Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dhal Curry And Soft Chapati

WB and I had a sudden craving for homecooked Dhal Curry.  I googled for a easy one and found one from Sonia's blog - Nasi Lemak Lover.  I love all her recipes.  I gave her recipe a tweak and  added eggplant to it and used fresh turmeric instead of tumeric powder and added more dried chillies for extra heat . I have frozen blended turmeric         ( homegrown ) from the last harvest. I prefer fresh turmeric :p One thing about dhal curry is you can add any vegetables you like . A vegan dish that is nutritious, flavorful and delicious.   Dhal curry be eaten with chapati ( indian flatbread ) or rice.  I have not cooked this curry for a long time and am surprised that with Sonia's recipe, I did better than before.  Hubby complimented the dish . Thank you Sonia for sharing your dhal curry recipe :)  It is truly delicious ! And a keeper for sure.

  I added eggplant, more dried chillies for extra heat
and fresh turmeric instead of powder form :)
 fry the spices till fragrant
before adding the soaked dhal in

it is best to soak the dhal in water for 2 hours
to shorten the cooking time

 simmer for 1 hour to 1.5 hours under medium low fire
or till dhal has soften and gravy has thicken

 dhal curry can be served with rice or chapati

Dhal Curry - adapted from Sonia
 with some tweaks

1/2 cup dhal - washed, then soaked in water for 2 hours
3 green chillies - sliced
3 shallots- sliced
3 cloves garlic- sliced
1 large tomato - remove seeds - diced
1  large potato - diced
1 carrot - diced
1 small eggplant - diced
4 - 6 dried chillies -  *depends on how much heat you want
3 sprig of curry leaves

water -  1.5 litres
1 tsp of turmeric powder or 1/2 tbsp of fresh turmeric (pounded)
1/2 tbsp mixed indian herbs ( mustard seeds, cummin seeds etc...get from indian grocery shop)
salt to taste
1 tbsp of oil

1. Heat oil in a wok, add in shallots, garlic, mixed indian herbs, stir fry till fragrant.
2. Add in green chilli and curry leaves, continue to stir fry for a while. Add in the tomato, potato, eggplant, and carrot, mix well.  Then add in dhal and water followed by fresh turmeric (blended) or turmeric powder.
3.Simmer for 1 -1.5 hours over low heat or until dhall has soften (mushy look) and gravy has thicken.
Serve with rice or chapatis.

The Making of Soft Chapati

I have been searching on how to make soft chapati...after gathering some tips from all over the internet, I  put all together and make my own soft chapati.  Haven't really perfected the recipe , but it is still the best I have ever made.  I am using a technique used in baking bread called autolyse. The word sounds frightening but it is nothing but a resting period between mixing and kneading.  It helps the flour to absorb more liquid.  This is quite interesting . Instead of using room temperature water, I used hot water . ( it helps make the chapati softer )  You will notice that I did not use Ghee . This is a healthy version. The chapati remains soft when I store them in air tight tupperware. And I prepared them half a hour before meal time.  The chapati remained soft and warm.

 add hot water to the atta flour
and gently mix the flour and water till just mixed .
 Over mixing will activate the gluten
too much and interfere in absorption of water by the flour

once the flour and liquid is mixed like the picture above, 
 cover with a cloth and leave it to rest 30 mins
do not form a ball yet.

I always set the timer :) when resting the dough

 divide into equal balls , each ball about the size a lime

dust the board with atta flour
and roll the ball into a 4 inches disc

 place the chapati on a hot griddle

Soft Chapati
(make six 4 inch round Chapatis )

1 cup Atta flour
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp salt


1. Put one cup of atta flour in a bowl. Add half a cup of hot water and mix with a spatula or spoon. When there is no more water visible, stop mixing. Cover bowl and let it rest for 30 mins.

2. After 30 mins, add the salt, gently mix the dough for 2 mins, just enough to gather the dough into one piece. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 mins.

3. Divide the dough into lime size balls. Set an iron griddle on medium high heat. Let it become hot. Take a dough ball and generously dust it with flour. Roll the dough into a 4 inch round . Place the chapati on the hot griddle. Let it cook for 10 to 15 seconds until bubbles starts to form on top. Flip the chapati and cook for 30 seconds more. Gently press on top of the chapati to make the chapati fluff up. Flip one more time and press on top. Chapati should beautifully fluff up.

Storing Chapati:
Line a bowl with cotton towel. Place the cooked chaapati on the bowl and cover with a towel. Chapati will stay beautifully soft for a long time.

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