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Passport & Plate - Dal Pakwan

India | Friday, 6 March 2015 | 5 photos

First the Chana Dal
You will need:
2 cups Chana Dal
3 ½ cups water
2-3 green chiles (2 grated 1 sliced)
1 tsp grated ginger
5 curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of asafoetida/heeng
1 tomato grated
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp red chili powder
½ tsp mango powder
½ tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp of sugar or jaggery
salt(to taste)
oil or ghee for frying about 1 tbsp(more or less)

Now for the Pakwans
You will need:
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp semolina
½ tsp ajwain seeds
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp crushed black pepper
¾ cup water or as needed
salt to taste
oil 4 tbsp for dough, plus as needed for deep frying

and the Poha
You will need:
2 cups Poha (beaten rice)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin ground
1 ½ tsp turmeric
1 onion diced
3-4 green chiles diced
5-6 curry leaves
salt to taste
mustard/other oil as needed
handful of toasted peanuts
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ cup diced tomato
large handful chopped cilantro
lime or lemon

Time for the garnishes…
You will need:
Sweet tamarind chutney
- ½ cup tamarind seedless
- ½ cup dates seedless
- ½ cup grated jaggery
- 2 cups of wáter
- ½ tsp toasted cumin powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- Salt to taste
1. Put dates, tamarind and water in a pot, cook on low until softened
2. Add jaggery, dissolve and allow to thicken slightly
3. Add spices, allow to simmer for a few more minutes
4. Cool and blend until smooth
Green mint chutney
-1 cup fresh mint
-1 cup fresh cilantro
-1 tsp cumin powder
-1 green chili
-1 inch of ginger
-salt to taste
-1 tbsp lemon juice
- water as needed
1. Wash and chop mint and cilantro
2. Add all ingredients and blend until smooth, adding water as needed.
2 tomatoes diced
1 red onion diced
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
lime/lemon juice
salt to taste
jaggery to taste


How to prepare this recipe
In order to construct a Dal Pakwan you will need the following
-Chana dal
-Garnishes of choice
Now i will explain each part separately and then how they all come together to create this delicious recipe
Chana dal
1. Rinse and soak the dal for 2 hours
2. Drain, add Dal, salt, turmeric and water to your pot, boil med/high heat until done(soft but still separate)
3. Add the sugar,1/2 of the chili powder,1/2 mango powder and 1/2garam masala to the dal. Stir and cook on low heat. Add water as needed if it seems too dry.
4. In a separate pan heat oil and add cumin seeds and sliced pepper, wait until they start to crackle and brown slighty, add asafoetida and curry leaves stir for a moment then add grated tomato,ginger,peppers and remaining spices. Allow to cook slightly(oil should start to come out of mixture)
5. Add mixture to dal and stir.
6. Remove from heat(you may need to add a little water if reheating)
1. Sift flour into a large bowl
2. Add semolina, ajwain, cumin, pepper, salt and oil
3. Add water and knead into a semi soft dough
4. Let it rest 30 minutes, divide into 8 balls
5. Roll out until about 4 or 5 inches diameter
6. Prick each round with a fork
7. Heat oil and fry until golden brown
8. Drain
1. Rinse poha for a minute or two (mixing with your hand) in a colander.
2. Transfer to a bowl and mix with 1 tsp tumeric and a pinch of salt, set aside.
3. In a pan heat oil and add cumin, mustard, chilies, turmeric, cumin powder, onion and salt to taste. Fry until onions are light brown.
4. Mix the poha with the fried mixture, continue to heat for a few minutes until rice is done.
5. Mix in diced onion, tomato, cilantro and peanuts. squeeze lime juice over poha and mix.
Time to assemble the Dal Pakwan (:
1. Take a fried pakwan and dollop a few spoons of dal and spread evenly
2. Take a few spoons of poha and distribute evenly over the dal
3. Top with sev, chutneys, tomato, onion cilantro, masala and lime juice to taste.


The story behind this recipe
Where are your shoes madam? I flashed him a half smile, and retorted, The same place they are every day, Sunil. For weeks I had been returning to this town. Every time I left I said goodbye in earnest, but somehow I always found a reason to come back. Without question, he handed me my usual breakfast, a crispy fried bread smeared with dal, layered with poha, garnished with the best–fresh, flavorful and crispy—all unassumingly offered on a sheet of newspaper. Thanks, just the way I like it. You didn't forget the tomatoes this time, I teased, fumbling in my bag for the meager 30 rupee required. This one is on me madam. I argued, but to no avail. Sunil did mention that I could put it toward some shoes. This moment struck me deeply. In a place where haggling and money-making are imperatives, such a simple kindness spoke of friendship and connection that made me feel at home. As I delighted in the flavors of the fresh cilantro and tangy tamarind, I was consumed with an extreme appreciation for that moment of fullness in life. I am always falling a little bit in love—with a place, with a people, a taste, a smell, a moment. Something that is foreign can, in an instant, become a part of your being. That's the beauty of travel, of lingering and sharing sustenance, that in any place and with any people I can uncover a kinship and a new sense of self. These are the things that stick with me, the part of my heart that I know will always draw me to explore, searching faces and longing to know the people behind them. With love, you don't just leave a piece of yourself behind, you take a part of something else with you. Dal pakwan and Sunil, the camels and scorching pavement, are all mine in that moment forever, and I am theirs. Why madam? Why no shoes?

I need to feel the ground beneath my feet. It makes me move more slowly, more thoughtfully, to absorb everything. That is how I like to live. Wearing my own shoes I can never walk in those of someone else.

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