A North Indian kitchen is usually adorned with different colored Dals and Pulses which are an integral part of our daily diet. We grow up eating ‘Dal’ every single day and with the variety and different methods of cooking Dal’s one can never have enough. Since Dal was a part of my childhood and growing up years I automatically assumed that everyone ate Dal. So when I got married, I expected my Marathi mother in law’s kitchen to have different Dal’s as well and hoped to impress them with my cooking skills. As a “Not so Shy Bride”, I was shocked to see that my mom in law hardly cooked Dals, and she used Coconut in everything. And to my horror, even her Chickpea Curry had Coconut which to an ignorant North Indian was almost sacrilegious.
Thankfully, the fantastic food cooked in her kitchen helped me cross the cultural divide faster than it typically would have. I lapped up all food she cooked and then ate some more. While I was learning all the amazing dishes that she taught me, they did not enjoy North Indian food at all. For them North Indian food was too rich, too heavy, Rajma and Chole were gas inducing and Butter Chicken was not spicy enough. Nothing I made could convince them to love the food that I had grown up eating.
Not the one to resign easily, when one day the responsibility of cooking dinner fell on me; I decided to make the only dal that I recognized in my mother in laws kitchen “Matki” or “Mooth”. While Maharashtrians make a dry version of “Matki” be served with Chapattis (flat bread), we North Indians make a Wet gravy type of a dish that is eaten with Rice.
After a few frantic calls to my mother and several anxious moments, I finally managed to make something that looked edible enough to serve. Thankfully my bargain paid off, and the in-laws approved of the dal wholeheartedly. And hence “Matki” or “Mooth” became the only North Indian dish that my family started to love, which was made by me.
The recipe is extremely simple and since I use a pressure cooker it gets ready in almost 30 minutes. As the consistency of the dish is thick, I usually serve it with Rotis. However you can also eat it with Rice and it will taste just as great.
Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 2 – 4)
1 Coffee cup Matki
1 large Onion finely chopped
2 green chillies finely chopped
2 large Tomatoes finely chopped
1 tsp Ginger paste
1 tsp Garlic paste
Salt to taste
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp Red Chilli powder
1 tsp Garam masala powder
Salt to taste
2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Amchur/Chat masala powder
1 small onion finely chopped
Freshly chopped Coriander
Wash the dal under running water and soak it in 3 cups of water for 4 hours.
Heat Oil in a pan and add Cumin seeds, Ginger, Garlic paste & Green chillies and sauté for 30 seconds.
Add the finely chopped Onions and sauté till translucent.
Add the finely chopped Tomatoes and sauté till the Tomatoes turn mushy.
Drain all the water from the Dal, add it to the Onion, Tomato mixture and mix well.
Add the salt, Turmeric powder, Red Chilli & Garam masala powder and coat the Dal in all the spices, sautéing for around 5 minutes. Keep stirring as the Dal can stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add 3 cups of water and cover and pressure cook for around 6 – 7 whistles. If you are cooking this dal in a Pan instead of a Pressure cooker, you will need a little more water and the cooking time will also Increase.
Once the Dal is done serve hot with freshly chopped Coriander, chopped Onions and sprinkle a little Amchur powder.