Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time-Off ...... & Panchmel Daal-Baati.

What a commentary on civilization, when being alone is being suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it - like a secret vice. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

No I ain't apologising nor am I offering any explanation. I know I have been away for some time....but to only replenish the spring within me that will never dry. I have taken time-off to retreat to my soul, my haven for rest. There are days in my otherwise chirpy & active life when solitude becomes a heady wine that intoxicates me with freedom. I am on a high !

Afterall its only in quiet waters that things mirror themselves undistorted.
My alone-time was not without people, yet not 'being' with them.....like the lotus flower that is amidst the muddy water yet is above it all....smiling to the sun...content being with itself.

How many times in our lives have we felt weary (not physically) about the fact that we have to keep appointments/dates, call so and so, greet, console, cheer, congratulate, finish the never ending list of to-dos, hit the gym, stay healthy, eat, cook, spend time with family and friends, go to church, play, seal deals, toil at the workplace,chill at a party.....et al.

And exactly how many times have we stopped ...shut the whole world out and be with thy ownself ?!! Its important....very important....for to be able to do all that we want to in our lives, we must take a break from all of 'it'. Trust me it works wonders. You are recharged...its theraupatic...and nothing beats this therapy. Talk to yourself....spend time with your own self, when we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death - ourselves.

And those who truly love you will help you with this. The highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the 'solitude' of the other.

I am not trying to sermonize here, instead I am sharing with you all what I have attained in the past few days. I have been taking such "time offs"...for as long as I can remember...earlier it was more so unconciously and on hindsight I knew I was cut off from the universe when my mom used to ask me "whats wrong? has someone scolded you...or have you been hurt etc etc."; for she was worried her talkative darling was suddenly quiet.However she was instrumental in showing me the way to 'satsang'.
"Sat" means august and "Sang" means company.

These breaks became more evident when I started attending satsangs (translation: the company of learned men and women) every other Saturday. I am not someone who will renounce the world to attend religious gatherings for hours...infact I am not a religious soul. This particular satsang that I attended however was different...it did not stress that I had to pray everyday, or fast, or give offerings to Gods and Goddesses; it just suggested that I take time off to watch my deeds, my actions, my words, feel proud that He has created me, revel in the joys of humanity, respect myself for I am His child, truly love myself above all....for if I did that I would love all....this isn't selfish ...but selfless love.

I cannot put into words something that is so deep that it needs to be felt rather than heard/read.

By all means use sometimes to be alone. Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear.
~George Herbert

Keeping with the "simplicity" , I share with you this recipe. Its a typical Rajasthani dish, made from simple ingredients that the desert belt has to offer.
Rajasthani food was not created in a day. It evolved over the centuries of royal governance of the Rajput Maharajas for whom a lavish lifestyle and lots of good food was as important as collecting revenue from their subjects.
There is scarcity of water and fresh green veggies in the state of Rajasthan, so it is preferred to use milk, butter milk and butter in larger quantities to minimize the amount of water while cooking food.
Out of all the Rajasthani dishes, dal bati churma is perhaps the best known.

Panchmel Daal and Baati

Panchmel Daal:

This is a lentil curry comprising of five different pulses. Hence the name "panch" (five) "mel" (meeting) , meaning meeting of five varieties. It is highly nutritious and full of protein. Those of you who are watching your weight can binge on this without guilt...just skip the ghee/ clarified butter.


1/3 cup split bengal gram/chana dal
1/3 cup toovar/arhar dal
1/3 cup masoor dal
1 tsp urad dal/split black lentils
1 tbsp whole moong/mung dal
3 teaspoons chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder/haldi
1 tsp coriander/dhania powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
2 green chillies, slit
a pinch asafoetida/hing
2 tsp amchur/dry mango powder
2 tsp tamarind/imli pulp
3 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
salt to taste


Clean and wash the dals and add 4 cups of water. Pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles or till the dals are cooked.
In a bowl, combine the chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala with 3 tablespoons of water and mix well. Keep aside.
Heat the ghee in a pan and add the cloves, bay leaves, cumin seeds, green chillies and asafoetida. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the prepared masala paste and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the cooked dals, amchur, tamarind pulp and salt and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Adjust the consistency of the dal before serving and if required, add some water.
Serve piping hot.


