He: Wha.. what is the dish called?
He: hahah, you mean, teliyamma
Me: No, I mean Teliya-maah
Another of my precious Himachali favourites for you all. Teliya-maah, which simply put, is a daal cooked in lots of (mustard) sarson oil, hence the teliya (meaning oily), and the maah (whole urad/maah dal). I know for a fact when I put this post up, the Sood clan will all have their own versions, tips, tricks etc. That’s another reason why I love putting up Sood recipes on the blog, it helps me add to my treasure trove.
In fact, I already know where I erred with this dish. Not erred so much as gave it my own twist, but to the elders it might be sacrilegious. When the dish is called teliyamaah, the direct interpretation is that it needs to have more oil than maah dal. Honest. Pahaadis love all that oil and ghee. Makes no dent on their hardworking bodies. But people like me, haha, yeah, I can do without the oil. Also, the consistency of the dal is on the drier than mushier side as the oil provides the gravy, not the mushy dal. But for a first time attempt, I tried my best. Hopefully, will get better the more I make it.
This is not a dish that will be an everyday occurrence in a household. It is a special occasion dish. Teliyamaah is an important part of a Dhaam meal in Himachal. Dhaam is served on festive occasions; weddings, mundans, etc; and it is a sight for the eyes, and a feast for the soul. Traditionally, the whole village is invited and a long list of himachali delicacies are served; maani, mandra, khatte bhaturoo, jimikand, meetha,…. it goes on and on.
This isn’t Arjun Singhs’ favourite pahaadi dish as it has tons of raisins in it, and he isn’t a fan of anything sweet in his main course. But I gobbled it up, like I have been doing since tiny girl-dom when I had it for the first time.
- Whole urad dal, 1 cup, soaked overnight (or a minimum of 3 hours)
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- Ginger, finely sliced, about 1.5 tbspns
- Garlic, finely chopped, 3-4 cloves
- Mustard oil, 5 tbsps (at the least)
- Mixed dry fruits, 1/2 cup (sliced almonds, sliced cashews, raisins)
- Whole spices
- Cinnamon, 1 stick
- Cloves, 3
- Small cardamom, 2
- Big cardamom, 1
- Mace, equivalent of a pinch of powder
- Bay leaves, 2-3
- Salt, Turmeric powder, to taste
- Hing, a pinch
- Coriander powder, 1.5 tsp
- Coriander leaves, to garnish
- In a pressure cooker, boil the dal with 2 cups water, the whole spices (except for the bay leaves), and salt and turmeric
- Once boiled, ensure the dal is dry. If the dal needs to be cooked further to dry out the water, please do. Try and not let it be too mushy, and retain the separate-ness
- In a deep bottomed pan, preferably a kadhai, heat the oil until it reaches burning point.
- Add the bay leaves and hing to the hot oil
- After about 10 seconds, add the onion, ginger and garlic. Saute until the onions turn a beautiful golden brown
- To this, add the coriander powder, and dry fruits and cook for a further 2 minutes
- Add the dal
- If unlike me, you have added a generous helping of oil, then at a certain stage the oil will start leaving the dal which you shall be able to see quite clearly
- However, if the oil is not as much as tradition demands, then you have to be vigilant enough to see the little pools of oil running away from the dal
- Yay: the teliya-maah is cooked and ready
- Garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander, and flaked almonds.
Serve hot with rice.