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Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Vegetable | Legumes | Cuisine of India | Cuisine of Pakistan

Masoor dal
A prepared meal of dal

Dal (also spelt Dahl) is an Indian term that means split, often hulled (skin removed) dried legumes, and can cover many different types of legume.

It is also the name given to many dishes prepared with dal; the variety of lentil used and the method of cooking varies according to both region and personal taste.

Varieties[edit | edit source]

The names give away the type of dal - chana dal is the split, hulled chana or brown chickpea, for example. Similarly, the Tamil name is the name of the legume plus parrappu, as in kadalai parrappu (see Cuisine of India for more translations). The most widely used dal in India is toor dal.

Preparation[edit | edit source]

Typically lentils are boiled to a semi-liquid consistency, and are spiced by adding vegetable oil or ghee in which spices such as cumin and coriander seeds have been fried.

Served with roti or rice and raita. Dal is a nutritious meal in itself.

Recipe[edit | edit source]

The procedure for cooking dal in the typical Indian way is described below.

This recipe will serve four.

Ingredients[edit | edit source]

  • 2 tbsps Cooking oil or Ghee

Procedure[edit | edit source]

  1. Cook the dal, green chillies and turmeric powder in water, in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes. Leave the pressure cooker to release steam on its own.
  2. After the steam is released, open the pressure cooker and mash the cooked dal. Add salt to taste. Add more water if it is too thick and heat on a medium flame.
  3. Heat oil or ghee. When hot, add jeera and curry leaves. After it splutters, pour it over the cooked dal.
  4. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Onion or shallots, chopped finely (1 tsp), browned in oil and added to dal, gives a characteristic taste.
  • Mustard seeds fried in oil can also be added.

Alternate method:

  1. Cook 1 cup of dal with 2 cups of water in the pressure cooker till 15min approx. While cooking you may add a pinch to turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of oil.
  2. Once dal is cooked (with just water) then there are many methods to give tadka. I have described one method of plain dal and one method of tadka.

Plain Dal[edit | edit source]

  • Cook the dal as mentioned above.
  • Take the water above the dal away and save it.
  • Now, mash the dal with the help of back of a ladle >> + add 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric + a pinch of asafoetida + some (say 5gm) of jaggry + Salt to taste and mix well when you mash the dal. Do not mash to completely.
  • Add the saved water + add some more water to make a soupy consistency (bit more thinner than soup)
  • Start heating the dal... boil it for 2/3 mins taking care it should not spill.
  • While serving add 2/3 or more teaspoons of ghee to it. Can be served with warm chapati, roti, rice etc. Ideal for the children who do not eat spicy food.

Tadka[edit | edit source]

  • Cook the dal as mentioned above.
  • Take the water above the dal away and save it.
  • Here, do not mash it.
  • As per the quantity of dal chop 2 to 3 medium sized tomatos finely + Chop 4 to 5 cloves of garlic + 1/2 inch of ginger + 1 to 2 green chilies. (Just make big pieces of green chilies)
  • Heat 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil. Once the oil is hot add >> cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon >> garlic >> ginger >> chilies >> once the spluttering is subsidized, add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and then tomatoes. Sautè this mix well. Once tomatoes are done add cooked dal. Then add saved water... till the consistency is soupy. Add salt to taste.
  • Once the dal is boiled... turn the heat to lowest.
  • Take other small heavy bottomed pan.
  • Put a sufficient amount of oil (3 to 4 tbsps)
  • Heat the oil slowly.
  • Try putting some grains of cumin seeds to check heat (purpose is not to burn the tadka)
  • Once heated sufficiently, add 2 to 2-1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds, large pinch of asafoetida; once this is done add 2 to 3 red chilies broken into pieces to this hot mix. (Take care of yourself!)
  • Turn the heat down. Now add about 1 teaspoon of red chili powder to this mix... (Take care of yourself!)
  • Pour this boiling oil mix over the simmering dal. As soon as you pour it, cover the dal wok with a lid.
  • Do not mix this tadka completely with the dal. Garnish with finely coriander. Serve hot with roti, fulka, rice, jeera rice etc.