This Dal Is A Staple Bengali Summer Dish, Tried It Yet?
Image Credit: Raw mango is a popular souring agent in Bengali cuisine

Come summer and every Indian house is abuzz with the discussion of mangoes. “Why are they so late this season”, “they are not the same as they used to be”, and “maybe a climate thing”, were some of the expert opinions in my house at the beginning of the season. While most of the times, we were talking about ripened mangoes, we certainly did not rule out the raw mangoes from the consideration. My mother, for one, always seems to be more excited for the raw mangoes than the ripe ones. For the unversed, raw mangoes are small green-coloured mangoes with a pale, yellow flesh. It has a sharp, tangy taste and a mild sweet after-taste. Raw mango is also known as Kaccha Aam or Kacchi Kairi in India, and is a much-beloved snack too. One can simply rub it with salt and masalas and tuck it in. However, there are many more ways in which you can use this summer staple. | Raw mangoes are also a summer staple in India

If you have grown up in India, you have perhaps grown up associating raw mangoes with a variety of drinks and dishes. From aam panna to rasam, but one of my early trysts with kaccha aam was through this delicious dal that my mother would prepare. ‘Tok Dal’ as she would call it, ‘Tok’ or ‘Tauk’ is a Bengali word for sour or tangy. This dal is widely popular in Bengali cuisine and an ultimate favourite comfort food of summer. While the lentil used may differ some like to use red lentils, some prefer moong, but the souring agent of this lentil dish is raw mangoes. Chopped up, deseeded raw mangoes are used to give this dal a tangy, summery touch. It is uncommon to find tamarind in Bengali cuisine, very few dishes use it as a souring agent. Since Bengal was also one of the first regions to warm up to tomatoes, you see a free use of the same in Bengali curries, dals and stews as well. Both tomatoes and raw mangoes make this dal a flavourful joyride, if you enjoy hot and tangy preparations. Our personal suggestion would be to not make this dal very thick, keep the consistency on slightly lighter side. Pair it with a  plate of hot steaming rice and some bhajas (fritters) and enjoy.  

Here are a certain things you may want to keep in mind before making this delish dal.

  1. Make sure you have peeled the skin of mangoes and cut them into cubes beforehand. Slice the flesh around the seed, do not add the seed as it may turn your dal bitter. Then proceed to make your dal, you can simply pressure cook it.  
  2. You can keep the tadka of this dal fairly simple with mustard seeds and red chillies. Toss in the mangoes and cook on medium flame.

Here’s the complete recipe of the dal and pair it with hot rice. Do let us know how you liked it.