Tak Dal or Sour Lentil Soup with Green Mangoes

11:39 AM

Do you associate some memories with food, or exactly in the opposite way does certain food reminds you of some incidents from past? For me, there are some dish that always triggers some memories, some association from distant past. Mostly because then all fruits and vegetables were not available the year around, certain dishes appeared on the dining table only in specific seasons. No matter what or how much I loved sipping this hot out of the kadhai tongue tickling delight, but I could only relish tak-er dal during peak summer. As a result this dal always reminds me of the lazy hot summer vacations from schools.

Those silent scorching afternoons, with no one on the streets and nothing to do outdoors. When even the birds prefer to tuck themselves in the safe cool cocoons of their nests leaving behind a couple or two of pigeons gurgling in the shade of the water tank. The windows remained closed with neatly drawn curtains making the room dark and comfortable and the fan kept on stirring the soothing but humid air with a monotonous hum. In those days when computer games or cable TV were unheard of, we had very few options to entertain ourselves. Apart from waiting to hear for the faint ringing sound of Goplda’s  ‘Mitu’ ice cream cart, coming our way, we only had weekly magazines like Anandamela or Shuktara to spend our afternoons with…or chatting on the stairs, under the cool shades of that huge jackfruit tree. Chomping on freshly picked just ripe guavas smeared with salt and red chilli powder. Those were the good old days of summer, of simple fun and innocent joy without worries.
Lunch always comprised of very light dishes like this Mango Dal (Lentil), Shukto, Posto, very light fish curry and the inevitable mango chutney. Tak er dal in Bengali means a sour tasting dal cooked with green mangoes. The heat and humidity killed our desire to eat but this light soupy dal with its pungent aroma and sour-spicy taste helped to open our appetite. This has to be cooked with mustard oil to bring out the flavour of green mangoes and Panchforon.  This dal holds a unique place in Bengali cuisine as no dal is cooked with anything sour in it. be it the tamarind, tomato or any other acidic ingredients, we sweet loving Bengalis never prefer our dals tangy. Traditionally, this is cooked with mator dal (split peas) with a tempering of mustard seeds and dry red chillies but I prefer the red lentils as it gives the dish a light and soupy consistency. Sipping a bowlful of this tak dal helps me relive those moments of childhood, which is a cherished summer treat for me.

Aam-er Dal or Tak dal

Red Lentil: 1/2 cup
Green Mango: 1 large
Mustard Oil: 1+1/2 tsp
Panch foron: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: ½ tsp
Dry red chillies: 2 pcs
Sugar: ½ tsp

Peel and cut the mango lengthwise in 4-5 pieces. If you were using a knife like me it would be a very hard task to slice it through the hard seed. In that case take out as much flesh as possible from the mango in big chunks. Don’t discard the seed.

Wash the red lentil and place it in a pressure cooker with 11/2 cups of water, turmeric powder and the mango pieces with the seed. On medium flame cook it upto 2 whistles. Once it is cold enough to handle, open the lid and mash the dal and mango pieces with a whisk till you get a very smooth consistency. Add another cup of water and salt. Mix well and keep aside.

Heat 1 tsp of mustard oil and temper it with panchforon, mustard seeds and dry chillies. Once they start to sputter pour the lentil mixture. Immediately cover with a lid for the dal to soak all the flavour. Let it simmer on low for a couple of minutes then pour the reserved ½ tsp mustard oil to it. Mix in the sugar. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot with dal and posto.

Never add salt at the beginning as it will harden the grains and make it take longer than normal.
You can alternatively cook the lentil in a heavy bottomed pan or Kadhai but that generally takes longer time.
Don’t overcook lentils especially if you are using pressure cooker. It makes the dal little sticky.
To serve leftover dal it’s preferable to add another seasoning just the way mentioned above.
For all of you who liked this vessel, this is not a Bengali shape. I bought it from Bangalore (South India) and saw this type of copper bottomed vessels there only. for all living in Bangalore 'Spar' hyper market in Koramangala stocks various sizes of this vessel. When I first saw this shape the dish that popped up in my mind was Dal, and now in our house this bowl is known as 'Daler bati' or the specific bowl meant to stock boiled lentil :-)

am just on time to send this for Susan's MLLA 36. hosted at Served with love.

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  1. wow, what a great presentation, love the dal recipe and your bowl both :)

  2. thanks priya, that was super quick.

  3. OMG!!this looks very delicious!!!my all time fav dal!!!!thnx for posting...
    Happy Blogging!!!!
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  4. Wow tangy and yummy dal,beautiful presentation.

  5. Slurp, mouthwatering here, tak dal looks super comforting and delicious..

  6. Hey love the vessel you served the daal in :))
    And yes, post too..it is very nostalgic..bachpan ki yaden.

  7. Beautifully written memories of Summer ... loved the write up. You are very right .... food always brings a lot of memories. The mango daal looks delicious ......


  8. Sayantani dear what a coincidence!!:)check out my blog I had the same mango desire going thru my mind and did a post on tak er dal and aamer tok :))an absolote summer pleasure.
    What lovely write up.very nostalgic!!enjoyed reading it .Also lovely lovely click.

  9. Oh boy !! I made aaam daal too :) and was about to post it but then posted something else. Yours looks fabulous!

  10. wow...that must taste divine....i love a simple daal...but something which might add a some tangy flavour to it, I have never tried it...sounds so wonderful...:) and lovely clicks too...:)

  11. Loved your Tak Dal..just perfect on a
    summer afternoon! Yes, aam dal-shukto-posto-halka macher jhol:)
    Great shots too!
    Kemon achho? Kolkata kemon lagchhe?

