Amti is a lentil-based dish from the western state of Maharashtra in India. It has a balance of 4 flavors - sour , sweet, saltiness and spice! In a well made Amti you can taste all these flavors at the same time. Amti can be paired with either rice or roti but generally it tastes very good with rice (bhat in Maharashtrian).
For 2-3 people
Oils and Spices
Coriander (Dhaniya) Powder (1.5 tsp)
Salt (1 Tbsp)
Asafoetida (Hing) powder (1/2 tsp)
Turmeric (Haldi) powder (2 tsp)
Mustard (Rai) Seeds (1/2 tsp)
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds (1.5 tsp)
Cumin Powder (1.5 tsp)
Red pepper (Lal mirchi) powder (1 Tbsp) depending on how spicy - slightly more is better because it will balance with the sweetness of Jaggery.
Kokum (could be made with Tamarind instead ) (4-5 leaves) (can be more if more sourness is preferred)
Vegetable / Cooking oil
Water - 1 litre
Ghee for final garnish (Preferable but optional)
Shredded Fresh / Frozen Coconut (preferable but optional) (1.5 Tbsp or 1/8th cup)
Coriander leaves for garnish (Preferable but optional)
Curry leaves (Kadi Patta) 4-5 leaves (preferable but optional)
Goda Masala (1/2 tsp) (preferable but optional)
Cooked Toor Dal
Cooked Toor Dal
1 cup toor dal or split pigeon peas
Optional - Fenugreek seeds (Methi Dana ) 1/4th tsp powder (can take seeds- 20 or so seeds crushed to powder)
Turmeric (Haldi) powder (1/2 tsp)
Salt (1/2 tsp)
Pressure cooker or Insta Pot or 1 Thick bottomed pot
Crush Methi dana if you don’t have powder.
Take a thick bottomed pot and pour 1cup toor dal into it.
Wash it well several times till the drained water runs clear
Let it soak for 15 minutes
Add Methi dana powder
Add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil
Add 1/2 tsp of Haldi powder
Add 1/2 tsp of Salt
Stir the pot so the contents are mixed evenly.
If using Instant Pot - Add 2 cups water to the washed dal and pressure cook on high - set to 20 minutes
If using thick-bottomed pot - Add 2.5 cups water to the washed dal and place it on medium heat, Keep an eye on it and cook for about 30-40 min till the dal becomes soft & mushy.
You will stop here and let the cooked toor dal cool down if you are not planning to make dal on that day. Store in the refrigerator in a clean glass container.
Please feel free to cook toor dal a day or two before too.
If you are planning on eating dal chawal the same day, whisk the dal. You should not be able to see individual dal after whisking.
Putting Amti together
Take 4-5 leaves of Kokum and soak them in hot steaming water (1 cup) in a non-metal bowl and lid, and leave it covered. The intention is to soak the leaves in the hot water for as long as possible. Metal containers cool rather quickly hence not preferred.
Thaw if using frozen coconut
Assemble all ingredients including water in a jug or big bowl. Not having all ingredients handy will risk this disk.
1 Thick bottomed pot
Start the tadka with 2 Tbsp oil and heat it well. You can prep it in the same container that you will eventually pour the Dal in so make sure it is big enough.
Stop the heat once the oil is heated well.
Optionally, add Curry leaves 4-5 (Kadi patta) and let it crackle for 20 seconds.
Add 1/2 tsp Turmeric (Haldi) powder, Cumin Powder (1.5 tsp), Red mirchi (Red Pepper) powder (1 Tbsp), Asafoetida (Hing) powder (1/2 tsp), Coriander (Dhaniya) Powder (1.5 tsp), Goda Masala (1/2 tsp) (preferable but optional), Salt (1 Tbsp) , mix well and cook on low-medium heat for about a minute or so
Now add Kokum water that Kokum was soaked in, and squeeze the water from the Kokum leaves in the tadka and finally add the Kokum leaves and 1 cup water
Add Shredded Fresh / Frozen Coconut (preferable but optional) (1.5 Tbsp or 1/8th cup) and mix well
Add 1 cup of water and cook for about a minute on medium heat
Add Dal and mix well and cook for about a minute on medium-high heat
Add 2-3 cups water depending on how much quantity and consistency you want for the Dal. More water may require you to adjust the mirchi, salt and sweetness accordingly.
Bring the Dal to boil well on high heat and stir to make sure Jaggery is well dissolved.
Taste the Dal a few times. Sweet, Salty and Spicy flavors should be felt distinctly. The sourness should be mild but not absent. As the Dal cools and is left for serving, the sour flavor will strengthen. Adjust mirchi, salt and sweetness. To add spicyness, heat a tsp of oil and add mirchi and cook for about 30 seconds and then add to the Dal.
The absolute best way to eat Amti is to mix it with white rice or jeera rice. Top with a generous swirl of ghee , garnish with shredded Dhaniya and serve hot.
Bhat ( Rice )
Jeera rice is an undemanding way to embellish rice and dress it up for occasions or parties. Use basmati rice. Just sauté it in cumin seeds tempered in ghee and proceed to cook the rice the way you do regularly. The cumin flavor picks up as the rice cooks and you end up with a good looking, lightly accented rice with a light brown, golden sheen. The recipe below is for stovetop cooking of rice. Feel free to use a rice cooker, Instant Pot or any method of cooking rice of your choice.
1 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp ghee or butter (salted or unsalted)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp table salt
1 Thick bottomed pot
Wash rice under running water 2-3 times or until water that you drain off runs clear. Set it aside.
Heat butter or ghee at medium heat in a thick bottomed pot.
Add cumin seeds and let them sputter, which will take 2-3 minutes
Pour the washed rice and stir well till the moisture sticking to the rice evaporates and each grain becomes toasty and distinct. This will take about five minutes.
Add 1 3/4 cup water.
Keep an eye on rice.
Once the water evaporates, cover the pot.
After 5 minutes, take a grain in between your thumb and index finger and squish. If you can crush easily, rice is ready. If not ready, check again in 2-3 minutes.
It's best to make jeera rice about 30 minutes before you are ready to eat.