Delightful Dals

Delicious Dal

Empress Dal meets Not-So-Dull Dal

We have been enjoying a lot of Dal recently. I made a commitment to myself to master soup making and duplicate all my faves from restaurants. It has been awesome. Cheap and easy to digest. If you double the recipe it will carry you thru several days and you will fill nourished like no other.

So far, I have tried out 2 recipes  and a variation I came up with below. So delicious! And its fascinating how many ways it can be spiced up!

Both recipes come from NYC Chef, Suvir Saran. We were delighted by our dining experience at his restaurant on our first trip to NYC together. Steven took Indian cooking classes from Suvir at Sur La Table here in Dallas. Steven wound up taking Suvir on a tour of Dallas, so when we came to NYC he told Steven to come and eat! Yes! It was incredible! Suvir’s fabulous restaurant Devi is located on W. 17th Street.

Please note that I am breaking down these recipes as serving 4 or tripling the recipe so we have prepared meals for several days in advance or to share with friends.


Serves 6. Double it to prepare for 3 days of nourishing meals for you and a few friends.

3 Tbsp Canola Oil

2 tsp Cumin seeds

3 Dried Red Chiles

1 medium Red Onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 Jalepeno (cored and seeded for milder flavor), finely chopped

1 Tbsp Sun Fire Salt or Celtic Salt

2 Garlic Cloves, peeld, finely chopped

1.5 C Red Lentils (rinsed/soaked)

6 C Water

3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 Bay Leaf

Heat the oil with Cumin Seeds and Chiles in a medium sauce pan over medium/low heat (depending on flame) for 1.5 -2 minutes. Add onion and jalepeno. Cook for 1 minute, stir in the salt and stir until onion and jalepeno have softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and lentils and cook until garlic becomes fragrant, 1-1.5 minutes.. Stir in .25 C of the water., cook until the pan is dry, and then add the additional 5.75 cups of water and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Partially cover and stir every 10 minutes until the lentils are soft and break apart easily, but aren’t completely broken down, 25-35 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add with rice, cornbread or salad.


Empress Dal meets Simple Dal

…with ginger, green chiles and cilantro

Serves 4. Triple it to provide enough for you and a few friends for 3 days.

3 Tbsp Canola Oil

2 tsp Cumin Seeds

3 Whole Dried Red Chiles

.5 tsp Turmeric

1 small clove of Garlic, minced

1 C Lentils, picked over, washed and drained. Soaking them and draining them is great.

.25 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1  Lemon juice

4 C Water

1 tsp Sun Fire Salt or Celtic Salt to taste

1 Tbsp Ginger (simply cut about 1 inch per Tbsp and remove skin, flavor from chunks will absorb flavor as much as all that dicing)

1 Bay Leaf

1 Green Chile, gutted and finely chopped

Combine the oil, cumin, red chiles and turmeric in a large pot over a medium/low flame depending on your stove. You want it toasty, not burned. I burned my first batch and had to toss it. Swaha.

Cook. Stirring 1-2 minutes. Maybe even lift it off the flame and swirl it around to combine flavors to avoid burning. It is a fine line.

Add green chile, garlic, lentils and cayenne. Cook stirring for 1 minute.

Add the water, salt, bay leaf and ginger, bring to a boil and skim well.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft, 20-30 minutes. Add more water during cooking if necessary. Taste for salt and add more if needed.

Ladle about .5 cup of the lentils into a small bowl and mash them with a spoon. Return the mashed lentils into the pot and give the dal a stir. (You can accomplish the same thing with an immersion blender while its in the pot. Then continue cooking at a simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes to thicken, if you like a thicker dal, use a whisk to break up the lentils into a puree. If you like it thinner, add more water. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve with chopped cilantro leaves and enjoy!