Gooseberry Dal and other Variations of the Simple Dal recipe above 

Usirikaya pappu (Gooseberry dal)

This is another eternal favourite. Just substitute the gooseberries (say 1 lb of green, sour ones) for the tomatoes in the recipe above. If the gooseberries are not sour enough, add a few drops of lemon to it. You don’t want the colour of the dal to be darkened by any other additive here.


Mamidikaya pappu (Mango dal)

Similarly, you can also use green mango. If you can find some which are dark green and hard on the outside, and inside, are whitish rather than orange, chope them into chunks, wit skin on, but discard te central white, not yet hard stone. It tends to be a bit bitter at this stage. Substitute about three small mangoes for the tomatoes. Less if you want it less sour. Add lemon a bit if mangoes not at all sour.


Courgette dal

You can use the same recipe, but put in chopped courgettes about ten or fifteen minutes before taking the dal off the fire. Don’t let them go too soft. Don’t add any tomatoes or gooseberries or sour thing in this dal – it is an even more delicate and gentle flavour.

Another way of doing this is, after you do the talimpu, put the roughly chopped courgette wedges in the talimpu and stir around so they absorb the sharper flavours of the spices. After a good five minutes of that, put the whole lot into the dal and let it simmer for a further ten minutes. This way you get the contrast between a stronger courgette and a milder dal. Both are yumm


Palakura pappu (Spinach dal) (or the green leafy part of swiss chard)

Spinach goes wonderfully with this dal. Or with any other for that matter. Wash each leaf of a large bag of spinch, chop roughly (or leave whole), and put them into the dal instead of the tomatoes. Again, you want the colour to stay green and yellow, not darkened, so not tomatoes. Add a few drops of lemon if you really wish, but this dal can survive without anything sour in it. Bland and beautiful! Swiss chard goes well here too, if you have it. Cut out the stalks and use them separately for another fried condiment, and only use the soft green leaves for this. Takes a tad longer to cook than spinach.