Yellow dal

December 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

This. is. amazing.  I just ate a whole bowl then realized I forgot to take a photo.  No worries, I’ll be having the rest of it soon enough…  Made according to the directions on smitten kitchen, a really fantastic food blog you should all be reading.

OK here: my leftovers for lunch tomorrow:

IT IS REALLY REALLY DELICIOUS!  Aromatic, warm, substantial… yum!

Instructions from smitten kitchen (see recipe here):

My comments are in italics below.  The only changes I made were to use 1 TBSP cumin powder instead of toasted cumin seeds, and similarly, to use 1 tsp. ground coriander instead of coriander pods.  I also added a couple generous shakes of garam masala at the spicing stage.  Oh, and I removed some of the cooking water towards the end when I thought it was too soupy.  So going forward I’d only use 2.5 c of water.

Everyday Yellow Dal
Adapted from Ruta Kahate via SFGate.com, 6/8/07

Serves 4   This is a big fat lie.  I predict this would serve 2-3 people depending on how hungry you are and if you served with rice or not.  This may be because I actually removed about a half cup of liquid from the stew at the end because I wanted it thicker and starchier.

  • 1 cup yellow lentils, soaked in cold water for 1 hour  (I soaked for about 2 hours, just because I’m paranoid like that)
  • 1 large tomato (about 8 ounces), cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I know this sounds like a lot – I reduced it a bit, but not that much.  You dump it onto the soup at the end, and it is the only fat in the whole recipe.  Uh, aside from the butter.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (I used a TBSP of ground cumin because I love it, and reviews of this dish said it was slightly underspiced)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)  (I used a Vidalia onion, because it’s what I had)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I used only 4 cloves and that was plenty)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, finely ground (I just used the ground stuff in my spice rack, no seeds for me)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I didn’t have any cayenne on hand, so used about 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes)
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I used salted butter because it’s what I had)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I didn’t add this because I used salted butter)

Instructions: Drain the lentils and place in a large saucepan. Add the tomato and 3 cups (I will use 2.5 next time) of water and bring to a boil.  (Note from AMS: do not salt the cooking water — it toughens lentils and makes them take forever to cook).

Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until lentils are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pick out any tomato skins and whisk dal to emulsify it. Keep warm over very low heat.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the cumin seeds (ground cumin), covering the pan with a lid or splatter screen. After the seeds have stopped sputtering, add the onion and saute over medium heat. About 3 minutes later, add the garlic and saute until most of the onion has turned dark brown, about 5 minutes altogether. Add the coriander, turmeric and cayenne, stir and pour mixture over the dal. Add the cilantro, butter and salt to the dal and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

I served mine with a little rice, but honestly it didn’t need it.  Maybe a hunk of bread, or a piece of naan, or nothing at all.  It’s that good.

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