When the bitters enter the Bengali kitchen, largely it is cooked and consumed as the very first thing available with rice. This is especially as a result of the chronology of consumption needs to be from the meals that is most probably to be good so that you can the one which is seen because the “treat” of kinds. Of course, when you grew up in a family like mine, the place the deal with was thought of to be the fish course, you’d in all probability be in for a little bit of a disappointment as the primary course typically can be a skinny, runny jhol of tiny, freshwater fishes with chunks of uncooked banana and potatoes added to it. On the outset, it sounds nice, however it will be largely consumed for “better vision, digestion, and proper development of the brain”, the place the kid can be requested to eat the fish from its head to tail in order that not a single little bit of that diet goes to waste. For instance, bitter gourd or bitter melons would type an integral a part of sizzling summer time days, particularly due to its potential to take care of two ayurvedic doshas – ‘Kapha and Pita’ – slightly solidly. Either it will be served by itself, or as part of one other dish.
Also Read: 13 Best Dal Recipes – How to Cook it to Perfection | Popular Dal Recipes
“Eating bitters for health is common to the Indian subcontinent, as well as other parts of Asia. You would see bitter melon or bitter gourd as we call it on the Chinese table very often, eaten on its own with rice, or added to the meat. Pork with bitter melon is a common Chinese recipe, and you would find bitter melon (or karela) being eaten in different parts of South East Asia, like Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Korea. However, every part has its own take, and you can see the way each region makes something unique with it,” famous Prithvish Chakravarti, proprietor of Tak Heng, a well-liked Chinese restaurant in Kolkata. “I love the way they put minced meat inside karela and cook it in a thick, spicy gravy, in parts of North India and Pakistan.” In totally different components of India, bitters are sometimes paired with one thing spicy or meat to cover/overpower the flavours. However, for an on a regular basis fare, bitters are cooked merely and served to start with.
A couple of attention-grabbing additions embody the tetor dal, which is basically cooked lentils with bitters added to it. The cause behind this concoction is probably the Bengali mom’s obsession with well being, and making certain the household can be consuming greater than their justifiable share of it. It is particularly prevalent throughout late spring and the summer time season, which can be when folks are inclined to fall sick essentially the most, and the probabilities of ailments like chickenpox and measles are fairly excessive. At this time, bitters are ample and are sometimes purchased in bulk and cooked in numerous kinds, together with right into a easy dal.
Also Read: How To Boost Immunity? Food Habits That May Help Improve Immunity Naturally
The dal is a reasonably late entrant into the Bengali kitchen scene, as in comparison with many different components of India, since its echelon within the Bengali culinary historical past shouldn’t be historic. Also referred to as Bengali Mung dal, tetor dal is homegrown, with its title derived from the Sanskrit “mudga”, and proof of its first cultivation goes again to round 4500 years.
The tetor dal eaten in my family is basically break up mung beans cooked and tempered, and simply earlier than serving, topped with a beneficiant serving to of fried bitter gourd. This last-minute inclusion is for 2 causes – one, the fried bitter gourd does not lend its bitterness to the dal in its entirety and two, the bitter gourd retains a little bit of crunch even after getting completely soaked. This flavour and textural distinction make it a superb summer time staple that may be had with rice solely, and a slice of lime or some pickles.
Immunity-Boosting Recipe: Tetor Dal (Bengali MoongDal) Recipe:
- 100 gm. break up yellow mung beans, washed effectively and soaked in water for an hour
- 100 gm. bitter gourd, washed and reduce in 3/4th cm roundels
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 giant pinch asafoetida/hing
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 inexperienced chillies
- Salt to style
- Three tablespoon mustard oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- In a bowl, combine the bitter gourd items with salt and half of the sugar. Let this relaxation for half an hour no less than. This will be sure that a few of the extra water from the bitter gourd can be extracted.
- Drain the water from the lentils fully. Let dry for 10 minutes. Then, unfold them evenly on a tawa or pan, and over medium-low warmth, dry roast them for about 7-Eight minutes, stirring often to make sure the dal roasts and does not burn, till you begin seeing them get a barely darker color and the odor of roasting dal hits you. Remove at this level and let this relaxation for 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining sugar, turmeric powder, bay leaf, salt and a pair of cups of water to it now. Cook the dal until it is extremely tender. Remove from warmth and mash the dal up a bit.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon mustard oil and fry the bitter gourd items, in batches, over medium-low warmth, until they’re darkish golden in color. Remember, they may darken and proceed cooking by means of the residual warmth, so take away them while you see them nearly to hit darkish golden.
- Just earlier than serving, warmth the remaining half tablespoon oil and add the entire cumin seeds, hing, and ginger, in that order. Add the dal, then let the dal come to a boil. Drop the temperature to a gradual simmer, add the chillies first, then regulate salt and sugar, and let this boil for 3-5 minutes, relying on how runny or thick you need the dal.
- Then, prime with the fried bitter gourd and serve instantly with rice.
About Poorna BanerjeePoorna Banerjee is a meals author, restaurant critic and social media strategist and runs a weblog Presented by P for the final ten years the place she writes in regards to the meals she eats and cooks, the locations she visits, and the issues she finds of curiosity. She is deeply fascinated with culinary anthropology, and meals historical past and loves books, music, travelling, and a glass of wine, in that order.