I love me some daal. With rice, crunchy sourdough, chapati, quinoa, millet or just as is, like a bowl of soup. It can be my lunch or dinner, and if you are my sister—breakfast. Aside from the taste, the nostalgia, the comfort factor, I love the variety of daals I can make by simply changing a few ingredients or my cooking process. From adjusting the water content, the type or blend of lentils, the cook time, or the spices results in a new daal every time.
Cooking lentils is like a blank canvas waiting to be splashed with some vibrant colors. From Mondrian to Pollack, I choose the palette and then it’s all about the technique and having fun!
Daal means lentils—but daal is also the name of a dish. With the large variety of lentils available, comes a gizzilion types of daals. Depending on the person’s region, what the cook feels like making, the type of lentils, the dietary restrictions, the spices, or the cooking technique—will inform the flavor of the daal. You never know what to expect when someone says they are cooking up daal. It can be thick and creamy, or thin and watery. Cooked with an array of vegetables, meats or be simple like the recipe I am sharing today.
Masoor daal (split and peeled) or red lentils, as they are commonly referred to in most markets, are my go-to lentils. They cook really fast, are tasty, easy to digest and they work well with an array of spices from cumin to rosemary.
This recipe started as on of those ‘this is what I have in my pantry’ dishes and now it is one of my staple daal recipes. I like making a big pot, and then enjoying it as a soup, with my favorite cabbage salad, greens, roasted beets and/or some grains. It can easily transform from a bowl of daal to a simple feast.
- with basmati rice (good for vata and pitta constitutions)
- as a light dinner (good for kapha constitutions)
- with your favorite grain, a crunchy salad, and some cooked greens for lunch
- with some roasted beets, mango pickle, or sweet potatoes
Notes: After speaking with a few friends, I made a slight adjustment to this recipe—mainly changing the cooking process. I think this method will help result in the expected outcome, especially for the novice daal cook. There are many methods of making daal, I use both the older version and this version, do what works best for you.