February 01, 2010

Masoor Dal/ Whole Pink Lentils



The other day NY Times came out with a series of dal/lentil recipes, in an effort to entice the common man to eat more of the Indian common man's food..dal...they added curry powder, apples, coconut milk and a myriad other assortments to dress up our humble staple. I am sure the whole family of lentils and beans felt like Cinderalla in America even if it was for just one day. Makes you think..apples in dal? maybe not a bad idea. Well, we do use pumpkin, cashews, poppy seeds and tamarind in our recipes....all kinds of sweet and sour pairings...can apples be far behind? The problem with knowing how to make a dal one way is that you make it every day  in auto-pilot mode before you think of something new.   Still it was soothing to see the words "dal" and "tarka" used so casually, like old friends,  in the article.


A not so long time ago, I was living in Bombay where you could call up the grocery store and everything gets delivered to the house. Only one problem, you had to know the names of the ingredients correctly. Forget cooking, I had to first learn the names of different powders and the hazaar varieties of dals/lentils..masoor dal, arhar dal, urad dal, chana dal, akka masoor....how many varieties of dal are there? I used to order one dal (with the wrong name)and then argue with the shopkeeper wondering why another one got delivered.
Dals are at least localized in states of India, so you need to learn only 4-5 names. Here, an Indian grocery store caters to people from all regions of India and is like an encyclopedia of lentils and beans.  My mom visited the stores here and had never seen such a variety of lentils back in India. Add to that the Spanish list of beans..  now we have so many dals/lentils/beans to explore.

There is the ever popular Legume Affair going on every month for the beanophiles and I wanted to participate too. It was started by the Well Seasoned Cook and this months its hosted by Simple Indian Food. Check it out for the global variety of the legume and bean recipes every month.
And yet, here I am with my staple dal....not the party happy ma ki dal ( which is in the sidelines) or the tadka dal or  the southern sirens  parippu curry and sambhar.... this one is an introverted quiet dal which never is seen outside of the family dinner table...doesn't even get offered to house guests so much. Its a distant cousin of the Egyptian flat sturdier lentils which get used up in salads and soups. This dal though whole, doesn't need any soaking and gets cooked and smashed pretty quickly. Goes well with jeera/cumin flavored rice, plain rice and  rotis.  Customize it any way you like, with ghee tadka, with cream, more spices, less spicy etc for a easy dose of protein. But this is the starting point of the dal.


You Will Need:

Masoor Dal – 1 1/2 cup, washed and drained
Onion -1 small one chopped
Tomato- 1 chopped
Green chilies-2 chopped up
Garlic-2 cloves
Ginger-1/2 inch piece
Turmeric-1/4 tsp
Coriander powder-3/4 tsp
Whole cumin seeds-1/2 tsp

Red chili powder -3/4 tsp (use more or less as per taste)
Oil 2 tbsp and Salt to taste.

Preparation:
  1. Crush the ginger garlic to a paste. Heat oil in a non stick pan and add the cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add the onions, and saute on medium heat till they turn brownish. 
  2. Add the ginger garlic paste and red chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric. Stir and then add the tomatoes and cook for another 5-8 minutes till the tomatoes break down. 
  3. When they are pulpy and move together as a mass, add the washed dal. Mix well and transfer to a pressure cooker and add 3 cups of water and salt. 
  4. Pressure cook for one whistle and then lower the heat to a bare minimum for another 10  minutes. Turn off the flame and allow it to cool down before opening. Adjust the taste and then add chopped fresh cilantro.

    23 comments:

    Happy Cook said...

    I would love to hav ethis with chapathies.

    indosungod said...

    That is a comforting bowl of dal Shaheen quiet and unassuming. I have never heard of masoor dal back home in Tamilnadu but here they are all over but yes the stores are a veritable bean lovers pardise.

    EC said...

    I love dal with a cup of hot rice..thanks for participating

    Jayashree said...

    Dal is the last word in comfort food....nothing better than some hot dal and rice any day.

    Preethi Rajeev said...

    Perfect for rice or chappathis, loved the dish.

    Bong Mom said...

    I have never made Masoor Dal with so many spices, looks lip smacking gorgeous

    Rekha shoban said...

    healthy dal...nice combo with chapathi!

    Jyothsna said...

    "Cinderella in America!" haha... I use the split variety and it's so tasty.

    Deepa G Joshi said...

    i love this dal and love to have it with hot steamy rice.

    Srivalli said...

    Ah..that looks good..shaheen...cindralla..ahhah.

    Myra said...

    Hello Shaheen
    This is for me, i love lentils,
    but i will try it with Quinoa or Bulgour it makes a change ,and it has a lovely nutty texture!!
    a bit like me NUTTY lol
    yours Myra XX

    Ramya Vijaykumar said...

    Helathy and really comforting to see the bowl of Lentils!!!

    Rahin said...

    its my favorite, mouth watering :)

    Ladybird said...

    I love your narratives as much as ur cooking.
    Only thing that bothers me about masoor dal is the colour change - from a sexy pink to a dull yellow :)

    Mallugirl said...

    Thanks for all the comments.. didn't get time to reply individually.

    vivari said...

    this soup looks good for a winter evening. will try it
    vivari

    Parita said...

    I love to have this with rice and dollop of ghee, its heavenly

    Bharathy said...

    I would love to dip a peace or roast dosas into that bowl :)

    s said...

    its almost a regular at home.but not ur version. This sounds even better...

    Shabs.. said...

    That bowl looks yummy!!!!About the names of lentils and varieties, i guess u r right...they have more varieties in here than in india....Enikkippozhum ella namesum confusion aanu!!I have to look into tha packet for names....

    Pinney did u try that pepper chicken of mine??How did it turn out?liked it?let me know ok...

    wine reviews said...

    I love lentil soups of all kinds. They never get old! I could go for some today because it's cold and cloudy out. My hot water wasn't so hot this morning either. I hate cold showers~

    Geeta said...

    Love this recipe. Half a cup of this makes a good snack for a diabetic like me. I enjoy it on cold days with salt crackers or a piece of toast.

    Anonymous said...

    Looks delicious. I'll try it as soon as I stop making the same dal every time.