Khar is a signature dish of Assamese cuisine. There are so many varieties of khar. The main ingredient of khar is kola khar, which is got from dried banana peels. For the second day of Blogging Marathon #25, I opted to make a vegetarian khar using spinach leaves. As kola khar is not available here, I used baking soda (the original suggested baking soda as the substitute for kola khar). I made it for today’s lunch and packed some white rice with this khar for my daughter. It was a little bitter but tasted very nice.
Recipe Source: Assamese Cuisine
Spinach-2 bunches/ 3 cups finely chopped
Toor Dhal-4 tbs
Mustard Oil-1 tbs
Baking Soda-1 tsp
1. Wash and soak dhal for 1/2 an hour.
2. Heat oil and add finely chopped garlic and green chilly.
3. Saute for a minute.
4. Add soaked dhal, spinach and saute until spinach wilts.
5. Add baking soda and salt and 1/2 cup of water.
6. Cover and cook on low flame until the dhal is soft and the whole mixture turns mushy.
7. Serve it hot along with steamed rice.
P.S: 1. After seeing all the comments on using baking soda, I need to add a few more notes. Kola khar is got by burning sun dried banana peel. It is used as the alkali in the dish. Every blog I read about khar suggested substituting it with bi carbonate of soda/ baking soda.
2. Usually when dhal is added along with salt, it takes a lot of time to cook and it never gets mushy. But after adding baking soda, even though I added salt, the dhal cooked very well in a short time and turned mushy.
3. The colour of spinach fades away after a lot of boiling but this dish retained a beautiful colour and I think it is the effect of the baking soda.
These are only my opinion and if you have any aversion for baking soda, you can skip it and make the curry. Any how it will taste great.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#25