Lentil Recipes

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Dahi Bhalla Recipe (Indian Lentil Fritters in Yogurt Sauce) Recipe

Dahi bhalla is a very common dish in Indian cuisine. Hot fried lentil fritters are soaked in cold water, gently pressed then smothered in a thick yogurt sauce. What makes the dish so special is the combination of sweet tamarind chutney that marries very well with the tanginess of the yogurt. It can be eaten as a snack or appetizer. The dish may be fried, but it’s packed with nutrition so you can enjoy it without feeling that guilty.

For added flavor, I added both chopped dates and date syrup to the tamarind chutney. This dish can be prepared in advance and assembled at the last minute, which is very convenient. Serve with cilantro and mint chutney on the side and you'll have yourself a very flavorful appetizer.


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Masoor Dal Recipe (Yellow Dal) Recipe

Masoor Dal Recipe (Yellow Dal)

09.12.10 by Jackie

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.


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Spinach Moong Dal Recipe Recipe

Spinach Moong Dal Recipe

04.08.10 by Jackie

Moong dal, also known as split mung beans, is a very common ingredient in both Indian and Vietnamese cuisines. In this particular savory dish, the lentils serve as a complementary protein to the spinach. When paired with rice, it's a complete meal in and of itself.

There is a wide range of dals used in Indian cuisine, far more than you may find at an Indian restaurant buffet. Check out my other Indian dal recipes such as toor dal, kali dal, urad dal or masoor dal if you're feeling adventurous.


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Masala Vada Recipe (Indian Urad Dal Fritters) Recipe

Nobody can say no to fried food. These vada (Indian-style fritters) are no exception. The dish is fairly easy to make; all you need to do is soak the lentils long enough before blending them into a mixture slightly thicker than pancake batter. The batter is made of urad dal and mirchi ("chiles" in Urdu), deep-fried, then served with a cilantro chutney. 

We often make large batches of vada on the weekend. The girls and I take turns manning the fry station and preparing more chutney. Frying can be a little scary for kids learning to cook, and I've found that this recipe is a good way of easing them into it. I wouldn't recommend it for small children of course, but my 13 and 14 year old sisters-in-law have really taken to it. Once you try the combination of vada and cilantro chutney for the first time, you'll know why!


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Kali Dal (Indian Black Lentils) Recipe

Kali Dal (Indian Black Lentils)

03.10.10 by Jackie

The flavor combination of kali dal ("black lentils" in Urdu) is simple: black lentils, ginger and a few chiles to enhance the flavors. In this case, simple is beautiful. The dal is finished with a hint of acidity and tartness with dried mango powder. It is both tasty and healthy, especially if you're on a vegetarian diet and need the protein.

Since I'm married to a vegetarian, I have had to educate myself about how to create nutritious meals that are meat-free. What I learned is that the basis of any well-balanced vegetarian meal is a starch and a legume. This isn't too surprising; almost every culture has a combination like this, be it rice and beans, rice and tofu or bread and chickpeas. I've personally come to really enjoy rice and dal, which is the Indian version of this combination. Black dal in particular have a wonderful earthy, complex flavor that is hard to describe and impossible to forget. At the very least, try them the next time you go to an Indian restaurant, or better yet, make them at home. It's definitely worth the effort.


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