Dim Masoori - An Egg and Red Lentil Stew

Eggs are amazing. Comfort, convenience, nourishment - all packed in to a fist sized shell. Since our 3 member family consumes about 2 dozens eggs in a week, you can very well imagine how much we are in love with it. I hit a panic button every time I am out of eggs.

This recipe combines two of my most favorite comfort food - Eggs and Masoor Dal aka the Red Lentils.

This is originally my Mother-in-law's recipe, which she got from a cookery show. It has been a lifesaver for her whenever guests dropped by, unannounced. It combines two of most Bengali's comfort food - Dim er Jhol (Egg Curry) and Masoor Dal (a thin, soupy dal made of red lentils). Though this recipe is nothing fancy, it has always been very well received, whenever it was served to guests. Mainly because it was something different.

But me being me, I changed the recipe a wee bit. Instead of making it a runny and soupy consistency, I make it with less water, giving it a thick, viscous, stew like consistency. Also I used way too much onion and garlic, simply because I love the flavor. And I also finish off the stew, with a big handful of chopped cilantro. I am a cilantro addict. I cant help it!

I have seen my grandmother, my Mom, my Mom-in-law and all the various aunts, shallow frying the eggs, before adding to the gravy. I guess it is primarily for visual appeal. A golden fried egg looks a lot prettier than a bland white one in a fiery red hued gravy. Personally, I feel it doesn't make a huge difference in taste.

I have often added plain boiled eggs directly in the lentil gravy and it tasted just as delicious. But then it just me. You may or may not shallow fry your hard boiled eggs before dunking them in the nutty lentil based gravy. Your choice. I won't judge!

This Dim Masoori - An Egg and Red Lentil Stew, is a usually made on weekends when we wake up late and need something quick, substantial and filling before heading out for our weekly grocery shopping and other chores.

This stew is almost a complete meal in itself. It is loaded with protein, heart healthy soluble fibers and slow absorbing carbs. We mostly eat it with steamed brown rice, but it tastes awesome with hot rotis too. Of late, Sid has started enjoining it with crusty bread too. A sourdough bread is particularly delicious.

Recipe Snapshot: Dim Masoori - An Egg and Red Lentil Stew

Serves: 3 serving
(1 serving = 2 eggs and 1 cup of stew)

What I used:
Eggs - 6, hard or soft boiled and shelled

Masoor Dal or Red Lentil - 1.5 cups

Water - 4 cups

Onion - 1 medium sized, sliced

Ginger - a 1" knob, finely minced

Garlic - 4-5 fat cloves, finely minced

Tomatoes - 1, a big juicy one, chopped

Green chilies - 2-3 (or more,depending on taste), slit or whole

Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp

Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp + 1/2 tsp

Red Chili Powder (Paprika) - 1/4 tsp + 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Canola/Olive/Mustard oil - 2 tsp + 2 tbsp

A handful of fresh Cilantro/Coriander leaves for garnish

What I did:
1. Season the boiled and shelled eggs with salt, 1/4 teaspoon each of turmeric and red chili powder (or paprika). Using a knife, score the surface of the eggs.

2. Heat 2 teaspoon of oil in a shallow non stick pan and fry the eggs till golden-brown on all sides. Keep it aside.

3. Thoroughly wash one and half cup of Masoor Dal (red lentils) till the water runs clear. Combine the washed and rinsed dal, 4 cups of water in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. As the water reaches the boiling point, there would be a lot of foam accumulation. Skim the foam off and reduce the heat. It will take about 15 minutes (after the water has boiled) for the lentil to cook thoroughly. Alternatively, you can pressure cook the dal/lentils for about 10 to 12 minutes. The lentils should be cooked through and mushy. Keep it aside.

4. In a khadai,wok or a wide mouth pan, heat 2 tablespoon of cooking oil of choice (I used Mustard oil) over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add half teaspoon of cumin seeds.

5. Once the cumin seeds stops spluttering, add the chopped onions, followed by slit (or whole) green chilies, minced ginger and minced garlic.

6. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes or till the onions are soft and the raw smell of ginger garlic is gone.

7. Add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric and red chili powder (or paprika), a pinch of sugar (optional) and salt and mix everything well. Cover and cook till the tomatoes are mushy and the raw smell of the masala is gone.

8. Add the boiled masoor dal/red lentils and mix well. Keeping the heat at medium low and stirring frequently, let the lentils cook with the masala for 10 minutes. This will let the masala flavor the dal. This is not going to be a runny or soupy dal, but a rather thick stew kind of a dish.

9. Now add the shallow fried eggs and a let it simmer in the dal/lentil based gravy for another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust the quantity of salt.

10. Add a handful of chopped cilantro/coriander leaves and server hot with rice or roti. It tastes awesome with a crusty bread (a sourdough bread is particularly good) too.

Notes/Tip: Both my mother and mother in law and any Bengali for that matter shallow fries the egg before adding it in the gravy. This is mainly for visual appeal. It doesn't make a huge difference in taste. I have often added plain boiled eggs directly in the lentil gravy and it tasted just as delicious.

Diabetic Platter:
Compared to other types of dried beans, lentils are relatively quick and easy to prepare. They readily absorb a variety of wonderful flavors from other foods and seasonings, are high in nutritional value and are available throughout the year. Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of seven important minerals, our B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up—not out.



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