Dal fry

Irrespective of which part of India you’re from, various preparations using Dal (Lentils) so integral to the cuisine. It can be something as simple as cooked dal seasoned with some mustard and curry leaves, or complex preparations in which Dal is slow-cooked with selected spices for hours. Irrespective of how it is done, its considered as the ideal comfort food which can go with some steaming rice or bread/roti.

For this version I have done, I used Toor dal/split pigeon peas; don’t worry about the lengthy ingredients list – all of that are normally available in the kitchen shelf (if you are an Indian) or can be easily sourced from any department store which sell Indian groceries/condiments.  The medley of spices worked so well, bursting with flavor and aroma, all very subtle and comforting. Cook the dal until it is soft and mushy, set it aside and then sauté the spices, onions, tomatoes, and finally add the cooked dal. Detailed recipe below:

You need –

  • Toor dal/pigeon pea – ½ cup
  • Masoor dal – ¼ cup
  • Onion – 1 medium
  • Tomato – 1 medium
  • Ginger – 1 tablespoon minced
  • Garlic – 2 pods, minced
  • Green chili – 1 or to taste
  • Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Garam masala – ¾ teaspoon (I used Everest garam masala)
  • Dried chili – 2
  • Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Hing/asafoetida – a good pinch
  • Kasuri methi/Dried fenugreek leaves – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh coriander leaves –  for garnishing
  • Lemon juice – 1.5 teaspoons
  • Ghee – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

How to –

Wash the dal well in several changes of water. In a pressure cooker pan, add the dal, ¼ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ turmeric powder, 2.5 cups of water and pressure cook till the dal is mushy. Set aside.

In a heavy bottom pan, heat the ghee. Add the the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red dried chilies and allow to crackle. Add the hing/asafoetida and sauté briefly. Add the onion, ginger-garlic and chilies, Sauté till the raw smell is gone. Add the tomato, remaining chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala. Sauté till the tomatoes are mushy and the oil starts to separate.

Add the dal, water as required, salt to taste and simmer for 5 mins. Add the kasuri methi and simmer for another 3-4 mins. Add the lemon juice, mix well and turn the heat off

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or any Indian flat bread.

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