Horse gram is a type of lentil that I got introduced to quite late in life but once I got to know about this lentil about 20 years ago, I had to experiment with it out of curiosity. New ingredients have always been a pleasure work with and if someone says it’s good for health, I feel even more enthusiastic.
Since I got reminded of how I discovered horse gram, let me tell you the little story as well. My husband’s first posting was in Dhanbad, a mining town in Jharkhand which was then part of Bihar and we used to get many tribal hawkers come with their wares mounted on bicycles. Since their language was new to me, I would stop each one of them to ask what they were selling and once when I saw this hawker with a sack propped between the three tubes I asked just out of my habit. The name was new and I wanted to see the product he was selling, he opened the sack and I found a dark brown lentil that I had never seen before. I bought a couple of kilos immediately, it was grown wild (in fallow land) I learnt later and the name was Kurthi. Those were the days when internet wasn’t on our fingertips and there were no results for such a lentil. All I got to know about this new lentils was courtesy the neighbours who came from all across the country and the names started floating around. Kulath, Kurthi, Kulith, Gehat and Horsegram, the lentil had so many names I was unaware of.
I remember I had made a dal just like we cook sabut masoor ki dal and there was a lot of leftover because the husband refused to eat it. The next best thing to do with the leftover dal was to make paratha and that was accepted well. Later when we moved to Delhi I found horse gram at Navdanya outlets and it was used regularly. The paratha has been shared many times on my Instagram feed but I could never post it on the blog. High time I corrected the mistake.
(for 8-10 parathas)
1 cup horse gram, soaked overnight (the volume will double after soaking)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves (optional but recommended)
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp fine chopped green chillies
1 tsp amachoor powder or anaradana powder or any other souring agent you like (optional but recommended)
1 tbsp freshly crushed coriander seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp garam masala (optional)
salt to taste
You also need dough made with about 2 cups of whole wheat flour or a mix of whole wheat and ragi (finger millet). It can also be made gluten free with just ragi flour that I have made here. The process of making ragi dough will be like this ragi roti dough. Note that the consistency of the dough should be as firm as the consistency of the stuffing you make with the above ingredient list.
You also need ghee or preferred oil to cook the parathas
Pressure cook the shake lentils with 3 cups of water and salt. Remove the soaking water and use fresh water for cooking. Once the lentils are cooked, drain the stock in a separate pot and use it for making a soup. Reserve the cooked lentils and mash them well.
Add the other ingredients to the mashed lentils and adjust seasoning. If you feel the stuffing is too soft for you to handle, you can refrigerate it for sometime so it gets firm. This is a great make-ahead stuffing that you can use for making breakfast parathas.
Stuff the mix in parathas and cook them on hot iron griddle with generous drizzles of ghee.
serve the parathas hot with your choice of chutneys, pickles and raita or fresh dahi.