  12. Wow tangy and yummy dal,beautiful presentation.

  13. Lovely dal..looks yumm n delicious..:)

  14. Delicious looking tak dal. You have put forward the exact course of events during summer time.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  15. Snaps gulo dekhe mone hocche sugandha pacchi! Ki bhalo lage ei daal ta ... chobigulo khub shundor hoyeche Sayantani! :-)

  16. Sayantani, The setting is as beautiful as the memory. Is this a traditional shape of utensil in Bengal? haven't seen it anywhere else.

  17. Thanks everyone. yes you all are very true this is like a journey through the memory lane. every year when I sip the first tak dal of the season I relive those memories. time has changed but the memories are fresh and sweet.

    @Sarmistha, that's an amazing post. very nostalgic write up and lovely clicks as always. loved your colourful bowls.

    @Sharmila, ja bolecho, ei daler sugandhoi alada. acho kamon?

    @Anjali, just updated the post. this is not a traditional bengali shape but I guess these copper bottomed vessels are trademark of south India.

  18. @Miri, try this out, you will love it for sure.

    @Sanghamitra, thanks dear. Kolkata is good but sometimes I wish to have a magic wand. i would have loved to swap the hot and humid weather with something more soothing.

  19. healthy soup!!nice presentation n nice vessel!!

  20. Comforting and delicious! Nice pictures

  21. Lovely dal sayantini...love ur clicks ..will surely try this and let u know:)

  22. Wowwww... looks so tempting and delicious.. love the presentation too :)
    Indian Cuisine

  23. simple and tangy dal, love the vessel

  24. Lovely set up and clicks,loved that serving bowl and ncie recipe!

  25. So comforting and healthy dal! Can eat this day in and day out, with chapattis, with rice..or simply drink it off :)

  26. What a beautiful presentation dear! Loved all the shots.
    Tak dal looks fantastic and I am sure it tastes equally wonderful :)
    US Masala

  27. Dal looks very yummy...You got a beautiful space...Thanks for your lovely words at my space...following you..

  28. Yes yes yes, food reminds me of many incidents and people..Like you remembered my nephew for BG :) Never thought you'd remember that, thanks yaar!!

    Dal and mango is a perfect combo, love the presentation too..

  29. Loving your bowl and the presentation :-)Mango dal is my favorite too :-)But it never looked this good when I make it :-)

  30. I can almost taste the tang in the dal - we make something similar with a sambar. Actually most regions I think end up incorporating green mango in their lentils to make the most of summer tastes. Its supposed to be cooling as well, as compared to ripe mangoes.
    Looks lovely and inviting

  31. Beautifully presented love this delicious dal.

  32. awesome dish priya...thx 4r sharing this...cool pix too

  33. Love the memories that you have detailed. I remember sleeping out on the terrace with friends. Thanks Sayantani for bring them back.

    The dal it is superlative!

  34. Dal is such a comfort food and this looks heavenly! And thanks for sharing your lovely memories too :)

  35. Dal is so comforting. Love the bowl too. :)

    Event: Fast food not Fat food

  36. Loved you memories as much as your dal :)
    I really like your dishes also, the copper bottomed one's. From India?

  37. Yum, this is a lovely soup. I have only started my culinary experimentations with raw mango very recently and it sounds like a lovely soup!
    Love the vessels, too ;-)

  38. @Rekha, Shalini, padhu thanks girls.

    @Sush, am sure you will love this simple flavour.

    @Hari,Jayshri, Raks, Sanjeeta, same here I love to drink this as soup. slurp slurp slurp

    @Aipi, thanks dear. am finding my mojo to keep up the decent work (like you)for all posts but sometimes am down and loose all patience.

  39. @Reshmi, ruchi and Nami, thats my fav bowl too.

    @Miri, very true. but we also make fish curries with raw mangoes.

    @Pushpa, Nisha, Archana, Plateful...I believe everyone who has spent their childhood in Eastern India have this same vivid memory of summer. things are all the same till date but we dont have time or better we dont have that eye to watch and experience the beauty in the same way.

  40. Thanks vardhini,

    @MAdhu, yes bought it from Bangalore

    @Vanessa, thanks girl. stay tuned am bringing more raw mango recipes soon.

  41. Sayantani, have lots of warm liquids and do salt water gargling to get relief. Take care gurl.

  42. Hi Sayantani,
    Thanks for your encouraging comment on my post.. have uploaded the story for Chalks and Chopsticks..do take a look..
    Dal with green mangoes is awesome.. It is my personal fav too.. This is how my mother does it during summers when raw green mangoes are in abundance...
    Happy Blogging

  43. My most favorite dal. Loved the pic of your son with the laptop :)

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  45. awesome pics dear! the dish and clicks look great :)

  46. I m in awe of you...you are so creative dear..:)

    Tasty Appetite

  47. love the presentation:-) cant take my eyes off it!! Love the tangy dal!!

  48. Yummy recipe. i love this dish. i love ur copper dishes. i heard they are really good for your heart if we eat in copper vessel or drink atleast water from copper tumbers.

  49. nice post and a nice dish.
    liked your blog followong you.

  50. This looks so good. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


  51. beautiful presentation.i was impressed.


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