Dal

Dal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup red or brown lentils, yellow or green split peas, or split,
  • hulled, mung beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 dried chilies, whole
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp. ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. garam masala
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Wash the lentils, peas, or beans in several changes of cold water. In a medium pot, cover them with the water and add the whole dried chilies, turmeric, and salt, Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring often, until very tender. This will take about 30 minutes for red lentils, 45 minutes for peas, or an hour or more for mung beans. It may be necessary to add more water to prevent sticking, but only 1/2 cup at a time, because the final consistency should be fairly thick. When the lentils are almost cooked, heat the ghee or oil in a small pan, add the cumin seeds, and cook for 10 or 12 seconds. Stir in the onions and ginger and cook until the onions begin to brown, about 5 or 10 minutes. When the lentils are tender, remove and discard the hot peppers. Stir in the onion mixture, lemon juice, garam masala, and salt to taste. Serve, passing additional garam masala to sprinkle on top, if desired. Variations: Spinach Dal: Add 4 cups of chopped, fresh spinach to the onions after they have sautied for about 5 minutes and then cook for 5 minutes more. Tomato Dal: Add 1 cup chopped tomatoes to the onions after they have sautied for about 5 minutes and then cook for about 5 minutes more. Spinach-Tomato Dal: Add both spinach and tomatoes Garlic Dal: Leave out the vegetable mixture. Instead thickly slice 1/2 to 2/3 of a head of garlic and fry it in about 1/4 cup oil (preheated to medium-high) with a red pepper pod or two. Stir constantly until the garlic is golden and then immediately dump the oil mixture into the cooked lentils. It gives a satisfying sizzle and the garlic is deliciously sweet.

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