Dahl Delicious

23 Aug

Oh how I love dahl (or dal or daal or dhal – however you feel like spelling it.)  It’s just such a wonderful food.  I spent days hiking though the Nepalese Himalaya dreaming about the dahl I would find at the tea house at the end of the day.

This particular dahl is one that I have been working on for a while, I think it’s pretty close to the ‘standard’ dahl that we had in Nepal.  (I say ‘standard’ because each tea house obviously has different ingredients and a different way of making their dahl – however, there is a pretty standard ‘base’ flavour which I think stems from the spices and ingredients found within particular regions.)  I suspect that my dahl has some different ingredients but then again that also comes down to the ability to source ingredients.

For this dahl you’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 onions very finely diced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons crushed tomato
  • squeeze of lemon (or lime) juice
  • ground chili (or fresh chili) to taste

In a big pot, put your dry lentils in about 4 cups of slightly salted water.  When cooking my lentils I never bring it to a rolling boil, just let it simmer away for 45ish minutes.  Keep checking the water, and if it’s getting low add as much as you think is necessary.  When the lentils are almost done start the onion and spices mix.  In a small frying pan start with the mustard seeds, toasting until they start to ‘pop’ (if you’ve never done this before, don’t worry: you can’t miss it!).  Add in the onions, garlic and ginger and cook down until the onion starts to become translucent.  Add all the spices, except the chili and stir around until it start to smell fragrant.  Then, stir this mix though the lentils, along with a pinch more salt, a small squeeze of lemon juice and the tomatoes (if you don’t have crushed tomatoes, you can use tomato paste – but put in a little bit less!)  After everything is well incorporated, add chili to taste.  At this stage you’ll probably need to add another 1/2 cup – one cup of water – more if you like soupy dahl, less if you like it less soupy.

If desired, serve with rice and/or chapati.  As you can see from the photo, I did make chapati but it wasn’t amazing.  I’m going to play around with the recipe a bit before you get to see it.  You can buy naan, chapati or roti from the supermarket if you like.

Oh, dahl…  how I love you…

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