Written By Adyant Goenka (Grade 6)
There are many cuisines in the world belonging to different cultures, with their own story to tell. Likewise, Indian cuisine is extremely diverse and is a home to innumerable recipes, each having their own history behind it. Among these, my most favourite dish which I can devour at any given time is dal makhani or the black dal.
Dal makhani, as the name suggests, is a creamy black lentil preparation. It is a melt-in-the-mouth buttery main course dish which was an invention in the Mughal period and a gift to modern day Indians because there is no corner of the world which is untouched by this magnanimous dish and so much so, that the term ‘Indian Cuisine’ seem to resonate with this dish primarily. Dal makhani was invented by Kundan Lal Gujral, an Indian chef and restauranteur from New Delhi in 1947. But according to me, a ten-year old, this fascinating item was introduced to me only a few years ago when I was on a road trip between Delhi and Punjab. I still remember vividly that it was a scorching day and a really long drive on the highway. We were nearing lunch time and I no longer felt like thriving on the biscuits and the thepla which mother carried. We chanced upon this highway restaurant, locally known as a dhaba, and we plonked ourselves on the hand-made beds, charpai. It was a very different experience being there in the middle of nowhere. Soon, our order arrived that comprised of the star of the show, dal makhani along with flatbreads, some more curry and chilled glasses of lassi. The first bite I had, I was mesmerised. It was the yummiest thing that I had on Earth. Actually, at that time, I was too small and hence, did not even know the name of the dish. I then asked my mother and got to know it was the most popular North Indian fare and since we were relishing it in the Northern area itself, we were lucky to get the best as it was authentically prepared in clay pots on open fire. Since that day, this has been my most sought-after dish.
Nowadays, dal makhani is served in various gourmet style such as with burrata cheese, in shot glasses, as quesidillas, with tarts, etc. But my favourite will always be the rustic Indian style full of smoky flavours and served with a dollop of butter.
Featured Image Courtesy – Fun Food Frolic