Monday, May 26, 2008

Arriving in the Arusuvai fashionably late

with DALimbyAchA masAle bhAt

The arusuvai link came to me from thecooker, a blogger whose posts always seem to be about just the kind of healthy and innovative, but playful and fuss free food that I like to eat. Naturally I was looking forward to what I would receive, and the contents of the package did not disappoint even one bit.

First, the obligatory photo of the goodies that arrived, taken in a hurry, left largely un-arranged. A nearly half gobbled date cake (no, it didn't come that way, it came whole), baked by the cooker, which was utterly delicious, a very pretty desi trinket, and of course the star, the masala in a packet.

Arusuvai Packet

The cooker kept things easy for me - no guessing games. She told me that the masala was called 'kaccha masala' (raw spices powder) that she had made using the recipe from the marathi cookbook 'Ruchira'. Now all this was well over two month ago. Umm, something like that. In the meanwhile, a gentle reminder came from her after what she must have thought a reasonable amount of time had passed, to check on whether I plan to post about it, and last week, she herself posted about the masala too. I had told her that the reason I hadn't blogged about it was because the thing I wanted to make required much planning and I wasn't getting around to that, which only piqued her curiosity further.

Since she had given me the details, I had looked up Ruchira, which mentioned that the 'kaccha masala' is particularly good in dishes like khichadi, masale bhaat and rassa. I got (somewhat unrealistically) ambitious, and instead of the usual masaale bhaat which is made with any one vegetable like eggplant or tondli, I thought of making the birde bhaat, also called DALimbyAchA bhAt, made with sprouted and peeled kadwe vaal, which I might have made possibly once before, and is quite a delicacy to savor. Making the rice isn't particularly daunting, but the prospect of spending an hour just peeling the beans was what was preventing me from taking any action.

Finally, I bit the bullet and soaked the beans. There was no option for looking back after that. Within about two days the beans had sprouted and were ready to be peeled. With the Obama-Clinton drama unfolding in the background, I spent a couple of hours, peeling these. Yes, it does take quite that long, and even longer with my unskilled fingers, hence my earlier procrastination which I had to get over.

Once the beans are peeled, and with the masala on hand, making the rice is as simple as, well, making rice. I adapted the recipe for 'dalimbyacha bhaat' from Ruchira, but since I was using 'kaccha masala', I added it to the oil first, letting the spices saute a bit before adding the rice. As I made the rice, the aroma that wafted was unmistakably that of a maharashtrian wedding hall, as described rather well by the cooker in her post. And since the masale bhaat is such a fixture at weddings and other occasions, that it is the highest compliment that can be paid to the masala. This masala is definitely a great one to use for getting just the 'right' taste of masale bhaat.

The arusuvai now travels over to Manisha of Indian Food Rocks.

From Val to Masaale Bhaat

Top L-R: dried beans, sprouted beans
Bottom L-R: peeled beans, finished rice dish

Dalimbyacha bhaat

Serve this rice as part of any festive meal, or by itself for a treat.


1 cup basmati rice
1 cup sprouted and peeled kadwe vaal / Dalimbyaa / surti vaal
3-4 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/2-3/4 teaspoon turmeric
a few curry leaves
2 teaspoons kaccha masala
1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
salt to taste
handful of cashews
1 Tablespoon crumbled jaggery
1/2 cup of coconut (or adjust to taste)
5-8 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro
ghee for serving


Heat the oil in a wide and deep saucepan or dutch oven. Add the mustard seeds, and when they start to pop, add the asafoetida, turmeric, curry leaves, and the kaccha masala. Reduce heat, stir for a few seconds, and add the rice and the sprouted vaal. Stir everything together for about a minute, add 3-4 cups of water, and bring it to a boil. Add salt and chili powder, reduce the heat, and let cook until just a little water remains. At this point, add the jaggery, and stir once. Reduce the heat to very low, and cover the pan for 10-15, until the rice absorbs all the water. In the meanwhile, heat a teaspoon of oil in a small skillet and saute a handful of cashews in it until they turn golden brown. Add the cashews, coconut, and cilantro to the rice, reserving a little for garnishing. Drizzle a little ghee over the rice while serving.

Dalimbyacha Bhaat/Birdyacha Bhaat


Instead of using sprouted and peeled vaal, one can use the skinned and split dried val, by soaking it for a few hours before use. The flavor and texture is not quite the same as the sprouted ones, but comes close.

