However if you peek into most Indian homes, you will find that 'Yellow Dal' comprising of Moong Dal (Split Green Gram), Masoor Dal (Split Red Lentils) and Tur Dal/ Arhar Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) are the most regularly cooked meal. The methods of preparation may differ, however the love with which they are cooked remain the same. So I thought why not share one such healthy, easy and humble 'Variety Dal' Recipe !!
This is my spin on the same.
1 cup Masoor dal or Moong Dal or Tur Dal (or you can combine all three in equal quantities)
3-4 Green chilies- Slit vertically and then chopped into two pieces (increase or decrease quantity as per your heat tolerance)
3/4th teaspoon mustard seeds
3/4th teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4th teaspoon hing/ asafoetida (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
7-8 Fresh Curry Leaves (available in Indian stores across Melbourne or local vegetable markets)
1 teaspoon sugar (can increase or decrease according to preference)
1 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon Olive Oil (Can use any oil of your preference)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil (for pressure cooking Dal)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Coriander leaves and stem (stem has great flavour)
1-2 tablespoons of Lemon/ Lime Juice
1 -Finely chopped onion (can use white/ brown or red variety)
2- tomatoes chopped roughly
Salt to taste
- Wash the dal well under running water. Take a Pressure cooker add one cup dal and about 2.5 cups water, teaspoon of salt, teaspoon of olive oil and mix well. Now cover with lid and add weight (Seeti) and pressure cook until 4 whistles. Now switch off the flame and keep aside to let the steam work its magic within the cooker.
- Take a non stick kadhai (deep vessel) add ghee and rest of the olive oil and let it heat on medium-high flame.
- Once heated add the turmeric powder, hing and mix well. add mustard seeds and once they crackle , add the cumin seeds, in about 30 secs they should be fragrant.
- Now its time to add the slit green chillies, mix them well and add the curry leaves. They should crackle within 10 secs. mix well and lower down the flame to low-medium.
- Add the chopped onions and mix well. Let them cook till they turn soft and pink. (Do not brown them). Now add a tablespoon of lemon juice and mix again.
- Its time to add two chopped tomatoes to the kadhai and mix them well. Now add some salt and add half a cup of water mix well and cover with a lid.
- This is the trick to the flavour and texture of 'Variety Dal'.
- About 5-7 mins later open the lid to check on the tomatoes. By then they should be soft and pulpy yet hold shape.
- Add one tablespoon of chopped coriander at this stage and mix well.
- By now you should be able to open the lid of the pressure cooker. The dal should be cooked till mushy.
- Mix this with the tomato and onion mixture in the kadhai. Ensure you mix it well and no lumps are formed. If at this stage you think you need to add a bit more water you can do so. We do like our dal a little thicker in consistency.
- Now check for salt. Add if needed. Then add the sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon/ lime juice , rest of the chopped coriander leaves and stem and cover with lid.
- Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Variety Dal is now ready to be served with rice/ roti.
- My favourite way - is to eat it like a lentil soup just by it self.
- Dal should be cooked till mushy.
- Onion tomato mixture covered in water and cooked with lid covered on a low flame is essential to keep the tomato pulpy and hold shape even when cooked.
- Using coriander stems and leaves while cooking adds a powerful punch to the taste. Coriander adds so much flavour while cooking that it should not be relegated to just being a garnish.
- Lemon juice, sugar, green chillies and tomato are used to create a perfect balance of sweet, sour and savoury.
- Onion is optional and the dish will still taste just as delish without it. Follow the same method just omit the onion.
Have a great week ahead and full of Variety !!