Saturday, August 14, 2010

Channa Daal Curry and Thoughts Worth Thinking. . .

Ramadan is the muslim month of fasting and creating anew ones' intimacy with God. According to Quranic teaching, God is always as close to us as our jugular vein, and His compassion and blessings are especially prevalent throughout the month of Ramadan.

So, the onset of Ramadan is a joyful celebration; a chance to reflect over the past year and renew our pledge to improve ourselves in the year to come. And realizing, in that final moment of hunger and weakness before breaking fast at sunset, that all sustenance belongs to God and it is by His Grace alone that we are able to eat our sunset meal at all.

This year, however, the mood around my Ramadan table is somber. As we break our fast, the thought of suffering in Pakistan (a crisis much bigger than the Tsunami) is not far from our minds. At present one-fifth of the country is submerged under water, the lives of over 14 million people have been affected because entire villages have been wiped out leaving over 250, 000 homeless, an estimated $1 billion worth of crops have been destroyed... To further compound the situation, water-borne disease has broken out. It's all the more painful that this should happen in Ramadan - the holiest month of the year.

It's no wonder I don't have much of an appetite, despite a 14.5 hour fast. Ramadan is a time of charity, but here I am - unable to do anything. To really do anything to help anyone. The realization that I have so much for be thankful for is a hollow one when faced with the other realization that while my family and I enjoy a cozy meal each evening, there are millions who have no access to clean water or nutritious food and that they long for a place called home. .*(please read post note)

Praise be to God who blessed us with food to eat, water to drink, homes to live in and our families surrounding us. . may He have mercy on all the suffering souls and may He accept our fasting, all our prayers and good intentions this blessed month. Ramadan Kareem, everyone.

And now I bring you Channa Daal Curry: a simple, satisfying, every-day curry. I made it today with zucchini although it's traditionally made with either pumpkin or bottle gourd. 

Channa Daal and Zucchini Curry

1 cup channa daal, washed and pre-soaked for 1-2 hours
2 cups water
1 cup zucchini, diced (about 3-4 small)
1 large onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, diced into small cubes

2 tsp minced ginger
2-3 green whole chillies, stalks removed (I used birds-eye because I like the extra heat)
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 heaped teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (I actually used only 1/4 because I was using birds eye green chillies)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder2 tbsp fresh, chopped coriander
2-3 tbsp cooking oil

Heat cooking oil in a pan and add sliced onions. Fry around 15 minutes on medium heat, or until golden-brown.

Add all the dry spices, along with a small splash of water (so that the spices don't burn) and stir fry for a minute or so. Add the diced tomato as well as the whole green chillies and cook until the tomatoes are mushy and the oil separates (around 5 minutes).

Now add the zucchini, stirring it well to make sure it is coated with the tomato mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in the daal, water and salt. Mix well, cover and let cook on medium-low heat for approx. 20 minutes. Test to make sure that the daal is fully cooked before removing from heat.

Stir in the lemon or lime juice as well as the chopped coriander and serve right away. For me, this daal is delicious all on its' own & I eat it with a spoon. But it is served with either Roti (flat bread) or rice.

(Post-note: after publishing this post, I came across a link to a blog listing one of many non-governmental organizations that are helping the relief effort in Pakistan. If you would like to lend a hand, visit the blog here and this organization here, here or here . And here's another very comprehensive list of ways you can help)


Sage Trifle said...

I have been following the stories of the devastation in Pakistan and my heart breaks for the people's suffering. You are right--we should all take stock and give thanks for our blessings every day. I especially thank God every day for my health. Your dal looks divine.

Peanutts said...

Dal looks delish, I lived in karachi for 2 years , feel sad about the suffereings, have a few freinds over there. We should be thankful for having a roof over our heads and food. Hope you have a blessed month a head.:)

Jencrafted said...

Indeed, we are blessed and have so much to be thankful for. I have an ex-colleague who was from Pakistan and he shared many stories of hardships endured growing up and living there. I am saddened by the recent events there and pray for God's grace and strength to be upon the people.
And on a totally different note, thanks for helping me decide what's for dinner tonight!

Angie's Recipes said...

The curry looks totally comforting and delicious.

Grapefruit said...

Thank you all, yes - the daal is comforting and delicious.
And thank you for your comments regarding Pakistan. Just makes me feel powerless, you know? I've been struggling for days to come up with a donation plan and so far it's going nowhere :(

tina_bakes said...

Salaams dear... I had goosebumps reading this post. The hardships and tests endured by those in Pakistan is a reminder for all of us to be thankful for each blessing that has been granted upon us.

Alhamdulillah, am happy to report that over here a few humanitarian aid organisations have come up with aid/relief funds to make it easier for Malaysians to donate to our Pakistani brothers. Take care!

Sweet and Savory said...

Thanks for sharing this. All we read in the papers is misery and more misery and I think, as you have pointed out, we are blessed and should demonstrate our thankfulness through giving, if possible.

Grapefruit said...

Thanks for your comments and Jazak-Allah Tina!
I've finally, *finally* had a breakthrough myself & feeling very happy today!

Magdalena said...

I appreciate a lot soups like yours; especially, when it is cold, because they warm up so well. Look very nice.


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