Those beautiful green berries on the vegetable vendor’s cart looked so bewitching, I had to pick them up. I used them in this delicious amla (gooseberry) dal and loved the result, I can heartily recommend the recipe to you.
The mysterious tang of amla dal is sure to make your dinner guests curious about what you’ve put in it. Not tomatoes, not tamarind, not lemon – what is it?!
- Toor dal – 3/4 cup
- Gooseberries – 4
- Turmeric powder – a pinch
- Salt – to taste
For the tadka:
- Garlic – 5 cloves
- Curry leaves* – 10
- Dry red chillies – 2 or 3
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Oil – 2 teaspoons
*I’ve used dried curry leaves in this dal which has a milder flavor than fresh curry leaves. If you have fresh curry leaves on hand, nothing like it. A visual of the ingredients:
In the picture above, from top-left: toor dal, garlic, dry curry leaves, fresh gooseberries, dry red chillies.
Wash and soak toor dal in two cups of water for an hour.
Drain, wash again and put toor dal in a pressure cooker with a pinch of turmeric and four whole gooseberries.
Pressure cooke the dal for 3 whistles – the first on high flame, the rest on low flame.
Let the pressure release naturally. When you take off the lid, you’ll see the dal has softened and the gooseberries have split open.
Mash the gooseberries into the dal, discarding the pits. Add salt.
Bring the dal to a boil again and simmer for 5 minutes for the flavors to integrate.
Do the tadka:
Chop garlic into bits and tear red chillies into 2-3 pieces.
In a pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil.
Add mustard seeds and when they have spluttered, add chopped garlic. Let the garlic turn color and follow with dry red chillies and curry leaves.
Let them all fry on low heat, till they begin to give off a lovely aroma.
Transfer the dal into the tadka pan, switch off the flame and close lid. Let the flavors blend for 5 minutes.
Serve hot with chapatis/rice and a vegetable side dish.