Experiments with Slow Cooker-Dal Makhani with no Butter no Cream

Hello Dearies!!! I am leaving on  a 10 day vacation. Where you ask?? Watch this space for the fun travel posts later. I am visiting family on the other side of the coast, so very eager to catch the warm and sunny skies. The past few days have been stressful. The last weeks peace was invaded by the school tragedy. I have still not come to terms with what I am feeling, and What I lost!!!!

Such mental state is not doing me any good, as I am not able to focus, am more forgetful than ever. This is a forbidden topic to talk at home specially when Donut is around. He is at that age where his  beliefs and confidence in the world, people in general is shaping up. We keep talking about how we can help improve our school, our friends and most importantly how effective we are as human beings. What difference does our existences make in someones lives? He has started questioning me at an alarming rate of why some of our good friends at one time left us alone when we were facing not so great days? why Mom Why??? What he asked has more than enough answers at my end, but is it needed for him to clutter his mind with this...Live and let live is all I teach him.

Donut loves Punjabi food. This is new for us. His sudden love for spicy and such foods has taken many by surprise. Munchkin is the risk taker when food is involved. Anything with moderate spices and garlic is his forte. Sibling rivalry played  a key role I guess here, that Donut has been begging for at least 3-4 Punjabi menu items over the course of the week. At times its the Palak Cilantro parathas with a paneer gravy or punjabi chole with bhatura or this trusted Dal.  This is a classic Punjabi or north eastern dish that is very popular in most Indian restaurants. No meal in a restaurant is ever complete without this creamy and rich makhani dal. Its the Protein powerhouse. The dals/lentils kidney beans with equal amounts of fat that is essentially to break the complex protein for easy digestion. This is one dish that needs its own sweet time to cook. The slower and longer it cooks, the better it develops. Its also called Maa ki dal to signify a moms patience and love for cooking and feeding her family. Since I belong to  a age where time is always at crunch, I am looking for easy and id possible, no cook recipes.

The new toy in my kitchen(Slow Cooker) has been helping me achieve my lazy target and what pleasure it is if you walk home from work, make rice and the dinner is served. Until, I got the slow cooker, this sort of thing only happened in my dream. I try to cut the fat for everyday meals and as this cooks for 12 + hours after being soaked for 8 hours, it qualifies for a leaner version of the Dal makhani. This is the way I made it in my 1.5 Qt slow cooker.

Makes around 3 cups of dal makhani.

You will need;
1 cup split black gram dal
2 tablespoons Red kidney beans (rajma)
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red chilli powder
2 inch piece Ginger,chopped
1 tbspn Oil
1 tsp ghee
1 tspn Cumin seeds
3 cloves Garlic,chopped
1 Large Onion chopped
Green chillies,slit 2
2 medium Tomatoes,chopped
1 Tspn Garam masala powder
Salt to taste

Wash and soak the rajma and the urad dal in the same vessel of the slow cooker for approx 8 hours. After the dal is well soaked, drain and prepare the tomato-onion masala.

In a wok, take the oil and the ghee, add the cumin, let it sizzle, then add the ginger and the garlic, add the onions and dash of salt. Let the mixture cook for 2 minutes, then ad the tomatoes and cook till the onion and tomato gets mashed well and oil starts separating from the sides. Add this to the soaked dal. Adjust the amount of water. I added water till an inch above the mixture, adjust the salt. add in the red chili powder, Green chillies and the garam masala. Cover with the lid and start the Slow cooker on High for 2 hours. After it boils, set it on Low and forget about it for a good 10/11 hours. Baby sitting a slow cooker is  a frustrating job, you have a life; go on about it. Trust me on that, it takes FOREVER to cook. So don't waste your time thinking about checking it every 30 minutes or so. The end result awaits you in a pleasing way if you learn to ignore it. (Apply this to some people and see the fun). Serve the dal with hot steamed rice or roti or paratha with a dallop of ghee. Enjoy your ride with a winning ticket to taste-heaven.

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