Tadka Dal (Lentils)

This dish is probably the most common dish made in every household in India. There are many types and preparations of dal. Here is a recipe for one of my favorites.  Dal is usually enjoyed with chapati/phulkas (flat wheat tortillas) or with steamed rice.

1 cup mixed dal/lentils (orange and yellow)
1 - 2 fresh tomato (or 1/2 canned)
1 small onion chopped

Tadka or Spiced Mix:
Canola oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1 or 2 dried red chilli (and/or green chilli)
3 to 4 curry leaves
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
(Ginger or garlic are optional)
Cilantro, for garnish

1) Boil 1 cup of mixed daal (I used a mix of orange masoor, yellow toor) in 2 cups of filtered water.  Add some salt.  As soon as it comes to a boil, remove the foam from the top with a spoon.  It will prevent the constant overflow and give a nicer look to the finished product. Boil for around 20 minutes or until pasty.
2)  In another non-stick deep pan, start the tadka with oil, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida, red chilli, and curry leaves. Add the turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli. Sautee for a minute. Add tomatoes and onions.
3) When this masala is ready, add the boiled dal.  Let the whole mixture boil for 15 minutes. Make sure there is enough water. Top with cilantro garnish. Serve with steamed rice.

Spinach Lentils(Palak Dal) Option: To the boiling dal, add 1/2 bag spinach (stems removed). Increase water by half cup.


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