Blogging Marathon #32
Theme: Indian Regional Cuisine – Bengal
Nigella seeds, also known as black onion seed or kalonji, are used frequently in Indian and Middle Eastern cultures. Despite its many health benefits including assisting with combating asthma, high blood pressure, pancreatic cancer and malaria, it is difficult to find in America, unless you go to one of these cultural markets or gourmet/health food markets.
Of all Indian cuisines, Bengalis have a great affinity for this spice, as well as mustard oil, poppy seeds and bay leaves. These are used liberally in their cuisine, one of the subtle differences in their regional cuisine. The state of Bengal lies on India’s northeastern coast. This state was the stage of many revolutionary activities during India’s fight for independence. Kolkata, (formerly Calcutta), was at the center of India’s quest to end England’s British Raj regime. At the end of independence, Bengal was divided into West Bengal (India) and East Bengal (Pakistan). The state continued to be filled with violence and unrest for the following decades as East Bengal achieved full independence and became the country of Bangladesh in 1971. Conflict still continued to plague the region for many years. Stabilization finally was achieved when parliamentary democracy occurred in 1991. Now that you know a little history about the region, let’s explore its cuisine with this simple recipe.
- 2 cups masoor dal (red lentils)
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil
- 1 teaspoon black onion seeds (kalonji/nigella seeds)
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 2 green chiles, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
Combine lentils and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes.
Using one of my favorite kitchen gadgets – my trusty immersion blender, puree the cooked lentils about 75%.
In a skillet, heat oil. Add kalonji and chiles and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
Add to dal with cilantro and salt.
Stir to combine.
Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Logo courtesy : Preeti
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