Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Tok er dal / Daal cooked with Raw Mangoes

 Summer is long gone. And with it, so have the raw mangoes ...  from the market at least. We hardly get to see any of them any more these days, except for a few Totapuri ones. I had made this dal at the peak of this summer, when raw mangoes were easily available. But neglected posting it. And one of the reasons, among a few more, is I did not like the pictures.

I find clicking dals and gravies very difficult. So, while I do make dals almost everyday, I have diligently avoided trying to click a picture. Next time, I promise myself and get on with the day.
But this time, I decided to finally make a post of it. For two reasons.
One, it is not every day that I make tok er daal. So if I have made it, and have taken pains to click a few photographs too ... why not?
Two and the more important reason is ... who cares?

I mean who cares if a photograph is beautiful or not.
Except me, of course.
I mean, the blog is my own. And every photograph is like my own baby. I'll love it no matter what.
Every single photograph posted here has a history. And at least 6 or 7 siblings.
I have to choose one from all of them ... agonising over every one of them ... rejecting them kills me every time. And finally pick one. Ignoring the rest that I have put equal amount of time and sentiments in.

So that the reader feels good. Likes what s/he sees here. Does not feel put off by a photo which represents the food I have cooked in my kitchen and am serving here. I try to focus on close shots so that the reader gets to see the actual texture of the dish. And if possible, some of the ingredients too.
Like  a few kalonji+mustard seeds+,methi etc. if seen together will give an idea that paanch phoron has been used. Or say, a fine paste has been used or a coarse one.
If the gravy should be watery thin or dense and thick.
And so on.

But what hurts me is most readers are not interested in such details.
Worse, if the person is a new food blogger.
All they are in search of, these days, is a photograph. That will make their job of making a post on their blog easy.
 And some good text too ... if it is a description of the dish, even better.
One click ... and all your hard work is gone.
Poof! It now bears the name and signature of another.
Even a girl getting married takes more time to change her name and address.

And who better to put the blame on than good old Google.

I have requested, ranted, raved, pleaded ... nothing has come of it.
Instead, I have often been at the receiving  end.
How dare I complain?!
How dare I remind them the photograph is mine?!
How dare I say "Please write your own words, cook your own food and click your own snaps."?!

It was on Google, right?
Google is a search engine. It helps you in finding things you are searching for.
Not read a mind and find out if it is scheming to pick that photo up and use it for selfish purposes.
Believe me, if it could, it would never ever have helped you with your search.

Recently a reader, who proclaimed that she usually never leaves comments any blog but is doing so here, ... I wondered if I should have felt grateful for that ... wanted to 'share' my writings. Now, thanks to FB, a lot of English words have found new meanings and homes. When I requested her not to, she got nasty. And , among other things, declared why did I put things on my blog if I did not mean to 'share' them.
I believe I do not need to answer this.

Plagiarism is rampant all over the food blogging world. And is not restricted to food photographs alone.
People search for things, land on blogs, find lines or paragraphs that suits their purpose and simply copy them and paste them on their pages.  Sometimes in the name of sharing, sometimes in the name of anonymity, sometimes under the guise of ignorance.

From childhood we have been taught never to touch things that do not belong to you, leave alone picking them up and bringing them home for personal use. So, I often wonder what kind of education have these people acquired? These people who blatantly pick up lines, recipes and photographs that are actually other people's work.
If they can run a blog, I am sure they are intelligent enough.
To know good from bad.
To know right from wrong.

The point is etiquette. Social courtsey. Good manners. Goodwill. None of these seem to exist anymore.
Rudeness is now a way of life. You want something ... you get it. Even if it does not belong to you, or you are unworthy of it. Denied, you bare your claws. And show your true side.

Integrity is now an option.

There is, of course, another side of the coin too. Not all coins are flawed. 

I have always encouraged new bloggers by visiting their blogs and leaving lines ... I know how much a comment means to new bloggers. I take time to answer all their queries or mails ... even if it is midnight and I'm dead tired.
And have always got back love and sincerity in return.

When a new blogger, very enthusiastically started a blog a couple of years back, and cooked a huge number of my recipes, but used my photographs, I gently explained to her all about plagiarism. I was so happy to see that the girl took my advice positively and started on her own. Not only did she write down all the credits and links on every post but also kept in touch with me. Today she has a beautiful blog, with numerous recipes of her own .... and with some wonderful photography too.
Am proud of you M.

A little self realisation, a little quiet within .. is all that is needed.
Ethics. Morals.
If you keep these two words on your two sides, never ever will you falter ... be it the food blogging world.
Or life.

Now to my dal ... am posting it no matter how the photographs are.
At least they are mine.

This  dal goes best with plain rice. With some dry side dish like the aloo posto or some plain begun bhaja.

Need :

Paanch phoron - ½ tsp
( Mix  1 tsp kalonji seeds + 1 tsp fennel seeds + ½ radhuni/celery seeds + ½ tsp methi/fenugreek seeds + 1 tsp mustard seeds to have your paanch phoron.
Remember ... methi and radhuni should always be of lesser quantity than the others ... else you will end up with bitter tasting food.
If you don't have radhuni, no worries. Use plain jeera / cumin seeds in its place. )

Tuvar dal / Arhar dal - 1 big cup, washed
Raw mango - 5 to 6 slices ( depending on the tartness of the mango )
Whole red chillies - 2, broken
Haldi powder - ½ tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - a pinch ... just to balance the tartness of the mangoes
Cooking oil - 1 tsp ( I use mustard oil )
Water - 3 big cupfuls

How to :

Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
Add the paanch phoron and the red chillies.
Add the mango slices and stir for a while.
Add the dal, haldi and stir again.
Add water and then salt and sugar.
Cover and cook on low heat for 3 whistles.
Remove from heat and cool.
Remove cover and put it on heat again ... stirring till the dal has mixed well.

