When Daal-Chawal was the most sumptuous of the meals!!

When Daal-Chawal was the most sumptuous of the meals!!

Amma would keep the daal to simmer in the low heat of the angeethi, and would tell us, it comes best when it simmers for a very long time. The daal would boil in a Bhaddu, a special cookware for daal. It had a narrow  neck and narrower opening, but very thick walls, made of a special amalgam of some metals, thus we learnt! Amma would cover the bhaddu with a lid or a small container. The steam coming from the Bhaddu would make the lid dance, it would be some game to watch it dance. Amma would put some water in that container and lo…the water would become hot, hot enough to burn, in no time! This water would be used in other tasks…what a multitasking and multiusing of the same resource. Once the daal would be cooked, the Bhaddu would be kept away from us, the kids and Amma would put a brass patila to be used for cooking rice. This patla had a broad opening. Amma would check the rice getting a few out from the boiling rice, with the help of a Taintha a flat spatula, specially used for stirring rice. “Ladle would break the grains of rice” amma would instruct no one in particular but these lessons would be for us, her two daughters, who had to learn all these secrets of cooking. Once she was satisfied, she would put the large lid on the patila and would deftly balance the patila on one elevated surface and drain the excess water out in a large wide thali kept below. This was called Peechh. We would wait for amma to drain this excess water as it was our desi appetizer. A little of partially cooked rice and a little salt would be added to it and lo a healthy soup was made. The rice grains those days had the purity and were not the good-for-nothing highly polished rice grains that we have today. Bauji would select judiciously the rice grains as he knew that nothing would be wasted while cooking it. Sometimes Amma would put a little oil in a kerai adding some masal to it and mango powder to turn this peechh into maani, a very basic one. By the time the rice would be finally put down from the angeethi, we would have peeled some cloves of garlic and amma would get a long handled peetal ladle, put ghee in ti and put the ladle on the hot steaming coals of the angeeti. Once the ghee was hot, she would add a red dry chilly split in two parts, a little of cumin seeds, a little of coriander seeds, broken in two halves by rubbing them in both her palms, the pieces of garlic. The sound of sputtering of the seeds in the ghee would be the best music to our ears. The aroma of garlic being fried in ghee is the best one can feel to release all the gastric juices in your stomach. Once it would be golden brown, with a swish, Amma would put it in the bhaddu, moving slightly the cover, and covering instantly the daal, so as nothing gets outside, not even the fumes and the aroma!

The last step would be to garnish the daal with green coriander leaves that Bauji would bring everyday from the sellers sitting at the very beginning of the sabzi mandi selling coriander and Pudina leaves. By this time we would have put all the thaalis of kansa in sequence, waiting to be filled with chawal and daal, the most sumptuous food ever which filled all our senses. The golden hue of the tadka and green coriander leaves gratifying the eyes, the sputtering sound of seeds in hot ghee and the splash sound of putting the ladle in the daal; our ears, and the aroma of garlic, daal and rice; our nose. And the rest fulfilling our stomachs! 

One thought on “When Daal-Chawal was the most sumptuous of the meals!!

  1. Vibha

    Reliving part of my childhood on reading this , really the taste was amazing something magical used to cook in those bhaddus

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