Verse of the week

"For whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."- 1 Corinthians 10:31

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dal Kicked up

Dal aka Lentil is part of everyday Indian meal,usually served along with rice.It is very rich source of Protein.Since most of the Indians tend to be vegetarians,it is very essential element of the meal.It usually makes it appearance as just 'Dal' in North Indian meals or as 'Sambhar' in South Indian and on festive occasions it takes the form of 'Dal Makhani'  or 'Tadka'.In many West Indian cusine it is also used in dessert,as well as seasoning in deep South Indians cuisines.

Mung Dal(deskinned)
Being a north Indian,i grew up eating it in the simplest of form  served along with rice and vegetable side dish everyday and i must tell you i did NOT like them at all.Now i love them.There are varieties of lentils popular in India unlike what i have seen here in US superstore,usually very limited.Texture,size and of course taste decides how they will be used in dishes.Not one fits all.
                  In our home,my husband doesn't care for it much by itself,so i sneak it in rice !My daughter and son loves them with rice.I sometime add 'ghee' on the top of it !
                  I decided to make this dish using 'Mung' lentil.They are small and not very hardy,so they cook faster and take about the same time as rice takes,may be little more.Usually when lentils are cooked,they are seasoned with oil after that,to the very basic using cumin/mustard seeds and chili flakes.However i wanted to kick it up a notch,so this is how i made this :

Dal spiced 
up close and personal
  • 1/2 cup Mung Lentil
  • 1-2 medium sized tomato
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 1/4 Tsp Cumin seeds
  • Chili flakes to taste
  • pinch of Turmeric 
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp of Tamrind paste(optional)
  • 1/2 Tbl oil
Cook the Lentil in 2 cups of water.Add chopped tomatoes and turmeric to it.In the last 10 mins of cooking,Add oil to pan.Add cumin and chili flakes,chopped garlic.Add onion.Saute it all until onion is brown and soft.Add coriander leaves and Tamarind paste to it.Add cooked lentil to it.Add some water to it.Salt it and cook it for 5 mins,till everything has a chance to mingle together and consistency is not too runny unless thats what you like it.Soup or Stew,your choice.
Side Notes:
-You can use other kind of lentils,the one most popular here is called 'Masoor' in Indian.They are sold here with the skin on,we hardly every used 'Masoor' with skin on.It was deskinned,orange color,that is staple in Indian kitchen.It is just called 'Lentil' here,i find it funny,as if there is only one single species of lentil exists in entire world but that is what is marketed here,so i guess it makes sense.Also they are named differently here and some are identified as 'beans' or 'peas' with different prefixes.
-I have found 'Mung' in Ethnic Aisle or health food aisle.Again they are with green skin on.I used the 'Yellow' deskinned version as it cookes faster.
-What they call here 'Pigeon Peas' is 'Arhar/Toor' lentil,first most common indian lentil and used in variety in dishes
-Tamarind is completely optional.It is not at all common in North Indain cooking but it is used regularly in south Indian cooking and i have developd acquired taste for it during my study and work days.It adds slight tartness to the dish,which i like.


  1. I do not normally boil tomato with lentils, I just fry everything and ultimately pour lentil in the pan as a last step..i.e. way it is delicious.

  2. Yeah i do that way too at times but it takes longer as you want tomatos to get mushy too.