Masoor Ki Daal Recipe
Among the Indian lentil dishes I've learned from my husband's late grandmother, this "dry" daal dish, called "masoor ki daal", is by far the easiest and fastest to prepare for the family. No soaking is needed and it cooks in no time. The only trick to this dish is not to overcook the lentils because they will get mushy very quickly if you don't keep an eye on them.
The coral-colored, skinless lentils are sautéed with ginger garlic paste and chiles. Once masoor dal is cooked, the lentils turn a pretty yellow color. The last step is pairing the lentil dish with homemade roti (Indian flat bread) for a complete, nutritious meal.
Yields: 4 servings1-¼ cups masoor dal (see picture below)
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, slightly toasted and ground
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder, to taste
3 jalapeño peppers
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 lime, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter), optional
Prepping the chiles: Using a paring knife, create a 2-inch incision in 2 jalapeño peppers. For less heat, remove the seeds (don't forget to wear disposable gloves). Thinly slice the remaining pepper. Set aside.
Prepping ginger garlic paste: Clean the chunk of fresh ginger, carefully removing any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife or the edge of a spoon, then grate it using a Microplane. Place the grated ginger and the garlic in a mortar and pestle and add about 1 tablespoon (or more) water for easy grinding. Turn the mixture into a paste.
Prepping the masoor dal: Pick out and discard any lentils that are floating or odd-shaped. In a bowl, wash the lentils thoroughly in several water baths (about three times). Drain the lentils, removing as much of the soaking water as possible.
In a pan, heat the canola oil. Add the sliced chiles and cook until fragrant. Transfer to a plate.
In the same pan, add the yellow onion and cook for about 6-8 minutes until soft and nicely golden. In the same pan, add the whole chiles, lentils, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, red chili powder and ground cumin. Stir until well coated in oil. Add about ¾ cup water (as needed) and stir. Bring to a boil without covering then lower to medium heat and cook for about 15 minutes. Check the softness, add a little more water and continue cooking if necessary (I didn't). The dal should be soft when gently pressed between your thumb and index finger. Season with salt. Turn off the heat. Finish with ghee (if used) and cilantro. Gently stir the lentils without mashing them. Return the sliced chiles to the pan. Cover and let stand until you're ready to serve.
Serve warm or at room temperature with roti on the side.
Masoor daal can be found in any Indian store.Published By: on March 29, 2012.