Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dal (lentils) and rice

Dal is a fairly traditional Indian lentil dish.  And it's something I make often for dinner.  It's tasty, economical, and healthy.  There are a lot of different variety of lentils and a lot of different ways to make dal.  I have to admit that I make it so often that I don't really follow a recipe anymore.  Here's a recipe that looks similar to the way I make it.  

I generally use red or green lentils and find it doesn't take as long to cook as indicated in the recipe, but you probably want to follow the recipe closely the first time making it.  I don't soak the lentils but just cook 1 cup of red lentils with half an onion in 2 cups of waters for 20 to 30 minutes.  I stir a couple times during the cooking and add more water if it looks like it's getting too dry.

About 5 minutes before the lentils are done I make up a flavored oil (or vagaar as my mom calls it).  I cook 1 tablespoon of oil with half a teaspoon of all of the following: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and smoked paprika.  I also add in a cinnamon stick and red chili flakes.  Once the seeds start sizzling and popping, I pour the oil and all the seasonings into the pot of lentils.  Be careful here because the oil is hot.  I love the sizzling sound the oil makes when it hits the lentils :)  Add in salt to taste and it's done!  It makes 4 servings.

I serve it over rice and top with raita, which is a yogurt sauce.  I use half a cup of Greek yogurt, grate in a quarter of a peeled cucumber, and add salt to taste.  Voila!