Habisha or Habisa Dalma is typically prepared in the month of ‘Kartik’ in Odisha, especially in Puri- the land of Lord Jagannath, when many Odias observe “habisha” in which only satwik( veg without onion –garlic-mustard oil) and humble food is consumed. The specific dish for this month is Habisha Dalma made out of moong dal(skinned & split green gram) with only kadali/kaccha kela (raw banana), saru/arbi(colocasia), oou( elephant pear), ginger, grated coconut and pure ghee.
*Oou is a typical vegetable available in Orissa/Odisha and it tastes tangy (khatta).
OOU ( perhaps called Elephant Pear ) .
Oou when halved. The slimy interior oou is a layered vegetable. Layers
needs to be taken out & discarded need be separated & skinned before
BE CAREFUL WHILE CHOPPING OOU, AS IT IS SLIMY AFTER PEELING ITS SKIN!!
Procedure ( traditional type)
For 3-4 serves
Place a deep bottomed pot on fire with enough water( 4-5 cups) in it. Add ( 1 cup or a little more) and bring it to the boiling point. Lower the flame and let it boil. Take out the scum (white foam) as they come up. After 2-3 mins, add salt, diced arbi (saru/colocasia – 7-8 nos). After 3-4 mins of cooking, add diced kachha kela ( kadali/raw banana – about 1 large or a little more), 1 slit green chilli, generous amount of crushed ginger ( 1-2 inch) and sliced Oou*( 6-7 slices). Cook on sim, half-covered, till dal is tender and each grain splits ( say for 12-15 mins after adding kela. Do not overcook, otherwise moong dal turns slimy. By that time, both raw banana and colocasia would have got cooked right also. Adjust consistency by adding some more water, if necessary. Keep the consistency of dal a little running- not thick at all.Add grated coconut ( 5-6 tbsp, or more if you like). Switch off.
Heat refined oil/dalda. Splutter jeera ( 1 tsp) and dry red chilli pieces.
When jeera turns fragrant, add this seasoning to the dal and cover immediately for the flavour to get absorbed. Add 1 tsp of pure ghee ( or a little more). Serve hot with plain rice.
Usually, the platter contains plain rice flavoured with pure ghee, habisha dalma, baigan bhaja, kankana bhaja, arua saaga, tomato khajuri khata/oau khata etc. accompanied by slices of tender cucumber, lemon, green chilli and salt on the side!! Tastes divine.
Must eat freshly made and hot. Smash-n-grind a bit of green chilli with your fingers into the dalma while eating.
Do not want such an elaborate platter ? Just go for rice, habisha dalma, one simple fry and cucumber+green chilli+lemon+salt on the side. Soul-satisfying.
Habisha Dalma, with kela ( which blackens the dish) and without haldi, looks a bit uninviting – but taste it and you will promise never to go by the appearance ever again.
1. if you do not have Oou ( which is seasonal & mostly not available elsewhere), add a bit of amchoor ( mango powder) instead of OOU towards the end. Follow rest of the procedure.
2.Avoid seasoning and just add pure ghee to the dalma after adding coconut and serve.
3. Avoid tanginess altogether by not using oou or aamchur. Just use lots of crushed ginger and coconut. Add pure ghee without /with seasoning.
4. Use dry-roasted moong dal, instead of raw dal, follow the full procedure and garnish with chopped dhania patta( coriander leaves).
Some people also add other vegetables like brinjal and pumpkin. But I stick to only colocasia and raw banana(plantain) for this recipe. And guess what! I love the aamchur version without seasoning, but with a generous dollop of pure ghee !! So, now-a-days, I do not miss oou , though I am a great fan of Habisha Dalma J