The recipe I chose for this state is called bootor dali which literally means chana dal. I found it on the blog written by Sunita Bhuyan. Sunita is from Assam and though she has not blogged for a while her blog is very interesting. Do visit her and look around.
This is an everyday recipe in Assamese households. It is a simple but tasty dal preparation that brings out the flavor of channa dal. A little Masoor dal is added to this dish as it cooks quicker than the chana dal and helps thicken it.
Channa dal is one of the more flavorful dals so I expected this dish to be tasty. I add channa dal to my every day dal when I feel like I want a change. But since I do not use onions, ginger or garlic in my every day cooking I never cook dal this way. This dish was so flavorful it took us completely by surprise. I will be making this again.
I made this dal almost dry without gravy so I could serve it as a side dish. You may keep more liquid if you wish.
You will need
1 cup chana dal
1/4 cup masoor dal
1/2 onion, minced
1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and minced
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. jaggery or sugar
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. olive oil
a bunch cilantro, chopped, divided
salt to taste
Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and bay leaf to it. When the seeds change color add the onion, ginger garlic paste, pepper and turmeric powder to it. Saute until the onion is cooked. Add a little water if needed.
Add jaggery or sugar and mix well. Add the chana and masoor dal to the pan. Cook the dals for a few minutes until the mixture comes together. It should take no more than 7-10 minutes.
Add enough water to completely cover the dals and then a quarter cup more. Bring it to a boil. Transfer the contents to a pressure cooker. In my pressure cooker I place the weight when the steam starts to escape and leave it on high heat for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pressure drop. This is equivalent to three whistles. Transfer the contents back to the pan.
If the dal is too dry then add a little water. Bring it to a boil on medium heat. Season with salt and add most of the cilantro. Let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, garnish with remaining cilantro and serve hot with poli or parathas.