Monday, February 18, 2008

A Time For Lent(ils)

Come February – March, and it’s time for Catholics the world over (the devout ones, that is) to give up something that they hold dear during the period of Lent. Well, when it comes to this party hearty community, that loves its meat and the occasional tipple (um, ok, let’s say the swigging can get a little frequent), one of the most common “sacrifices” that gets made is to give up eating non vegetarian food during these 40 days. This means the meat (and in some cases even the fish) on the table gets substituted with Lentils.

In keeping with the spirit of Lent, I am posting here a simple yet tasty recipe for
Masoor (aka black whole lentils / Egyptian lentils), given by my friend and colleague, D. D belongs to that amazing breed of Mumbai women, which braves the long commute in packed local trains to get to work every morning, puts up with a demanding boss and then endures the same trying journey back home to supervise kids’ homework, cook dinner and handle a dozen other household chores with one hand tied behind their back!. Thanks D. I salute you and your ilk. Thinking of your hectic evenings makes mine seem like a cakewalk

Masoor In Gravy
(serves 6)


Masoor (black lentils) – ¼ kg
Onions – 2 nos (finely chopped)
Garlic – 6-7 cloves (peeled and roughly mashed)
Ginger – a small piece (peeled and roughly mashed)
Tomato – 1 no (chopped into big pieces)
Potato – 1 no (chopped into medium sized chunks)
Turmeric pd – ½ tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Red chilli pd – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp
Water – 3 glasses
Finely chopped coriander – for garnish

Grind to a thick paste (using water)
Fresh grated coconut – 3 tbsp
Coriander leaves – a handful
Green chilli – 1 no


1. Soak masoor overnight
2. Zap the potato in the microwave till semi cooked
3. Heat oil, add ginger & garlic and fry till lightly browned
4. Add onions & potato and sauté till soft and tender
5. Add all dry masalas and sauté till the mixture turns reddish gold
6. Now put in the masoor and 2 glasses of water
7. Once the masoor comes to a boil, add the ground paste
8. Stir and let it cook a little
9. Whisk the remaining glass of water in the blender to clean up the masala paste that maybe stuck to the sides
10. Add to the masoor along with the tomato and salt
11. Cook till done (approx another 10 minutes)
12. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

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