Drumstick Daal

Drumstick Daal

This is a family favourite – simple daal cooked with drumsticks – no really. Native to India, the moringa or drumstick tree has delicate light green leaves and is widely grown all over the country. I remember the foamy cream-white flowers shrouding the tree just before the heat of summer, followed by green slender ribbed pods that emerged and grew up to 2 feet in length! Sometimes if we saw trees that were on public property, we’d create a makeshift tool with a long bamboo stick and wire at one end to break the pods which would grow in clusters from the tree. In markets, These pods were either sold loose or tied into slim bundles with banana string, and I learnt how to choose the young, tender ones just by watching my mother and mother-in-law fussing over the basket of drumsticks much to the vendors frustration! It’s packed with protein, minerals and anti-oxidants and benefits those with high blood pressure, diabetes, anaemia, ulcers and more.

2 cups tuvar daal
3 cups water
1 lb. drumsticks, chopped into 6″ pieces
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1/2 tsp. jeera (cumin) seeds
1/4 tsp. hing (asafoetida)
10 curry leaves
2 slit green chillies
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tbsp. ghee or oil
freshly chopped cilantro leaves
lime wedges for garnish

Joey’s burning on this solo as he always does while partner-in-crime Jeff ‘Tain Watts does no less as he dances his way like a muscular ballet dancer through the changes. Hands down, he is one of my favourite drummers!

  • Wash & clean daal/s thoroughly and leave to soak for an hour
  • In a deep pot pour 3 cups water and daal. Bring to a boil. Skim and throw away any foam that may rise to the surface
  • Add salt, chopped tomatoes, turmeric
  • Reduce heat and cook covered for about 30 minutes until the daal is well cooked (add water if needed, to gain a medium consistency)
  • Mash the daal coarsely with the back of a wooden spoon or use a large whisk to break down the lentils
  • In a separate pot, cook the drumstick with salt plus a cup of water – for around 20 minutes. (I cook them separately because the daal takes longer to cook and this way it avoids the drumsticks from getting too soft and breaking up)
  • To make the tarka or baghaar, heat ghee or oil in a small saucepan
  • When hot, add cumin seeds and immediately follow with the chopped onions, garlic & slit green chillies, and fry for a minute.
  • Add asafoetida & curry leaves
  • Pour this mixture into the daal, add the cooked drumsticks and the drumstick water, and bring the daal to boil
  • Turn off heat
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and lime juice, and serve over steaming hot white rice with a teaspoon of ghee

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