I had the luck and pleasure, during a brief meeting, to share a few words with a very kind man -whose name, unlike his gaze, escapes me.
Many people ask me, after seeing this picture, if he’s a baker.
Well no, but it’s not that far!
His speciality is Dal - a vegetable, rich in proteins, and vastly used in Indian traditional (vegetarian for the most part) cuisine- grinding. Dal is commonly translated as chickpea ( at least in France), but in India, it refers to this yellowish lentil -Pisum sativum-, if you please- with very distinct shape and taste.
We have written about Dal already, usedin Mauritius for the delicious local dish, the Dal Puri.
Our friendly miller is lucky enough to buy his raw material in the district where he has his workshop.
Very old electric mills -with grindstones made of actual stone- relentlessly work all day to grind the lentil down to a flour.
The output is done via a mill hopper, charged manually.
The next part is the patient wait, watching the the transformation into a yellow dust, to finally pack it.
Dal flour is know under the name "Bessan".
The weighing is also done manually.
I had troubles understanding the delivery system, but I can safely guess the floor bags somehow find enough room as tuktuk passengers or in even a moped.
This flour’s advantage is a lower overall processing compared to wheat -which needs multiple processing stages to be fit for consumption.
After visiting a mill, eating seemed like the only natural thing to do. And, ah yes, you have guessed -or not!- we ate bhaja, cumin donuts baked with bessan!