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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dal Pakwaan: A Sindhi Breakfast Dish My Way

I first tried this dish as an appetizer at a local Indian restaurant. Instantly, I fell in love with this new concept (it was to me, at least). I, who grew up in Northern India was used to having Chhole puri and Kachori with Chhole and Aloo tikki with Chhole and Samosas with Chhole but never tried this crispy poori called Pakwaan with Chana dal.  It was a very hearty appetizer. To me it was like a meal by it self. I did little bit of research on it and came across many recipes. Found out that this recipe originates from Sindh.

It is a staple Sindhi breakfast dish, which is a  flat fried crispy bread made out of all purpose flour, seasoned with caraway seeds and topped with thick curried chana dal, chopped fresh onions and chutney.
I used  green onions, tomatoes, radishes in dal and in toppings.  Also modified the chutneys and used yogurt as one of the topping, but you may omit this if this is not for your palate.
For garnish you may use Sev (Indian crispy noodles made out of chick peas flour, you can this from local Indian grocers ready made)
Ingredients for Chana Dal:

  • 2 cups Chana dal washes and soaked for 1 hour
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup of oil (I used Olive oil)
  • 2 table spoon of cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon of asefoetida
  • 2-4 dry pods of red chili pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 onion
  • 2 green chilies
  • 5 red radishes (optional, I like them because typical Sindhi dal has radishes)
  • 5 spring onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1.5 teaspoon of fresh ginger paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon of dal masala (if don't have this you may use any garam masala)
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed chili peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of  paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of black salt
  • 1 tablespoon of mango powder or to taste

    Method to cook Dal:
    • Add four cups of water to washed and soaked dal.
    • Add salt.
    • Pressure cook for 3 whistles, be sure that dal is tender but not too mushy.
    • Turn the heat off, when pressure cooker is cool, and steam is all out, open the lid.
    • Keep aside.

    Prepare gravy for dal as follows:
    •  In a food processor chop 1 onion, ginger paste, 5 radishes, 4  garlic cloves 5  green onions and 2 chilies.
    • Set aside to make gravy for dal.
    • Chop 2 tomatoes separately and set aside.
    • In a frying pan or wok heat 1/4 cup of oil.
    • When oil is hot, add cumin seeds.
    • When these crackle add asefoetida.
    • Add dry red chili pods and bay leaves followed by curry leaves.
    • Add chopped onion radish, ginger, garlic, chili, and green onions that you chopped in food processor.
    • Saute the entire mix until onions are translucent and light brown.
    • Add 2 finely chopped tomatoes.
    • Add all the powdered spices except mango powder.
    • Saute for few seconds and add boiled dal.
    • If dal is not tender you may cook it for litttle before adding mango powder because once you add mango powder it will not cook quickly.
    • Again the dal should be tender but not mushy.
    • Add mango powder and cook for 1-2 minute, water in dal is reduced some.
    • Turn the stove off and set aside.

    Ingredients for dough for Pakwaan:
    • 2 cups AP  flour
    • 1 cup  white whole wheat flour (you may only use AP flour and totally omit the whole wheat flour)
    • 4-5 table spoon of butter or Ghee (clarified butter)
    • 1 heap ful teaspoon of Ajwayan (caraway seeds)
    • 1  teaspoon of Cumin seeds or coarse cumin seed powder
    • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
    • Pinch of asfoetida
    • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
    • ~ 1 and half  cup of water or enough to make dough
    • Oil for frying (In India they use Ghee for frying) I used vegetable oil in an electric fryer.
    • Salt to taste

    Make the dough as follows: 
    • Sift the flours together.
    • Mix all the dry ingredients.
    • Add butter and mix with flour with hands.
    • Add water gradually to make dough, should not be very soft.
    • Kneed the dough well
    • Brush some vegetable oil on top and cover it so it does not dry.
    • Let it sit while you prepare the toppings and garnishing.
    •  Divide the dough in to 20-25 balls.
    • Brush a little oil on all the balls so they don't become dry.
    • Heat oil in  fryer at 375  degrees.
    • Place the dough ball in heated  tortilla press.
    • Press the tortilla press and make a round poori. Pole the holes in poori with fork, so it does not blow/puff up like poori as it may give the pakwaan softer texture.
    •  Be sure to fry it until golden brown and crispy.
    • Deep fry it until nice and brown and crispy.
    • Frying process is slower than pressing the poories in tortilla press, you may want to press multiple poori and and keep them aside before frying.
    • Place the fried poories on stack of newspaper covered with paper towels so all the extra oil is drained down and soaked by paper layers.
    • Keep them open so they stay crispy
    • Once totally cool you may put them on the serving plate.
    • Now every thing is ready to put together to serve.

     Garnishing and Toppings:
    • Tamarind sauce(imli chutney) (recipe on this blog under condiments in index)
    • Mint/Cilatantro sauce (mint chutney)(recipe on this blog under condiments in index)
    • Garlic chutney (optional)  (recipe on this blog under condiments in index)
    •  I like yogurt topping on my pakwaan, but this is optional. To prepare yogurt take some home made yogurt and mix well with spoon. (you may add some sour cream to yogurt if desired)
    • You may use sev for topping as well.
    Veggie mix topping:
    • 1 onion
    • 5 green onions
    • one small bunch of fresh cilantro
    • 5 red radishes
    • 2 Roma tomatoes
    • 1 fresh large lime
    • 1-2 fresh Jalapeno peppers
    • 2 teaspoon of chat masala
    • 1 tablespoon of roasted cumin seeds powder
    • 1 teaspoon of black salt
    • 1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
    • Salt to taste
    Method to prepare veggie topping:
    • Finely chop all the fresh ingredients.
    • Add all the spices.
    • Squeeze fresh lime juice.
    • Mix all the ingredients well until everything is well incorporated.

    How to prepare Dal Pakwaan  :
    • Take a crispy pakwaan on a serving place
    • Top with prepared chana dal.
    • Top with tamarind chutney, mint chutney, garlic chutney if desired and finally with all the chopped seasoned veggies.
    • May top with yogurt if desired.
    • Serve instantly as if it sits around it will become soggy.

    Recipe adapted by Surekha from several recipes on line and from memory of my taste buds when I tried it first at a local Indian restaurant :)
    Photographs by Surekha.
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