Osaman is essentially a Gujarati dish. It is a watery dal made from red or yellow lentils. The dal is similar to the Konkani Saar or the South Indian delicacy Rasam in appearance. The dal is traditionally sweet in taste and although there are people who prefer the savory version of it, the sweet variation is mostly prepared and consumed. When prepared in the traditional and proper way, with all the prescribed ingredients, Osaman has a very complex flavor, at once sweet, sour and nutty, much like most other Gujarati food. Easy to prepare and digest, the dal is categorized as a ‘light food’ in the Gujarati cuisine.
Origin of the Osaman Recipe
The exact origin of Osaman is not known. There are many theories about the how the preparation came into begin and different people believe and retell different theories. One common things, and the only thing known for a fact, is that the food has a Gujarati origin and that is where the dish is most commonly prepared and consumed.
Ingredients as Per the Osaman Recipe
Masoor dal (red lentils) or Arhar dal (yellow lentils), turmeric, tamarind, jaggery, peanuts, salt, chilies and fenugreek seeds are the traditional Osaman ingredients. Those who prefer to cook the dal in the customary Gujarati way us all these ingredients strictly in the measures specified. Depending upon individual preferences and tastes, the ingredients can be replaced or omitted. Also, based on what flavor is preferred (sweet or savory) the use and measures of the jaggery and salt can be adjusted.
Preparation Method Prescribed by Osaman Recipe
The dal is cooked much like most other Indian dals. Preparation time is about 10 to 15 minutes. All the ingredients are cooked together and the dal is simmered until it is cooked completely. The water does not have to be dried as the consistency of Osaman needs to be runny. Garnish is optional, but most coriander (dhaniya) is chopped and sprinkled over the dal before serving.
As mentioned earlier, the measure and use of jaggery and chilies can be adjusted or omitted depending upon preferences and tastes. Those who prefer a spicy Osaman version use very little jagery or none at all and those who like the dal sweet, which is the traditional taste, use very little chilly and more jaggery.
Serving and Eating the Dish
Osaman is mostly a part of the main course of a major lunch or dinner meal, often served hot with rice or rotis. Due to the consistency of the dal, it can also be served as a soup.
Traditionally, Osaman is served with Lachko dal which is considered one of its best accompaniments. Depending upon the Osaman recipe used for preparation, there can be other accompaniments as well.