The word ‘khatti‘ translates to ‘sour’ in English. This creamy dish highlights one of the most distinctive ingredients of the region’s cuisine- tamarind. Tamarind comes from the pods of a tree grown in the more tropical areas of Asia. The pulp and seeds are diluted in water and used much like vinegar to impart a slightly tangy and sour taste to cooked dishes. Tamarind concentrate eliminates soaking and is easily found online and in Asian grocery markets. Although the dal has a subtle sour taste, it is surprisingly tasty. Khatti dal is a lentil recipe that’s made from split pigeon peas and is exceptionally popular in Hyderabad.
Khatti Dal- Hyderabadi Tangy Lentil Curry
- large saucepan
- Small skillet
- Immersion blender or food processor
- 1 cup Toor dal (yellow lentils)
- 4 cups Water
- 1½ tsp Turmeric
- 1 small Green chili, seeded and minced (jalapeno OK)
- 2 tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Tamarind concentrate in ¼ water (1½ tbsp lime juice OK)
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 tsp Garlic, minced
- 12 Curry leaves (optional)
- 3 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
- In a large saucepan, bring lentils, turmeric, chili, and water to a boil. Reduce heat so mixture bubbles steadily and cook uncovered for 25 minutes.
- Mix in tamarind liquid and an additional ½ cup of water. Let bubble for an additional minute. Remove from heat and puree the dal with an immersion blender, food processor, or blender for 1 minute to make dal saucy but not soupy.
- Make spice mix by heating oil in a small pan over high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover, and let sputter for 30 seconds. When popping begins to subside, add garlic and cook, uncovered, for 15 seconds to lightly brown. Add curry leaves, if using, cover and cook another 10-15 seconds.
- Add spice mix into saucepan with dal and stir to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle top with cilantro, and serve hot.