Muga Dalma is a very frequent preparation in Oriya households. There are many variations of Dalma and this one is one of the most popular. This preparation calls for a verity of vegetables and since my weekend visit to the oriental market, my refrigerator is full of veggies. So this happens to be a good time to make the Dalma :) There are certain veggies that can be used for this preparation, to stay close to what the authentic dish calls for. But any other vegetable should work fine in the preparation, as long as it doesn't have a strong flavor.
Ingredients for cooking the Dalma
Chopped Veggies- 1 cup each of (Potatoes, Saru (Taro), Raw Banana(Plantains), Long beans, butternut squash, Brinjal(Eggplant)
Moong Daal, 2 cups
salt, to taste
Sugar, 1/2 tsp (optional)
Turmeric, 1 tsp
Roasted Cumin seeds and Red Chilli powder, 1 tsp
Masala Paste Ingredients
Ginger chopped, 1 tbsp
Coconut grated, 2 tbsp
Black Pepper, 1 tsp, as per taste
Cinnamon, 1 or 2 small sticks
Oil(or Ghee), 1 tsp
Chillies, a few (fresh or dried)
Hing, a pinch
To prepare the Masala Paste: Soak the Black pepper and Cinnamon for more than an hour. Then grind it with ginger and coconut.
To prepare the Roasted Cumin seeds and Red Chilli powder: Dry roast the cumin seeds and red chilli and pound them to make a coarse powder.
To prepare the Daal: Roast the Daal on medium to low heat till it changes color, for about 10 minutes. Let it cool down, then wash it and soak it in water for about an hour. Then cook it till more than half way done.
To prepare the Veggies: Clean and chop the veggies in big pieces. The softer veggies like long Beans, Squash or Brinjal will cook faster compare to Potato and Saru or Banana. Since they'll be cooked the same time, try to cut the hardy veggies into smaller pieces than the softer ones, so that they'll cook evenly.
Preparing the Dalma:
In a heavy bottom pan heat 1 tbsp oil, on a medium to high heat. Add the chopped veggies and salt and cook till the veggies are soft. (Alternatively, for a healthier cooking, the veggies can be boiled, avoiding the usage of oil). Heat up the cooked Moong Daal with water and add it to the veggies. Then add Turmeric and a little Sugar. Let it come to a boil then add the prepared Masala paste. Cook it for another 5 minutes and switch off the heat. Then add the roasted cumin seeds and red chilli powder and mix it in.
Tadka: Just before serving, heat 1 tsp of oil on high heat and add-in the cumin seeds, chillies and the hing. Pour the oil on the Dalma, and mix well.
Serve: Dalma goes very well with Steamed rice or Puri or Plain chapati.