I was a fussy child who could not develop a taste for any foods. My vegetarian food universe was limited to potatoes, yoghurt and bread. One argument in favour of that is it’s a non-fuss peasant’s meal. But when that’s all you eat, the body (and the mother) cries in ways you don’t want to imagine!
I slowly took a liking to lentils – all but the sprouts form of it. Every colour, every type of beans, made by anyone! Aside: As a child, I could not bring myself to swallow food cooked by anyone other than my mother. No well-meaning aunt, grandmother or neighbour, who only wanted to help the woman with a full-time job and two kids, could succeed at making me eat (anything). So, it is a big deal when I say that I could eat daal made by anyone.
But I never confessed my love for it because I preferred kidney beans (I could eat those three times a day for three straight days) over everything else. “What’s your favourite food?” “Rajma-chawal (kidney beans and rice)!” To be honest, that’s the favourite food of 90 per cent of the north-Indian vegetarians. Others enjoy things like slimy okra.
The other relevant fact about me is that I easily get bored. That extends to general current affairs, people, and food. For instance, I lovingly ate so much peanut butter during my hostel life in Pune that I can no longer tell what’s so special about it. Same story with melons. In fact, I have a deep existential worry about what I might do if I get bored of all the things I like and can eat.
|Copyright: pirate of kitchen|
As I mentioned, I have never confessed my love for it. In fact, I’ve barely acknowledged it to myself. When I first learned how to cook though, I could not believe how easy it is to make daal. Side lesson in twisting facts: the first time I made daal, I manually soaked all the water out of it and later wondered why it was so dry. Anyway, as I was saying, making daal is very easy. The second cooking-daal-related-win was when I first made daal makhni and thought to myself that it was better than my mom’s! Presumptuous much? Clearly, but why would l lie about such a thing? And to be fair, my Gujarati dad-in-law totally vouches for my Punjabi daal makhani!
I skipped lunch today because I felt too lazy to cook for myself. But that only lasted till 14:45, when I rushed to the kitchen and made my 20-minutes-to-joy yellow daal tadka and complimented my daal-making skills. I love daal. And I love the daal I make. You’re welcome to join for a simple meal. If the meal planning is led by my husband, it will be daal chawal. If led by the lazy me, it will still be daal chawal. If led by the me spoilt by my mother, it will be hot namak parantha and daal. My dad always tries to peg a price to his daal makhani, only to conclude that it’s far more valuable than any served by a fancy restaurant in Delhi. I can sense my tendency to go down to that path even though I totally recognise that it can’t be true. Homemade daal is not meant to compete with the dahl available on the street.