As it was for Majama the parrot, dal baati, a dish of cooked lentils and baked bread, caught our imagination. We had this special Rajasthani dish a number of times during our stay there. Of course, every time I asked for the recipe from the waiter, chef, cook or whoever was obliging enough, much to my daughters’ annoyance. They always gave me a look that said “You are never going to make this dish at home.” Well, while it is true that I never did make it at home, I had recipes from the great masters of Rajasthani food. I share with you a recipe from a cook who had kept it a secret thus far.
To make the dal: Pressure cook together one cup of urad dal, one fourth cup each of chana dal and moong dal in three cups of water. Heat two tablespoons of ghee in a pan and add one teaspoon of cumin seeds, a pinch of asafetida, a few cloves, a small piece of cinnamon stick, two or three whole red chili, ½ tsp turmeric powder, two teaspoons of chili powder to the hot ghee; then add cooked dal and salt to taste. Simmer till it thickens.
For the baati: Knead together two cups of wheat flour with one cup of ghee and a sprinkle of water to make stiff dough. Make ping pong-sized balls of the dough. Flatten them slightly and bake at 180oC in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Serve dal and baati with a dribble of ghee on its top.
If you spot Majama, do give her a bite. She will be your friend for life!