Sunday, May 14, 2006

Punjabi Dal

You can substitute supermarket lentils for the masoor dal in this recipe, but if you've ever had masoor dal, you'll know regular lentils are a poor substitute. Serve this dish with rice and a green salad. Chapati or whole-wheat flour tortillas can be served to help scoop up the dal.


2 cups masoor dal Water
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 onions, chopped
1 head garlic, separated, chopped
1 (1-inch piece) ginger root, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped


Rinse dal thoroughly, until water is clear. In pot bring 1 quart water to boil. Add dal. Cook half way, about 10 to 15 minutes, add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and salt. As dal cooks, uncovered, water will evaporate and mixture will thicken. Add more water to keep dal loose, like texture of thick cream. When dal is soft, turn off heat. Heat oil in wok. When oil is very hot, add onions and cook until tender and translucent but not browned. Add garlic, ginger and chiles. Continue to fry until onions are deep-yellow. Add remaining 1 teaspoon each garam masala and turmeric. Do not allow spices to burn. Keep stirring until mixture starts to stick. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Cook until tomato softens. Pour in pot of dal and simmer to blend flavors. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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