Lalita Aunty makes the best Dhaansaak. Aunty shared her secret recipe with Gossip About Food and how she prepared this wholesome dish to feed her four beautiful daughters when they were growing up. Her trick was to add all the vegetables, greens and lentils in one dish which is not only healthy but absolutely delicious and flavorful.
1/2 toovar dal (arhar)
1/2 cup masoor dal (split red lentil)
1/4 cup green split moong dal (split green gram)
1/8 cup urad dal (split black lentil)
1/2 chana dal (bengal gram)
2 cups basmati rice
2 cups chopped spinach, washed
1 cup methi leaves (fenugreek), washed
1/2 cup mint leaves, washed
1 large potato, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 cup doodhi/lauki (bottle gourd)
2 small green chilies
1 small ginger
Tamarind or lemon juice
3-4 bay leaf
2 cinnamon stick
2 big cardamom
3-4 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp poppy seeds and nutmeg powder (as needed)
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp dhaansaak masala
In a large pot combine the toovar dal, masoor dal, moong dal, urad dal, chana dal and wash it 3-4 times with cold water and drain. Add 6-7 cups of water to the mixed dal with salt and turmeric and put it to boil on a medium heat (pressure cooker is optional).
Boil the dals until soft, add all the chopped vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, bottle gourd, spinach, fenugreek greens, mint leaves, green chili, and ginger). Stir all the vegetables with the boiled dal and cook until the vegetables are soft and cooked. Let is cool completely.
Once cooled, blend it using a vitamix or blender to a fine mixture (as you desire). Place a large pot on medium flame. Add ghee, asafoetida, cloves, bay leaf, cumin seeds and red chili powder and add the blended mixture. Add the dhaan saak masala and let it come to a boil. Give 2-3 boils and let it simmer.
Soak 2 cups of basmati rice in cold water and drain. In a large pot, heat some ghee (oil optional). Add 2 bay leaves, 2 cloves and a cinnamon stick. Add rice immediately and stir for first 1/2 a minute. Add 3-4 cups of water and cook the rice until soft for 10-12 minutes. Garnish the rice with fried onions (optional). Serve hot with Dhaansaak.