Instead of using beans, one can also use a chopped vegetable like eggplant or tondli, or shelled green peas, for an equally delicious and much less labor intensive rice dish.


Asha said...

Excellent looking Bhaat, good job!:)
Whole date cake, how lucky are you? :)

delhibelle said...

That bhat looks so scrumptious..can't wait to make it, only the complex vaal dal daunts me a bit, have never seen it before.

notyet100 said...

even me not aware of this dal..but the rice looks delicious..

musical said...

That's a lovely recipe with a lovely masala. And great bunch of goodies there (Like Ashakka, i am thinking about the date cake too) :-D.

TheCooker said...

Birdya-cha bhaat! Fantastic.
So the debates were of some use after all.

Desiknitter said...

Am totally going to use your blog recipes to cook something for my mother and sister and impress the pants off them this time round. This bhaat looks divine.

bhags said...

The bhaat looks ekdam zhakaas....apt use of the masala

Nithu said...

This is just new to me. I would love to try this soon...

sra said...

So you have to pop the skins off the beans? Not sure I've seen these beans before.

Swati Raman Garg said...

that bhaat looks so good.. and i like that name.. :) nice post...

Arundathi said...

thanks for giving us the option of using a vegetable. :) yours looks delicious!

ranji said...

the bhaat looks absolutely delcious!!!loved the color...

Ashwini said...

Darn it woman, you couldnt have let a few 'more' days pass could you? Now I have absolutely no excuse left in the world :)

evolvingtastes said...

Asha, thanks. Yes, the cake was yum.

delhibelle, if the complexity of the vaal is daunting, try the first option in the variations.

notyet100, thanks.

musical, that cake was so good!

TheCooker, thanks, sab aap ki badaulat.

Desiknitter, the pleasure would be mine, but I am crossing my fingers that it all works for you.

bhags, thanks. zhakaas would be a perfect description.

Nithu, thanks, and welcome to my blog.

sra, unfortunately, yes, for these particular beans, the skins have to be removed because they are quite tough and tasteless, unlike some other beans that can be left whole for nutritional purposes.

Swati, thanks, and welcome to my blog.

Arundathi, thanks. Vegetables are more classic in large scale preparations, but the sprouted are quite something too.

ranji, thanks.

Ashwini, no pressure. :-)

Manisha said...

I will take a page from your book and let several months pass before I make my post! I am inundated with last few days of school, viral infections, broncho-spasms and asthma, and relatives who will be here soon (clear/clean/scrub/wash is in progress) and then a much needed vacation. So by end of June or July or next year...definitely!

Your masale bhat is totally drool-worthy!

Suganya said...

What a gorgeous plate. I want to dig in right away :)

evolvingtastes said...

Manisha, I see I am setting a bad example here, but I understand your state of being busy and ill - I am there too. Take your time, but d.u.d.e., not until next year!

Suganya, thank you much!

Mints! said...

Oh My! this is sooo tempting ... had it in a party last week. I am already soaked Val so will be making some masalebhat this week.

Anjali said...

The plate is yummy...we call it Valachi khichadi.

Miri said...

Wow! this seems like an absolutely delicious dish. Eons since we had kadwe Vaal, 15 years back I think when I was living with my parents in Mumbai....need to track it down here...Thanks for the recipe!

evolvingtastes said...

Thanks Mints, and apologies for the late reply. I have been catching up too many other things. Did you make it already? How did it turn out?

Anjali, a rose by any other name..! :-)

Miri, thanks. I get a feeling it could be difficult in Delhi, but try looking for surti val (or split lablab). Or just ask for someone to get it from Maharashtra if possible!

Mints! said...

Yess! I did this yesterday as last time wanted to have birade :) This turned out to be amazing! Thank you for sharing!

evolvingtastes said...

Mints, I am thrilled to hear that!! Now I am going to want to know if you made the kaccha masala too or used a substitute. :-)

Priya said...

I made valache birade yesterday and wanted to save some peeled val for making this rice later, but I didn't have enough :(

Here's a little tip for peeling the val that I just learnt, if you don't know this already: After the val are sprouted, soak them in tepid water for 4-6 hours. The peels come off very easily. You just have to give them a little squeeze in the right direction with two fingers and they pop out of the peel on their own :)

evolvingtastes said...

Priya, thanks for posting this excellent tip!

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