Dahi Misal

Dahi Misal
Dahi Misal

For a change here’s a recipe that I haven’t tweaked or experimented with; I’ve prepared it the way I remember eating it though it’s been quite a while since it was last made at home.

It’s not a family recipe, but one that was taught to my mother by my Kutchi neighbours’ daughter. Good Catholics that we were, we didn’t know how to cook vegetables. I don’t remember eating many vegetable dishes growing up; from my entire childhood only three dishes come to mind, two of which I absolutely detested. Both were Mangalorean preparations: the first, karam, was a vinegary salad of sliced cucumber and onions with grated coconuts and the second, whose name I cannot remember, was a mashed brinjal salad with chopped onions. The third, and the one which I enjoyed, was drumsticks cooked with grated coconut and cashews in a red masala.  I haven’t eaten the first two in over 30 years and I’m curious whether I’d respond to them in the same way (not curious enough though to delve into my copy of Chef, the cookbook that’s the final word on Mangalorean Catholic cooking and try out the recipe).  

At some point my mother decided she needed to expand her vegetarian repertoire. I’m not quite sure why, it was most likely one of her many enthusiastic, but short-lived, learning phases. She naturally turned to the only vegetarians we knew and the ones who were also close at hand – our Kutchi neighbours. They happily obliged and one of the many daughters was tasked with teaching my mother one dish as week. Of course, she didn’t touch anything in our kitchen since all our utensils were meat-polluted.  She stood in one corner and guided my mother on the preparation of the chutneys and the assembly. It was a good enough system: my mother learnt some new recipes, my neighbours could happily share their knowledge and no one’s religion was offended. My mother made this a couple of times but the last time would probably have been a decade ago. 

I’ve reconstructed the recipe from memory, though the chutneys are the standard chaat chutenys. I quite like the simplicity of the dish and the fact that it’s so uncommon – I’ve never come across it in any restaurant or even in anyone’s home. However, when you think of it, it’s just a variation of a dahi puri filling, but without the puri.

100 gm sprouted vatana (dried white peas)
100 gm sprouted kala chana (Bengal gram)
100 gm sprouted moong beans
100 gm sprouted matki (moth beans)
100 gm potato,
75-100 gm onion, chopped
500 ml curd
1½ tsp caster sugar
50 gm sev
salt to taste
For the pungent red chutney
15 gm Kashmiri chillies
50 ml water
5 gm garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Salt to taste
For the medium-spicy green chutney
150 gm fresh coriander with stalks, roughly chopped (Keep a few leaves aside for garnish)
75 gm mint leaves
juice of half a lime
2 small chillies, roughly chopped
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
½ tsp sugar
salt to taste
For the sweet tamarind chutney
50 gm tamarind with seeds
125 ml water
30 gm jaggery
¼ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp roasted cumin powder
¼ tsp black salt
¼ tsp black pepper powder

Mix the sugar with the yoghurt and refrigerate.
Wash the potato well. Leave skin on. Chop into pieces about the size of the kal chana.
Place the vatanas with one and half times the quantity of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the kala chana and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
Repeat the process with the potato, mung and finally the matki, stirring occasionally.
Add salt with the matki and give it a good stir. (if the water dries up add another 75-100 ml)
Once the beans are tender remove from the heat, drain off any excess water and keep aside to cool. Refrigerate after it reaches room temperature.
For the pungent red chutney
Remove the stalks and soak the chillies in water for a few minutes. Grind all the ingredients together till you have a smooth paste. Keep in refrigerator to chill.
For the medium-spicy green chutney
Grind all the ingredients together till you have a smooth paste. Keep in refrigerator to chill.
For the sweet tamarind chutney
Cook the tamarind in the water for about 10 minutes. (Bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 7 minutes).
Remove from heat and keep aside to cool. Squeeze out the pulp from the tamarind seeds or press through a sieve. Mix with the remaining water. Add the spices and return to heat.
Cook for about 5-6 minutes, or till the mixture has the consistency of melted chocolate. Keep in the refrigerator to chill.
To assemble
Put 4 serving spoons of the mixed vegetables in a bowl. Add a tbsp of chopped onions and a tsp of sev.
For a medium spicy mixture: add ¾ tsp of red chutney, 2 tsp of green chutney and 2 tbsp of tamarind chutney. Mix well. You can adjust the spice/ sweetness levels at this point by adding more chutney
Spread evenly on a plate. Top with sweetened curd. Garnish with sev and chopped fresh coriander.

Preparation Time: 35-40 minutes.
Makes about 8 servings

The vegetables and the chutneys should be made a day in advance, or at least 4 hours before so it’s nice and cold when you serve it. You can use other sprouted beans like val or chowli; I’ve used the beans that I like. 

2 replies to “Dahi Misal

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