Earlier this summer at a milonga (social tango for those who aren't familiar with this term), I was sitting next to a tanguera (female tango dancer). We were chatting and realized both of us enjoyed cooking. Anita is Ukrainian, so I immediately told her of my extreme fondness for perogies. And that I have always wanted to try them with a dal filling. Well, we decided to meet and try this, and to our mutual delight the recipe (Anita made the dough, I the filling) worked out, and better than we expected. My son was our first very satisfied guinea pig!

Here is the recipe -

DOUGH

3 1/2 cups water, 3 Tbsp cooking oil, 1 egg, 4 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt

Combine oil, egg, salt and water. Blend well. Now add 3 1/2 cups of flour. Knead. Add as much of the leftover cup as needed to make the dough soft and smooth. Put it in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and leave for at least 20 minutes.

You can prepare the dal filling now, or before you make the dough so it is cooled. The recipe for filling below will make perogies for half the amount of dough. You can freeze the dough, or make double the filling.

Roll out on a floured surface, thinner than for a pie crust, cut out with a round cutter or into a 2 - 2 1/2 inch square. Put about a tsp of filling into each square, pinch ends to seal then filling. Place on a clean towel while making them. Drop them into a pot of boiling water with a little oil added. Stir gently a few times to prevent sticking. They are pretty much done when they float to the top, but you can leave them for a couple of minutes before removing with a slotted spoon. The best way to check if they are done is to taste one.

Drain well. Toss with butter to prevent sticking. You can serve them with caramelized onion and/or sour cream.

They can be refrigerated and reheated without any loss of quality.

You can also freeze them individually after they're cooked and reheat by boiling of frying in butter till golden. Anita's aunt claims this results in some loss in texture, but Anita has done this with good results.

SUKHI MOONG DAL FILLING

1/2 cup moong dal well washed (till water runs clear), soak for 10 minutes and drained, 1/2 cup water and salt to taste

Seasoning or temper:

To season/temper -

2 – 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan), ½ tsp cumin seeds, 1 -2 chillies finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat), 2 – 3 tbsp chopped fresh corrainder, 1 tsp corriander powder, ¼ tsp hing or asafetida, ½ tsp turmeric powder, Juice of one lemon, ¼ tsp red chili powder, ½” piece of ginger – grated or finely chopped

In a pan bring the washed dal, salt and water to a boil over medium to high heat and turn heat down to low and cook till the lentil is soft.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the ghee or oil on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, then ginger and asafetida stirring all the while. Add the rest if the ingredients for seasoning, except the lemon juice and green corriander. Keep stirring to prevent burning, add the dal and fry till well blended. Add the corriander and lemon juice and mix well. Serve with your favourite accompaniment.

You can also add chopped onions and garlic to the seasoning – add it with the ginger.