Spicy Masoor Dal
Spicy Masoor Dal
Soup & Stew
4 - 6 servings
Chef Heidi Allison
Red lentils are the legume of choice in India, the country that leads the world in lentil consumption. This salmon colored legume has a delicate, more refined flavor compared to the ‘‘earthy’’ flavored green ones that dominate our shores.
A beautiful soup with a brilliant yellow color (think mango) and spicy flavor, this thin-consistency dal works best as a first course or appetizer rather than an entrée.
1 cup red lentils
6 cups water
3 medium organic tomatoes, peeled and each cut into 8 pieces
5 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger root, grated or finely shredded
3 dried red chile, broken into small pieces (I like to use Japones chiles in this recipe - they add a clean clear "heat" without tannin tones)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds (grind in a spice blender or mortar)
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
2 1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Bring the water, turmeric and 1 Tbsp. of oil to a boil in a heavy 3-quart pot over high heat. Stir in the lentils and return to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 20 minutes and add the tomatoes.
Cover and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Remove the pot from the heat and add the salt and stir.
Heat the remaining 4 Tbsp. of oil in an 8-inch nonstick pan on medium-high heat until hot.
Add the ginger, cumin and red chile in rapid succession and fry until the chile starts to turn a bit brown (about 3-4 seconds).
Pour the spice mixture into the hot lentils, stir and immediately cover the pot to allow the seasonings to flavor the dal for 2-3 minutes.
Add the cilantro, stir and serve.
It’s important to measure the turmeric accurately — too much imparts an overpowering, bitter taste to the soup.