OMG the Food: Yellow Dal (Dal Tadka), & Moong Dal

Good morning everyone,

Today is all about lentils.  Lentils are an important source of iron, fibre and protein in the vaishno diet.  Don’t worry, contrary to how you may have had them before or what you may have been told if you’ve not tried them, they’re delicious.

Yellow Dal Tadka

You’ll need a pressure cooker for this recipe or you can accomplish the same recipe in more time by soaking the lentils for 30 – 40 minutes before you cook them in a pot.

1/2 cup yellow lentils (split pigeon pea lentils)
2 green chilies, chopped
1 red (Spanish) onion, chopped
1 thumb ginger, grated
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala (available in Indian markets)
Pinch of asafoetida (also known as hing, available in Indian markets)
2 1/2 cups of water
1 tbsp coriander leaves
Salt, to taste

For the tadka:
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 dry red chilies

More coriander leaves for garnishing

Rinse the lentils and add them to the pressure cooker with chopped onions, tomato, green chilies and ginger.  Pour in the water, turmeric powder and asafoetida, stir well.  Put the pressure cooker on the stove over high heat.  Pressure cook the lentils for 7 whistles.  Remove from heat.  Mash the lentils with a spoon or whisk and set aside.  If the lentils are too thick, add some more water and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the garam masala, chopped coriander leaves and salt to taste.   Set aside.

Prepare the tadka by heating the ghee in a small frying pan over medium heat.  Add the cumin seeds and when they begin to sizzle, add the chilies, garlic, and asafoetida.  Cook until the garlic browns.  Remove from heat.  Pour the tadka into the pot with the dal and stir.  Garnish with a few more coriander leaves and serve.


Moong Dal

This dal is a little muskier than the others and can be a little bland.  Adding the chilies and just enough salt turns these musky, bland lentils into a wonderful dish. Moong lentils are tough so we use the pressure cooker method for them.

3/4 cup split moong lentils
1 tbls ghee
1 red (Spanish) onion, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1 thumb ginger, peeled and grated
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 or 3 green chilies, chopped finely
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 cups water
Salt, to taste

Tempering oil:
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp brown mustard seeds

Place the pressure cooker on the stove over medium heat. Add 1 tbls ghee and when hot, lightly fry the onions, tomato, ginger and chilies together until the onions just begin to brown. Add the lentils, turmeric and water and put the cover on the pressure cooker. Bring heat to medium high and cook for 7 or 8 whistles, until the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and when it’s safe to remove the lid, stir the dal. If the consistency is too thick, add some water and simmer for a minute or two. Salt to taste and set aside while you prepare the tempering oil

In a small frying pan, heat the ghee over medium heat. When hot add the cumin, garam masala and mustard seeds until the seeds begin to sputter and pop.  Stir into the lentil mixture.

Tips: Make sure you use split moong dal.  Whole moong beans will not soften or cook in the same way and have a rather hard, unpleasant skin on them.

We generally serve our dal with chapatis and some vegetables but when I’m not feeling well, there’s nothing more comforting than dal with rice.  Enjoy!


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