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1 1/2 cups red or brown lentils, yellow or green split peas, or split,
hulled, mung beans
4 cups water
2 dried chilies, whole
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. ghee or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 1 tsp. garam masala
salt to taste

Wash the lentils, peas, or beans in several changes of cold water.
In a medium pot, cover them with the water and add the whole dried
chilies, turmeric, and salt, Bring to a boil, reduce the heat,
and simmer, stirring often, until very tender. This will take
about 30 minutes for red lentils, 45 minutes for peas, or an hour
or more for mung beans. It may be necessary to add more water to
prevent sticking, but only 1/2 cup at a time, because the final
consistency should be fairly thick.

When the lentils are almost cooked, heat the ghee or oil in a small
pan, add the cumin seeds, and cook for 10 or 12 seconds. Stir in
the onions and ginger and cook until the onions begin to brown,
about 5 or 10 minutes.

When the lentils are tender, remove and discard the hot peppers.
Stir in the onion mixture, lemon juice, garam masala, and salt to
taste. Serve, passing additional garam masala to sprinkle on top,
if desired.


Spinach Dal: Add 4 cups of chopped, fresh spinach to the onions
after they have sautied for about 5 minutes and then cook for 5
minutes more.

Tomato Dal: Add 1 cup chopped tomatoes to the onions after they
have sautied for about 5 minutes and then cook for about 5 minutes

Spinach-Tomato Dal: Add both spinach and tomatoes

Garlic Dal: Leave out the vegetable mixture. Instead thickly slice
1/2 to 2/3 of a head of garlic and fry it in about 1/4 cup oil
(preheated to medium-high) with a red pepper pod or two. Stir
constantly until the garlic is golden and then immediately dump
the oil mixture into the cooked lentils. It gives a satisfying
sizzle and the garlic is deliciously sweet.


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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
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great recipe, November 6, 2005 - 05:36 PM
Reviewer: Anonymous from mississauga, canada
I have made dal (dhal, daal) a number of ways, but this recipe is a simple way to get the right taste from scratch.

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