Aambe Dal or Kairichi Dal is a thing of beauty, and I can’t be thankful enough that my grandmother introduced it to me. Today, I’m going to share with you all the recipe for this wonderfully flavourful Maharashtrian dish, the way I was taught by my grandma.
What is Aambe Dal?
Aambe Dal is a sort of salad, with an Indian touch to it. It is made using grated raw mango and soaked and ground chana dal – both of which give it interesting textures and an amazing, amazing taste.
This is a dish from the state of Maharashtra, as I was saying earlier. It is prepared on auspicious days like Gudi Padwa (Maharashtrian new year) and is offered to guests visiting home for haldi-kumkum. My grandma spent a large part of her life in a Maharashtrian colony in Ahmedabad, in the course of which she learnt several traditional Marathi dishes from friends and neighbours. This Aambe Dal is a recipe from her repertoire, which I was fortunate enough to learn from her before she passed away. I absolutely love this salad, and have fond memories of grandma preparing this for Sri Rama Navami, a summer festival when raw mangoes would be available in plenty. Sigh!
Aambe Dal or Kairichi Dal is a no-cook recipe, except for the tempering that is added in. This makes it a very, very simple thing to prepare – child’s play, almost! It is somewhat similar to the Tamilian Sri Rama Navami special Pasi Parippu Kosumalli, but there are indeed subtle differences between the two dishes.
#LittleChefs at Foodie Monday Blog Hop
I’m sure you know I’m part of this group of talented food bloggers, called Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, the members of the group present recipes based on a pre-determined theme.
It was my turn to suggest the theme for this Monday, and I came up with #LittleChefs. For the theme, group members will be sharing easy recipes that children can prepare on their own or with minimal adult supervision. This is the need of the hour, I think, with India being under lockdown for about a month now, to combat the threat posed by the Corona virus. Schools and colleges are closed, parents are working from home. You’re allowed to get out of home only to buy essentials or in case of an emergency. I have been involving the bub in simple cooking activities and some small chores around the house, to keep her busy and her mind diverted. So have many other parents I know. I chose this theme so we can build a repository of kid-friendly recipes, and I’m sure it will be of great help to many parents.
This Aambe Dal recipe fits the theme perfectly. It is something children can whip up easily, and requires very few ingredients too. With raw mango being in season now, it is also a good way to teach kids about cooking with seasonal ingredients. This salad is full of protein, thanks to the chana dal, and requires very little oil, only in the tempering. In fact, you can skip the tempering altogether, and it would still taste fab!
How to make Aambe Dal?
Detailed steps for the making of Aambe Dal follow.
This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those following a plant-based diet. It can easily be made gluten-free too, by skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most commercial brands of asafoetida available today contain wheat flour to a smaller or larger extent and are, hence, best avoided if you are following a gluten-free diet.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
- 1 cup chana dal
- 1 large raw mango
- 2 green chillies or as per taste
- 1/2 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut
For the tempering:
- 1/2 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
- 2 dry red chillies
1. Wash the chana dal well under running water. Drain out all the water. Add in enough fresh water to cover the chana dal fully. Let it soak, covered, for 2-3 hours.
2. In the meantime, peel the raw mango. Grate it thick and keep ready.
3. After 2-3 hours, the soaked chana dal should have become quite soft. Drain out all the water from it and transfer to a mixer jar. Chop the green chillies roughly and add to the mixer jar too. Also add in the 1/2 tablespoon chopped coriander. Grind everything together, coarsely. You should be able to grind without adding in any water, but you may add in very little water if absolutely required.
4. Transfer the ground chana dal mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add in the grated mango, salt to taste, turmeric powder, jaggery powder, grated coconut and 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander. Mix everything together.
5. Now, we will prepare the tempering. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Turn flame down to medium. Add in the asafoetida and dry red chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, without burning. Transfer this tempering to the mixing bowl.
6. Mix up everything well. Your Aambe Dal is now ready to serve.
Tips & Tricks
1. Adjust the quantity of coconut and green chillies as per personal taste preferences.
2. I have used a large Totapuri raw mango here. You can use any variety of raw mango you prefer. Choose a firm, sour one for best results.
3. You can use sugar in place of the jaggery powder. In that case, you can grind the sugar too, along with the chana dal, green chillies and coriander. I prefer using jaggery powder, though.
4. Coconut oil works best, for the tempering. However, you may use any other variety of oil you prefer.
5. Make sure you soak the chana dal for at least 2-3 hours. The dal should be soft and breakable with bare hands, when it is done soaking.
6. This Aambe Dal or Kairichi Dal can be had on its own, as a snack. We also like having it with rotis.
7. Grated or finely chopped cucumber can be added to the Aambe Dal too. So can grated carrot.
8. Dry red chillies can be ground along with the soaked chana dal and coriander, instead of the green chillies used here.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!