This is the classic dal recipe that I have been using for many years. You can find all the ingredients in
any medium to large supermarket and it is really easy to make. Serve it as a side dish to main Indian dishes or
serve with rice as a vegetarian entrée. The ghee is
clarified butter and can be found in Indian grocery
stores, or at plenty of websites online. You can
substitute butter or oil in a pinch.
1 cup mung dal, yellow or red dried lentils
4 cups water (much more if you
are simmering the dal uncovered)
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped fine
2 large onions, peeled and sliced lengthwise into paper thin slivers
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper to taste
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup ghee, melted butter or light cooking oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons ground coriander
4 teaspoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Carefully pick through the dried lentils, removing any debris or small stones. Use a sieve or colander to
wash the lentils by running cold water through them and agitating them until the water runs through clear.
Drain the lentils fully, and then place them in a solid cooking pot with the water, garlic, turmeric, ground
coriander, red pepper and salt. Bring this to a boil over high heat, then partially cover and reduce the heat just
low enough to simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not mushy or falling apart.
Here is where we make the flavoring for this dish. It is important to get this right and use fresh spices as
called for or else the dish will just be a tasteless pile of mush. While the lentils are simmering, heat a 10 inch
skillet with the ghee/butter/oil over medium high heat until a drop of water flicked into the pan sputters on
contact. Be careful not to burn this, as that will make for bad flavor.
When the pan is hot, add the onions and the cumin seeds then lower the heat to medium. Stir this often,
almost constantly for 6-8 minutes until the onions are soft and browning very well. They should be so brown
that they turn sweet the way fried onions do. Set aside.
Alternatively you may cook down the onions in a medium pot and add the dal and water directly so that
you only have one pot to clean afterwards.
You must adjust the amount of water depending on the condition of the dal, the heat of your cook-top,
etc. Just add a bit of water if the dal is thickening too much.
When you are sure that the lentils are cooked correctly, combine them with the onion based seasonings,
then top with the chopped cilantro leaves and serve with rice.
Dal - Yellow Lentils - Indian Recipe