Indu’s Dal & Rice
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes for rice & dal plus 5 -10 minutes to prepare the dish.
1 cup Masoor dal (orange lentils) or Tuvar dal (yellow lentils) (found in many regular grocery stores and certainly your local Asian markets)
1 cup uncooked rice (I like Basmati) follow the recipe on the package. For firmer rice use the open pot method - much like cooking pasta. Drain when the rice is al dente.
2 cloves garlic
½” piece of fresh ginger, skin scraped off
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped (you can use canned tomatoes – about ½ cup)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
¼ tsp red chili powder (or more if you like it spicy)
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of salt
Garnish: fresh cilantro, chopped
1.Soak dal/lentils for half an hour in 4 cups of water (enough to cover the dal).
2. Pressure cook the dal until it becomes really soft (after 3-5 whistles, it should comfortably mash between the fingers). If you don’t have a pressure cooker (like me), cook it in sufficient water over a medium heat until the dal becomes really soft. It could take as much as 25 minutes on the stove.
3. Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, make a fine paste of the garlic and ginger, using a little water. (My daughter does hers in her food processor) This could be replaced by 1 spoon of ginger/garlic paste
4. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet on medium heat.
5. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. Allow to sizzle and pop. It really just takes a minute or so.
6. Add the ginger garlic paste, and stir well for another minute or until fragrant.
7. Add the onions, allow them to brown (3-5 minutes) and add tomatoes, and cook for couple of minutes to capture all the other flavors.
8.Add salt to taste, garam masala (available at South Asian stores), red chili powder for making it a tad bit spicy (as much or as little as you prefer), and a pinch of turmeric powder for colour. Stir and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
9. Add the cooked dal and water and bring to a boil. It should be quite thick (think of your favorite pureed soup). If it's too thin add a tsp of rice flour; if it's too thick, add a little water.
Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro leaves and serve with rice.