- 150 g kalai'er dal (urad in Hindi)
- 12 g salt
- 600 g water
- 15 g vegetable oil
- 3 pcs dried red chillies
- 2 pcs bay leaves
- 3 pcs green chillies
- ½ tsp fennel seeds (mouri)
- 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
- 20 g ginger paste
- 6 g fennel ground to a fine paste
- 28 g sugar
- 15 g ghee
Biulir dal can be polarising. You either like its slimy texture, or you don't. Slime is a food texture that Bengali cuisine prizes. Young children are gently cajoled into eating slimy delicacies such as lady's fingers (dhyarosh), jute leaves (paat), malabar spinach (pui), certain types of taro (kochu), taro stolons (kochur loti) and so on. The indoctrination usually starts with the fried forms of these foods. In no time they graduate to other methods of cooking, that produce more slimy results. It is a slippery slope.
This recipe is how biulir dal is cooked in our Bangal (East Bengali immigrant) family. The dal is first dry roasted before being boiled. In other households, the dal may be boiled directly producing a more slimy consistency. The most important flavours here are of fennel seeds (mouri) and fresh ginger. This dal is commonly served with alu posto (potatoes cooked in a poppy seed paste) in West Bengali (ghoti) households.
- Sort 150 g lentils to check for small stones or impurities.
- In a heated thick bottomed korai or pot dry roast the lentils while continuously stirring. Wait until the colour changes to a light brown. This should take about 8 minutes, but depends on the stove and the pan used.
- Once done, immediately transfer out of the korai into the pressure cooker to prevent further cooking. Pour cold water and wash thoroughly. Drain excess water.
- To the pressure cooker (in addition to the lentils) add 12 g of salt and 600 g of water. Set to cook on low for 20 minutes. Control the heat so that the whistle does not go off causing the pressure to be released. Release the pressure after a few minutes once it is safe to do so. The lentils should not disintegrate completely.
- Use a dal ghutni or a manual whisk to mash some of the dal. Do this gently. We don't want a uniform slurry.
- Grind 6 g of fennel seeds into a fine paste.
- In a hot korai heat 15 g of neutral vegetable oil. Flavour the oil with 3 dried red chillies, 2 bay leaves, ½ tsp of fennel seeds (mouri), 3 green chillies, and a pinch of hing (asafoetida).
- Next add half of the ginger paste and half of the fennel seed paste to the korai along with a splash of hot water and braise the spices on medium heat for about 4 minutes.
- Add 30 g of sugar and stir.
- Add the boiled dal to the korai and boil for 5 minutes.
- Now add the rest of the ginger paste and the fennel seed paste to the korai and boil for about 2 minutes.
- Finish with 15 g of ghee. Stir, turn off the stove and cover tightly with a lid. Biuli'r dal is ready.
- pressure cooker or sauce pan
- korai or wok
- khunti or spatula
- ghutni or whisk
- electric grinder or