Madras gram or kolatha is also known as horse gram, for obvious reasons. Relax, who do you think is the biggest consumer of oats, the colon-friendly cereal. I will let wiki tout the health benefits of Madras gram while I will talk about its exquisite taste. Mildly sour from the dried mango, it is a rustic dal and goes very well with steamed white rice.
Pressure cooker, Immersion blender.
- 1 cup split Madras gram soaked overnight (or at least 1 hr)
- Souring agent: 1 ambula (salted & dehydrated mango) soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes or 1 tsp tamarind paste
- 2 Bay leaves + pinch turmeric powder + 1 tsp chilli powder + 1 tsp cumin powder + salt to taste
- Seasoning: 1 tbsp oil + 1/2 tsp pancha phutana +1 pod of garlic minced
Drain the dal and add all the ingredients except the seasoning and pressure cook for 20 mins on high. Release pressure; remove bay leaves and ambula. Then use the immersion blender to mix the dal till smooth. Heat oil, sputter the whole spices add the garlic. Mix till fragrant and add the seasoned oil to the dal mix.
Notes, hints, tips:
- This is a tough dal/gram; so presoaking is essential.
- Very seldom will I ask for the use of more than one bay leaf– this is one of those.
- Instead of cumin, you can use a fragrant ras el hanout.
- My panch phutana is a mixture of whole spices: cumin seeds + mustard seeds + fennel seeds+ nigella seeds + crushed red pepper
- The dal can be had as a soup or served with steamed white rice.