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Indian Dals Times Two (lentil-based/vegetarian)

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  • Liz Canham
    Hi In answer to the search for vegetarian curry, the two dal recipes on this page http://www.lizebiz.com/asian-food/articles/Indian-dals.html (posted below)
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 2005

      In answer to the search for vegetarian curry, the two dal recipes on
      this page http://www.lizebiz.com/asian-food/articles/Indian-dals.html
      (posted below) can be cooked in a slow cooker up to the time of adding the
      flavourings. It will take 4 - 6 hours to cook the lentils through but
      they can't realy be over-cooked in the context of this recipe. Just
      make sure that there is sufficient water.


      Indian Dal Times Two
      by Liz Canham

      Pulses are something of a staple in India, having a high vegetarian population. Alone, however, they are somewhat tasteless and indigestible but with spices added and served with any of rice, bread, yoghurt and for non-vegetarians a Tandoori or curried meat or poultry dish, they become a feast.

      Either of the following work well with these recipes which serve 4-6 people:

      Masoor dal - red split lentils which turn pale yellow when cooked
      Chana dal - similar to yellow split peas (which can be substituted)
      Basic Ingredients
      8oz (225g) chana dal or yellow split peas or red lentils
      2pints (1.15 litres) water
      1/2 tsp ground turmeric
      2 slices unpeeled root ginger

      Wash the dal and pick out any discoloured pieces. Leave to soak for 2 hours. Rinse again thoroughly and put in a large saucepan with about two-thirds of the water. DO NOT ADD SALT AT THIS STAGE - salt dried out pulses on any kind and can prevent them becoming soft. Bring to the boil, skim any scum from the surface with a slotted spoon and add the two slices of ginger and the ground turmeric. Let the dal simmer until cooked (30 minutes to 1 hour) but if it becomes dry before being cooked add some more of the water and stir.

      When the dal is cooked, add salt to taste and either of the following sets of flavourings:

      Flavouring Set 1
      3 tbsp oil or ghee for frying
      1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
      1 medium onion, finely chopped
      2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
      1 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger (or minced ginger from a jar, if you prefer)
      4 hot fresh green or red chillies, seeded and finely chopped (or to taste)
      2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
      1 tbsp garam masala
      Chopped mint or fresh coriander (optional)

      While the dal is cooking, heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan and when quite hot, add the whole cumin seeds. Use a lid or splatter-guard if you have one because they will begin to pop and may spit. Add the onion and fry until golden brown, then add the garlic and ginger and continue to fry, stirring continuously for a further 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chillies and fry until the tomatoes are soft.

      When the dal is cooked, stir in the spice/vegetable mixture and make sure it is warmed through. Add the garam masala and stir through then garnish with a handful of mint or coriander, if wanted.

      Flavouring set 2
      3 tbsp oil or ghee for frying
      2 large cloves garlic, finely sliced
      1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
      1 tbsp ground coriander
      1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder (or to taste)

      Wait until the dal is cooked and you are ready to serve before continuing with this recipe.

      Heat the oil in a small saucepan until a cumin seed sizzles when dropped in. Sizzle all the cumin seeds and the sliced garlic until brown. Add the coriander and cayenne or chilli powder, swirl round quickly in the hot oil and pour the whole lot into the dal. You can stir it in or leave it on the top if you wish.

      About the Author

      Copyright Liz Canham 2005
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