Masoor Dal Recipe (Yellow Dal)
Masoor dal is an Indian dish made with coral-colored lentils. Lentils are a very common ingredient in the Indian diet because they provide a great amount of protein for a vegetarian diet. The lentils are mixed with chopped tomatoes, turmeric, ginger garlic paste, onions and curry leaves, then slow-cooked at low temperature.
I think I mentionned that this last summer, we had a terrible planting season this year because of gopher infestations in our garden. We did get a few tomatoes from potted tomato plants Lulu added to the garden later in the season. I gathered that last little crop of Sweet 100 tomatoes and used them for the dal. The natural sweetness from the tomatoes works very well in the dish. It's a simple recipe but both tasty and healthy, and it's also ideal for a vegetarian diet. Serve the legume with a starch and a complete meal is ready.
Yields: 4-6 servings¾ cup masoor dal
½ cup sweet 100 tomatoes (or ½ large tomato), chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and halved
1 yellow onion, chopped
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
12 fresh curry leaves, snipped in half
½ teaspoon red chili powder, to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil (I use garlic-flavored oil)
1½ quarts water, as needed
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
juice of 1 lime
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
3 dried red chiles, stemmed
6 cloves garlic, halved
Wash the lentils. Discard any that are floating or odd-shaped.
Wash and rinse thoroughly in several water baths (about three times). Drain the lentils, removing as much of the soaking water as possible.
In a medium-sized pot, combine the red lentils, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, chopped tomatoes, onions, curry leaves and halved jalapeño peppers. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add 5 cups of water; the water should barely cover the lentils. Bring to a boil then lower to medium-low and cook for about 30 minutes. Add salt half-way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the lentils and they'll be more tender). Lower the temperature to a gentle simmer and keep stirring every now and then so the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Transfer one quarter the amount of cooked lentils into the bowl of an immersion blender. Coarsely blend the mixture (this step is optional) and pour it back into the pot. Depending on how thick you like masoor dal, you can add up to 1 cup of boiling water (we like it a little soupy). Adjust seasoning, add lime juice and transfer to a serving bowl.
This step is called Baghar: When you're ready to serve, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a small saucepan, add the garlic, cumin seeds and whole dried red chiles. Cook in the hot oil; the garlic will darken and the oil will start splattering. Remove from the heat and immediately transfer to the masoor dal. Cover the masoor dal with a lid (I used a plate to preserve the nice fragrance).
Baghar is a very common step toward the end of cooking in many Indian dishes. I use a small 0.3-quart saucepan that I use exclusively for baghar.
Published By: on September 12, 2010.
Once masoor dal is cooked, the lentils turn into a yellow color.