Andrea has got a great blog, and what’s more, she’s a great girl! If you can read Croatian, do head over to her blog Voce & povrce and start reading now! If not, well heck, how about learning Croatian? 🙂
This is the her dhal that I raved about in my previous post. It’s not just that I’ve never met a red lentil dish I didn’t like. It’s not that I’m being subjective here. Oh no! This is really and truly delicious! I love the double dose of cumin in the tarka, seeds and powder, the scent of turmeric, and the lusciousness of the tomato and onion sauce. I love how well it goes with the lentils, and oh the simplicity of it all! It doesn’t take too long to cook, either. Red lentils take about 30 – 35 min (OK, longer if they’re older! like any lentils really), and during that time, you can prep and cook the tarka.
I stuck pretty much to Andrea’s recipe, making minor changes: using ghee instead of oil and black instead of yellow mustard seeds. I also changed the cooking method slightly, in that I cooked my onions until golden, and my tarka for a bit longer, because this is the way a Punjabi friend taught me.
PREPARATION TIME: about 5 – 10 min
COOKING TIME: 30 – 40 min
200 g split red lentils (masoor dhal)
600 ml water
1 large tomato (or 2 – 3 tinned plum tomatoes)
50 g onion
2 red chillies
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (I used black mustard seeds)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp oil (or ghee)
salt to taste
1. Rinse the lentils a few times, until the rinsing water runs clear.
2. Transfer the lentils in a thick-bottomed pan, add the water and cookon medium to high heat until boiling.
3. Skim off the foam that gathers on top as the lentils start boiling, and then lower the heat and continue cooking until the lentils soften. Stir occasionally.
4. While the lentils are cooking, start making the tarka. Chop the onions, tomatoes, and chillies (removing the seeds if you prefer less heat). I like a bit of texture in my dhal, so I simply sliced the chillies into rounds, and chopped the onions not too finely.
5. Heat the oil on medium to high heat in a small pan, and when bubbling, add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the cumin becomes fragrant, and the mustard seeds start popping, add the onion and chillies, and cook until the onions become golden.
6. Add the turmeric and cumin powder, and stir for a few seconds. Again, until the spices are fragrant. Not for too long, or else the spice might burn. Trust your nose. You’ll learn soon, if you haven’t already. (‘ve grown to love the smell of turmeric frying!)
7. In go the tomatoes! Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture gets glossy, which is a sign that the oil is starting to separate, and that your tarka is done! This will take about 10 minutes or more, depending on how watery your tomatoes are. You can, of course, cook it for less, but it tastes better, richer, this way.
8. Add you tarka into the lentils and stir through. It’s often nice to reserve a bit of tarka and use it as a topping when serving the dhal. Put in a pinch of salt or two, to taste. I like my dhal thick, but if you don’t add a bit more water. Likewise, if you find it too watery, simply boil the lentils for a bit longer with a lid of. I guess it’s better if you keep an eye on the lentils as they’re cooking, rather than having to do this at the end. I should have told you that earlier, sorry!
Serve with rice or bread (chappati, naan, or any bread really), or as a part of an Indian (or other) meal. Enjoy!
More dhals from this blog: