Home made Pasta in Indian lentil soup / or Dal Dhokli in Gujarati
This is a Gujarati one pot meal with home made whole wheat noodles and lentils [toovar or pigeon pea in our home] and a delicate balance of sweet with jaggery, spicy with red chillis and sour with lemon and hard and soft with peanuts and noodles.
And for every Indian, who was wondering about the mystery of the perfect home made pasta noodles: you knew it all along if you have been making dal dhokli!
Growing up in Mumbai, it is what we ate every Sunday for lunch. Mom made tuvar dal a.k.a. split pigeon pea lentils, fresh, in the morning and I helped her with making theplas a.k.a. Spicy roti, starting in my pre teen years.
Here in the US, I make it any day after I have made fresh dal. I make extra dal and use it the next day for the dal dhokli. I make extra dough and use it to make theplas the next day for the dal dhokli. We eat theplas with bhindi a.k.a Okra and aamras a.k.a ripe mangoes [ in summer] or chundo and yogurt.
There are many ways for children to help:
- Count the produce
- Wash the produce
- Measure out different portions
- Help knead the dough
- Make balls of dough
- Roll out tortillas/ theplas
Check out this recipe using the regular pressure cooker from Spice up the curry
Check out the recipe from Ministry of Curry using the instant pot.
Now for those of you are turned off by the daunting Indian ingredient lists…Here is a simple way to make your life easy. I have this in my kitchen. It is called a masala dabba, a staple in all Indian kitchens.
It the picture you see: in clockwise manner:
Red chilli powder, salt, salt, turmeric powder, coriander and cumin powder, again coriander and cumin powder mixture and cumin seeds in the center. I replace one of the salt containers with mustard seeds.
So now when you are making the dough and the recipe calls for a whole bunch of spices, take your box out and start adding.
Where can you buy a box with the little containers? Amazon has it or go to your nearest Indian store. I do not make any money for recommending this product.
As for the spices, I am going to recommend Northern Frontier spices. They are not pasteurized nor are they irradiated. Again, I do not stand to gain anything by recommending this.
I use Northern Frontier spices because researching on the internet I found that irradiated or pasteurized products might damage the beneficial components in spices that are being used for a variety of health reasons[ unable to locate the article, will update when I find it]. So none of these from an Indian store for me!
I like the bulk packaging they offer, as it results in less of plastic waste. I save extra spices in 1 lb wide mouth glass bottle containers, I bought from Target. I refill my box every week from these bottles, that way the spices smell fresh. I re- order every 6-9 months for a family of 3.
In Mumbai, India, my mom would go to a store far away from home, buy the raw sun dried ingredients in bulk, put it in her cloth bag and have them crushed at home by some ladies whose job was to do just that. The different families that lived in our building did it on consecutive days till all spices to use for the whole year were powdered fine. As kids, we sat watching those ladies all day to make sure they did not mix anything into the spices, they even let us lift their heavy sticks to grind the spices. They had a mesmerizing and soothing rhythm to their work.
Warli style painting by Yann Forget.
To make dhokli, start with making dough:
- I use the plastic blade of my cuisinart food processor,
- I add the flour, I use: whole grain spelt and wheat flour [equal portions],
- Add oil [I use extra virgin olive oil, comes in a green bottle,
- Add my spices: yellow, red and white, [turmeric, red chili and salt powders],
- Add whole cumin, sesame seeds, [optional] and
- Kasturi methi a.k.a. dried fenugreek leaves[ optional], use with caution if pregnant/ a child.
- I pulse it to make sure the oil and spices are mixed in and
- Then I slowly add water through the opening at the top,
- I stop adding water when I see small lumps of wet dough.
- I keep pulsing it till a single large lump is formed.
If I am making theplas, not for Dal dhokli, I add yogurt before I add water and let the dough sit for 2 hours before rolling it out. Ideally, let it sit for 2 days, for some lacto- fermentation to occur. In lacto- fermentation, the sugar gets pre digested, making the tortilla lower glycemic than it otherwise would be Some folks add fresh grated garlic to this dough as well. Being a Jain, I rarely eat garlic/ onion/ potato or anything that grows under the ground
Once your dough is ready, get set with your patlo and velan a.k.a flat surface and rolling pin. Half cook it on the stove, so he pieces are less likely to stick to each other and then cut into diamond shape pieces, or fancy pieces with cutters if kids are helping.
To be utterly successfully, for the best noodle experience: make sure the thepla is rolled out thin.
On to making dal or lentil soup,
- Use your I pot or pressure cooker, if you have it, I have never made it any other way so no guidance for how to boil the lentils directly on the stove. If you have boiled lentils on stove, please share.
- I use masoor dal a.k.a red lentil mixed with tuva a.k.a. split pigeon pea. I buy both of these in India store. I soak them for at least an hour, when I have planned it well or 20 min on a rushed day.
- You can use sauté function and add oil [ use something that can withstand high temperatures like sunflower or use ghee.
- Once hot, add the mustard seeds, this order is important, then cumin seeds, then asafetida and then turmeric powder, if you have curry leaves, cut them crudely with your fingers and add.
- Then, come the tomatoes, and
- Then, the soaked lentils after discarding the water.
- Add frozen Moringa sticks if you have them at home. Add peanuts [both are optional]
- Definitely add the jaggery or molasses, I use Grandma’s molasses, you can’t have a balance of all flavors without this one and it is important for almost all gujarati food. I skip Bay leaves and cinnamon, but feel free to add for more complex flavor.
- Set your I pot on bean function and adjust to 40 min, natural release for 10 min and then quick release.
Moringa stick , by Kris Dulal
- Switch to sauté function [high] on I Pot, add the cut pieces of half cooked tortilla pieces a.k.a dhokli, few at a time, followed by stirring, cook the dhokli till it floats. approx 10- 12 minutes
- Garnish with lemon juice, most important part at the end, add banana and cilantro, I do and I love it….I do not add tomatoes or the seasoning to the I pot since I read somewhere tomatoes need to be lightly cooked for the lycopene to be beneficial. I add the saute part to the boiled lentils right before adding the dhokli.
My easy or lazy version of this is to use bow tie pasta. I make the dal first in the instant pot and then add bow tie pasta to cook in the I- pot for an additional 10 min, with quick release, since you do not want the pasta to become mushy.
For some of you who are wondering, if we could just cook the lentils and bow tie together! I tried it with Masoor dal a.k.a red lentil since it has the same cook time as pasta of 10 min. What I did not like was that I could not beat the dal with a manual beater and it felt granular.
For those of you wondering if you can make it the previous day and serve it the next: Yesssss…. you can add hot water with salt to it and yes, like with everything else, it tastes better the next day!!!
Happy cooking….Let me know if you if you have any questions. As for the one, how do I get DD to eat this? I serve her the one with bow tie pasta at this point and will transition her when she is older, just need her to get used to the flavors. And no, it is not automatic…