A legendary dal preparation that continues to spell comfort for millions of Maharashtrians.
Are you even a foodie if you haven’t tried demystifying the tangled origins of your favourite dish? Well sometimes, you can just never know for sure. Especially, if you are digging into the origins of Indian dishes that go back thousands of years.
Take Sambar for example. As per food historian K.T. Achaya, the mention of lentil preparation can be found in the 17th-century text Tamilakam. It is also widely believed that the word sambar comes from the Tamil word champāram, meaning a healthy harmony of vegetables, spices and rice. However, some also believe that Sambar may have a connection with the Marathas. As per a controversial theory, Sambar was conceived in the kitchens of Thanjavur Marathas. The Thanjavur Maratha kingdom, ruled by the Bhonsle dynasty was a principality of Tamil Nadu between the 17th and 19th centuries.
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It is said that while preparing a Maharashtrian dal named aamti, a cook of Thanjavur Maratha ruler Shahuji used toor dal in place of moong dal, and tamarind extract was used in place of kokum. The dish was named Sambar as a tribute to the royal guest, Sambhaji, the second Chatrapati of the Marathas. The theory has been disputed by many, with naysayers calling it nothing but an urban myth. But that does not take away from the sheer magic that is a bowl of Aamti. It is a legendary dal preparation that continues to spell comfort for millions of Indians, particularly the ones hailing from West India.
The dal can be cooked in a kadhai or a pressure cooker. All you need to do is boil the yellow gram dal until it is soft. The real magic of this dal is in its tadka, which is not your regular tadka. While bay leaf, cloves, curry leaves and green chillies, add heat; things are taken a notch up with the Goda or the Black Maharashtrian Masala. The spice blend is made with different kinds of spices, and the powdered masala can be easily found in markets. In addition to the spices, the dal also comes with a unique tang, which is due to Kokum. Kokum is a wild berries, it is a very popular souring agent in Maharashtrian recipes. This simple dal goes well with both rice and roti. Add a dollop of ghee to complete this meal and you are good to go.
Here is a delicious recipe of Aamti Dal, try it soon and let us know how you liked it.