Why has it taken me sooo long to make a dal? Especially when they are so simple? And sooo tasty!
Inspired by the dal I had eaten at the Coco Diner (see post “Coco Delights“) I wanted to recreate it as closely as I could. Though in the menu it said there was cream in the dal, I chose not to do this, wanting to avoid unnecessary dairy… Knowing the recipe had curry leaves, mustard seeds lentils and was a South Indian dish, I did some searches online, found some recipes and modified them to make my own. Here’s what I did:
1 cup red split lentils
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup tamarind water *
a few curry leaves (I used dried)
1 tsp turmeric
chilli powder (to your preference – I had just a sprinkle for a mild dal)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
good pinch of hing (asafoetida)
2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, chopped
1. Put the lentils in a pan with the water/tamarind water, turmeric, chilli powder and curry leaves. Cook until lentils are soft (approx 30 mins, but may vary). You may need to add more water if the lentils get dry, but don’t let them get too watery, as red lentils go all mushy, so it’d be hard to drain, off: you’d probably have to cook down.
2. Whilst the lentils are cooking, chop the onion very finely. Heat some oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onion along with the hing and mustard seeds until the onion is thorougly softened, starting to go a little brown. When nearly done, add the chopped tomatoes and cook these down until soft.
3. Once the lentils and the onion mixture is cooked, add everything in the frying pan into the lentils, stir, taste, season if necessary, then serve.
*Tamarind water: It can be hard to get real tamarind pods but you can find tamarind paste in quite a lot of supermarkets now. Because I work for them, Blue Dragon tamarind paste was on hand. You just mix a teaspoon of paste with hot water to get 100ml of tamarind water. Easy as pie!