1 cup (7 oz / 220g) dried yellow lentils
2 cups (16 fl oz / 500 ml) water
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp plus 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 dried red chiles, cut up
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 slices fresh ginger, peeled and minced
20 fresh or dried curry leaves
1 tsp garam masala
2 small tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Pick over the lentils, discarding any
misshapen lentils or stones. Rinse the lentils until the water runs
clear, then drain.
In a saucepan over high heat, combine the
lentils, water, turmeric, and the 1 tsp ghee or oil. Bring to a boil,
stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer
until the lentils are soft and tender, about 30 minutes.
In a frying pan over medium-high heat,
warm the remaining 2 tbsp ghee or oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds
and fry until they turn gray, spatter, and pop, about 2 minutes. Add the
chiles, onion, garlic, ginger, and curry leaves and saute until the
onion is soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garam masala and
tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
Pour the onion mixture into the pan of
cooked lentils, add the salt, and simmer for 5 minutes to blend the
flavors. Transfer to a serving dish and serve.
Note - In traditional
cooking, dal refers to any dried peas or beans and to the many dishes
made from them. In Malaysia and Singapore, dal refers to a spicy stew
made of yellow lentils (toovar dal) that typically accompanies Indian
breads. The cooking time will vary with the age of the lentil.
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