Autumn has officially started, even weather is showing signs of change in England. Trees are changing colour, it doesn’t feel like summers anymore. There is a nip in the air, the cool touch of the breeze silently whispers and says it’s that time of the year again!! Autumn is a transition period for me where I say goodbyes to the summer days with a heavy heart. It’s a change that happens every year though but the mind plays its own games.
This season definitely calls for something warm and comforting, and a bowl of steaming lentils is a good start for this transition, I suppose. This dal recipe is what mum used to make quite often at home for lunch. Paired with a bowl of steamed basmati rice and some Indian accompaniments of papad, pickle and yogurt, this was one of the most loved. Simple, filling, comforting and without a doubt, full of flavours!!
Indian food uses lentils extensively and not just one kind, there is a huge selection of beans and lentils. These are then cooked in all sorts of different ways depending on the region you are. This dal is cooked in a North Indian style with a nice spicy tadka and a kick of green chilli just tantalizes the taste buds. I tried to be a bit clever and added curly kale while making this dal. I found this gorgeous kale at my local greengrocers and the moment I saw this beautiful fresh produce my head started buzzing with ideas to use it in my food. Oh, I so love cooking with fresh ingredients!!
Although, I have used pressure cooker here, this can be made easily in instant pots or slow cooker. I have also used a spice blend (Mix Masala) in this recipe. This is a very fragrant spice blend and I use it often with dals. It’s easy to make at home and you can find the recipe here. Its optional but I would recommend using it, as it does lift the taste of the dal significantly.
- Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
- Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
- Makes: 4-5 servings
- Suitable for freezing
For pressure cooking the dal
- In a pressure cooker add mung beans along with arhar and red lentils, 1 tomato, kale, asafoetida, turmeric powder, salt and water. Bring it to a boil and then close the lid.
- Pressure cook the lentils for 5 minutes on high heat and then 15 minutes on medium.
- In the meantime, heat oil and ghee in a separate pan. Quickly add cumin seeds to the hot oil and as soon as it swells and start changing colour, add the shallots and fry for about a minute until translucent.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Now add ginger and garlic and sauté for a few seconds, take care not to burn it. Add the tomato and sauté for a minute or two and then add all the ground spices, and sauté again finally for a minute.
- Take off the heat and add this to the dal.
- Drizzle some ghee, garnish with coriander and green chilli halves, serve hot.
HINTS & TIPS
- Every dal has its own taste and although you can substitute with any dal, but the taste may differ.
- Green chilli is optional. Omit these if you prefer it to be mildy hot, instead use padron peppers.
- For a completely plant based recipe, use oil instead of ghee.