Khar is a unique Assamese dish, traditionally served as a starter. Traditionally, pure khar uses kola khar as its main ingredient. Kola Khar is prepared by sun-drying the peels of the bheem khol banana tree trunk, burning them to ashes, and then filtering water through them. It is an alkaline preparation that is believed to have medicinal properties. The dish is served before the main meal to help prepare the digestion for the flavours to come in the main meal.
These days kola khar is often substituted with other items, usually baking soda. Khar can be made with a variety of ingredients – pulpy vegetables such as gourds, papaya, pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant and cucumber, as well as lentils and a variety of greens. Today we are using Mung Beans although toor dal and urad dal are also common. We have seen it made with rice flour and no lentils.
Mustard greens and some chilli leaves are used in our dish today, although Spinach would be equally as fine. I have added a couple of betel leaves, because they are in the fridge and they give a lovely flavour. However, there is no need to be so exotic. Use spinach and/or mustard greens, or whatever greens you have. The recipe has a lot of garlic in it which softens its raw bite due to the cooking and adds a lovely umami flavour. Don’t confuse this dish with Lebon Khar, which is a Middle Eastern dish of cucumber and sour cream or yoghurt with a vinegar and mustard dressing.
Similar dishes include Chilli Leaf Sambar, Whole Mung Dal with Greens, Mung Dal with Green Mango, Bengali Mung Dal, and Mung Dal with Ghee.
Browse more of our Assamese recipes, all of our Mung Bean dishes, and our Dals. Browse our Indian recipes here and our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Spring dishes.
Continue reading “Khar | Assamese Garlicky Flavoured Mung Beans with Greens”
Red lentils, as they are called here, or Masoor Dal, have made a reappearance in this kitchen after we received a large bag of them as a gift. How wonderful to have friends and relatives that gift odd bits and pieces to our pantry – I love them all.
Truly, I had forgotten how wonderful red lentils are, even though we have some stunning dishes that feature them. Red Lentil Soup with Garlic, for example, and also the Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Thick Thick Yoghurt.
Today we are making a Dal from the Assam region in North East India that mixes both split red lentils and mung dal. It is tasty, substantial, healthy and nourishing. The recipe uses mustard oil for a wonderful tang, but ghee can be substituted if preferred.
Are you after Dal recipes? Try Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, Dal Tadka, Monk’s Dal and Urad Dal with Tomatoes.
You can check all of our Red Lentil recipes, our Mung Dal dishes, and our Dals. Browse our Indian recipes here. Or take some time to explore our Mid Winter dishes.
Continue reading “Red Lentils and Mung Dal | Masoor Dal and Mung Dal from Assam”