Thursday, February 15, 2018

Shantiniketan offerings: And I tried a plate of delicious dim tadka

Shantiniketan was alright. Apart from the fact that the university campus is beautiful - with its red-sand-paved roads and heritage buildings - there is little else to look forward to. But what we loved was the fact there is a strong culture of cycling in the small suburban town. This definitely deserves a thumbs-up. Also, the sight of students studying under the shade of trees, rather than indoors impressed me. I have always been fascinated with open classrooms and it was refreshing to know that the practice still continues in Shantiniketan. 

The museum on Tagore located on campus also merits a visit. The exibits are interesting, although it does seem unfortunate that the labels and captions for most items were only in Bengali. Given that it was set up as an international university back in the day, one would surely expect foreigners and non-Bengali visitors to also visit to the museum! Also, the number of grammatical errors on the large framed posters just killed me! Ah! The perils of being an editor!

Len and I outside the museum

That being said, Len and I both felt that the as far as cleanliness goes, the town - outside of the campus premises - lacks a great deal. The open grounds were scattered with plastic bags and the roads were far from being litter-free. It was a bit of a disappointment to say the leaat. If the wise old bard could see this from up above, I wonder what he would think?

After reaching we learnt that Wednesdays and Thursdays are off day at the univ. And, so, during the afternoon when we visited, it seemed almost like a ghost town. Probably a good thing. It felt like the whole university lay open for us. I noticed that the murals by Nandalal Bose had been restored. 

We didn't bother looking for fancy eateries during the one day we spent at Shantiniketan. We had two meals at a small dhaba near the university and one at a canteen inside campus. Both were satisfactory- actually very good, if I may say so. The dim tadka floored me completely, and it had been many years since I had it. Needless to say, it was yum! 

I looked up the recipe online and one that seemed to be closest to what I had. Funny thing, the author is a namesake. The original recipe can be found here.

Homemade dim tadka

What you need

1.5 cups whole moong daal
3 eggs
1 onion, large size, chopped 
6-7 garlic, cloves, crushed
1/2 inch, peeled ginger, crushed
1 tomato, large size, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder 
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
4-5 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
3 green chilles, chopped
Oil as needed
Salt to taste

How to

Soak the lentils (moong daal) for about 2-3 hours.

Cook the lentils with some salt for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker. Add enough water for the lentils to get completely immersed, plus a little bit more.

Check the doneness of the dal after the 15 minutes. The dal should be completely cooked at this stage - if not let it pressure cook for 5 more minutes. Mine cooked perfectly in 20 minutes. 

In a separate pan, make scrambled eggs and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat oil. Add the onions and green chillies, and fry until golden brown. Add the crushed ginger-garlic. Fry.

Add the tomato and fry until the masala is cooked through. At this stage, add the dry spices and salt.

Pour in the dal. Mix through. After a minute or so, add the dried fenugreek leaves. 

Add the garam masala. Mix the scrambled egg into the dal. 

Turn off heat. Mix the coriander leaves. Serve with soft rotis, or if you are like me - incapable of making rotis! - enjoy with a plate of steaming hot rice.

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