Monday, February 01, 2010


There's nothing like dal on a cold winter's evening, especially one that takes 40 minutes to make! This recipe is SO quick and tasty, it's definitely a go to recipe for week night meals. More so, since you only have to chop 1 food item! It's warm, hearty, flavorful, high in fiber and protein. You wouldn't know it was so good for you because it's so darn tasty. Prepared several times in the last few weeks, I haven't become bored yet. To create more variety, try different types of lentils. I like red the best because they are the quickest! This recipe comes from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.

I prepared the dish slightly differently than the recipe, such that only 1 pot is needed for the whole recipe and the spices get cooked with the onion in the beginning rather than at the end.

Apparently this recipe serves 6 -- I don't think so since my cooking buddy and I ate almost all of it in one sitting, and we weren't overly hungry. Double the recipe.

-1.5 c red or brown lentils, yellow or green split pea, or split, hulled mung beans
-4 c water
-2 dried chiles, whole (I used 1/4 tsp red chili powder)
-1/4 tsp turmeric
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
-1 c chopped onions
-1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
-1 T fresh lemon juice (I skipped this)
-1/2 -1 tsp garam masala (I used 1)
-2 T vegetable oil
salt to taste

In a large pot (dutch oven), heat the oil, add the cumin seeds (I also added 1/2 tsp mustard seeds), and cook for 10 or15 seconds (when the popping stops you're ready). Stir in onions and ginger and cook until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Even if the onions are not yet brown, add garam masala, red chili powder, turmeric, cook for another 5 minutes.

Add lentils, peas, or beans, and salt and cover them with water. 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. If you want a thicker soup don't add water. If you want a saucy soup, add more water.

Spinach dal: Add 4 cups of chopped, fresh spinach to the onions after they have sauteed for 5 minutes, and then cook for 5 minutes more. (I forgot to add spinach in the beginning so I did it at the end, and it was fine. It will wilt in the heat -- my mom suggests adding the spinach in the end other wise the spinach will overcook and the nutrients it provides will be lost).

Eat as is or serve with bread.


Meghan said...

This looks so delicious! Is it possible to substitute ground cumin for the cumin seeds? If so, do you have an estimate of how much to add? Thanks!!!

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

Great recipe for winter's cold weather.
Thank you for having stopped by my blog, too. :-)

Chocolate Cardamom Cappuccino said...

Thank you for the lovely comment on my blog dhall is my kind of food, I have bookmarked your blog to return often. Keep posting

Anonymous said...

This is your mother, raja. I see your dal, and it looks good, although I add the spinach at the end, otherwise it cooks too much and loses the vitamins. Also, I add garlic, and sauteed tomato is optional, and coriander and black pepper must have for this recipe. anyhow, this is my recipe.

thecoffeebreak said...

I love lentils, they are delicious and filling. I will definitely try this recipe!