(Lima) Beans and Delhi Cha(a)t

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Coming Home to Dal - JFI

We have been really slacking as far as the housekeeping business of this blog goes. Please don't mind if the place looks somewhat dusty and neglected. Now that I am back in our blogging home, let me try and put everything in order so that you can sit around comfortably and enjoy some food.

What's on the menu, you ask? Something hot, comforting, and very Indian. Okay, that's vague. How about making it simple and straight? It's dal I am talking about.

Am I thankful I didn't forget to cook for this month's Jihva For Ingredients (JFI), hosted by the versatile Sailu. She chose dal or lentils as the theme, and I have brought a bowlful for you all. What's special about it? Well, it's different from the usual Bengali dals we cook at home, with the typical cumin or paanch-phoron tempering. Inspired by a recipe from a Sindhi Cookbook I recently added to my bookself, this dal is a delight to be cooked and relished over and over again. Don't go by my word. Try it for yourself, and you will know.

Sindhi Garlic Dal (Adapted from The Essential Sindhi Cookbook by Aroona Reejsinghani)


Masoor Dal: 1 cup (heaped)
Cumin seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: A pinch
Ghee (clarified butter): 1 tablespoon
Oil: 1 tablespoon
Asafoetida: A pinch
Garlic paste: 1 teaspoon
Ginger paste: 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves: A sprig
Green chillies: 3-4, slit, lengthwise
Tomato puree: 1/2 cup
Water: 2 1/2 cups
Salt: To taste


1. Wash the dal. Soak it in water for an hour and drain.
2. In a heavy-bottomed pan put dal, turmeric, salt and water. Cook on high heat, bring to a boil and hower the heat. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, until soft.
3. Remove from heat, mash the dal and set aside.
4. In a pan heat oil and ghee and add cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add ginger and garlic pastes when the cumin seeds stop crackling. Stir fry for a few minutes.
5. Add tomato puree, green chillies, curry leaves. Mix well. Cook for another 5-6 minutes.
6. Add the mashed dal to the above mix. Stir well.
7. Serve hot.

I prefer to have this dal with rice, but I am sure it would go equally well with chapatis and paranthas. The garlic-curry leaves flavour blends in perfectly for this thick lentil soup. If ever there could be a living definition of comfort food, this would be it.

Let the slurping begin!

~ Sury

13 comment(s):

Masoor dal is one of my favorites. Your version looks really nice.

By Anonymous krithika, at 12:31 AM  

Just received this anonymous comment:

Masoor dal has recently turned out be our favorite too. Sindhi garlic dal looks awesome!

By Anonymous Sury, at 9:26 AM  

Masoor daal is something I never tried till today. But JFI event has given me some nice masoor daal recipes. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I would definitely try this :).

By Anonymous shilpa, at 2:35 AM  

Thanks, Krithika :)

Anonymous, the dal tastes great too. Hope you can try it in your kitchen.

Shilpa, that's so surprising to hear! For Bengalis, Masoor is one of the staple lentils. But this version was new for us and we really loved the taste. Do try it, and let me know how it turned out for you :)

By Anonymous Sury, at 5:45 PM  

landed here via the Jihva...masoor dal is my favourite too...but i cook it more in the south indian style...now that i have found a bengali, i think i can try more bengali variety as well...i'm bookmarking u...shall come back to read u'r posts more patiently...tk care...

By Anonymous shynee nair, at 1:06 PM  

Masoor dal is one of my fav lentils and its so easy to cook and tasty too. Nice recipe and great entry for JFI-Dal.

Thanks for participating and see you at the round up.

By Anonymous sailaja, at 7:48 PM  

Shynee, good to see you here! I will be sure to post some Bengali dal recipes in the future. Keep checking in :)

Sailu, glad to have participated. I am looking forward to the round up!

By Anonymous Sury, at 10:18 PM  

I am a fan of Masur dal but this recipe is new to me. I have requested my wife (she is not Bangladeshi) to try it one day. Hopefully, it will be delicious. I could not understand two things here: Asafoetida and Curry leaves. What are they?

By Anonymous Razib Ahmed, at 4:39 PM  

Yumm-O !!!

By Anonymous Zippy, at 11:36 AM  

Hi Razib. I am so sorry for being late in replying to your comment. We were having some weird issues with comments.

Anyhow, to answer your question. Asafoetida is a spice--it's called Hing in Bangla. Curry leaves are just a type of leaf. It's a particular plant grown commonly in India. Curry leaves feature prominently in South Indian cuisine.

By Blogger Sury, at 10:14 AM  

Hey Suri,

You appear to have inherited your grandmom's creative streak! That's a lovely blog you've created. Very comprehensive and informative, with topics ranging from politics to health, and travel to books and movies, all of which have been subtitled beautifully! Your nostalgic anecdotes with regard to childhood memories about your grandma, are particularly endearing! I loved the amaltas fritters recipe! It's interesting to note that the amaltas flower has many a medicinal property attached to it. Sometimes, as much as we prefer to contradict age old customs and beliefs, and readily substitute the ancient, time tested recipes for modern modes of convenience cooking, we must realize that most customs, beliefs and recipes of the yesteryears, are backed strongly by a practical approach!

Meenakshi at PRITYA

By Anonymous PRITYA, at 11:43 PM  

I cooked it this morning (after actually soaking the lentils over night) in a pressure cooker. Turned out absolutely delicious. Around lunchtime I found myself near one of the best Indian restaurants in Denver, Namaste, so I had Indian for breakfast and lunch. Dinner will be dal again :)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:10 AM  

Interesting, I shall try this one. I like masoor dal. It is said to be better than Tuvar dal, which according to Ayurveda isn't such a great dal!

I just had one doubt. I have heard people say that you never put hing and lasoon together in dal (or any dish for that matter). I guess its probably because they both have a strong aroma and lasoon will kill hing in case you love the flavour. Does this dal taste more of hing or garlic?
My mom always puts hing and garlic both in dal, her dal tastes garlicy. She puts hing as she says dal must be cooked with hing since it helps our body digest dal. But she isn't too fond of hing flavour so she doesn't mind

Nice blog, I am here for the first time.

By Blogger Varsha, at 12:00 PM  

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