Creamy, delectable and mildly spiced lentils cooked with tomatoes, ginger and garlic and tempered with spices, onions and chilli. A recipe from generations!
There are a large variety of lentils that are cooked in an Indian kitchen. It is common to have a lentil preparation (called Daal) as a part of lunch or dinner or both in most Indian homes. I try to cook lentils atleast 3 times a week not only because they are so healthy but also so delicious and satisfying with a bowl of rice or roti’s.
Growing up this lentil preparation was a weekly affair. My mom used to serve this with a dry vegetable dish, raita and rotis. This lentil dish is also called Punjabi daal. As you can guess, it is a regular preparation in North Indian homes. It is a mix of two lentils – black urad and chana daal (split black lentils and split Bengal gram). The chana daal adds creaminess and body to the daal, while the black lentils add taste and texture. The end result is a creamy, mildly spiced daal that tastes delectable with naan or crisp tandoori roti’s.
Like all daal preparations, if you use a pressure cook, the cooking time is greatly reduced. But it is ok to boil the daal in a pan. It is important to soak the daal for a couple of hours before cooking, so that the daal softens and cooks faster.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
1 cup split black lentils/chilka urad daal
½ cup Bengal gram /chana daal
1 small onion chopped fine
1 large tomato pureed
1 green chili
2 tsp ginger minced
2 tsp garlic minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of Asafoetida
½ tsp Kashmiri chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp of garam masala
Some fresh coriander leaves, chopped fine
Salt – to taste
Ghee or oil – 2 tbsp
Wash and soak both lentils together in enough water for 1 hour. If you are using a pan to boil the lentils, then soak lentils for at least 2-3 hours. The rest of the instructions are the same whether you use a pan or a cooker.
Add the lentils in the pressure cooker and add tomato puree, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic, turmeric powder and salt. Add water such that the level of water is an inch above the lentils. Pressure cook on medium heat for 3 whistles or until the daal is cooked. If boiling the daal in the pan, keep a check on the level of water and keep adding hot water if needed.
Once the daal is soft, turn the heat to low. Mash the lentils lightly with the help of the back of a ladle or a whisk. Add a cup of water and let the daal simmer for 10-15 minutes until the daal is blended well and it creamy not watery. Set aside
In a heavy bottom pan add oil or ghee. When the oil is hot add cumin seeds, hing and onions. Add a whole slit green chili to the pan. Add a pinch of salt to the onions to fasten the cooking process. Once the onions are done add kashmiri red chili powder. This will impart a nice red color to the tadka. Now pour the tadka over the cooked daal.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with rotis or rice.