Cook's Hideout: Baingan Mussalam & Mixed Dal--A tribute to Tarla Dalal

November 13, 2013

Baingan Mussalam & Mixed Dal--A tribute to Tarla Dalal

The news of Tarla Dalal passing last week came as a total shock to me. I still remember watching her cooking show like it was yesterday, but it was some 14~15 years back. She was like the Julia Child of Indian cooking, both in terms of cook books she wrote and also cooking shows on TV. She was a natural in front of the camera and all her dishes seemed very doable.
I remember pestering my mom to exotic ingredients from the supermarket after watching Tarla Dala's cooking show. She was the one who introduced baby corn to me way back in late 90s. Also paneer was a foreign ingredient in my mom's kitchen in those days and it was Tarla Dalal's recipes that made us acquainted to it. 
She will be missed immensely in the culinary world, but her legacy is going to live forever through her dishes. Her recipe videos are available on youtube and is a great online resource for all Indian recipes. As a small tribute to the diva our Blogging Marathon group is going to post Tarla Dalal's recipes today.
I have quite a few recipes by Tarla Dalal on my blog already and I have 2 of her cookbooks too. Today I made a dish from 'Exciting Vegetarian Cooking' and one from her website. I made few changes to the recipe depending on the ingredients I had in my pantry.
Baingan Mussalam
Baingan Mussalam/ Eggplant Mussalam:
Original recipe had deep fried eggplant and I decided to broil the eggplant pieces to get the same texture at a fraction of the calories. Also to thicken the gravy, original recipe had cream in it, but I used milk and almond flour instead. Even with all these substitutions, this curry came out to be super delicious. The good news is eggplant can be substituted with other vegetables.

Baby Eggplants - 6~8, chopped into 1" cubes
Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
Tomato puree - ½cup
Cumin seeds - 1tsp
Ginger-garlic paste - 1tsp
Ground Coriander - 1tsp
Red chili powder - ½tsp (or more as per taste)
Turmeric powder - ¼tsp
Milk - 3tbsp
Almond meal/ flour - 1tbsp (or use 2tbsp almond paste)
Salt - to taste
Cilantro leaves - 2tbsp, finely chopped

  • Preheat Broiler on High.
  • Toss the chopped eggplants with salt, ½tsp ground cumin, ½tsp red chili powder and 1tbsp oil. Spread them on a baking sheet and broil for 5~8 minutes tossing occasionally to make sure all sides are cooked evenly. Broil until eggplant is cooked and tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan; add cumin seeds and once the seeds start to splutter, add onions and cook until lightly browned around the edges.
  • Next add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add chopped tomato and tomato puree, cook until tomatoes turn mushy, about 3~4minutes.
  • Add red chili powder, ground coriander, turmeric and salt. Cook until oil separates on the surface, about 4~5 minutes.
  • Now add the eggplant pieces and simmer for 3~4 minutes. Add some water if the gravy looks too thick.
  • Whisk milk and almond meal and add it to the curry. Simmer for 3~4 minutes until the gravy thickens a little bit and coats the veggies.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.
Baingan Mussalam
Mixed Dal:
This recipe is from 'Exciting Vegetarian Cooking' cookbook. I followed this recipe almost to the 'T' except for a very few changes, here's how I made it.
Mixed Dal
Urad dal - 1tbsp
Moong dal - 1tbsp
Masoor dal - 1tbsp
Chana dal - 1tbsp
Toor dal - 2tbsp
Onion - 1small, chopped
Cumin seeds - 1tsp
Ground Coriander - 1tsp
Red Chili powder - 1tsp
Turmeric - ¼tsp
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
Yogurt - 3tbsp, whisked
Garam Masala - ½tsp
Salt - to taste
Cilantro - 2tbsp, finely chopped


  • Wash and soak dals for at least 1 hour.
  • In a pressure cooker heat 2tsp oil, add cumin seeds and once the seeds start to splutter add the onions and cook until they turn pink, about 3~4 minutes.
  • Drain the water from the dals and add to the onion mixture. Cook for 4~5 minutes. 
  • Next add the red chili powder, ground coriander and turmeric. Mix well. Add 3 cups of water, cover and cook for 3~4 whistles on medium flame. If cooking on the stove, then add 1liter water and simmer until the dals are cooked. Season with salt.
  • Heat  2tbsp butter in a small sauce pan, add chopped tomato and cook until mushy. Lower the heat and add the whisked yogurt and garam masala. Mix once and immediately add this mixture to the dals.
  • Simmer for another 4~5 minutes and serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro.
Tribute to Tarla Dalal
We had both these dishes with simple jeera rice for a very filling and delicious lunch. All Thanks to Tarla Dalal.


  1. Guess it was natural that you pick eggplant! Beautiful tribute and your pictures are so good..

  2. Wow a complete mesl ..with beautiful clicks..lovely daal and baingan...awesome tribute.

  3. Both the recipes are wonderfully prepared. Nice clicks.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I never got to see her cookery shows in India but do go back to her recipe collection for new recipe ideas. Nice to know about your experiences. I know what you mean by paneer being a foreign ingredient in the kitchen back then. Lovely tribute and both the dishes look delicious!

  5. how did I know you would have to choose an eggplant dish :) but the dal looks delicious!

  6. I have made that mussallam before and it was awesome . Yours dal and mussallam looks delicious. Great tribute to Tarla Ji...

  7. Look mouthwatering.
    Great tribute

  8. I did not even know Tarla Dalal was gone until I just read it here. So sorry to hear it. She truly was a pioneer in her own right and I still sometimes pull up her YouTube cooking videos for inspiration. Nice of you to do a tribute post for a very memorable woman.


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