the dal itself or the lentils, is a handful of seasonings you can pull out of the pantry: mustard, dry red chillies, asafetida or hing, and some salt. And, if you had them around, curry leaves, coriander leaves and some shreds of coconut. As you can imagine then, a dalitoy is a harried cook’s best friend. But it was a friend I’d forgotten until last month when a reader wrote in asking for a recipe. The memories flooded back, and so did a really strong craving for this perfectly spare but sumptuous dish. Dalitoy is perfect with plain boiled white rice, but because I had a little more time on my hands to try something more interesting (not to mention a bunch of methi leaves crying to be used up), I served it up with a Rice Pilaf with Fenugreek and Sundried Tomatoes. I’ll share that recipe next, but meanwhile here’s the Dalitoy. Enjoy, all!
- 1 cup toovar dal , cover with water, add 1/2 tsp turmeric, and cook until the lentils are quite mushy
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 red chillies
- 1 tsp vegetable oil , like canola
- A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)
- 2 tbsp coconut shreds (optional)
- 10 curry leaves (optional)
- Juice of a lemon
- Salt to taste
Heat the oil, add mustard seeds and asafetida. When the seeds sputter, add the curry leaves and red chillies. Stir fry for a couple of seconds.
Add the cooked dal and enough water to get a fairly watery consistency. A dalitoy is typically quite thin, although you could make it thicker if you prefer it.
Bring the dal to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer another 10 minutes.
Add the coconut shreds and salt to taste.
Turn off the heat. Garnish with some fresh coriander, if you like.
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.