Kulath or gehet daal (horse gram) is a local favourite and is available in a number of dhabas as a main dish to go with rice or mandua (finger millet) ki roti. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is seen to have several medicinal qualities. Known to have astringent and diuretic properties, it is believed to be beneficial for treating kidney stones. In case of urinary infection, it is recommended that a person drink the water in which this daal has been boiled, as that helps to clear the urinary tract. Recommended as a treatment against water retention, it also makes for a good weight loss diet. Besides, it helps to lower cholesterol levels!
In local recipes, other than being cooked as a soupy daal, kulath is often used as a stuffing in parathas or kachoris. In these forms, it also makes for a good breakfast dish. Since those are the known forms, we gave a different twist to the daal by turning it into an appetizer or snack or even a part of the main meal.
Half cup kulath/gehet daal, soaked overnight
Half cup split Bengal gram (chana) daal, soaked overnight
6 tbsp coriander, freshly chopped
2 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp green chilli, chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp dried mango powder (amchoor)
1 tsp black salt (kala namak)
5 dates, soaked in warm water for 1-2 hours, then chopped coarsely
1 tbsp raisins, optional
2 tbsp malai (cream skimmed off the top of boiled milk)
Handful of black or white sesame seeds
Sunflower oil for cooking
Salt to taste
Boil both the daals separately with salt (to taste) since the daals have different cooking times. Start with just enough water and add water, if needed, till the daals are soft and can be easily pressed between the fingers. Roughly mash the daals together using a potato masher or fingers or just a ladle. The mash will be coarse and there may even be some stray grains left intact.
Add fresh coriander, ginger, green chilli, coriander powder, cumin powder, amchoor, kala namak, dates, raisins and malai.
Mix well. Make flattened rounds, the size of aloo tikias (about 2” in diameter).
Press both sides into a tray of unhulled sesame seeds or sprinkle the seeds on them and press gently on each side. (White sesame seeds can also be used.)
Cook in a non-stick pan with minimal sunflower oil, flip when one side looks golden and crisp. Cook the other side till crisp.
Serve with a chutney of choice
Excerpted from 'Vegetarian Cuisine from the Himalayan Foothills' by Veena Sharma, with permission from Niyogi Books Private Limited. The excerpt has been lightly edited for style.