Dal For Dummies

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Photo courtesy of deepassecrets.com

SERVES 4

  • 1 cup chana dal, soaked overnight

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

Tadka:

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  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed (or your favorite) oil

  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon (Lucknow) fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • ½ red onion, sliced

  • 1 jalapeño, cut from top to tip 4 times, leaving top in place (remove seeds for less heat)

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne flakes

  • 1 tomato, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

Crowning flavor:

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 cup cilantro, stemmed and rough chopped

  • 1 tablespoon chaat masala

Make ahead: Rinse and soak chana dal the night before to decrease cook time. The entire dish can be made ahead—Dal for Dummies! will keep in the fridge for a few days, and in the freezer for up to one month.

1. Rinse soaked dal. Cover rinsed dal with water, plus one inch, in a deep saucepan. Add salt and pepper, and cook covered on medium heat, to desired doneness (approximately 15 minutes, I like a little bite to the dal). Stir occasionally to keep from sticking. (Add more water, if necessary.)

2. Tadka: Heat grapeseed oil in a deep saucepan. When oil shimmers, add mustard, fennel and cumin seeds. (Shield yourself with a lid—seeds pop.)

3. Add onion and jalapeño, sauté until light brown. Add garlic, cayenne flakes and tomato. Cook for two minutes.

4. Add cooked dal and grated ginger to the tadka. Adjust consistency by adding water, if desired, and by pureeing a portion of the dal with a hand blender (or mashing with the back of a spoon or ladle) and returning to pot. Check for seasoning.

Crowning flavor: Top with a dollop of butter, a shower of cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of chaat masala.

Recipe by Deepa Thomas, courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing and deepassecrets.com

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