Dal was a staple meal for my family growing up. My mother was certain to make a dish of this flavorful lentil and have some stored in the fridge. A quick warm-up on the stove and a complete, filling meal was had.
The memory of accompanying my father, with a list that my mother had prepared, to the grocery store that had a variety of lentils, spices, flours to purchase, the lentils that were weighed in catties and tael, a long-ago measurement unit, and coming home with chocolates, not on the list, are one that I will always cherish.
The lentils were then placed in a winnower where stones and undesirables were separated, after which they were stored in containers ready to be used.
I started making this when my son was little, and still today it is one of our favorite foods to have. It reminds me of my parents’ warm, welcoming nature, and our home. I hope you will make memories of your own when making this recipe.
Dal: Easy and Simple Lentil
- Small Pan
- 1 Qt Pot
- 2 cups Masoor Dal soak in 2 ½ cups of water for 20 minutes (Rinse and wash till water is clear, use rinsed water to water your plants)
- 1 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 2-3 Chilis sliced in half (depending on how spicy you would like it)
- 1 cup Tomatoes chopped (ripe ones are great, any kind that you like)
- 1/4 tsp Tumeric Powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Salt (check it while it is cooking and add or subtract to your taste)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds (rub them with your hands before dropping into pan)
- 1/2 tsp urad dal
- 1/2 to 1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns Crushed lightly (depending on how spicy you would like it)
- 1/2 cup Onions Chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic Chopped
- 1 inch Ginger Chopped
- 4 Dry Chilis (any kind you like, tear them up, big pieces are fine)
- 2 stalk Curry Leaves (if you cannot find fresh ones, dry are fine too)
- 2 tbsp Oil or Ghee
- 1/8 tsp Salt
Optional for Tempering
- 3 pods Cardomom
- 1 stick Cinnamon Broken
- 5 Cloves
- Add dal to pot with 2 cups of water and all ingredients listed under Dal. Put a timer for 15 minutes and cook dal until soft. Add more water as needed to make it as thin or thick as you'd like. (Keep an eye on your dal as it may burn.)
- Once dal is cooked, lower the flame and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In small frying pan, add your oil or ghee. Add mustard, cumin, urad, peppercorns, and optional spices to hot pan and let it sputter.
- Add onions, fry till translucent and fragrant, you can let them brown a little, which I like to do.
- Add ginger and garlic and fry till fragrant, sprinkle your salt.
- Add dry red chilies and curry leaves and fry for a minute more.
- Add your tempered ingredients to dal and enjoy over rice, with some roti or any other breads.
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