Aditya Bal's shares his version of Dhekia Xaak, a popular Assamese dish. He gives it a twist with potatoes, spinach and mild spices.
For the Tomatoes:
5-6 pods garlic
3 tomatoes, chopped
A pinch of sugar
A pinch of salt
For the Base:
1 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp mustard oil
5-6 pods of garlic, sliced
3-4 green chillies, slit
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 boiled potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cup spinach leaves, chopped (1 bunch)
1/2 cup bengal gram (chana dal)
A pinch of sugar
Some fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 lime juice
How to Make Dhekia Xaak
Wash and soak the dal for about an hour.
In a pan heat some refined oil and fry the garlic.
Add to it the tomatoes. Toss it around.
Add a little bit of water. Just enough to de-glaze and lift up all the flavors. (about 1/4 cup)
Add a pinch of sugar and salt to this.
Cover it and let it cook for about 15 minutes.
Keep taking a look at it, mushing them a bit in intervals.
This is the method of reduction of vegetables to enhance the flavor.
In a pan dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds. Once done pound them in a mortar and pestle. Keep it aside.
In another pan heat some mustard oil. Add garlic to it along with the green chillies.
Stir it around and let the garlic brown a bit.
Add about 1 tsp of the cumin-coriander powder you made.
Add turmeric and salt. Turn up the heat and let the spices cook.
Add the tomatoes sauce you made earlier. Mix well.
Once you see the oil separating, add a couple of drops of water to boil out and 'bhuno' the masalas.
Add the potatoes to it. Mix well.
Now add the dal. Mix again.
Finally add the spinach along with a pinch of sugar and the cumin-coriander powder.
Add some fresh coriander and lime juice.
Add some water (1/2 cup) and let it cook till done.
For the Rice:
Now for an accompaniment you can make this quick and flavorsome rice.
In a pan heat some oil. Add some panch poran, a green chilly (slit), some fresh coriander leaves (chopped), rice and juice of 1/2 a lime. Toss all togethar. You can also add a pinch of red chilly powder for some colour.
(Panch poran consists of equal parts of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and onion seeds)