Lebu Pata die Daal (Lentil with lemon leaves)9:15 PM
There is something about lemon that always reminds me of summer or more precisely the very thought of refreshing, vibrant citrus gives me comfort in scorching, balmy weather. But like most other citrus fruits they actually are a fruit of winter...though they thrive only in the warmer climates and bring joy to us through out the year.
In Bengali cuisine the use of lemon is very limited or so what I thought. sometimes back when we went to Thailand and was totally overwhelmed with the bold taste of everything lemon in their dishes, I felt inspired. so wanted to incorporate this golden sunshine in our daily recipes. No, not only as a wedge with my daily rice but as a cooking ingredient, as a natural souring agent or as a nice refreshing flavour.
Maa provided me a few recipes that my dida (maternal grandmaa) used to make and one of those dishes is this Lebu pata die daal. She definitely used highly flavourful Gandhoraj lebu'r pata (Gandhoraj lime leaves) but I have made it with many varieties ranging from fresh and dried kaffir lime leaves and sweet lime leaves and it tasted great every time. I also tried to add the rind where the natural oil of the fruit contains most of the flavour. The whole family got hooked to this and now I always have some fridge dried lemon leaves in my secret stash.
This dish could be made with various types of dal but I prefer to use either musur (red lentil) or kancha mug (unroasted yellow lentil). Mainly because the other dals have a distinctive flavour to them and I highly dislike the very flavour of lemon being masked under those. For the same reason I dont like to roast the mung either.
Lebu pata die daal
Mug or Musur dal (Yellow or red lentil): 1/4 cup
Lemon leaves: 4-5 (Kaffir lime/gandhoraj lime/ or any aromatic high on natural oil lemon leaves)
lemon: 1 (Key lime/gandhoraj/ kaffir lime/indian lemon)
cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Nigella seeds: 1/4 tsp
Green chillies: 2
Oil: 1 tsp
wash the lentils under running water till the water runs clear. Place it in a pressure cooker with a pinch of turmeric. tear 2-3 lemon leaves and place in the pressure cooker with 1 cup water (we prefer it soupy, please adjust the amount of water as per your taste). Tighten the lid and Put on medium flame. Cook for one whistle and let the steam dissipate in itself. open the lid add 1 more cup of water. mix thoroughly and keep aside.
Chop the leftover lemon leaves and grate the skin of the lemon. we need 1/2 tsp of the lemon rind. keep aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan or a kadhai and crackle the seeds and slited green chilies for 30 seconds. Add the chopped lemon leaves and stir for 5-7 seconds. Pour in the boiled lentil. Adjust the salt and add turmeric. Let it simmer on medium flame for 4-5 minutes. Finally add the lemon rind and 1 tsp lemon juice and boil for another minute.
Serve hot with white rice.
A Homemaker's Notes:
This recipe contains lemon juice so its always better to consume the daal in the day its cooked itself. If you need to store. Then pour it in a covered container when it comes to room temparature and store in fridge for a day or two.
Always stir the dal before serving.
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