Lentils for good health 

Amle ki dal can be enjoyed equally with a phulka or steamed rice

DAL-roti and dal bhaat are staple fare — ‘the stalk of life’ in India. Lentils are an easily digestible source of protein and form an important, almost indispensable, part of vegetarian diet on the sub-continent. Dal marks a great culinary divide in this land clearly separating the zone of kali (black) and peeli (yellow) lentils. In Punjab, mash reigns supreme while arhar rules the roost elsewhere in Hindustan. At times, dal is cooked with vegetables — sambar in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka or Pappu in Andhra illustrate this. In Hyderabad, dalcha gosht blends lentils with meat.

Even simply boiled dal can attain sublime heights when prepared with freshly ground-at-home turmeric, coriander and red chilli paste and touched with an inspired tempering. But, that is another story. What we are itching to share with our dear readers is our discovery of a rare gem — long lost recipe of amle ki dal. Who needs reminding about myriad benefits that amla bestows. Exceptionally rich in vitamin C, the Indian gooseberry is a member of triphala — the celebrated trinity in ayurveda and the key ingredient in the delicious elixir chyavanprash. It is considered great for hair growth and much more. During the winter months, amla murabba is greatly relished as a tonic desert. We can go on and on about amla sherbet, thecha and chutney. But all that will still not change the fact that most people are deterred from incorporating amla in their daily diet due to its strong astringent taste and limited availability in fresh state. Amle ki dal licks these problems convincingly. Green moong — considered easily digestible and nutritious — becomes even more attractive when paired with pickled amla. You don’t have to worry about any complicated spicing to enjoy this elegant and exotic dal. Garnish the dish with ginger juliennes to delicately accent the astringent taste and enjoy equally with a phulka or steamed rice. If in an extravagant mood, treat yourself to a blob of white butter.

Amle  ki  dal

Green moong 200 gm dal (whole or split, unhusked) 
Ginger-garlic 1tsp paste 
Amla pickle 50 gm
Salt to taste (after checking seasoning)

Pick and wash the lentils. Then soak in water for 15 minutes. Boil about three cups of water in a pan. Add dal, along with ginger-garlic paste and the amla pickle. Don’t forget to include a tsp of spicy oil with the amla berries. Reduce heat to medium low and cook till done. Check seasoning. Garnish with sliced ginger.