The Craziness Of A 2-year-old Over Dal Bhat

My puny brother and the psycho- me

Memories…… memories are the most valuable family possessions that are shared and also that which brings hearts together. On looking back on various childhood events and memories, I would say that flavour is intrinsically linked with memories and emotions.

Born and brought up in Maharashtra, India and my mother tongue being Tamil, I was brought up with a brilliant amalgamation of two beautiful cultures. In my first blog I shared the story of my dad’s Rasam – a typical Tamilian dish. In this post I take you through a journey to explore a typical comfort food from Maharashtra. While growing up, a hot bowl of home cooked ‘dal bhat’ was the perfect dish to make me drool.

Once I was in my teens, my folks (like most parents) kept sharing various stories about my childhood – many embarrassing, but most amazing. Even today while making this dish, I tend to go back to these beautiful memories and relive the crankiness of a 2 year old me over this dish :).

This story was from the summer vacations of 1980s, and had two main characters: a two-year-old psycho–me, and my tiny little brother (who in reality is 5 years older than me). Since our parents used to go to work daily, they used to leave us with our nanny who was short and stout. She used to find it a challenge to control the tornados as we used to run around the house creating a commotion. During these vacations, one day my mom had to travel on work and coincidently my nanny too fell ill and couldn’t come to babysit us. My dad made a hot bowl of dal bhat for our lunch, and left for work. After playing the entire day and running around the house, the 2-year old- me got tired and felt hungry as a bear – I was ready to have a fairly big meal. My tiny little brother served me some dal and rice, which by then was quite cold. I cried my heart out, insisted and fussed that I wanted hot food and my brother had no idea what to do, since he had rarely ever used the kitchen before. To pacify me, he decided to boil some water and poured it into my dal rice mixture and asked me eat this immediately. My puny brother’s presence of mind took care of my hunger and even today brings a smile to my face when I see a bowl of hot dal bhat.

Dal bhat is a traditional dish that is famous in many parts of India. It basically consists of steamed rice – called bhat – with a lentil soup – called dal. It is simply cooked with tomatoes and condiments and a tempering of ghee would just make it rich and delicious. It is one of the simplest and easiest dishes to make and is rich in proteins, low in fat and extremely nutritious. Since my childhood no meal used to be complete without a dal – my dad was the one who introduced me to this amazing dal tadka (tempered dal). Here’s the recipe of a simple & homely dal.

Tempered Dal

Prep time

30 mins

Cook time

10 mins

Total time

40 mins

Easy and simple

Course: Main

Cuisine: Maharashtrian

Servings: 4


  • Toor dal – 1 cup
  • Tomatoes – 1 (medium)
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Coriander – ½ tbsp
  • Salt as per required
  • Water – 1-2 cups
  • Lemon – 1 nos

For the tempering:

  • Clarified butter (Ghee) – 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Curry leaves – 5-6 nos.
  • Ginger – 1 – 1 ½ inches grated
  • Garlic – 1-2 cloves (finely chopped)
  • Green chillies – 1-2 nos. slit


  1. Soak the toor dal for 15-20 mins.Dal Bhat
  2. Pressure-cook the toor dal with turmeric powder, water and finely chopped tomatoes.
  3. Once the pressure settles down, mash the dal until smooth.
  4. Take a kadhai (frying pan) and heat some ghee
  5. Add grated ginger and garlic and fry until brown.
  6. Then add cumin and mustard seeds and allow it to splutter
  7. Then add the curry leaves, asafoetida and green chillies
  8. Add the mashed dal and salt to the above tempering (Add water if required).
  9. Boil the dal for 5-6 minutes so that the flavours of the tempering gets infused.
  10. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  11. Serve this hot dal with plain rice/jeera rice.

(Tip: Squeeze lemon onto the dal as it adds some tangy taste to the earthiness of the dal.)

Sit back, relax and enjoy your hot dal bhat! 


8 Comments Add yours

  1. V.Ramanujan ( Nuju). says:

    Dal Bhat though appears to be simple it has all the nutritional value. Even today we all like to have the same for the change whenever we get bored with our routine food. I very much remember the incidence how Arun has handled it.Those were the golden days. I used to come to your house almost all Saturdays.



    1. therasamboat says:

      Thanks! I still remember we used to wait in the balcony on Saturdays for you 🙂 Miss those days!


    1. therasamboat says:

      Thanks srimusings!


  2. Clive Figueiredo says:

    I thought this was going to end with you beating up your puny brother but fortunately it was a positive outcome 😉 I think I will attempt this next weekend…if I figure out what is tempering first! 🙂


    1. therasamboat says:

      Thanks Clive! Tempering means Tadka 🙂 Well, do invite us home to taste it 🙂


  3. flavours2017 says:

    Nice dal bhat write up–

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s