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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dal Fry with Three Dals- A Delicious Mixed Lentil Soup

It has been a while since I have updated the blog. While the cooking continues, I find myself trying to manage time to be able to do all the tasks at hand. I finally got some time today and decided to pen down this delicious dal fry recipe that I had made for an elaborate dinner a few months ago. Everyone loved it, especially the kids. I got the best compliments from my friend's eight year old who asked her mom to get the recipe so that she could have it at home as well. Well, finally here it is. I made it again last week and thought this is a great recipe to make during these cold winter evenings. Just the thought of steaming hot, delicious dal served with some jeera rice, makes my mouth water. A perfect weeknight comfort meal indeed!

1 cup tur dal/arhar dal/ pigon peas
1/2 cup mung dal - split, peeled yellow mung dal
1/2 cup chana dal/split pea
a pinch of asafoetida/hing
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp tsp oil
1/8 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1-2 green chillies
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 inch ginger, finely minced or crushed
1 red onion, diced finely
2 tomates, diced finely
cilantro/corriander leaves, chopped to garnish
5-6 cups  water
2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste

Mix together the tur dal, chana dal and mung dal. Wash the mixture at least 2-3 times. Then add double the quantity of water compared to the dal, so in this case, 4 cups of  water, hing and turmeric and cook it. I generally use the pressure cooker  to cook the dal (see tips for how to cook the dal if you don't have a pressure cooker). Once cooked, mash the dal a little with a spoon and keep aside. In a deep pan, heat some oil. Then add the cumin seeds and bay leaf. Once they start to brown and change color, add the chillies, onions and the ginger and garlic. Cook this till the onions become transparent and start to change color and the raw ginger garlic smell goes away. Then add the tomatoes and cook them well. Then add the garam masala and fry for a couple of minutes till you can smell the aroma of the masala. Now, add the dal and mix well. Add some water if the dal is too thick. Generally, dal fry is thicker dal (similar to creamy  soups) and not very watery. Add the salt and bring it to a boil and turn off the heat. Sprinkle some cilantro for garnish. Serve hot with rice, pulao, roti or naan.

If you don't  have a pressure cooker, this is how you can cook the dal without having to boil it for hours. Soak the dal for an hour in warm water. Then in a deep pan, boil the dal with at least two times the water, turmeric and hing. Stir occasionally, so that the dal at the bottom of the pan doesn't burn. Turn off the heat when the dal is cooked through, soft and can be easily mashed (about 30-40 minutes) .
As the dal cools down it will thicken. So when you reheat the dal, add a little water and then reheat it. Since the onion and tomato have not been browned, the dal will retain the yellow color. If you do brown it, then that is also okay.


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