Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Masoor dal with chopped spinach

I grew up having lentil dishes at least twice a week, especially on Fridays. My mother had clear jars filled with various varieties of colourful dal . She would soak whatever dal she will be using for a meal that day right after breakfast and a pot of dal would be simmering gently on the stove by late morning. The kitchen will be filled with the pleasant aroma of onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies.

Masoor dhal is salmon coloured, lens shaped dal that cooks quickly with minimum soaking time. Dal cooks faster if it has not been sitting on the shelves too long. I have used asafoetida ( also known as hing/perungayam) here ( optional). It is a resin of a tree that aids digestion and is often used in cooking beans and legumes. It is pungent and often sold in powder form in oriental grocery stores. Once cooked it becomes milder and has the aroma of sauteed onion and garlic. It can be purchased online.

Masoor dal with chopped spinach
1 cup dry masoor dal 1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 small green chillies
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 tsp minced ginger1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped spinach ( tightly packed)

6 curry leaves
1/2 cup chopped onions4 dried chillies
2 tb ghee(clarified butter) / vegetable oil

Soak lentils for at least half an hour, wash and drain. Using medium heat, boil drained lentils with 2 1/2 cups water, asafoetida, garlic, minced ginger and chopped green chillies until lentils are fully cooked but still holding its shape ( around 7 to 10 minutes). Masoor dal will easily turn to mush if left cooking too long.

Once the dal is cooked, add salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, chopped tomatoes. and chopped spinach. Adjust seasonings. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 7 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat.

Using a saute pan - heat ghee/clarified butter on medium heat. Saute chopped onions until it begins to caramelize. Add curry leaves and dried chillies. Saute until fragrant for a few minutes and pour over dal. Serve with rice. Makes 6 servings. Complete this vegetarian meal with these side dishes:
Sauteed mushrooms
Spicy eggplant
Gobi Mattar
Cucumber and shallot raita


Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

This dal is slightly difference from what I used to cook, it look delicious!

Vrinda said...

My fav combo...looks tempting

Jo said...

Looks absolutly delicious and colourful. I am sure the flavours are equally amazing and would love to dip some chapati into this.

Parita said...

Very healthy and flavorful!