Friday, 19 October 2012

Easy Masoor Dal

A well stocked pantry is a cook's best friend. And lentils are the perfect pantry staple as they have a long shelf life (keep them in airtight glass containers) and offer great protein for very little money. Different lentils have different cooking times, and the age of them also affects the time. For this reason, let your spoon be your friend and cook to the consistency that you desire.

Red lentils cook quite quickly, especially the ones we find in the grocery stores, which tend to be the split variety. They are perfect for thickening soups and stews and make for a delicious and easy side dish for an Indian dinner. Traditionally they are finished with an aromatic oil, which transcends the humble lentil to unctuous deliciousness. Perfect for dipping your roti into.

Masoor Dal
Source:  Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking cookbook
Online recipe source - Examiner
for I♥CookingClubs Lentil Love

Masoor dal (red lentils/Egyptian lentils) cooks easily and is tasty.  It can also be substituted by mung dal.  This is an easy recipe that is sure to please.  Although oil or ghee can be used, the ghee adds a richer flavor.

    1 cup masoor dal
    1 quarter-sized slice of fresh ginger
    3/4 tsp salt
    2 tblsps vegetable oil or ghee
    a pinch of ground asafetida
    1 tsp whole cumin seeds
    2 whole, hot dried red peppers (optional)

Pick over the dal and wash in several changes of water.  Drain, then add 4 cups of water and bring to boil.  Skim away surface residue.  Add ginger and turmeric.  Turn the heat to low and cover so that the lid is a little ajar.

Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until dal is no longer grainy.  It can be mashed for a smoother consistency and to quicken the cooking time.  Stir, add salt, and keep covered.

I like my red lentils a little more intact, so I cooked for much less time. Also, I added some of the salt early on and a little more at the end to taste.

Heat the oil or ghee in a small skillet or pot over a medium flame.  When hot, put in the asafetida followed by the cumin and red peppers.  Turn the peppers so all sides turn dark and crisp.  Pour the mixture into the dal.  Cover and allow the dal to absorb the flavors for at least a minute prior to serving.  It can be garnished with lemon juice and cilantro if desired.