Dal is made with lentils, mixed with a variety of vegetables. Lentils absorb flavors from other foods and seasonings, making it easy and tasty dish. Lentils are available throughout the year and are inexpensive. They make a great meat substitute or side dish. Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are a good source of fiber, lean protein, folate and iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K.
There are dozens of varieties of lentils being cultivated. While the most common types in the United States are either green or brown, lentils are also available in black, yellow, red and orange colors. They are sold whole or split into halves. There are several ways to use lentils. Cook till mushy and make soup, cook just right to retain shape for a thick curry with rice on side. Lentils generally have somewhat nutty flavor.
Lentils are believed to have originated in central Asia, having been consumed since prehistoric times. They are one of the first foods to have ever been cultivated. Before the 1st century AD, they were introduced into India, a country whose traditional cuisine still bestows high regard for the spiced lentil dish known as dal. In many Catholic countries, lentils have long been used as a staple food during Lent. Currently, the leading commercial producers of lentils are India, Turkey, Canada, China and Syria.
For a list of lentils visit http://www.foodsubs.com/Lentils.html.
- 1 cup - split chana lentils (Split Bengal Gram dal).
- 1 green raw mango.
- 1 onion
- For tampering
- 2 tbsp - your choice oil. I prefer coconut oil.
- 5-8 - green or red chillies
- ½ tsp - cumin (jeera)
- ¼ tsp - black mustard seeds
- 1 sprig - curry leaves
- ½ tsp - ginger garlic paste
- ⅛th tsp - turmeric powder.
- 5 garlic cloves
- ¼th tsp - fresh ground coriander powder - optional.
- ¼th tsp - chilli powder - optional
- Soak chana lentils for at-least 15 minutes. Chana lentils need more cooking time compared to toor dal.
- Cut raw mango into cubes. I don't peel skin. Skin add lot of fiber. Keep seed. There is a lot of mango flesh on seed which is good to lick.
- Cut onion into cubes.
- Add mango and onion to soaked dal.
- Cook in a pressure cooker for 5 whistles. Or cook in a pot till soft. I never cooked in pot so not sure how long it takes. Keep checking if lentils are soft.
- When they are soft, add salt. Stir.
- In a small pot, prepare for tampering.
- Add oil to pot, heat to medium.
- Add red chillies. If you are not using red chillies, skip. Add mustard seeds, when they start spluttering, add cumin. Fry till golden brown.
- Add green chillies, curry leaves, diced garlic cloves.
- Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder.
- Turn off heat.
- Optionally to add kick, add chilli powder and coriander powder. I always add kick.
- Immediately while oil is hot, add hot mixture to dal. After adding, add some dal to pot and add it back in dal. This technique is called deglazing. When you add dal to hot pot, dal sticks to bottom. This hard dal is so intense in flavor. It adds lot of flavor and taste to dal.
- Garnish with cilantro.
- Serve with rice or roti