Dal is an integrated part of a Bengali meal.
There is a family story which goes like this – One of my Mamis when recently got married and came to her in Laws place (my mamar bari), she just could not take the eating pattern of her husband. My mama’s fault was that he loved dal just like all other members of mamar bari and his eating pattern included the major portion of the rice getting mixed with Dal and then the other vegetables as side dish. The contrary opinion which my mami had and which cannot be ignored is that the taste of the torkari or the vegetables get masked with too much dal. Yes, in winters I have seen Sobji diye bhaja muger dal getting made in Mamar bari also. Not that much in my house.
I love my dal
If food connected Madhushree and me, then perhaps it was over bearing love that overlooked the differences and that too in food. I had never tasted pork, beef or crab as a matter of fact before my marriage. Madhushee hates dal. While for me, it’s now an established fact that at home, I can forego any food for a bowl of dal and alu peyanj bhaja (slices of potato and onions golden fried with some turmeric) with freshly made Rotis.
Sobji Diye bhaja muger dal
I have seen Sabji Diye bhaja muger dal mainly prepared on special occasions and not that much on a regular basis at home. It appears usually on annoprashon or the anciliary day meals of a Bengali marriage ceremony or even the Shraddho (the death ritual ceremony). Addition of chopped seasonal vegetables like carrot, green peas and french beans is like putting up make up to look beautiful for a beautiful lady. These are enhancers which is not necessary but who doesn’t want to look more beautiful or taste better in this case.
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Am not sure whether Madhushree has grown any fondness towards dal as most of the days I don’t see her going through the process of having a dal but trust me, if I miss one of the foods associated with Baba and my childhood, its Biulir dal with nigella seed and sliced raddish. Add alu bhate or mashed potato with it, you can convert a deadly summer afternoon to a romantic rainy afternoon with drizzles on your window panes.