It is almost quarter past one in the night and that is Rupankar singing on shuffle mode into my ears.
There is a quiet all over ... the winter night has settled inside different coloured blankets; snug and warm.
The sky is unusually bright and the stars twinkle brighter than ever.
As I glance out into the night, I see a white layer of smoke on the trees. It is not fog.
Someone, maybe some of the night security guards of the buildings, must have lit a fire on the streets, to stay warm.
"Akash e shona rong ..."
The song has a summery feel to it.
Reminds me of long gone summer evenings spent at home. I used to love staying up at night, either knitting or embroidering. And almost always, it would be Jagjit Singh crooning away.
Irony .... especially when it is the middle of winter right now.
That is the magic of music I guess ... can easily take you to back to summer evenings filled with balmy, heady breeze or to dark, rainy nights of thunder and storm, when it is actually cold and chilly outside.
Now, I have grown up and ventured into other aspects of music too. Like Bengali music is no longer limited to Rabindra sangeet for me. Or Bengali modern songs do not mean only those albums released during Durga puja.
I do listen to a plethora of other singers and their experiments with different genres.
And have learnt to love all of them.
That is how we grow up I guess. Learn to be patient. Learn to like and love.
Like, I like this very simple vegetarian dish made with just a few vegetables and some lentils.
Fresh, healthy and light on the stomach.
Dalma and Moong dal with vegetables.
And it entirely depends on what masalas I have at hand .... as in dry masala powders.
I mostly use just the roasted jeera/cumin powder with a dollop of ghee to dress this. You can go ahead and use garam masala too ... but that might take away the fresh flavours of the roasted dal and the vegetables .... let me warn you.
I also add grated coconut to this for both nutrition as well as the flavour factor.
The fresh coconut adds a sweetness to this ... so no added sugar needed to balance the salt.
I almost never use tomatoes in my cooking ... very rarely if I do ... mainly because I do not like the hybrid fleshy ones that impart no taste at all.
Winter with its bounty of fresh vegetables is the perfect time to make this dal with vegetables.
Full of fibre and nutrition, it is great as a breakfast if paired with Soru Chakli pithe, as a lunch if paired with rice and some papad and achar, and dinner if paired with rotis or parathas.
Not to mention that it takes just a few moments to cook.
Yellow moong dal - 1 cup
Fresh vegetables - cut into cubes
I used potatoes + cauliflowers + drumsticks + okra + beans
Grated coconut - ½ cup
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Whole dry red chillies - 2, broken
Grated ginger - 1 tsp
Roasted jeera/cumin powder - 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Water - to cook ... around 4 cups
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp , I use mustard oil
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped. for garnish
How to :
In a heavy bottomed pan or kadahi, dry roast the moong dal till it turns aromatic and very slightly brown.
Remove from heat, cool and wash well.
Heat a pressure cooker.
Add the oil.
When smoking hot, lower heat and add the jeera + dry red chillies.
Add the ginger + the vegetables and stir well.
Add the haldi + red chilli powder + salt + the dal.
Stir and fry well on low heat.
Add the coconut and enough water to cover everything .
Cover and cook for two whistles on low heat.
Remove from heat and cool.
Remove cover and check for consistency. If needed add some more water and bring to a boil.
Check for seasoning and add the ghee.
Cover and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Serve hot with a sprinkle of roasted jeera powder and fresh coriander leaves.
PS: I am trying my best to compile and write about my trip to the USA in my travel blog, Country Roads, as regularly as I can.
I am almost always logged in there ... but it is a huge task shifting through all those photos and going back in memory ... especially when I am down with the sniffles and a sore throat and all the accessories that come along with them, right now.
They have kept me bed bound; but I will be posting my third post very soon.
Till then, do bear with me my friends.