Everyone has their own list of comfort foods, which when savored, makes you very happy and fulfilled. When I think of comfort food, the first thing that comes to my mind is a dali ambat – which is a traditional Konkani dish with toor dal, coconut and a vegetable. Its just out of the world. Any one of a huge list of vegetables can be used for this gravy and depending on which vegetable is used, the gravy gets its unique taste. Recently aayi introduced me to a whole new dali ambat with pepper(miryakan), instead of the traditional fried coriander seeds in it. Pepper gives a very good aroma as well as taste to it. She made this with frozen suran and it was just superb.
Last month, we had been to Boston to one of my cousin’s place. My cousin asked aayi to make dali ambat with suran. Aayi used more of dal and very less coconut and made this gravy. Not only we all coconut fans, but her husband(who never eats any coconut based gravies), simply loved the taste of it. Somehow I could not recall tasting this version before, so I kept on troubling aayi saying she does not give me all her recipes :)). She made this again last week and I am sure this will be a regular at my home now.
Those who do not like coconut can decrease the amount of coconut and increase the dal to get required consistency, you won’t get a a strong coconut flavor, but coconut is a must for this.
3/4 cup toor dal
3/4 cup yam (suran) or ivy gourd(tendli) or potatoes
1/2 cup fresh/frozen coconut
1/2 tea spn peppercorns
2 red chilies
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract or 1 piece of tamarind
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
A pinch asafoetida
A pinch turmeric
Oil and ghee
Cook toor dal with a pinch of turmeric in cooker. Cook suran pieces. If using a cooker, keep the dal in bottom vessel and suran pieces in topmost vessel with a very little water. Be extra careful while using frozen suran, it cooks very fast.
Grind together coconut, tamarind, peppercorns, red chilies to a paste.
Heat together cooked dal, suran, coconut paste and salt with enough water to get it to a thick gravy consistency. Cook for about 5-6mins. Take off the heat.
In a separate pan, heat a little ghee and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves and pinch of asafoetida. Pour this seasoning over the gravy and close the lid.
Serve hot with rice.
Preparation time : 15mins