If you’re looking for authentic Indian recipes, one thing that you absolutely need in your arsenal is a good dal recipe.
There are so many, wonderful variations of beans in India. Dal, or lentils, come in a rainbow of colors. Literally, you could easily find a dozen different hues of lentils. I’m pretty sure in a typical American grocery store you’ll only find one or two. So sad. If you can’t find red lentils in your area, check amazon.
Before traveling to India I heard a lot about Indias love affair with lentils and I thought it sounded bland and disappointing. I had experimented with lentils a time or two in my American kitchen and was not impressed. Clearly I just didn’t know what I was doing. Now red lentils are our favorite kind of dal and we have it regularly.
Authentic Indian Dal Recipe
Like all good Indian recipes, we start with chopped onions and garlic cooking in a bit of oil. Cook these until they’re lovely and golden. Optional: dice a tomato and give it a little cooking, too.
Add a teaspoon of salt and coriander powder.
Add half a teaspoon of turmeric and “kitchen king” powder, if available. Once again, head to amazon.
(I’m not sure if Kitchen King can be found in the states. Maybe in an Asian market? It’s a popular spice blend in Northern India. If you’re feeling reeeeallly ambitious, here’s a homemade kitchen king recipe.)
Now add roughly two cups of red lentils (or any other lentils you can get your hands on). Let your dry lentils cook in your oily spice mixture for a couple of minutes.
Now add two bowls (?) of water. I’m guessing that’s somewhere between 2 and 4 cups.
Now, pressure cookers are commonly used here. Two whistled will do you. Google tells me that traditional stove top methods would involve cooking lentils for around half an hour. I really don’t think you can mess this up. We’re not looking for firm lentils here, we want them to be lovely, delicious mush. Red lentils lend themselves to soupiness.
And VIOLA. Serve over rice.
You’ll never believe that a lentil could pack so much flavor. Like I said, these are our favorite. We eat them at least once a week and all four kids love them. Oh man. I am so craving lal dal (red lentils) now!
Have you had unimpressive lentil encounters before? Or do you already know the loveliness of the lentil?