Dal is served in many regions of India, with many variations. All of them are an absolute delight, and in most cases they are gluten free and vegan, so I tried to cook it on my own! It is very easy and I've been really happy about the result since the first attempt.
I am sharing this recipe that I learned from our hosts in Varanasi. I totally recommend the experience! If you are interested in a local cooking course, I highly suggest to book a couple of nights at the Homestay, where the owner Harish and her wife Malika create a very special environment for their guests. Dinner becomes a community experience, and Malika is often available to offer classes while she's cooking for all the guests.
Cooking Dal at home is a joy because it reminds me of that great experience!
Ingredients (3-4 servings)
- 250 gr Mung Beans (Mung Dal)
- 50 gr Pigeon Peas (Toor Dal) or Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 1 small tomato (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (thinly chopped)
- 10 curry leaves
- 1 green chili (chopped)
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil (or ghee)
- Spices: 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp red chili, 1 tsp turmeric
- Water: 800 ml cold + 400 ml boiling water
- Soak in the legumes for 1 hour.
- Drain well, then transfer in a big pot with the cold water. Boil with salt, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, add the boiling water and leave to rest.
- In the meantime, pour the oil in a small frying pan, turn on the heat and cook the cumin seeds first, until brown. Add the garlic, onion, tomato, curry leaves, green chili and the spices. Cook until golden.
- Place the pot with the dals over medium heat, then add the golden brown mixture. Mix well and serve immediately.
TIPS: The original recipe also contains 1 tsp of asafoetida, to be added together with the other spices. However, since it is not gluten free, I had to remove it completely from the ingredients. Serve Dal together with other Indian dishes, or simply with basmati rice. Cook the rice with a few cardamon seeds and cloves for a more aromatic result.
Have you tried it? Do you have any suggestions? Leave your comment!