I believe this is the first Indian dish that I brought for Cultural Connections. Dals, daals, dahls or lentils, peas and beans are cooked practically daily in almost every Indian home, vegetarian or not. Each region has its own favorites and cooking methods. Indian dal is an easy comfort food for me. There are many good recipes, and it’s easy to find one that you will like. It is easy to find lentils in your grocery store in the ethnic section or where I get mine in our local natural foods store. Of course if you have an Indian store in your area, I’m sure you’ll find a large selection. I like to use masoor dal or red lentils because they cook quickly, you don’t have to soak them or use a pressure cooker. I like the texture when they are cooked as well.
1 1/2 cups red lentils
6 cups water or broth or mix half/half (I used veg broth)
1 small onion finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
4-cloves of garlic whole
1 Cinnamon stick whole
3 slices of ginger (peeled and sliced about 1/4″ thick)
1 bay leaf
sea salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter, you can use butter or good olive oil)
1 pinch asafetida (I found this in an Asian market also called hing)
1/2 teaspoon cumin whole seeds
dash of Cayenne or I used several dried whole chili peppers to get the flavor without so much heat.(my family can’t take too much heat) I sprinkled a little whole celery seeds in there too and It added a nice touch, just a tad.
Rinse masoor dahl thoroughly, until water is clear. In pot saute the onions in small amount of butter until soft. Add seasonings and stir. Add the broth, dal and remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, then lower to a simmer cook until thickens about 45min to 1 hour. Salt and pepper at the end before serving, some recipes heat whole mustard seed, cumin seed, and asafoetida in some ghee in small pan then drizzle on top before serving. Be sure you fish out the whole peppers, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, garlic and pieces of ginger before you serve it or at least warn them. I brought this to work once and didn’t get all the chilies out and someone ate it. She didn’t let me hear the end of it. At least she knew me well.
Adjust the liquid the way you like it. I like mine a little more soupy. Some like it thicker. Top with fresh chopped cilantro and yogurt,(my daughter ate hers with sour cream) and serve with a nice bread. Here it is with my Olga’s Bread, and yes I see the chili pepper! You can serve it over rice too!
Perfect for these cold winter days! I wish I could sit by the fireplace to enjoy this!