September 28, 2012

Masoor Dal

Most people who are new to lentils (dal) don't realize how much variety there is in the legume family. I remember in mom's kitchen, her open pantry shelfs ran the width of the kitchen and in the very back of the main shelf she had 2 gallon jars - at least 20 of them, each filled with different kinds of beans and lentils ... some with whole beans, some split, some with the skin on, and others deskinned.  In fact, the same lentil bean can taste vastly different when it is cooked whole, split or skinned. The best resource I've found on lentils so far, is on Cook's Thesaurus. Masoor Dal, is what is commonly known as red lentils in the western world. The whole bean has a brownish-green skin that adds an earthy flavor to an otherwise soft and rather sweet lentil (when skinned and split). 

Masoor Dal
Prep Time: 30 min

  1. 1 cup pre-soaked Masoor Dal (whole red lentils)
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 2-3 small Tomatoes, diced
  4. 1 small Red Onion, diced
  5. 1 tsp Coriander powder
  6. 1 tsp Cumin powder
  7. 1 tsp Chili powder
  8. 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
  9. Salt and Pepper to taste
  10. 1 tsp Amchoor (Dried green/young mango powder), to taste
Put all ingredients, except for amchoor, in a pressure cooker and steam under high pressure for 20 min. Let the steam dissipate by itself. Open and check lentils for doneness (should easily get smooshed when pressed between your thumb and finger). If not done, return to high pressure for another 10 minutes. Use the same check for doneness, if cooking in a pan. Once cooked mix in amchoor (or lemon/lime juice for a touch of tartness), garnish with fresh or dried cilantro leaves, and serve over rice, or with roti. I like to prepare this dal  really thick which gives it a really smooth and creamy flavor. My mom always liked it soupier .. use your judgement on what you like .. using more water, or vegetable broth to thin out the preparation.

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