Masala Dal (Mildly Spiced Lentils)

I am not a great fan of dal chawal (lentils and rice). I much prefer my dals (lentils) with Indian flatbreads. And since my lunch is invariably brown rice, I rarely make dals. The concept of a dal is very non-South Indian. In South India, kootans, kuzhambus, rasams, sambar, etc. are prevalent. These are wet preparations (often with lentils). But the predominant ingredient is not necessarily the lentil. Also, South Indian meals tend to be ‘wetter’ than other parts of the country. This is generally true of all rice-eating regions. But, I decided to try this exciting dal today and pair it with brown rice. The result was an unqualified success.

2 1/2 tbsp mung beans (moong dal, paasi parupu)
2 1/2 tbsp red split lentils (masoor dal, Mysore parupu)
2 1/2 tbsp split black lentils with skin (chilkewale urad dal, tholiudan ulutham parupu)
2 1/2 tbsp pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
1/4 cup grated onions
1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes
Salt to taste
To Be Ground Into A Smooth Paste (Using A Little Water)
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds (sabut dhania, kothamalli varai)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 dried red chillies (adjust according to taste)
1/2 tbsp sliced ginger (adrak, inji)
1 stick cinnamon (dalchini, lavangathu pattai)
2 cloves (laung, krambu)
2 whole pepper corns (sabut kali mirch, kuru milagu)
To Garnish
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Wash the four lentils well and transfer to a pressure cooker
Add 1 1/2 cups of water and salt
Pressure cook for 2 whistles
Remove from flame, let the steam release and open lid
Set aside
Heat a wok and sauté onions for 1-2 minutes, on medium flame
Add the ground paste and sauté for another 1-2 minutes
Add tomatoes and 2 tbsp of water
Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the cooked lentils and salt
Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Remove from flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves
Serve hot with red/brown rice or Indian breads

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Aneeta Arora says:

    Try cooking lentils in an earthen pot -slow cook and feel the difference in the taste:)


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