Okay, so who’s heard of dal? You know, that thing at Indian restaurants that’s not…curry….Curry seems to be the trademark of Indian cuisine. However, just as prevalent is dal! It’s a huge Indian staple because it’s cheap, healthy, easy, delicious, and vegetarian! Dal is made from dried lentils. There are many types of dal depending on the lentils you use. This recipes uses toor, or tuvar, lentils. The lentils are reconstituted into a chunky stew and flavored with turmeric, garlic, vegetables, and ginger, as well as many other flavor combinations. It tastes very much like an Indian potato soup in a way. It’s hard to describe sooooo I guess you’ll just have to try it 😉
Note: the ingredients in this recipes are quite cuisine specific, but I promise one trip to the local Indian store will get you all these ingredients! (You may be able to find some ingredients in eclectic supermarkets like Whole Foods). This recipe also uses a pressure cooker! Pressure cookers are a lovely investment and very easy to use!
Recipe: (Makes 6-8 servings OR 10 cups)
2 cups toor/tuvar dal
6 cups water
1 tsp turmeric, divided
1 tsp whole cumin
2 heaping tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 heaping tsp minced garlic
4 plum tomatoes
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp kosher salt
1 pinch asafetida (optional)
1 dried red chilli (optional- chilli flakes can be used)
Place 2 cups toor dal, 6 cups water, and 1/2 tsp turmeric in a pressure cooker
Lock pressure cooker lid, add on cooker whistle, and place on high heat
(The cooking of the dal depends on the number of whistles. Once the whistle blows aka freaks out and steams lift it up to “reset” it)
After the first whistle, reset it, and turn the heat to medium-high
Leave heat as is after second whistle
After third whistle, lower heat to medium, cook for 1 more minute and set off heat and aside.
The lid will remain locked until the pressure subsides
In the meanwhile, prepare the chaunk (flavor)
Add vegetable oil to a non-stick skillet
Toast cumin for about 10 seconds
Brown garlic and ginger
Then add turmeric, tomatoes, asafetida, and chilli
Cook on medium until tomatoes become stew-like (about 4 minutes)
At this point, you can try to open the pressure cooker. If it does not open, run the top of the cooker under cold water. Be sure not to get water on the whistle or any other openings on the lid.
Once open, add chaunk right into it
Add chopped cilantro and salt (you may need to adjust salt to your preference)
Stir well, eat plain, or serve with rice!
(If you would like a more liquid version, increase water to 8 cups or add boiling water right after opening pressure cooker lid to dilute dal)
Now you can say you’ve made the quintessential Indian dish!