Serve with steamed rice.

PS: I may have ruffled a few feathers with this post. But if you are tempted to write in rude words, I suggest you refrain. Neither will I read your comment nor will it see the light of the day.
This is my blog and I will not entertain any negativity.


  1. Very well said. Could not have been said better.
    "The point is etiquette. Social courtsey. Good manners. Goodwill. None of these seem to exist anymore.
    Rudeness is now a way of life. "
    No wonder music stores get closed in face of video piracy and watching pirated DVD's is something to be proud of these days.
    Love Mango Dal and your pics bring in the sunshine.

    1. Sandeepa ... thank you. Music stores are truly a sad case ... I recently experienced total dismay looking for a few albums. And some have resorted to selling handbags and purses and other accessories just to keep on going. Sad.

  2. Sharmila, I am sorry to hear about such rampant plagiarism. Don't know why people copy, I've heard some big names in journalism get caught doing this too - it takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, so why spoil it doing something wrong? I can never understand...

    I will definitely try this dal. Could you clear my doubt about panch phoron - I thought it had jeera in it, is it not right or does each family have its own version of the spice mixture?

    Many thanks - and the clicks are very nice!

    1. Vaishnavi ... like I said ... frivolity and taking people for granted has become a way of life.
      Yes ... I have often mentioned in my posts that paanch phoron has jeera ... but that is used as a substitute to radhuni as radhuni is not easily available outside of Bengal. And it has a very unique taste ... if not used in proper proportion, it might end up making your dish bitter.
      I'll update the post on this. Thanks!

    2. Sharmila
      Radhuni, I thought substitutes mustard seeds in paanchphoron, no?

    3. Sandeepa ... I had known all along that mustard seeds are an integral part of paanch phoron. Maybe I am wrong.

    4. Thanks Sharmila & Sandeepa - I don't get radhuni here anyway... The panch phoron I use has methi, jeera, rai, saunf, kalonji - gives such a nice flavour.

  3. so well written Sharmila. I agree with all you have said. there are no dearth of people who take others and their work for graned...thats the way of life now a days...and we hardly have any ways to change it.
    bu the best part is we can still find refuge in good write ups like yours and good recipes that provides comfort to frustrated souls.

    1. Thank you Sayantani. We will all stand up against this together with all our goodness and truth. And absolutely refuse to be bullied into feeling helpless.

  4. I myself is a victim of such plagiarism. There are people who thinks if something is on the Internet then that's a public property. And not only general people big renowned media-houses do that too. And you can never fight with them, they have vouched for copying from others than creating something of their own. I relate so much with your writing, the effort we put on our cooking then clicking the food, sorting them, write something(though I'm not as good as you are on that part) for our blog...and they just copy all makes me so mad...I feel like screaming...feel so helpless and frustrated. Most of them either do not reply or reply with utmost rudeness.
    Your write up made me feel I'm not alone, thank you.

    1. We are all in it Chitrangada. Which is why it is so important to spread the word.

  5. rant on. The way things are right now we all need to do this once in a while. only for some reason it does not affect or they tend to ignore those who are the in the crime here. BTW like I have told you before just fill out the form and have it removed. I know a pain, but doable. koekbar korle, koekta page deleted holay bondho korbe. but that means we spend the time doing that while they still copy, may be from somewhere else now.

    I ranted too ;P

    Love tok dal and have been having it all summer. only i never made with tuar.

    1. Exactly Soma. The more we write and spread the word, the better. What irks me more than the thieving is the rudeness and the threats. This negativity takes up so much of our time and energy while the baddies thrive on our hard work.

  6. Mon ekto halka holo :-)...tok'er dal tomato diye korechi ..onek din kancha aam khayi ni..dekhi jodi payi eyikhane tahole banabo..hugs

    1. Lol Jaya ... ekdom thik bolecho ... besh halka ekhon. :-)
      Kaancha aam pao na okhane? Aha re ... tahole oi tomato diye o besh hobe.

  7. I'm new to your blog and yet I feel like I've known you for long. You have written so well. Atleast you know when you pics and lines and copied, I'm not even sure if anyone has copied mine.
    I'm quite new to blogging (just 1.5yrs). I love blogging a lot and totally understand how it feels when I habe to pick up one of my pics from the dozen sibllings that I click and all the xtra work n effort that goes in before publishing. So copying definitely hurts and even mediums like FB groups who copy ur pics and share also play a bad factor at that.
    The only solace I feel is that they can only copy...if confronted they can never reproduce what we do. *sigh*


    1. Hi Manju! The food blogging world is really a beautiful place with many nice bloggers who are wonderful human beings too. Do not stress too much on the copying factor and enjoy blogging.
      You are right ... the groups on FB are really a pain and they pick up most photographs from our blog pages on fb. All we can do is spread the word to make more and more bloggers aware.

  8. Thanks Sandeepa! Your blog was an inspiration to me

    1. Thank you Madhu! I love visiting your blog too.
      BTW ... am Sharmila. :-)

    2. So sorry about that. There were a few mentions of Sandeepa on the comments section and I got mixed up. I read each and every post of yours and still cook so many of your recipes all the time.

    3. No prob at all Madhu. :-)
      And yes, am very proud of you and your blog.

  9. Hi.. I tried this dal today. Of course with frozen raw mangoes. Fantastic. But fresh ones seem better I think. The panch foran-mustard oil combo is too good.

    Next is your Chana dal ;)

    Waiting for new entries.

    Take care,


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