As the name suggests, baati in Hindi means a bowl, as this part of the dish resembles a bowl. For this you need thick ground wheat flour. If you’re getting freshly ground wheat flour , then you can specifically ask the person to grind it to make laddu bati ka atta.
If thick or mota atta is unavailable, you can go with the regular atta/whole wheat flour, but mix three cups of atta, with 1 cup of suji/semolina to make it thick, as that’s the consistency we need to prepare baati. Traditionally, baati is prepared on earthen ovens, with dried cow dung cakes burned as fuel.
However we will prepare it using the trusted oven/gas stove.


3 cups – atta/whole wheat flour
1 cup – suji/semolina
1 cup – ghee/clarified butter
lukewarm water


You need to make soft dough out of the atta and suji mixed with salt, ghee and lukewarm water.
Set aside for half an hour.
Make lemon sized round balls with the dough.
Bake them in an oven on 170 degrees C (approx), till it browns and forms a crisp crust.
Now, if you so desire you can roast it on the gas stove slightly with the aid of tongs, just so that the crust becomes crispier.

Dip in clarified butter/ghee, and serve with panchmel daal and mirchi ka achaar/pickled jalapenos/chillies.



  1. Good to see you back. That's a beautiful writeup and a delicious looking plateful.
    Daal bati is a fav at home. Thanks for the idea of roasting the baatis on open flame ... I do bake them ... but this will give the actual flavour am sure. :-)

  2. Wow i love dal batis..looks delicious..i totally agree with you on taking sometime alone for ourself really helps..

  3. Glad to see you back and feeling great! Delicious dish!

  4. Good for you taking some time off for yourself!! :)

  5. Glad to see you back.I do believe that taking a break from the everyday grind ,works wonders in rejuvenating body and soul.The rustic baati with wholesome daal got me hungry:)

  6. Glad to see you are back and why would you have to apologize. I also feel like taking a long break and I might do that soon. Your lentils sound delicious.

  7. Rajasthani dish is all new to me. Nice to introduce us to your culture. It looks really yummy.

  8. Delicious recipe.. Looks inviting!

  9. Nice post... enjoyed reading it... food looks great!

  10. I do think it is good to take time off for reflection every once in a while! Love your dish - it looks lovely! :)

  11. A break well deserved I am sure. And you've come back with a delicious recipe ... I really must try some of your dishes soon.

  12. THis sounds so delicious navita. Would love to try it once I get a chance.

  13. nice post. It is indeed great that you took some time off for yourself!

    The daal-baati looks delicious!

  14. Woo Hoo, you are back darling! You have given me an idea as well, I surely hope you don't mind = )

    And you end the post with a fab, fab recipe = )

  15. i love dal bhaati..had them at my friend's place ..thnaks for shringthe recipe..will try it sometime..

  16. Thats a nice post there dear.You are so true..:).n lovely daal..:)

  17. Wonderful to see you back!
    Had tasted Dal Baati only once with a rajasthani friend and had loved it.
    The dal is quite similar to the 'BOIRAGI DAL'(http://cookadoodledo.blogspot.com/2009/02/boiragi-dal.html) I make...

  18. Welcome back! I think it happens to the best of us :) Thanks for sharing the recipe, it looks delicious!

  19. ahha Sorry, you gave me a fab idea to chat about blogging, some issues you brought up here today-- thank you.. I wanted to thank you for reminding me of some things = ) haha That was the idea you gave me... opps.. sorry. Of course plus the cooking haha

  20. Thanks so much for the lovely comment on my blog. May I say that everything above looks delicious? I love all kinds of international cuisines, and I'm bookmarking this one for sure!

  21. Hello Navita,Thanks for your lovely words!It's only when people say that I write well do I realise that! :) Thank you so much!! You have a lovely blog too! :)Stay in touch!


