December 4, 2011

Dal paturi

Paturi is the Bengali style of wrapping food in banana leaves and steaming it. Needless to say, it is a delicacy with the recipes handed over through generations. The delicate flavor that the banana leaves impart into the steaming food is simply matchless. It is prepared with fishes, vegetables, lentils and all other possible combinations. One such is dal paturi. It is a paste of yellow split peas (matar dal) and coconut steamed to form a delicate ‘cake’. Dal paturi is one of my favorite foods. I love the subtle flavors and the spiciness of chilies. I can just keep on eating it. Unfortunately, the last time I had it was at least 8 years ago, if not more. So, this weekend, I was determined to make it. I cannot get banana leaves here and first thought of using some other leaves. But, then decided against it. Some other leaves cannot replace the delicate flavor of banana leaves, and I did not want some different new flavor in it. I wished and craved for the original taste. I remember once I had the ‘dal paturi’ baked in oven instead of steaming in banana leaves. It actually tasted almost like the authentic recipe. Therefore, I decided to try it. I called my mother for the recipe, in case I do not remember any particular ingredient. And finally was all set to cook. Even though, I used a complete different cooking method, it did not disappoint me. Of course it wasn’t same as steaming in banana leaf, but well, I cannot help that. However, except that, everything tasted exactly the same. And I went back to the delicious flavors of childhood.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 5)

1cup yellow split peas (soaked overnight)
1cup coconut
2tbsp mustard oil
3 green chilies
1/4cup chopped fresh coriander
Salt, Sugar


1.      Grind the soaked split peas with little water possible (4-5tbsp). The texture of the paste should be a bit rough.
2.      Mix together split pea paste, grated coconut, chopped chilies and coriander, mustard oil, salt and a pinch of sugar. Mix well for around 5 minutes.
3.      Spread it on a greased baking dish in a 1-1.5cm uniform layer.
4.      Bake for 15 minutes in a oven preheated at 180°C (bottom heating only).
5.      Serve hot or room temperature as a starter/side.

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