August 13, 2010
Dear reader, I thought it was about time I got an Indian recipe on here for your indulgence. I made Daal the other day because it had been a while since I last made it and (quite frankly) I was craving it like crazy. So I thought why not snap some pictures and add it to the blog.
A lot of the Indian food I make is based on what I see my mom do or based on what ingredients I feel like putting in the dish so that’s how this recipe came to be. This of course is one of the main reasons I love Indian cooking– there are so many spices that you can vary on, it’s the perfect opportunity to get creative.
Daal is often called a “lentil soup” because it is made of lentils and technically it is soupy, but Indians do not eat it as such. It’s usually eaten with bread or rice along side another dish (such as chicken or lamb) more like a gravy. It is a staple in every Indian household and is probably the easiest dish to make. A great place to start for beginners in Indian cooking.
There are several ways to make daal since there are so many different types of lentils you can use. This recipe calls for masoor daal which is red in color but other types are: channa, toor, moong, urad, etc… etc. It’s important to see what type of daal your recipe calls for because they vary in flavor, texture, and cooking times.
- 1 1/2 cups of masoor daal (red lentils)
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon of garlic and ginger paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 medium onion finely sliced
- water to boil lentils
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Rinse lentils thoroughly and place in a medium saucepan along with tomatoes, garlic and ginger paste, salt, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, and garam masala. Cover with about 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and soupy about 20-25 minutes. (Add more water if it becomes too thick)
Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and fry them until they are brown (but not burnt!) This will take a while, but just keep stirring it.
Add the fried onions and chopped cilantro to the daal and check to make sure it has enough salt to your taste. Serve with bread or rice.
The thing with daal is that its a dish that gets better and better the more you make it. Once you get a feel for it you will know how much of each spice you like and how long to cook it until its the perfect texture. I added the cumin and garam masala to it because it brings this depth of flavor thats really nice and warm. You could try adding your own spices and see how it turns out, be creative!