  22. You are right!

    That dish looks deliciously healthy and tasty!

    I'm doing fine, thanks! What about you?



  23. Welcome back, i think it is wonderful one has breaks.
    Even if it is from bloggin which i love . When eve rmy daughte ris having break i too take a break :-)
    Lov ethis dal when we were in jodhpur years ago, i had some of them most delicious veg food.

  24. Nice to see you back and no need to apologise we all need a break now and then. Love your dish it looks delish :0)

  25. Gud to see you back :)....hey u r real makingn me drool..wonderful pic and dal baati is just I love

  26. Sounds very healthy and a nutritious baati... looks very delicious and should makea great snack!!!

  27. Glad 2 see u back, Time to time we need to take break! Love this Rajasthani dish, delicious!

  28. I'm glad you're back! It's inspiring you took time to yourself!

  29. This looks delicious! Love your quotes too.

  30. Oh wow looks creamy and yum.....Love the combo of flavours...

  31. yes i am very much frm kolkata. How abt u? loved ure blog. and the dal baati churma looks yummy.

  32. Thank you so much for stopping by, and please do come again. So glad to know about your blog, too--I love your food!

  33. Welcome back Navita, I'm glad you took some time out for yourself! :) The pictures are beautiful-- rustic and hearty. I wish I had a plateful now! :)

  34. Welcome back Navita.Lovely click.I have been looking for this recipe for long now...thanks for sharing the recipe.Will surely try this:)

  35. I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks either, it's hard to make time when you're busy!
    This looks wonderful, and loads of flavour.

  36. Welcome back! This looks like a great recipe to return with, delicious and comforting.

  37. Hi Navita, glad to see you back dear...Thats a delicious and flavoured daal..looks yummyyy!!!!

  38. I never eaten this-but,I've heard so much about this dish.Will try it:)
    Thanks for stopping by my blog Bonne Nutrition!!

  39. I loved reading your post - I've been wanting to take some time for quiet self-restoration but can't quite break away from my obligations without feeling a bit guilty. I will keep your words in mind!

    Thank you for sharing this great recipe and particularly for the translations - I feel like I better understand an unfamiliar dish when its name gives a hint to its composition or history.

  40. Glad to see you back, Navita with another great recipe:) I've been away from blogosphere for quite some time now and need to get back soon. so many things to do, dont' have enough time for all:) cheers.

  41. Hi.. I am a new blogger... ur recipe looks great!!

  42. glad to see u back dear......this is one heavy and rich dish dabbed with lots of ghee....but sometimes relish the baati with delicious daal

  43. I have missed you! welcome back!

  44. Glad you're back, Navita!! Like I said, I love your blog!! This dish looks absolutely yummy. What a great "welcome back" dish!

  45. Navita, I completely agree with you on taking time for yourself. It's so important since you may discover so many things about you. Thanks for sharing.

  46. YUM. Your dish sounds delicious. Breaks are a good thing and I really need one myself. You can only give your best when you take care of yourself first.

  47. This sounds like a hearty and delicious meal!Loved the sound of that baati :-)

  48. Thanks for posting a dish that I've never seen before. Sounds delish.

  49. Everyone needs some down time to recharge and regenerate; I hope you got all that you need and are feeling better!

    The recipes look wonderful, but I may only be able to try the second since it doesn't ask for too many ingredients. :)

  50. Helloo! nice to have you back!
    I was on a break myself and just got back before a few posts.
    And no, this is your blog, and I agree with you... don't need to apologize for taking time off! :)

  51. This looks absolutely lovely. Baking for me is a great way to have time by myself. :)

  52. Hey there - we all need time-offs! And I guess that many of us do not take time-offs half often enough. Nice to see you back and refreshed.

  53. Replenish the spring within you... I love it, we all need time off ,I am playing catch up with friends, family and I wanted to thank you for your kind sentiments about "madison" my fur baby = )

  54. Looks great! I've been wanting to do more with lentils, but they always seem so intimidating with the soaking time and all. I like the fact that you just throw yours into a pressure cooker. I'll have to try that sometime.


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