A blog about cooking and food, and how to make it taste good and be healthy. The dishes are almost all gluten/dairy free, and many are vegetarian. The focus is on techniques and ingredients over recipes - this is about everyday cooking, and that means making it work with whats on hand!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Urad Dal

Dal is a soupy dish made of lentils and spices, and is a staple of Indian diets. Lentils are high in protein, so dal is served almost everyday as an important part of a vegetarian diet.

There are many types of dal, each with its own nutritional profile and balance of proteins, so it is common to have many types of dal on hand, and rotate through them during the week. This is urud dal, also known as black gram dal. It is also commonly ground and used like flour in dosas, idlis, and other preparations.

I use a pressure cooker, and I add the dry dal, and 4-5 cups of water for each cup of dal. This is 1.5 cups of dal, and I used 7 cups of water.
I also add tomatoes, onion, and spices: cumin, corriander, tumeric, cloves, whole cloves and cardamoms,  and a small amount of garam masala. The tumeric is important for protein digestion, and I like my dal warm with spices like the cloves and cumin, but not hot from chilis.

Seal up the pressure cooker and put it on the stove. I let it go for about 15 minutes under heat, and let it sit until the top can be removed. After the top comes off, I stir it up to break down the lentils into a thick soup, which you can serve over rice, or buckwheat, as pictured above.
If you start this and then go to make a main dish, it will be done in time for dinner. Traditionally seeds are fried in oil or ghee and added at the end, but I tend to skip that step out of laziness and not wanting to clean another dish. You can also start the onions and spices in oil before adding the dal and water.

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