Mango Dal(lentil soup)
On a trip to Wal-Mart couple of weeks back, I noticed green mangoes in one the basket. I went ahead, picked one, pressed, smelled to make sure, is this for real that I am seeing green mango here?I don’t know if it has always been there every summer and I always missed it or if it was the first time but I was absolutely thrilled with this discovery.
My limited knowledge of food history tells me that mangoes originated in India. Not surprising, mangoes are the most loved fruit of Indians during summer.I remember taking a train ride during summer and passing by mango orchards, looking out from the window.We talked about when ‘manjhar‘(mango flowers) started sprouting up and anticipation of seeing small green mangoes.
The mangoes which i found here were slightly yellow inside and not as tart as Indian green mangoes.I am guessing because it is trying to ripen up.Indian green mangoes are white when cut and very very tart.I can feel my teeth chattering with a thought of it.
Indians use mangoes in many different ways.My mom used green mangoes to make sweet and tart mango drinks(Aam panna), Mango pickle(with spices and oil), relish, tart chutney.When i moved to South India, i was introduced to another use of green mangoes, mango dal.It is lentil cooked with mango chunks.It adds tartness to the lentil.It took me sometime to get used to this but after getting used it,i miss it often.So i was thrilled to be making ‘mango dal’ for the first time.
- My daughter loves ‘dal’. White rice with dal is one of her favorite food.I wasn’t sure if she would like the tartness in it.So instead of mashing the mangoes, i left it in chunks to subdue the tartness.
- Black Mustard and Fenugreek seeds adds nuttiness to the soup.Fenugreek is very good for you.I love the smell of curry leaves as it hits the hot oil.Lentil itself is very plain,seasoning lifts it up.Indian homes have the ladle just for the seasoning purpose.You can certainly use the pan.
- Indians always serve ‘dal’ with rice. It is never served just as ‘soup’ but you certainly can have a bowl of lentil soup,if you like.My hubby is not a ‘lentil’ soup fan but he tried it.My son decided not to try it,though he likes ‘dal’.