Tired of cooking dal (thick stew prepared by pressure cooking lentils or dried pulses) the traditional way, I decided to strike off the lentils from my list of ingredients. I was looking for an alternate fresh ingredient that would satisfy the aspects of color, flavor and texture of the regular dal.
My best bet – Corn!
When I put this recipe together, I had no clue how the outcome would taste. Surprisingly it’s been a roaring hit and we’ve enjoyed this “corn dal” many a times, now. To me, this is an easy recipe and also a way to bring a touch of Indian cuisine to this cereal grain.
1½ cups fresh Corn kernels ( If using frozen, thaw them to room temperature before use)
½ cup Onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
¼ cup fresh Peas
¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
½ teaspoon Cumin-Coriander powder
½ teaspoon Red Chili powder
½ teaspoon fresh ground Black pepper
1 Green chili, finely chopped
¼ cup Cilantro, fresh and finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon Oil
½ to 1 cup Water
I included fennel seeds and fresh cilantro in this recipe as the aromatics. To enhance the yellow color, I threw in a few peas for the contrast while cooking. The sweetness from both the corn and peas blend very well with the heat from the spices.
- Wash and drain the kernels of corn. Microwave for 1 mins, to slightly soften the kernels.
- Add oil in a skillet, add chopped onion. Sauté on medium flame till onion turns transparent.
- Add in green chili, turmeric powder, red chili powder, black pepper powder, cumin-coriander powder and fennel seeds. Mix well. Sauté on low for 1-2 mins.
- Next add in corn kernels and chopped cilantro. Sauté for 2-3 mins. Remove from heat.
- Cool the mixture to room temperature. Blend it using an electric food processor/blender to a thick paste using water (½ - 1 cup). Make sure that the corn is completely crushed and no kernels are left intact.
- Pour the mixture into the skillet, cook on medium, covered for 4-5 mins. Add fresh green peas. Cook covered for another 3-4 mins.
- Cook uncovered for 1-2 mins.
- Serve hot with Rice or Rotis.
Each time we've had guests over and I have served it, they all seem to have enjoyed it and have just one question for me ........"What's in this dal?".
This turned out to be a nice way to surprise my guests with the tini-mini cooking skills acquired in my little experimental kitchen!