A highpoint of my recent visits to Punjab was my visit to several langars – from Guru Ram Das Langar at Golden Temple to the Langar at Tarn Taran to the Langars of unknown Gurudwaras on the way from one city to the other. I realized a hearty meal requires nothing more than a dal and a roti. But that meal has to be made with a lot of love .The Maa ki Dal at any Langar tastes as delicious as the other.A sevadar at a Langar told me, “No fixed proportion of onion, garlic, green chilli but a fixed proportion of love is what makes Langar ki Dal.”
His words reverberated in my mind ever since I came back. Kali Dal, Dal Makhani etc can easily be made at home or ordered but what about Langar Ki dal? I had ready provisions of the black urad dal, the channa dal ,onion,tomatoes and what ever but I stopped short of trying it at home.
Some stressful days at work but I felt the need to push myself to make the dal soon. That indispensable ingredient needed for making the dal was with me for sometime now.
So I did make the dal today, the proportion of the black urad dal and channa dal was perfect, and for the proportion of love into its making I was not a miser, gave my best after a whole days work, shaped it like a dream coming true.
The Langar ki Dal was made and served with sukha but thickish roti. Made it for a friend who deserved every morsel of it, who earned it for the beautiful self.
For the making of the Langar ki Dal I learnt from the sevadar that there is no fixed proportion, no fine cuts,no fine dining experience. I soaked Black Urad Dal and Channa Dal in the proportion of 3:1 overnight
For Langar ki dal everything is chopped coarsely but with love. Chopped onion in thick uneven strips, crushed garlic, ginger and green chilli to a grainy texture.The tomatoes were chopped .
Boiled the two dals with salt, turmeric, ginger and garlic shreds.
For the Dal one has to use Desi Ghee. Once the ghee reached a smoking point, added whole cumin. As they spluttered in a tune, added the roughly ground ginger, garlic and green chilli.
Added the onions, once translucent added the tomatoes. When mushy added corriander powder, red chilli powder and sauted it till the ghee separated. To it added the boiled dal, some water and covered it. Lowered the heat and simmered it for a good 30min.Stood at the kitchen while the dal simmered and the aroma enticed me, mixed in a lot of love for the person I was making the dal for. Added corriander leaves and covered it.
For the tadka in pure ghee spluttered dried Kasuri Methi leaves and whole garam masala. Added this to the dal and with it a lot of love for the one I was making the dal for and covered it to seal in the flavor.
The Langar ki Dal ceased to be just a dal, it became a reflection of the most basic needs of living – food and love. The making of it strengthened my sensibilities and sharpened my beliefs