Hyderabadi cuisine is popularly known because of the addition of tamarind for tanginess in its recipes. This popular addition is what makes it unique from the cuisine of other parts of India. Khatti Daal is one particular dish that is is unique to Hyderabad, not only because of the addition of a tangy ingredient(such as tamarind or lemon juice), but also because of the addition of tempering(or bagaar/tadka). Tempering is a popular cooking method used in the Indian subcontinent where spices, such as cumin, mustard seeds, dry red peppers, and curry leaves, are roasted in oil to enhance their flavor and release their scents.
It is a dish that can be served with many different meat and vegetable sides. In our home it is popularly served with white rice and Thala Huwa Gosht. Enjoy!
1 cup Masoor Daal(Red-Lentils)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red pepper powder
1 large tomato chopped
4-5 whole green chilis
3 sprigs curry leaves
1/2 cup lemon juice/tamarind pulp
2 tbsp salt
For Tempering: 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin, 4-5 dry whole red pepper, 2-3 cloves of garlic-optional
1. In a pot, put the lentils(washed and drained), turmeric, red pepper powder, tomatoes, and green chilis. Add about 4 cups of water and cook on medium heat until they are soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
2. Take an immersion blender and puree the lentil mixture into a soupy consistency. Note: Add about 1 cup of water if you feel it is too thick.
3. Add the curry leaves, lemon juice, and salt. Let the lentils simmer for about 15 minutes.
4. Prepare a small frying pan for tempering. Add 2-3 tbsp oil and heat on medium-low flame. Add the mustard seeds, cumin, and dry red peppers. Let it cook until the seeds start to split or make a popping sound. Slowly add the tempering to the lentils.
Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.