Growing up, dal and rice was a constant meal feature for lunch at home. How I loved eating dal and rice with my favourite pickle, or even simply curd. But most of the times, my mom also added another accompaniment to this meal : Maani. And when all of this got leftover, the next day for breakfast, she would tudko it all together. Tudko as in cook up some onions in ghee/oil and then add the leftovers to this, heat them through, add salt, and tudke chaawal (tempered rice) would be ready. In fact, in a lot of our family get-togethers that’s all we consume and look forward to. We all purposefully make more than necessary, because we wanted to have tudke chaawal for breakfast the next day.
Coming back to the dish on hand, I grew up eating a sweet and sour version of Maani, which my mom made with amchur (dried mango powder) and very little gur. So it was definitely more sour than sweet, but tangy. However, my mom in law is from Himachal too (yayie!), and in her house, the dish is called Khatta, which means sour. She uses only imli as the souring agent and that’s the version my husband loves. In fact I am addicted to it too and we both fight to finish off the bowl. But I miss the amchur-gur version of it also as it has it’s own unique taste when paired with a simple black dal and rice.
While the dal (chana and split urad mix) and rice are the basic items in the meal, Maani is what adds the zing. It is essentially a sour/sweet and sour dish which is made up of besan (chickpea flour) imli/amchur/gur and small black chickpeas (kala channa), or black eye beans (rongi), or even boondi and potatoes.
So read on for the recipe,
- Mustard oil – 2 tbsps
- Mustard seeds – 1.5 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds (methi daana) – .5 tsp
- Onions – finely diced, 1/2 of a small onion
- Garlic – 2-3 cloves, finely chopped
- Chickpea flour (besan) – 1 tbsp
- Amchur – 3 tbsp/ Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp
- Gur, if using – 2 tsp
- Black chickpeas/Black eye beans – boiled – 1.5 cups
- Turmeric powder : 1 tsp; Red chilli powder : 1 tsp ; Coriander powder : 1.5 tsp; Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
- Salt, to taste
You can choose to make this dish with chickpeas/beans/boondi/potatoes. Do keep in mind that if using chickpeas or beans, do boil them before hand or pressure cook them so that they are soft. And if using potatoes, then chop them and add them at the proper time and cook them through. If using boondi, then no need to take any extra cooking precautions.
- In a kadhai, heat the mustard oil to a usable temperature (make it very hot so that it doesn’t sting as such)
- To this oil, add the mustard seeds, methi daana, jeera, onions, garlic and green chillies.
- Once the onions and garlic are slightly browned, add the other spices ~ turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala, salt
- Add the besan to this mixture and cook it until it’s properly roasted (turns slightly brown and gives off roasted smell, not burnt)
- To make it sour: Add imli/amchur ; To make it sour and sweet: Add amchur and gur
- Add the boiled beans/boiled chickpeas/boondi and water to this mix. Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer until it reaches the consistency you like. Turn off the gas and finito! Serve with dal and rice.
My father (supervisory recipe checker) did not want me adding any touched up images of the final product. Let the actual colour shine through, he says. So I complied to his wishes.
Note: If you are making this dish with potatoes, then add chopped potatoes at step 6 and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Also, I have added some curry leaves to the tempering (along with mustard seeds and the rest, but that’s just a personal preference, it isn’t mandatory or anything. Whatever tickles your yummy-bone!
Most of the ingredients measurements have been given on a not very precise scale, am being honest. I have been cooking this dish for eons and know what works for me. BUT having said that, I am here to help. If you like the dish more sour, then skip gur and cook it with imli. If you want to try the sweet and sour, then use amchur and gur. And once cooked, adjust seasonings of either to your own personal taste.
I am also linking this post to my friend Pooja’s #bitofthisandlotofthat weekly writing challenge. This week’s theme was childhood memories and while I haven’t delved into a whole specific story behind this, my mom cooking all of these yummies remains an integral part of all my childhood memories. Plus, I really wanted to kick off posts on Himachali food, so in a way Pooja’s challenge gave me the boost. And I spoke a little about here http://wp.me/p4ALtY-cn
Click here to head over to her blog if you want to know more about the challenge and contribute. And contribute you should. It’s so much fun to read so many collective stories at the end of the week. Am loving her blog and this challenge!