Simple Dal Recipe
Serving Size / Yield
- 1/4 C. ghee or clarified butter
- 1 1/2 C. diced onions
- 2 Tbs. minced garlic
- 2 jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded, and minced
- 1 Tbs. whole cumin seeds, toasted in a dry saute pan just until fragrant, then crushed with a mortar and pestle, plus more if necessary
- 2 C. orange lentils
- 2 Tbs. finely minced ginger
- 2 Tbs. Garam Masala (recipe follows)
- 1 Tbs. salt, plus more if necessary
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more if necessary
- 1 Tbs. sugar, plus more if necessary
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 C. diced tomatoes
- 1/2 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 8 C. good-quality canned chicken or vegetable broth
- Garam Masala:
- 1/4 C. dried small red chilies
- 3 Tbs. whole cumin seeds
- 3 Tbs. whole coriander seeds
- 1 Tbs. plus 1/2 tsp. whole cardamom seeds
- 1 Tbs. black peppercorns
- 1/2 Tbs. whole cloves
- 4 cinnamon sticks, each about 3 inches long
- 1/2 Tbs. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 C. ground turmeric
In a large pot over medium heat, heat the ghee or butter and stir-fry the onions just until softened without browning, 3-5 minutes.
Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, lentils, ginger, Garam Masala, salt, pepper, sugar and bay leaf. Sauté until the herbs and spices are fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and stir and scrape to deglaze the pan deposits. Add the broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 15-20 minutes. Before serving, taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary with a little more cumin, salt, pepper and sugar.
To make Garam Masala: In a large sauté pan, combine the dried chilies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, black peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Over medium heat, cook, stirring constantly, just until slightly toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute, taking care not to brown the spices. Turn off heat and instantly stir in the grated nutmeg and turmeric.
Immediately transfer to spices to a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade. Process, pulsing the machine on and off, until the spices are ground to a fine powder.
Place a fine-meshed strainer over a mixing bowl. Pass the spices through the strainer, discarding any fibers. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight jar and store at cool room temperature. Makes about 1 1/2 C..
Yield: 4-6 servings
(Chef Wolfgang Puck’s TV series, “Wolfgang Puck’s Cooking Class,” airs Sundays on the Food Network. Also, his latest cookbook, “Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy,” is now available in bookstores. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y. 14207.)
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