Simple Family-Friendly Dal (Indian Lentil Dish)

This recipe comes from my friend Awanti. Our favorite Indian restaurant here (Mogul) closed awhile back, and we’ve been suffering from withdrawal.  Dal, a thick lentil soupy-type dish, is a staple of Indian cooking. As I understand it, there must be a million different versions of it because every family has their own recipe. Thank you, Awanti, for sharing yours!

This recipe is great for cutting your teeth on Indian cooking. Easy and not too many ingredients. Also, although it’s flavorful, it’s not spicy-hot, so anyone can enjoy it. My kids lapped it up.  I think if I were making it just for the hubs and me, I would add some more ginger and chili pepper.

1.5 cups yellow lentils

2 TB cooking oil (I used olive)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp garlic-ginger paste (available in Asian stores) or the equivalent half and half mash of fresh ginger and garlic

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

½ tsp turmeric

salt to taste

½ to ¼ tsp red chili powder (leave it out if you don’t want it)

fresh coriander leaves (i.e. cilantro—this is optional for those of you who can’t stand cilantro. You know who you are.)

Soak and cook lentils till tender (my package had directions, albeit in German). In a pan put in 2 tablespoons of oil, heat.
Add mustard seeds and let them start spluttering in the oil.
Then add ginger-garlic paste and onions. Cook onions till they are slightly browned. Add the lentils, and cook them into the onions. Add turmeric, chili powder if you like, and salt as per your taste.

Then add water – you have to decide what consistency your dal needs to be. All the water needs to be added now so that it cooks in and doesn’t remain watery. Bring to a rolling boil and keep stirring so it doesn’t boil over for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then let it simmer for at least 10 to 15 minutes with regular stirring.

Serve with finely chopped fresh coriander leaves and rice. Enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “Simple Family-Friendly Dal (Indian Lentil Dish)

  1. Pingback: A Slightly Complicated Dal « Emily Smith Pearce

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