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Indian Daal + Rajasthan Notes

rajasthan travel guide

Indian Daal

Yield: 4-6

Indian Daal

Ingredients

    For the daal
  • 5 dl (2 cups) red lentils
  • 4 dl (1,5 cups) water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 400 g frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsbp ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or virgin olive oil)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
    For the topping
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • A dollop of yoghurt

Instructions

    For the daal
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan at low heat. Add chopped onions and garlic and stir occassionally until the onions and garlic start to soften. Add tomatoes and spices and leave to heat. When the tomatoes start to soften add the lentils, water, and coconut milk. Bring it to a light simmer and stir every now and then until the lentils are done (approx. 20 min). Then add spinach, and taste with salt.
    For serving
  1. Serve the daal on top of wholegrain rice, topping it off with freshly chopped cilantro and parsley and a dollop of Turkish yoghurt (or plant-based yoghurt for a vegan version). Enjoy!
https://www.atelierea.com/2015/04/23/552/

A while ago we decided to go to India and check out the region of Rajasthan. Truth be told, Mikkel had already had the pleasure of visiting this region a couple of years earlier, but he had fallen madly in love with this particular corner of India and had to go there again, so we picked up our bags and went for an adventure together.
However, Rajasthan is huge, and public transportation can be unreliable, to say the least. So, in order to get the most out of this huge region within the scarce time available, we hired a local driver with a car in New Delhi to take us afar. The driver’s name was Mr. Rakesh, and with a determined mind and ’70-ies Bollywood pop classics thundering from the tiny speakers of his ever-so-dusty white car, he took us swift and safely from one beautiful location to another within this enchanting and mysterious region of ancient fortresses and tales of warrior kings.

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Despite the harsh and scorching hot deserts, Rajasthan is home to beautiful cities, a very colourful people, and the most delicious cuisine covering such delicacies as flavourful curries, sizzling daals, spicy samosas and, as we’ve covered once before, refreshing Mango Lassies. This kitchen might have actually presented to us some of the best foods we’ve ever had. Arguably, the setting plays a huge part in how a meal is perceived, enjoyed and ultimately consumed. But then again, some flavours are too intense to simply be ignored. One day, for example, in the middle of nowhere, Mr. Rakesh suddenly pulled the car over and asked if we where hungry. Before we could even answer, he left the car and picked up a portion of vegetable biryani from a tiny food stall by the road side. As it turned out, this was his favourite biryani food stall, but to our surprise the biryani was served wrapped in a couple of old math papers. So there we sat on the back seat of this tiny car running across the bumpy red roads of Rajasthan, eating vegetable biryani with our bare hands from the remains of a (filled in) math paper. And to this day, we still haven’t had a better biryani.

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In case you’re ever presented with the opportunity to go to Rajasthan, make sure you seize it. And once you’ve done so, make sure you visit some of these locations:

Places we visited and loved in Rajasthan, India: 

Pushkar
One of the oldest existing cities of India as well as a sacred place for Hindu pilgrims. Famous for it’s mythological origin (and it’s annual camel fair).

JodhpurTopped by the enormous Mehrangarh Fort, the ‘Blue City’ is quite a sight with thousands of houses painted in a vivid blue colour. Make sure you visit Shahi Samosa at the central market for some delicious samosa!

JaipurThe capital of Rajasthan and commonly known as the ‘Pink City’ due to it’s abundant use of pink sandstone. Don’t miss the beautiful Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of Winds.

Udaipur
Almost floating on the surrounding lakes, this tranquil and beautiful city has been known as the ‘Venice of the East’. We spent three days there, and we want back for more!

Jaisalmer
Situated in the Thar desert, this location offers
sand dunes, camel rides, and spending the night in the desert beneath the stars.

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Daal is served pretty much everywhere in India, and it’s typically made from lentils, tomatoes and a bunch of herbs and spices. It has a creamy and warm flavour, though without being spicy, and it’s one of our favorite go-to comfort foods! It’s also really cheap and easy to make, as it’ll mostly just mind it’s own business, sitting there and simmering in the pan. We usually make a big portion and leave some of it in the freezer for those evenings when you just want to heat something up real quick and go watch Netflix.

This flavourful dish goes really well with wholegrain rice, but it may also be enjoyed with naan. Or both!

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