A Slightly Complicated Dal

This recipe is also from my friend Awanti. More complex than the other dal and lots of flavor. Can you believe I already had all the spices in my stash, Penzey’s addict that I am? See my notes at the bottom.

3 tbsp split moong dal (green lentils)

3 tbsp split red lentils

3 tbsp yellow lentils (toovar)

3 tbsp ghee/butter/oil

1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

1 fresh green chili*

1 onion, chopped

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tomato, chopped

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3/4 cup fresh plain yogurt

salt, to taste

2 tbsp chopped coriander (dhania or cilantro—optional)

If you do not use a pressure cooker:

1. Soak all dals overnight and drain.

2. Heat the ghee/oil/butter, and add cumin seeds till they crackle.

3. Add the green chili slit lengthwise (if the hot kind, if not—-chop it finely) plus onion, and cook till transparent or light brown.

4. Add garam masala.

5. Add tomato.

6. Cook well.

7. Add the dals and cook for 10 minutes

8. Add coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric, yogurt, and salt.

9. Add 1 litre of water and cook till soft.

10. Mash the dals lightly.

11. Cook till 2/3 of the water has evaporated.

12. Serve with fresh chopped coriander leaves (cilantro).

If using pressure-cooked dals, follow steps 2 to 8 as given above.

9. Add water to bring the dal to the consistency you want.

10. Cook well for 10 minutes with regular stirring.

11. Serve with fresh chopped coriander leaves.


I used low-fat yogurt and found that it separated in cooking. Awanti says this is not a problem, nothing to worry about. The kids, who had polished down the simple dal from last week, were a bit suspicous of all the beautiful colors in this one. I did get them to try it, though, and when I said I’d make it next time “just for Daddy and me,” they protested and said they wanted to eat it, too.

Aren’t the colors in the pan beautiful?

*I found some green chilis (below) at the fruit stand and proudly brought them to Awanti for approval, only to find out these were not the right kind. However, she said they would do and might be better for a family batch. I used the top, lighter green chili. If you’re making this for kids or people who don’t like spicy foods, these peppers add a nice mild flavor. If you’re making the hot and spicy version, you should look for small dark green chilis, according to Awanti. I didn’t find those in my neighborhood store, but I’ll keep looking. If you use the hotter chilis, make sure to remove them before eating.

Stay tuned for more recipes from Awanti. I hear more are on their way.


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