Tomato Fenugreek Dal is one of those delicious seasonal preparations, based on what produce is available in abundance. January usually brings in a lot of fresh and flavorful Fenugreek so my mom typically cooks it in a variety of dishes. Yesterday she bought a kilo of tomatoes and a bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves so she ended up making this dal and tomato chutney.
One of my fondest memories growing up in India is that of hawkers selling fresh vegetables, yelling out their specials. You can hear them from quite a distance! Each one has their own pitch and cadence; sometimes intelligible to people that have never heard these cries before. The vendor in this photograph shows up around the same time everyday, come rain or shine. He picks up his produce from a wholesaler in the morning and has to sell off everything on his cart by the end of the day. He covers the wares with a moist jute bag and keeps sprinkling water on the cover, to keep the veggies and greens fresh. I asked him to move the cover so I could get a good picture of all the wonderful vegetables. He asked me if I was going to post this picture on Whatsapp, but I told him it would go on FaceBook and make him famous. He laughed and said that’s not likely to happen 🙂 . India is such a contrast with all the technology on the one hand and very traditional practices on the other. That’s what I love about my visits back home.
My mom gets ready with a few rupees to buy what she needs for just the day and of course she has to bargain! All her purchases today came in under a 100 Rupees (USD 1.50 approximately)! Hawking vegetables started a long time back when there were no refrigerators and everyone had to cook fresh and eat every meal almost as soon as the meal was prepared. But I’m glad this practice still continues with my mom, even though she has a refrigerator.
Try out this simple dal at home – it’s delicious and healthy. Have it with steamed rice and ghee or by itself as a soup. It’s quite filling.