suvir saran                         chef     author     consultant



serves 4

1.  Put the lentils into a large saucepan with the turmeric, salt and water.  Bring to a boil and skim well.  Turn the down and simmer, covered, until the lentils crumble when you touch them, about 15 minutes.  Taste for salt and add more if you need to.

2.  Ladle about 1/2 cup of the lentils into a small bowl and mash them with a spoon.  Return the mashed lentils to the pot and give the dal a stir.  Then continue cooking at a simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes to thicken.  If you like a thicker dal, use a whisk to break the lentils up into a puree.

3.  For the tempering oil, heat the oil with the cumin seeds in a small frying pan or kadai over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring, until the cumin turns a light brown color, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the dried chilies, the ginger, garlic and green chili and cook, stirring, until the garlic no longer smells raw and turns a golden brown color, about 30 more seconds.  Remove the pan from the fire, add the cayenne and sprinkle in a few drops of water to stop the cooking. 

4.  Stir half of the tempering oil, half of the cilantro and all of the lime or lemon juice into the dal.  Simmer very gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Transfer the dal to a serving bowl.  Pour the remaining tempering oil over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cilantro.  Serve hot.

1 cup lentils, picked over, washed and drained

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

4 cups water

Tempering Oil

1/4 cup canola oil

1 1/4 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 whole, dried red chilies

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 fresh, hot green chili, minced

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

Masoor Dal Baghaar Waali. This tempering oil, with fresh aromatics as well as dry spices, gives the lentil a deeper, more complex flavor than in the previous recipe.  I like using small hot Thai peppers for this recipe because they add a lot of flavor as well as heat. (If you can find them, use two.)  Even finely chopped bell pepper will work fine if you can’t find some kind of hot chili.  As my grandmother always says, “Add nothing to your grocery list that will cause you angst; your frustrations will pour out into the food for your guests to take away with them.”

I make this recipe with pink lentils (dhuli masoor dal).