Thursday, 16 October 2014

Sangam Dal

Sangam World Centre is my Indian home, its where I lived for 7 months on my first trip to India, its where I have returned to time and time again, on my own, with my rangers, my parents, Papa Owl and it is where I took Little Owl to visit earlier this year.  Sangam is one of the World Centres run by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and is based in Pune, India. Today, 16th October, marks the 48th Birthday of Sangam and to celebrate I thought I would share with you one of my favourite recipes from the Sangam Cook Book.  I have adapted the recipe to use ingredients readily available in the UK.

½ pint of red split lentils (200g)
½ tsp tumeric
¼ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
large onion
½ bulb garlic
¼ tsp hing (asafoetida)
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground coriander seed
tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp jaggery (unrefined sugar)
6 tbsp coconut milk powder

  1. wash the lentils thoroughly until the water runs clear.  Place in a saucepan with a pint of water.  Add a tsp of oil and ½ tsp of ground turmeric.  Cook slowly until soft.
  2. Meanwhile add 3 tbsp of oil to a second saucepan, ¼ tsp of mustard seeds and ½ a tsp of cumin seeds until they splutter.
  3. Finely chop the onion and add to the saucepan, fry for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Finely chop half a bulb of garlic and add to the saucepan along with ¼ tsp of hing, 2 tsp of chilli powder, 1 tsp of garam masala and ½ tsp of ground coriander seed
  5. Add the cooked lentils, the tin of chopped tomatoes, a tbsp of sugar and 6 tbsp of coconut milk powder
  6. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes.

Part of the reason that I love this dish so much, is how versatile it is.  We often eat it as a main, served with rice and chapatis, but it can also been eaten on its own as a soup or as a side dish to a larger Indian meal.

Notes on Ingredients
Hing is a pungent smelling spice that really makes Indian recipes come to life.  I bought a tub of hing when I was in India which I expect to last me for years as it is to be used sparingly.  I believe the spice asafoetida is the same thing, and this is commonly available in supermarkets.  Garlic - feel free to cheat and use the pre-prepared stuff, although it can get expensive.  I often do a bit of both or add some garlic powder to top it up.  Jaggery is completely unrefined sugar which I have yet to find in a supermarket.  I tend to use unrefined brown sugar or just normal granulated sugar, however the BBC website suggests muscovado sugar as a good alternative.  Coconut,  the original recipe asks for 6 tbsp of grated coconut, feel free to do that but in reality, that's far too much work for me.  I've tried various coconut milk products and I really like the coconut milk powder as it gives you more versatility.  Coconut is a natural thickener and so I use this powder in many recipes instead of cornflour. 

This recipe has been reproduced with the kind permission of Jen Barron, World Centre Manager, Sangam.


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