Tonight was an ambitious night! I wanted to make one more recipe before returning “From Curries to Kebabs” to the library (and checking out a new cookbook), so I made Royal Chicken Korma. I’ve always loved vegetable kormas so this seemed like a good recipe to try out. I didn’t think that chicken by itself would be enough of a dinner, so I also made my mother-in-law’s Dal Masur. This post will focus on the dal, and there will be a follow-up post on the korma shortly.
Dal is an incredibly popular lentil dish in India. It is really healthy, not requiring much oil. I have never been much of a fan, but spending a lot of time eating homemade Indian food has turned me around. I don’t necessarily seek it out in restaurants, but it’s a great dish to have on hand at home.
3-4 cups dal masur (orange lentils you can buy in an Indian store)
1 liter water
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
Bay leaves for flavour
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
When the lentils get soft, stir vigourously and beat it until it becomes thick. Add the sugar and cilantro.
Put the oil and cumin seed in a frying pan. When it begins to fry, remove from the flame and add the red chili powder. (This is called tadka.) Pour the tadka over the dal and stir to mix.
Dal is great for vegetarians (protein) and meat-eaters alike, and is generally eaten with either rice or roti. Shayma at The Spice Spoon tells a great story about Shah Jahan, the great Moghul emperor who built the Taj Mahal:
In a blind quest for power, Aurangzeb imprisoned Shah Jahan for eight years, till his death. Knowing that his father was a gourmand, Aurangzeb callously presented Shah Jahan with a stark choice, giving him the option of selecting but one food type for every meal. Shah Jahan summoned his Royal Khansama (Chef) for advice. He selected dal. It was the most prolific ingredient, cooked in umpteen ways and even used for dessert. Though Shah Jahan did not live happily after, he enjoyed a variety of meals, thereby frustrating the sadistic designs of his son.
You should check out her dal recipe as well. More on moghuls and yumminess tomorrow.