My legume based gravy dish for today comes from a northwestern state of India, Rajasthan - "The land of the kings". The things that I visualise when I think about Rajasthan are the magnificent forts - the witnesses of the bygone grandeur, the Thar desert - the only desert of the nation and the delicious food I got to experience at the Rajasthani speciality restaurants, back in India.
The desert that lies to the northwestern region of the state and the arid conditions have influenced Rajasthani cuisine to some extent. The scarcity of water and fresh vegetables have forced the people to adapt to the conditions and they sun dried some of their harvest for later use during the dry months. As any other culture / region, the traditional cuisine here was built on the availability of the ingredients and the conditions of the region. It continues to influence the modern cooking though the modern technology have made the conditions of the region better for agriculture.
One of these sun dried products happens to be mangodi prepared from moong dal. I used them today while preparing a rasedaar aloo subzi. They really impart flavor to any dish they are a part of and make even the ordinary dishes special. I have tried them in three dishes so far and I have noticed that we have relished them all. The dried mangodis are available here in U.S at Indian grocers. Preparing them at home is quite simple and check here if you are interested to know how. The other dishes using mangodi published here - Nimona and Magori Palak Ki Kadhi.
1 cup mangodi
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp grated/minced ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 onions finely chopped
2 - 3 tomatoes finally chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
Salt to taste
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp each - cumin powder, coriander powder & garam masala
1 Tbsp kasuri methi / dried fenugreek greens
* Cook mangodis until they soften in a pressure cooker or in a pan. Mangodis are hard and take longer to cook than the vegetables. And so, I cook mangodis separately in a pressure cooker while I am cooking the veggies in a saute pan.
* Heat oil in a kadai or a pan and add the cumin seeds. When they start to change a shade darker, add ginger and saute for a few seconds. Then add onion and turmeric. Fry until the onion softens and next add the tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes turn mushy. Then add potatoes and a cup of water. Continue cooking until potatoes are cooked through. Add water intermittently as needed while cooking.
* Add the cooked mangodi at the final stages of cooking. Then add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes more. Crumble the kasuri methi, stir once and turn off the stove.
* I had served them with rotis and chopped onion.