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Daag

RECIPE

Ever heard of Daag? I hadn't until I read an article which included the top 10 most popular recipe searches. I had heard of Burgers, Shortbread, Gingerbread, Flapjacks, Lasagna, Pancakes, Carbonara, Scones and Tiramisu but Daag! It seemed completely out of place in a list of such familiar names so I just had to find out what it was.

That was not as easy as I had thought. The customary search on Google did not produce a lot of information. There were a few recipes but as to what Daag was and where it originated was not immediately apparent. Daag is a Northern Indian curry base otherwise known as an Onion masala which can be the base for many Indian vegetable or meat dishes.

The Daag is completely vegetarian. Once prepared it can be refrigerated or frozen then when you want to make a quick Indian dish all you need to do is add meat, seafood or vegetables of your choice. The idea is it can be used for making quick Indian dishes.

The recipe below is not hot, so as a base, it is suitable for all tastes. You can increase the heat by the addition of chilli powder to your final dish or by adding fresh chillies.

Whilst my Daag tasted good the real test would be what sort of dish could I create with it so I came up with my own recipe for Lamb Daag.

Daag Ingredients

Ingredients

1kg onions, sliced (about 3 large onions)
5 garlic cloves finely chopped
Grated fresh ginger (approximately 1 inch) or 1 tsp dry ginger
3 green chillies
7 or 8 medium tomatoes
4 Bay leaves (fresh if available)
2 tsp ground Cumin*
3 tsp ground Coriander*
4 tsp Turmeric*
1 tsp Garam Masala*
16 Cardamom seeds
1 tsp salt*
500ml water
100g butter
Oil

*Tsp measures are all heaped

Method

  • Peel and finely slice your onions.

  • Melt the butter with sufficient oil to fry your onions. Add the onions and slowly cook until they caramelise (go a dark brown without burning). This can take 40 to 45 minutes as it has to be done slowly. It might be easier to split the onions between two frying pans to caramelise them and then put them into your main pot when done.
    Raw onions Caramelised onions


  • Whilst the onions are cooking prepare your other ingredients. Remove the stem core from the ends of the tomatoes and then roughly chop each one into about six parts. Remove the tops of the chillies and slice thinly (leave the seeds in). Peel and grate your ginger. Peel and finely chop your garlic cloves.

  • When the onions are done add the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook for a few minutes.

  • Add the Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric, Cardamom seeds and Garam Masala. Stir in to combine with onions and cook for a further two or three minutes.

  • Add the tomatoes and the Bay leaves and continue cooking. Add the water gradually stirring all the time to combine all the ingredients.

  • Cover and simmer for about an hour.

  • Leave to cool.

Makes 6 portions

You can either divide the Daag into servings for convenient freezing. There should be roughly six portions so if you divide it into three to freeze you will have enough for three meals for two people. (My portion sizes are generous!)

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