Of all the daals (lentils) in my cupboard, peeled masoor daal (red lentils) are my go to lentils in a pinch. They cook-up quickly, they’re tasty, can be found in most grocery stores (even Trader Joe’s), are affordable and nutrient packed. That’s a lot of bang for your buck. I’ll take it, thank you very much.
Usually when I make daal with masoor, I like to keep it quite brothy, like a light soup. This summer, however, I’ve been opting for a thicker consistency since my appetite tends to have a little more velocity. In making a heavier daal, I skip eating the grain portion of my meal as the coconut cream satisfies the sweet taste and the heavy quality of any form of starch. The oily and cooling qualities of coconut also balances the drying and warming quality of red lentils. In the end, although this is a heavier daal than I am use to, it’s still lighter than if was to have it with rice, toast or potatoes.
This daal works well for my pitta-kapha constitution. For someone with more vata-pitta energy, I would recommend a slice of toast or even some yams. I usually pair this daal with some hearty greens to ensure I get a good portion of bitter tastes—it’s delicious! Between the daal and the greens, I am all set with a summer meal that satisfies all six tastes as well as a meal that incorporates a good mix of heavy, light, dry, moist and warm foods while being balanced with both heating and cooling energy. I’ve enjoyed it for both lunch and a smaller portion for dinner. Hope you do to—happy eating!
- 2 cups peeled, split masoor aka red lentils*
- 6 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups coconut cream (1 can)
- 2 small ripe tomatoes finely chopped (1 cup)
- 1/2 medium red onion finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1 T grated ginger
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 3 tsp pink salt
- 2 T ghee (solid)
- 1/2 medium red onion very thinly sliced
- 1 serrano chili sliced (optional)
- 10 curry leaves
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- Juice of a lemon (3T)
Step 1: Rinse lentils 2-3 times and soak them in water for 15-20 minutes and then drain (if you don’t have time to soak them just rinse).
Step 2: In a 4-quart pot bring the 6 1/2 cups of water and lentils to a gentle boil. Remove any foam that comes to the top.
Step 3: Then add the remaining ingredients and stir until the daal comes to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes uncovered. Stir occasionally to prevent the daal from sticking to the bottom of the pot. During this time, the lentils, onions and tomatoes will breakdown into a nice creamy soup.
Step 4: Prep all the ingredients for the vaghaar/oil infusion. This is a quick process. Having all ingredients pre-measured and next to the stove will eliminate stress and make it easy, espeically if this is your first time. In a small pot or small frying pan, heat ghee on medium-high heat. Add onions (it should sizzle – add 1 slice to test), stir every once in a while. When onion’s texture begins to change, add the green chili and curry leaves. When the onions just begin to change color, add the mustard seeds. Once you hear the seeds crackle (you want to hear the sound, but be careful if the oil is too hot, sometimes they pop-out of the pot. If this happens, move the pot off the heat), immediately add the cumin seeds. Let the seeds toast about 20-30 seconds. Then pour the carmalized onions and spices into the simmering daal. It will sizzle!
Step 5: Stir the daal and let it simmer for another 10 minutes, so all the flavors blend together. At this time check the consistency of the daal. If it’s too thick, add some more water. If too thin, increase heat. This daal is thicker than most daals I make—the consistency is closer to a hearty stew or clam chowder.
Step 6: Turn off the stove, add lemon juice and cilantro. Stir and serve. Happy eating!
Notes: I used a split and peeled masoor daal for this recipe, if you use a whole and peeled masoor daal, the ratios of water to daal might vary as well as the cook time. Sometimes in the bulk section the daal is split and sometimes its whole. If one side of lentil is flat and the other side is rounded—the lentil is split.
Check out my post on cumin seeds to learn more about their health benefits.