Today was one of those unpredictable days when you think one thing and something totally different happens. I had already decided the menu for our Saturday lunch on Wednesday. It was to be something we all love and an original recipe for the ongoing theme at Beyond Curries, but then, it was not to be!
As I started putting away my purchases from the grocery bag, emptying the contents into their allotted containers, my hands lingered a little longer over the packet of masoor dal (orange or red gram). I could not resist making dal again. “It is definitely more healthy than that (that refers to the thing I was supposed to make),” I said to myself and in a flash the menu changed completely to a simple one.
A dal is definitely not exotic in modern Indian terms (which is limited to anything that contains cream, double cream, milk, ghee, paneer or cashew paste) but I bet if a bowlful of masoor dal was placed on your table, you won’t stop with just one sip. This one will have you slurping till the spoon hits the floor of your bowl. Naturally this dal makes its appearance quite often in my kitchen. While the making of masoor dal is not very different from the method followed for other lentil soups, it lends a very different flavour and taste. The consistency of masoor dal is not as thick as chana dal or tuvar dal which is a good thing as it permits you to have more!
The way I make, the dal retains the smoothness of a soup. I recommend not using tomatoes as it lends a chunky texture which interferes with the ‘sluuuurrrrrrr – pping’ action. If you like it a little tangy go ahead and add tomatoes chopped roughly into chunks and drop in towards the end and give it a boil before serving.
Sweatha – I am trying hard to prove I am not a Tirupati mottai anymore!! Thanks people, for visiting me. I should be able to spend a little more time online in the next few months if things go right.
Time to prepare: 1/2 hour
Yield: 4 bellyfuls
Category: Main Course, Side Dish, Indian Vegan Food, Low calorie, Healthy, Pulses
Split red gram lentils (Masoor dal)- 1.5 cups raw yields almost 3 cups of cooked pulses
Onions (Pyaaz) – 3 small ones sliced very thin (I like to use 1/2 cup of shallots)
Ginger (Adrak) – 1″ julienned
Green chillies (Hari Mirch) – 2 slit lengthwise
Garlic (Lassoon) sliced into thin slivers – I used Kashmiri lahsun known as Snow Mountain Garlic as I stock them a lot – 2 tsps.
Cumin seeds (Jeera) – 1.5 tsp.
Curry leaves (Kadipatta) – 1 stem
Oil (I recommend mustard oil as long as you use it sparingly) / Kacchi ghani – 1tbsp.
[* If you are using mustard oil (which drives up the taste two notches high) heat the oil to smoking hot and turn off the gas till it comes back to room temperature and proceed again as you would with other oils.]
Turmeric powder (Haldi) – 1/4 tsp.
Chilli powder and salt as per taste.
Heat oil. Season with cumin seeds, ginger, chillies and garlic in the order mentioned.
When the garlic browns, add onion and fry adding a pinch of salt till the onions turn pink. Add cooked lentils and stir well adding turmeric salt and chilli powder.
I sometimes add kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and boil a bit. The consistency should be that of a creamy soup. Adjust water as needed and boil well before removing from fire.
Garnish with plenty of coriander leaves.
Serving: I like to have a small serving of this dal by itself before I have it the Indian way. Break a bit of roti/paratha (flatbread). Fold it by pressing two corners. Dunk into a bowl of hot dal. Scoop, slurp and chew! If you are having rice, spread a bit of cooked rice. Pour hot dal, mix up and have with any side dish. I have plenty of ideas on my recipe index.
Enjoy the weekend!