If you grew up in India, you would know how important lentils(dal as we call it) are in your daily diet. Packed with protiens and iron, dals are a staple throughout the country and the best substitute for meat. There are over 50 ways to cook lentils. Our favorites being Daal Makhani and Daal tadka.
Irony, as kids it was the most unappealing dinner and as grown ups we love trying out new dal recipes. Moms, we see the smirk *roll eyes*.
Not feeling well? Mix Moong dal with rice and water and you have khichdi, the Indian answer to soup for cold. Mix Urad Dal with kidney beans and cream and you have the delicious, creamy Dal Makhani. Mix together Moong, Toor and Chana dal and you have our favorite, Dal Tadka.
All the dal use a tadka which includes whole spices, chillies and onions fried in ghee(clarified butter). It gives aroma and a distinct taste to the lentils.
Follow this easy recipe to enjoy this nutrients packed vegetarian delight.
Ingredients for dal prepration
Moong Dal (petite yellow lentils)- 1/2 cup
Chana Dal (Bengal gram split)-1/2 cup
Toor Dal (pigeon peas split)-1/2 cup
A pinch of heeng (asafoetida)
salt-1/2 tbsp or to taste
red chili powder-1/4 tbsp
Turmeric poweder-1/4 tbsp
Ingredients for tadka
. Clarified butter (Ghee)- 3 Tbsp
. Jeera (cumin seeds)-1/2 tsp
. Dry red chilies-2
. Mustard seeds(small)-1/2 tsp
. Green chilies split in half-2
. Dried fenugreek leaves-1/4 tsp
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Mix all three lentils thoroughly and add water, tomatoes, garlic, heeng, Turmeric powder, salt and red chili powder with the lentils in a pressure cooker. Since Bengal grams take time to boil, it is better to use a pressure cooker to get the required texture.
Give 3 whistles to get it to the desired consistency. Dal neither be too watery nor too thick. If you see thick paste like result add a little water and keep it on low flame.
In the meantime, take a kadahi (wok) and add ghee to it. Keep it on medium high flame. Once the ghee has warmed up enough add cumin and mustard seeds. You will see the seeds fluttering. Add fenugreek leaves followed by green and dried red chilies. Make sure the seeds don’t burn. Add onions quickly. Once the onions start to change color add a pinch of salt. Make sure the onions have turned light pink to golden and then add the hot dal to the wok. Keeping the flame low, stir the lentil and tadka well.
It is recommended not to add water after the dal has been added to the tadka since it can alter the taste a bit. If you feel you need more water in the dal, add the water before and boil it all well.
Taste it and adjust salt if needed. In case you don’t like it too spicy, avoid adding chili powder and green chilies. You can add and adjust the spices as per your taste.
Add cilantro before serving. Enjoy this scrumptious lentil masala with naan or basmati rice.