Friday

Ambat Varan- Sour lentil soup


Hello sweeties!!! How is the Holiday shopping and gifting progressing at your end. I am finally done with all the shopping and now what remains is endless hours of packing paper, ribbon and tape. Armed with the supplies I set one weekend morning for packing holiday gifts. We  started celebrating Christmas only after Donut was born. Till then we simply enjoyed others and holiday frenzy. We strolled NYC at midnight on the Christmas eve and watched the lights and window displays at Macy's in NYC. Things gradually changed when Donut was born. The concept of Santa visiting good kids and leaving presents under the tree was born in Ashland. Now we set up the tree, decorate it, bake cookies for Santa, leave carrots and sugar for reindeer and its our annual tradition to leave phone voice messages for Santa in the North Pole and send our wishes and wants to him. Santa is also now a tech geek. Gone are the days you wrote letters to him, he has a phone now with an answering machine. Any doubts that Donut has if Santa really exists are now easy to answer; if he has a phone connection, leaves a  message on his machine is bound to live. Also few goof up about wrong gifts assures his faith in Santa as only Human makes mistakes.

After shopping in the bitter cold, cutting wind and icy air, you need some thing to warm you up. I make soups, warm sandwiches and all, which warms up my bones but the mind is still not satisfied. It craves for moms comfort food. Being an True Indian, I love my rice and dal. I fail to understand why rice would be bad for you. Its a grain which fluffs up by absorbing water, so technically its not what makes you FAT.; its your overeating that makes you fat. Japanese, Chinese and most of the south Asian countries eat rice as staple diet, yet they are not obese. My mom always said NO food is per se bad for you, its just the amount you eat. Eat well and intelligently, it can actually be good for you.
 She always made this ambat meaning sour and varan meaning dal, when we were little under the weather. IT was our own veggie chicken soup substitute. Thin it down and drink as soup, thicken it and enjoy as side dish of tadka dal.. This is one such dal/which I drink as a soup even when I am all well and crave for moms food. Its very easy with minimum ingredients and can be toned to your liking. Its also masala free so easy on your system. Add little jaggry or honey to make it sweet and sour, either ways its a hit hit win.

You will need;
1 Cup cooked and mashed Arhar or toor dal
Salt to taste
1/2 inch Ginger grated
1 tbspn Lemon Juice to sour it(Its again as per your liking)
Cilantro for garnishing

Tempering;
1 tbspn Ghee/ Clarified butter
** do not use oil, the flavour of the ghee is the key with the sourness of the lemon
1 Green Chili slit
3-4 leaves kadi putta/curry leaves
1 and 1/2 tspn Cumin seeds

In a pot thin the cooked dal with water and add salt and grated ginger and set to boil on low heat. Once it comes to a small boil, take a another small wok, heat the ghee on LOW for tempering, once it melts add the cumin, let it sizzle, then add the curry leaves and chilies. The leaves and chili frying in the ghee gives a pleasant aroma in the kitchen, an added bonus on cold tired nights. Add the tempering to the dal and boil again for about 5 minutes. Then switch off the flame and add the lemon juice and stir. Garnish with Cilantro and enjoii as is as a  soup or with rice or roti.


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