No South Asian kitchen is complete without the basic ingredients for a comforting Dal/ Dhal. This lentil based recipe is also a favorite the world over especially here in the UK.
In the colder parts of the world this can be a comfort food for many of us
At home in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan – needless to say, this is a staple in many households – this is what the Sherpas of the Himalayan region of Nepal to the lovely people of Lahore & the vibrant people of Delhi & Dhaka have in common – the humble Dal Chawal or Dal Bhat (Dal & Rice)
Our cultures are so unique and diverse and yet it is the humble Dal that brings us all together in some way! This post is a tribute to us all and a reminder of all the good things we have in common.
There are many versions of preparing Dal however the ingredients are fundamentally similar. This is my home-made version, I hope you enjoy it 🙂
Cook Time: 25 mins Prep Time: 5 mins
- 150 grams of Moong Dal or Masoor Dal
- 1 small red onion
- 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger/ garlic paste (you could grate the ginger and 2-3 pods of garlic too)
- 2 small tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1 pinch of asafoetida
- 2 green chillies
- half a teaspoon of turmeric
- 2-3 tablespoons of Ghee or cooking oil
- handful of fresh coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 cups of water
Start by rinsing the Moong or Masoor Dal in water, then add 2 cups of drinking water and cook it on medium heat. Add in the chopped tomatoes and turmeric. Allow to cook for apporx. 15-20 mins.
If you’re eating rice along with the dal, this would be a good time to cook it on the side!
Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, coriander & chilies. Grate ginger & garlic
While this cooks, in another utensil add the oil/ Ghee on medium-low heat – to the hot oil add the asafoetida & cumin seeds, soon as you notice it sizzle and release its earthy aroma add in the green chilies ginger & garlic paste and stir. turn the heat down if required.
After about 30 seconds, add the onions and saute till golden and translucent. You could sprinkle some salt at this stage as this will help dehydrate the onions and speed up the frying process. Once fried turn off the heat.
Now back to the cooking Dal on the other hob, check if the Dal is cooked through and disintegrating if so, its ready to add in along with the water it cooked in. Add the cooked Dal to the onions we fried a few minutes ago and stir well.
At this point if you feel that you would like the consistency of your Dal a little thinner then add in some more water (be careful, not too much as this will interfere with the flavors). Turn the heat back on and bring to a boil. Season with salt & finally add fresh coriander.
Dal is mostly accompanied with steamed white rice.
Tip: Squeeze a few drops of fresh lime before you serve! This really brings the flavors out 🙂